Brahmana Dharma (ब्राह्मणधर्मः)

From Dharmawiki
Jump to: navigation, search
ToBeEdited.png
This article needs editing.

Add and improvise the content from reliable sources.

Brahmana Dharma (Samskrit: ब्राह्मणधर्मः) pertains to the set of dharmas pertaining to the person belonging to the first varna, namely Brahmana (called usually as Brahmin). In the present context, the term should not be confused with the Brahmana texts.

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Brahmana dharmas chiefly relate to the occupation of education and performing yajnas. They include vedic studies, their preservation and transmission, teaching and applying them in yajnas for the welfare of the fellow citizens and society at large.

द्विजः ॥ Dvija

The concept of Dvija is unique to Sanatana Dharma. Dvija means "one who is born twice". The word is used for both: specifically for Brahmins, and in general for the three varnas. The evidence that Dvija refers generally to the three varnas is present in Kosas and Smrtis.

Evidence in Koshas include:

  • द्विजः स्याद्ब्राह्मणक्षत्रवैश्यदन्ताण्डजेषु ना (मेदिनीकोषः, जान्तवर्गः ९, also cited in Vyakhyasudha on Amarakosa)
  • क्षत्त्रियः। वैश्यः। इति मेदिनी (शब्दकल्पद्रुमः on द्विजः)
  • ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियवैश्येषु च (वाचस्पत्यम् on द्विज)

Evidence in Yajnavalkya smrti includes:

  • मातुर्यदग्रे जायन्ते द्वितीयं मौञ्जिबन्धनात्। ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशस्तस्मादेते द्विजाः स्मृताः॥  १.३९ ॥ (Yajna. Smrt. 1.39)[1]

The first birth of a child is from the mother's womb and the second birth of a child occurs at the binding of the Munja grass during the Upanayana samskara, in brahmana's, kshatriya's and vaishya's and hence they are to be known as Dvijas.

Yajnavalkya smrti lays down the classification of dvijas,

ब्रह्मक्षत्रियविट्शूद्रा वर्णास्त्वाद्यास्त्रयो द्विजाः । निषेकाद्याः श्मशानान्तास्तेषां वै मन्त्रतः क्रियाः ॥ १.१० ॥ (Yajn. Smrt. 1.10)[1]

Of the four varnas, brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra, the first three are termed Dvijas, for them starting from conception (garbhadhana) ending with the cremation (at smashana) the kriyas for them are performed, decidedly, with the accompaniment of mantras. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the one whose samkaras (16 purifying rites) accompanied by mantras have been performed without any break, in succession, and to whom Brahma has designated as such, he is called as a dvija (twice-born).[2]

संस्कारा यदविच्छिन्नाः स द्विजोऽजो जगाद यम् । saṁskārā yadavicchinnāḥ sa dvijo'jo jagāda yam । (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.13)[3]

ब्राह्मणः ॥ Brahmana

According to the Bhagavata Purana, scriptural study and others (such as teaching, performance of yajnas, dana and acceptance of gifts) six (in all) are prescribed for the Brahmanas. Non-acceptance of gifts is laid down for the other (Kshatriyas).[4]

विप्रस्याध्ययनादीनि षडन्यस्याप्रतिग्रहः । viprasyādhyayanādīni ṣaḍanyasyāpratigrahaḥ । (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.14).[3]

One who has the following activities as one's occupation are Brahmanas according to Mahabharata's Anushasana parva

वृत्त्यर्थं ब्राह्मणानां वै शृणु धर्मान्सनातनान्॥ 13-141-66 (Maha. Anush. 13.141.66)

यजनं याजनं चैव तथा दानप्रतिग्रहौ। अध्यापनं चाध्ययनं षट्कर्मा धर्मभाग्द्विजः॥ 13-141-67 (Maha. Anush. 13.141.67)

The Mahabharata clearly emphasizes the six primary occupational dharmas (वृत्त्यर्थं ब्राह्मणानां..) of a Brahmana as given in Manusmrti.

ब्राह्मणलक्षणम् ॥ Nature of a Brahmana

Shabdakalpadruma[5] references Mahabharata (Anushasana Parva), when Yudhisthira is asked who is a brahmana, he replies as follows.

सत्यं दानं क्षमा शीलमानृशंस्यं तपो घृणा । दृश्यन्ते यत्रनागेन्द्रस ब्राह्मण इति स्मृतः ॥१८०.२१॥ (Maha. Anush. 13.180.21)

satyaṁ dānaṁ kṣamā śīlamānr̥śaṁsyaṁ tapo ghr̥ṇā । dr̥śyante yatranāgendrasa brāhmaṇa iti smr̥taḥ ॥180.21॥

Meaning: Oh Nagaraja, those who have the good qualities of truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, virtuous character devoid of violence, penance and compassion are considered as brahmanas.[6] According to the Bhagavata Purana, control over mind and senses, asceticism, purity, contentment, forbearance and forgiveness, straightforwardness, knowledge, compassion, fervent devotion to Lord Vishnu and truthfulness are the characteristics of a brahmana.[2]

शमो दमस्तपः शौचं सन्तोषः क्षान्तिरार्जवम् । ज्ञानं दयाच्युतात्मत्वं सत्यं च ब्रह्मलक्षणम् ॥ २१॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.21)[3]

śamo damastapaḥ śaucaṁ santoṣaḥ kṣāntirārjavam । jñānaṁ dayācyutātmatvaṁ satyaṁ ca brahmalakṣaṇam ॥ 21॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.21)

In Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Adhyaya 206 in the Kaushika Pativrata Upakhyana, we come across the beautiful shlokas summarizing Bramana Lakshanas

यः क्रोधमोहौ त्यजति तं देवा ब्राह्मणं विदुः । यो वदेदिह सत्यानि गुरुं संतोषयेत च ।।

हिंसितश्च त हिंसेत तं देवा ब्राह्मणं विदुः । जितेन्द्रियो धर्मपरः स्वाध्यायनिरतः शुचिः।।

कामक्रोधौ वशौ यस्य तं देवा ब्राह्मणं विदुः । यस्य चात्मसमो लोको धर्मज्ञस्य मनस्विनः ।।

सर्वधर्मेषु चरतस्तं देवा ब्राह्मणं विदुः । योऽध्यापयेदधीयीत यजेद्वा याजयीत वा।

दद्याद्वाऽपि यथाशक्ति तं देवा ब्राह्मणं विदुः ।। (Maha. Vana. 206.33-37)[7]

धर्मे तु ब्राह्मणस्याहुः स्वाध्यायं दममार्जवम्। इन्द्रियाणां निग्रहं च शाश्वतं द्विजसत्तम ।।

Modes of Subsistence

The Manusmrti elaborates on the modes of subsistence prescribed for a brahmana stepping into the second phase of life - the Grhasthashrama as follows:

अध्यापनम् अध्ययनं यजनं याजनं तथा । दानं प्रतिग्रहं चैव ब्राह्मणानाम् अकल्पयत् ॥ १.८८ ॥[8]

adhyāpanam adhyayanaṁ yajanaṁ yājanaṁ tathā । dānaṁ pratigrahaṁ caiva brāhmaṇānām akalpayat ॥ 1.88 ॥

Meaning: Studying, teaching, performing a sacrifice (either for oneself or for others), giving and accepting charity; these six are the responsibilities assigned to brahmanas (Manu Smrt. 1.88)[9] Talking of the importance of adhering to the Brahmana varna dharma, Manusmrti says,

आचारः परमो धर्मः श्रुत्युक्तः स्मार्त एव च । तस्मादस्मिन्सदा युक्तो नित्यं स्यादात्मवान्द्विजः ॥ १.१०८ ॥[8]

ācāraḥ paramo dharmaḥ śrutyuktaḥ smārta eva ca । tasmādasminsadā yukto nityaṁ syādātmavāndvijaḥ ॥ 1.108 ॥

Meaning: The Shrutis and Smrtis say that code of conduct is the highest duty; hence brahmanas must always be ready in adhering to it (Manu Smrt. 1.108)[9] It says, a Brahmana who studies the shastras faithfully, according to the rules, is never tainted by sins arising from thoughts, words or deeds (Manu Smrt. 1.104). While, the one who deflects from his prescribed duties, doesn't obtain the fruit prescribed in the vedas; one who adheres to the code of conduct partakes in the fruit (Manu Smrt. 1.109)[9]

इदं शास्त्रम् अधीयानो ब्राह्मणः शंसितव्रतः । मनोवाग्गेहजैर्नित्यं कर्मदोषैर्न लिप्यते ॥ १.१०४ ॥

आचाराद्विच्युतो विप्रो न वेदफलम् अश्नुते । आचारेण तु संयुक्तः सम्पूर्णफलभाग्भवेत् ॥ १.१०९ ॥[8]

idaṁ śāstram adhīyāno brāhmaṇaḥ śaṁsitavrataḥ । manovāggehajairnityaṁ karmadoṣairna lipyate ॥ 1.104 ॥

ācārādvicyuto vipro na vedaphalam aśnute । ācāreṇa tu saṁyuktaḥ sampūrṇaphalabhāgbhavet ॥ 1.109 ।

According to the Bhagavata Purana, means of livelihood for brahmanas is of four types:

  1. Various occupations (eg. agriculture, cattle breeding)
  2. Acceptance of articles modestly (without asking anyone for anything)
  3. Begging for grain from door to door like Yayavaras (vagrant mendicants)
  4. Gleaning grains of corn from leftover of the threshing floor in the field (sila) or of the market place (uncha) - and these types are in the ascending order of preference.[4]

वार्ता विचित्रा शालीनयायावरशिलोञ्छनम् । विप्रवृत्तिश्चतुर्धेयं श्रेयसी चोत्तरोत्तरा ॥ १६॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.16) [3]

vārtā vicitrā śālīnayāyāvaraśiloñchanam । vipravr̥ttiścaturdheyaṁ śreyasī cottarottarā ॥ 16॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.16)

विहितोपजीविकाः ॥ Prescribed Modes of Subsistence

  • It is said that a person may subsist by Rta (truth), and Amrta (ambrosia), or by Mrta (death) and by Pramrta (what causes many deaths); or even by (the mode) called Satyanrta (a mixture of truth and falsehood), but never by Shvavrtti (a dog’s mode of life). [v.4.4.]

ऋतामृताभ्यां जीवेत्तु मृतेन प्रमृतेन वा । सत्यानृताभ्यां अपि वा न श्ववृत्त्या कदा चन ॥ ४.४ ॥[10]

r̥tāmr̥tābhyāṁ jīvettu mr̥tena pramr̥tena vā । satyānr̥tābhyāṁ api vā na śvavr̥ttyā kadā cana ॥ 4.4 ॥

  • By Rta shall be understood the gleaning of corn; by Amrta, what is given unasked; by Mrta, food obtained by begging and agriculture is declared to be Pramrta. [v.4.5.] But trade and (money-lending) are Satyanrta, even by that one may subsist. Service is called Shvavritti; therefore one should avoid it. [v.4.6.]

ऋतं उञ्छशिलं ज्ञेयं अमृतं स्यादयाचितम् । मृतं तु याचितं भैक्षं प्रमृतं कर्षणं स्मृतम् ॥ ४.५ ॥

सत्यानृतं तु वाणिज्यं तेन चैवापि जीव्यते । सेवा श्ववृत्तिराख्याता तस्मात्तां परिवर्जयेत् ॥ ४.६ ॥[10]

r̥taṁ uñchaśilaṁ jñeyaṁ amr̥taṁ syādayācitam । mr̥taṁ tu yācitaṁ bhaikṣaṁ pramr̥taṁ karṣaṇaṁ smr̥tam ॥ 4.5 ॥

satyānr̥taṁ tu vāṇijyaṁ tena caivāpi jīvyate । sevā śvavr̥ttirākhyātā tasmāttāṁ parivarjayet ॥ 4.6 ॥

Similar verses are found in the Bhagavata Purana (Skandha 7, Adhyaya 11, Verses 18-20) that adds further that, A brahmana and a kshatriya should always shun shvavrtti (the dog mode of life) which is detested by all; for a brahmana is an embodiment of all the Vedas and Kshatriya (the ruler) is the personification of all deities.[4]

वर्जयेत्तां सदा विप्रो राजन्यश्च जुगुप्सिताम् । सर्ववेदमयो विप्रः सर्वदेवमयो नृपः ॥ २०॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.20)[3]

varjayettāṁ sadā vipro rājanyaśca jugupsitām । sarvavedamayo vipraḥ sarvadevamayo nr̥paḥ ॥ 20॥ (Bhag. Pura. 7.11.20)

  • He may either possess enough to fill a granary, or a store filling a grain-jar; or he may collect what suffices for three days, or make no provision for the morrow. [v.4.7.]Moreover, among these four Brahmana householders, each later(-named) must be considered more distinguished, and through his virtue to have conquered the world more completely. [v.4.8.]One of these follows six occupations, another subsists by three, one by two, but the fourth lives by the Brahmasattra. [v.4.9.]

कुसूलधान्यको वा स्यात्कुम्भीधान्यक एव वा । त्र्यहैहिको वापि भवेदश्वस्तनिक एव वा ॥ ४.७ ॥

चतुर्णां अपि चैतेषां द्विजानां गृहमेधिनाम् । ज्यायान्परः परो ज्ञेयो धर्मतो लोकजित्तमः ॥ ४.८ ॥

षट्कर्मैको भवत्येषां त्रिभिरन्यः प्रवर्तते । द्वाभ्यां एकश्चतुर्थस्तु ब्रह्मसत्त्रेण जीवति ॥ ४.९ ॥[10]

kusūladhānyako vā syātkumbhīdhānyaka eva vā । tryahaihiko vāpi bhavedaśvastanika eva vā ॥ 4.7 ॥

caturṇāṁ api caiteṣāṁ dvijānāṁ gr̥hamedhinām । jyāyānparaḥ paro jñeyo dharmato lokajittamaḥ ॥ 4.8 ॥

ṣaṭkarmaiko bhavatyeṣāṁ tribhiranyaḥ pravartate । dvābhyāṁ ekaścaturthastu brahmasattreṇa jīvati ॥ 4.9 ॥

उपजीविकानियमाः ॥ Rules Regarding Subsistence

First and foremost, a Brahmana is adviced to seek a means of subsistence which either causes no, or at least little pain (to others), and live (by that) except in times of distress. [v.4.2.]

अद्रोहेणैव भूतानां अल्पद्रोहेण वा पुनः । या वृत्तिस्तां समास्थाय विप्रो जीवेदनापदि ॥ ४.२ ॥[10]

adroheṇaiva bhūtānāṁ alpadroheṇa vā punaḥ । yā vr̥ttistāṁ samāsthāya vipro jīvedanāpadi ॥ 4.2 ॥

For the purpose of gaining bare subsistence, let him accumulate property by (following those) irreproachable occupations (which are prescribed for) his (caste), without (unduly) fatiguing his body. [v.4.3.]

यात्रामात्रप्रसिद्ध्यर्थं स्वैः कर्मभिरगर्हितैः । अक्लेशेन शरीरस्य कुर्वीत धनसंचयम् ॥ ४.३ ॥[10]

yātrāmātraprasiddhyarthaṁ svaiḥ karmabhiragarhitaiḥ । akleśena śarīrasya kurvīta dhanasaṁcayam ॥ 4.3 ॥

A Brahmana shall not name his family and (Vedic) gotra in order to obtain a meal; for he who boasts of them for the sake of a meal, is called by the wise a foul feeder (vantasin). [v.3.109.]

न भोजनार्थं स्वे विप्रः कुलगोत्रे निवेदयेत् । भोजनार्थं हि ते शंसन्वान्ताशीत्युच्यते बुधैः ॥ ३.१०९ ॥[11]

na bhojanārthaṁ sve vipraḥ kulagotre nivedayet । bhojanārthaṁ hi te śaṁsanvāntāśītyucyate budhaiḥ ॥ 3.109 ॥

At the same time, it is also adviced that he who maintains himself by picking up grains and ears of corn, must be always intent on (the performance of) the Agnihotra, and constantly offer those Ishtis only, which are prescribed for the days of the conjunction and opposition (of the moon), and for the solstices. [v.4.10.] Let him never, for the sake of subsistence, follow the ways of the world; let him live the pure, straightforward, honest life of a Brahmana. [v.4.11.]And he who desires happiness is adviced to strive after a perfectly contented disposition and control himself; for happiness has contentment for its root, the root of unhappiness is the contrary (disposition). [v.4.12.]

वर्तयंश्च शिलोञ्छाभ्यां अग्निहोत्रपरायणः । इष्टीः पार्वायणान्तीयाः केवला निर्वपेत्सदा ॥ ४.१० ॥

न लोकवृत्तं वर्तेत वृत्तिहेतोः कथं चन । अजिह्मां अशथां शुद्धां जीवेद्ब्राह्मणजीविकाम् ॥ ४.११ ॥

संतोषं परं आस्थाय सुखार्थी संयतो भवेत् । संतोषमूलं हि सुखं दुःखमूलं विपर्ययः ॥ ४.१२ ॥[10]

vartayaṁśca śiloñchābhyāṁ agnihotraparāyaṇaḥ । iṣṭīḥ pārvāyaṇāntīyāḥ kevalā nirvapetsadā ॥ 4.10 ॥

na lokavr̥ttaṁ varteta vr̥ttihetoḥ kathaṁ cana । ajihmāṁ aśathāṁ śuddhāṁ jīvedbrāhmaṇajīvikām ॥ 4.11 ॥

saṁtoṣaṁ paraṁ āsthāya sukhārthī saṁyato bhavet । saṁtoṣamūlaṁ hi sukhaṁ duḥkhamūlaṁ viparyayaḥ ॥ 4.12 ॥

10.9 Self-reliance

Let him carefully avoid all undertakings (the success of) which depends on others; but let him eagerly pursue that (the accomplishment of) which depends on himself. [v.4.159.]

Everything that depends on others (gives) pain, everything that depends on oneself (gives) pleasure; know that this is the short definition of pleasure and pain. [v.4.160.]

When the performance of an act gladdens his heart, let him perform it with diligence; but let him avoid the opposite. [v.4.161.]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Yajnavalkya Smrti (Brahmachari Prakarana 1)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, The Bhagavata Purana (Part III), Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology (Volume 9), Edited by J.L.Shastri, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, P.no.964-965.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Bhagavata Purana, Skandha 7, Adhyaya 11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, The Bhagavata Purana (Part III), Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology (Volume 9), Edited by J.L.Shastri, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, P.no.964-965.
  5. Shabdakalpadruma (See ब्राह्मणः)
  6. Ramanarayanadatta Shastri Pandeya, Mahabharata (Vol.2), Gorakhpur: Gita Press.
  7. Shastri. Pt Ramnarayan. (1955). Mahabharata : Vana Parva Vol.2. Gorakhpur:Gita Press. (Pages 1547)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 1
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ganganath Jha (1920-39), Manusmrti (Vol.3), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 4.
  11. Manusmrti, Adhyaya 3.