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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.


see CASTE.


(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.



(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.


supreme soul of the universe. [Hindu Phil.: Parrinder, 50]
See: God


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
References in periodicals archive ?
AD) excepting as a divine personality (or a man with divine qualities) and the authority of this Purana in explaining the Brahmanic texts such as Upanisads and Brahmasutra was not granted till Madhva (13th c.
Such correspondences do indicate that public spheres were inclusive, although Bayly also observes that these relational continuities were by no means seamless, and that they also characterised by discontinuities--most notably between the Brahmanic elite, whose ecumenism and dialogue were bounded, and Hindu noblemen who were open to writing in Persian and Urdu and to the challenges posed by dialogue (1999: 210).
33) Constance Garnett (1861-1946): emphasized the crucial importance of a language nationally and individually, reminding us of Oswald Spengler (1919, 1922) and his cultural discourse based on an indepth exploration of the "souls" (the Egyptian, the Classical, the Euclidean Classical, the Stoic, the Western, the Gothic, the Arabian, the Indian, the Brahmanic Indian, the Babylonian, the Chinese, the Appolinian, the Faustian, the Magian, etc.
This third proposed model of Taylor for contemporary democratic societies, I think can not resolve the tensions/complexities created by colonialism but will carry its colonial, western, brahmanic (this aspect is discussed in later part of this paper), and Christian orientation as an intact.
The upper caste Brahmanism is a sort of threat for the lower castes, which continue to struggle for survival in face of the Brahmanic might.
A number of studies (Hardgrave, 1973; Pandian, 1992) have shown the extraordinary relationship between cinema and Tamil, Dravidian identity (distinct from the upper caste-based Aryan, Brahmanic identity), the creation of mass-based personality cults, and cinematic heroes and heroines becoming real-life politicians and heads of state.
In this companion work, he discusses the same solar cosmology as the source and significance of the principal brahmanic rituals of these different cultures.
The Code of Manu also sanctioned dowry and bridewealth in ancient India, but dowry was the more prestigious form and associated with the Brahmanic (priestly) caste.
and consequently reduced to a "subhuman status" (8) by the Brahmanic law.
A link between Rudra and Surya may be detected in early Brahmanic mythology, where Rudra is one of the twelve Adityas--who themselves are sometimes referred to as forms of Surya.
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.