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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 ?
In other words, Brahmanic values deny the existence of Sudra values not shared by Brahmans (the space coded 01) and all other non-Brahmanic, non-Sudra religious values in the Universe of discourse.
At the Brahmanic level, however, there is no difference between referent and reference, for at that level the word is equal to reality.
According to Bowles, the "rhetorical effort to consistently 'rename' the Realpolitik of the brahmanic model of kingship as dharma" (p.
In other words, for Kumarila to enter into the circle of modern interreligious dialogue, either he would have to deny a fundamental dimension of who and what he is-a defender of the beginningless and authorless revelation of reality, the Veda, and advocate for the Brahmanic social order--or he would have to disguise himself in political correctness and find a strategic way to carry out his mission undercover, a covert operation of infiltration and espionage, a "dialogue of deception.
Vacaspatimisra, a medieval polymath of the tenth century, is renowned for a number of important works: commentaries written on core traditions of Brahmanic philosophy (Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya), a list of Nyayasutras (the Nydyasucinibandha), and an independent treatise, the Tattvabindu.
saktir varma balam tejah kantatvam satyam aksatih/ brahmanyatvam asammoho bhaktanam pariraksanam// nikrntanam ca satrunam lokanam cabhiraksanam/ skandena saha jatani sarvany eva janadhipa// The spear, armor, strength, splendor, beauty, truth, invulnerability, Brahmanic faith, lack of confusion, protection of worshipers, and the destruction of enemies, and the protection of all the worlds were all born along with Skanda, O king.
Lujan subscribes to the view that Sanskrit, originally a language of the Brahmanic tradition, was gradually accepted as a universal 'link language'' in the conditions when Prakrits were becoming ever less mutually intelligible.
Therefore the Brahmanic significance of sraddha at Gaya may shed further light on the choice.
Different Buddhist transmitters were collecting and commenting on a wide array of teachings in the first five hundred years of Buddhism, and there was much cross- fertilization with Jaina and Brahmanic literature.
13); the "contested hierarchies" of Kathmandu Valley society, with the tantric blurring of the distinction between priest and layman, and the disconnect between brahmanic precept and actual practice in caste relations and the division of priestly labor (pp.
Second, although these phantasmic forms are rudimentary, they symbolize complex religious ideas which evolved throughout the Brahmanic period.