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Brahman or Brahmin (both: bräˈmən). In the Upanishads, Brahman is the name for the ultimate, unchanging reality, composed of pure being and consciousness. Brahman lies behind the apparent multiplicity of the phenomenal world, and is ultimately identical to the atman or inner essence of the human being (see Vedanta). This ultimate quality relates to the second meaning of Brahman, or Brahmin—a member of the highest, or priestly, Hindu caste. Brahmins alone may interpret the Vedas and perform the Vedic sacrifice. The vast majority of modern Brahmins are in occupations unrelated to religion, but they have retained their social prestige and many caste conventions. The Brahmins of India are divided into 10 territorial subcastes, 5 in the north and 5 in the south.
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see CASTE.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A succinct definition of Hinduism might read, "The Universe is profoundly One." This unity can best be understood by exploring the Hindu concepts of Brahman and Atman.

The Upanishads, which form part of the Hindu scripture, speak of Brahman as "Him the eye does not see, nor the tongue express, nor the mind grasp." Brahman is not a God, but rather the ultimate, unexplainable principle encompassing all of creation. Because creation preceded language, words cannot grasp the totality of Brahman. Any and every definition falls short. Brahman then becomes a word used to speak of what can be called a "macro" metaphysical principle.

But there is also a "micro" metaphysical principle. The subtle presence intuited within, identified as "soul" or "self" by other traditions, is called Atman. Atman, thus, perceives Brahman. But this perception leads to a central meditation discovered by the Hindu rishis, or sages, described in the Chandogya Upanishad:

In the beginning there was Existence alone—One only, without a second. He, the One [Brahman], thought to himself: "Let me be many, let me grow forth." Thus out of himself he projected the universe, and having projected out of himself the universe, he entered into every being. All that is has its self in him alone. Of all things he is the subtle essence. He is the truth. He is the Self. And that... THAT ART THOU!

When one discovers that Atman, the inner self, and Brahman, the essence of the universe, are indeed one, the experienced result is said to be one of immense peace and harmony, of coming home. The human perception of life is often that of a small, fragile being gazing out into an infinite, unknowable space. Hinduism teaches that the intuitive leap of realizing "that art thou" tells us we belong. We have a place. We are one with the stars and the consciousness that brought them into being.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(obsolete, Brahmin). (1) A category of Indian idealist philosophy—chiefly the Vedanta—designating the impersonal absolute that lies at the heart of all things.

(2) A member of the Indian Brahman caste.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


supreme soul of the universe. [Hindu Phil.: Parrinder, 50]
See: God
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a member of the highest or priestly caste in the Hindu caste system
2. Hinduism the ultimate and impersonal divine reality of the universe, from which all being originates and to which it returns
3. another name for Brahma
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
It intends to establishing Brahman over all other Vedic Gods and Goddesses, that too, using question as an instrument for the purpose.
Suresh Mishra, president, Sarva Brahman Mahasabha, wrote a letter to the makers, saying the film's shooting will "not be allowed in Rajasthan till the complete information on the historical ground of the story is made available".
Para cada uno de los animales, el PR (Brahman, Criollo limonero o Pardo suizo), la fecha de nacimiento para el calculo de la edad, el peso al nacimiento (PN), el peso al destete (PD) y las ganancias diarias de peso corporal (GD[P.sub.1], GD[P.sub.2], GD[P.sub.3]) se determinaron en base a los registros individuales que se llevan en la unidad de produccion.
Meanwhile, the plight of the Indonesians came to light on March 29 when the Brahman 12 was found drifting near the Tawi Tawi chain of islands.
El objetivo de este trabajo fue evaluar los polimorfismos presentes en el exon 12 del gen DBH bovino, en razas de las subespecies Bos taurus taurus (Blanco Orejinegro--BON y bovinos de Lidia) y Bos taurus indicus (Brahman), y establecer su potencial asociacion con rasgos de temperamento, medidos en variables como VS y CB.
Situated about eight kilometres from Palwal town,Teekri Brahman village witnessed violence on Sunday after minority community youths allegedly molested a teenage girl of the majority community.
Brahman cows with calves sold for excellent prices.
According to ( Siddarth Srinivas of Cinemalead , "The whole of Brahman is peppered with lame buffoonery, as one pleads for something interesting to pop up.
Om refers to the unity of the Brahman, the opposite of ignorance (avidya), a means of attaining barmanhood, the state of sat-chit-Amanda (truth-consciousness-bliss"), defying "all defects and imperfections." It signifies the Supreme Person (Purushattoma), an end of any "free-play of self- beguilement ...
"The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal: An Indian Folktale" is a crafty teaching tale from India.