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(both: brä`mən). 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 VedantaVedanta
, one of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy. The term "Vedanta" has the literal meaning "the end of the Veda" and refers both to the teaching of the Upanishads, which constitute the last section of the Veda, and to the knowledge of its ultimate meaning.
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). 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 VedasVeda
[Sanskrit,=knowledge, cognate with English wit, from a root meaning know], oldest scriptures of Hinduism and the most ancient religious texts in an Indo-European language.
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 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 ?
Following the royal Turki Shahi or Early Shahi rale which was predominantly Hindu-oriented, yet also supported Buddhism in the 7th century over what is today Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, the largely Brahmanic later Hindu Shahi dynasty moved, towards the end of the 9th century, for the next 100 years, from the Kabul region south to Swat-Gandhara and then to Hund-Udabhandapura.
Gayatri Spivak (1987) and Uma Chakravarti (2003 and 2007) fight against the patriarchal discourse of the Mahabharata, also in contemporary narrations like Narayan's, which due to Brahmanic influence have become rigorous exponents of orthodoxy and authenticity of Hindu culture.
The yoga mentioned and developed in the early phases of the Brahmanic tradition would have been known to the Buddha of the 5th century BCE, and would have influenced his thought.
One possible answer is a merging of the two octads: a general one, formed by the mainstream 'Brahmanic' series of Lokapalas, and a specifically Saiva one, formed by the Navasanas.
It can be deduced from the present-day application of English in India that it is creating another brahmanic class in the society, causing further division among the citizens of one state.
As a heterodox philosophical practice emerging in Northern India, Buddhism not only disavows the external authority of the Vedas and Brahmanic ritualism but also insists upon our investigation of and trust in our own experience.
PMA, in its permanent collection, also has various Hinduism focused artifacts, like paintings depicting Brahma honors Krishna, Dashratha distributing gifts, dying Jatayu, Kamadhenu, Krishna, Bhairava, Shiva-Shakti mandala, Rishi, Sudama's journey, Kali slaying demons, Vishvamitra and Dashratha, Markandeya; sculptures of dancing Ganesha, Garuda, Indra, Nandi, Nataraja, Surya; pillared temple hall; Brahmanic cord; Devimahatmya manuscript; Rameshwaram Temple pictures; etc.
In India alone, this form of discrimination affects some 160 million people who were once labeled and treated as "untouchable" and "polluted or polluting" according to Brahmanic ritual traditions, now call themselves Dalits, meaning "oppressed" or "crushed".
The chopped up mix of spit rhyme hints at an unconscious fix on what brahmanic tradition would articulate as mantric vibration and energy-release of the second or sexual charka-center (Paul, 1, 4-5).
Instead, the British established Orthodox Brahmanic laws as authoritative, elevating them over the lesser bodies of customary law.
Most of the descriptions of these religious rituals that occur in the medical texts correspond to those found in the Vaikhanasagrhyasutra, which in one form or another was probably its source, pointing to a possible connection between Vagbhata and the Brahmanic tradition of the Vai-khanasas.
* To inculcate Hindu religious ideas, philosophy and culture and establish dominance of Brahmanic culture in India;