One main theme that recurs throughout the Mbh. is ‘dharma’.  But this dharma is not a general term in most of the context but talk about ‘varnashramadharma’, in which each Varna has to uphold their respective dharma for the very existence of society.  And even in this varnashramadharma, though other varnas have equal role to play, yet one often feels that the rest of the three varnas are their only for the Brahmins.  Or Brahmins are the central stage around which the entire dharma evolves and rotates.  In a play, as the center character alone get all importance and attention, one feels that in Mbh., as a play the central character is Brahmins.1 As the script, scene and the role of other characters are set to highlight the heroine of the play, I felt that the rest of the varnas in Mbh. are displayed to highlight the importance of Brahmins alone.  While the Brahmins are standing tall, the rest of the two dvijis (twice born) Varna stand on both side upholding the Brahmins and the Shudra always sitting at their feet, particularly to serve the Brahmins.2

I know some of my points look bit exaggeration.  And one can reprimand my point by taking several points from the same Mbh.  But no one can deny the fact that Brahmins not only occupy the central stage but has an important role to play, enjoys special privileges and equally have high responsibility.

But am I qualified to write something about Brahmins, as I born in a Brahmin family?  I feel that I have the opportunity to know them from within as others cannot understand them from outside.  Whenever I read or hear anything written or said against Brahmins, then naturally as a Brahmin I get irritated by the way they write and say something that will serve their purpose.  At the same time when I read or hear others glorifying Brahmin and Brahmanism, then I equally get irritated and want to immediately expose all the hypocrisy and undue importance to give both to Brahmins and Brahmanism.

When I took my brother and his wife toNorth Indiatrip, after visitingGaya, Kashi,Allahabad, we were proceeding toDelhi.  In the train, I met another Pandit from Kashi who was going toDelhion the same train.  After some initial talk, when he began to praise the South Indian Brahmins for still keeping all the orthodoxy (rather orthopraxy) and tradition intact, I get irritated (as I know well about their orthodoxy/orthopraxy as an insider), I said, ‘but what is the use?  See my brother.  He is not ready to adjust even on small things while on this travel’. Then I mentioned how he wanted to upheld several rituals related to eating, sleeping etc., that Panditi said, ‘by strictly observing such rituals and orthodoxy, your brother is compensating what is lacking in other Brahmins in order to uphold the cosmic order and dharma for everyone’.  This remark and attitude about Brahmins as the custodian of tradition, orthodoxy/orthopraxy and to some extent to culture is not new in our (pan)-Indian culture, (scriptural) tradition.  Sometimes even these privileges are imposed on them (and also equally claimed by them) put them in an inconvenient place in our Indian society.

After reading Mbh. I felt sorry for the Brahmins than appreciating all the privileges they were granted by Mbh. Even as an idealism, it is very difficult to be a Brahmin, though the same is true with other three varnas.  But relatively, Brahmins deserves our sympathy considering the demands of Mbh. on them, whether or not they all were literally sanctioned and followed by the Brahmins (or any other caste in any time.)  A separate study on Brahmins based on scriptural, cultural, social, historical perspective will be an interesting study.  But as it is the field for the scholars, let me not even imagine of doing such things.  Here as my sharing is limited to Mbh. let me share what all Mbh. says about Brahmins.

Dayanand Bharati,March 2, 2011.

  1. …The Brahmanas [Brahmins], who were the custodians of literature, utilized the epics, as they became popular, for propagation of their culture and religion.  So, many religious and ceremonial elements which did not originally belong to it, entered the huge body of the Mahabharata and it became a reference book for the Hindu religion.  The Mahabharata was regarded as a Samhita as early as before the fifth century A.D. [Buhler and Kirste, contrib. To the history of the Mahabharata.  Siteungsher wien, 1892. 4-27]….— Rajbali Pandey, Hindu Samskaras:  Socio-Religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, (Second Revised Edition, 1969), Reprint, 1987 p.9

…As his name [Parasurama] Bhaargava indicates he is the hero of the Bhrgu group of Brahmans who were responsible for inflating the Mahabharata and through it bolstering the pretensions to superiority of the Brahmans.— J. L. Brockington, Sacred Thread, A Short history of Hinduism, Oxford, 1996 (1981, Edinburgh University Press). p.68

2. …Manu [X.43-45] and the Mahaabhaarata [Anusaasanaparva 33.21-23 and 35.17-18] were prepared to admit that several foreign races like the Sakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Dravidas, Daradas, Sabaras, Kiraatas etc. were originally kstriyas but had been reduced to the status of suudras by losing contact with braahmanas or by not liking the idea of being subject to the braahmanical system.  The Visnupuraana [IV.4.47-48] says the same….

Brahmin and Kshatriyas:

.…He who desires his won prosperity, should ever be guided by his priest….(77) a king, who is without a Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or nobility of birth only.(78)…therefore know that the kingdoms with Brahmanas at their heads can be retained for long.(79) [Gandarva to Arjuya](172:77-79)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.240

11… O king, one  should  never  be  without  a  Brahmana  if  he  wishes  to  conquer  this world  and the  next  for  long.  Having  got  a Brahmana  well  -versed  in  religion  and  worldly  affairs and  cleansed  of  passion  and  folly a king destroys his enemies….[Rishi Vaka to Yudhisthira]—ibid.  Ch. XXVI. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p. 38.

15. Like  an  elephant  without  a  driver  in  battle   the  strength  of  a  Kshatrya, with  out a  Brahmana  decreases. 16. Incomparable is the sight of a Brahmana and the might of a Kshatryas; when they proceed in unison the whole world is delighted. [Rishi Vaka to Yudhisthira]—ibid. Ch. XXVI. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p38.

6. The life of even a Brahmana….who follows the observances of a Kshatriya, is not blamable, for Kshatriyas also have originated from Brahman. [Arjuna to Yudhishthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. XXII P. 26

10. Indra himself, though a Brahmana, became a Kshatriya in his deeds, and fought with his sinful kinsmen for eight hundred and ten times. [Arjuna to Yudhishthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. XXII P. 26

18. The king who does not use (in a particular case) the rod of chastisement, should fast for one night.  The priest who does not advise the king to inflict punishment (in a proper case) should last for three nights. [Vyasa to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.XXXVII. P. 51

22. …the Brahmanas should never be punished by you….23-24…..Fire has originated from water, the Kshtriya from the Brahmana, and iron from stone. The three, viz., fire, Kshatriya, and iron, can act on every other thing, but coming into contact with their respective origins, their force becomes neutralized. 25. When iron strikes stone, or fire fights with water, or Kshatriya treats a Brahmana inimically, these three soon become weak….[Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. X. p. 78

Pururavas said: 9.Tell me, truly, O god of Wind, to whom does this Earth fairly belong.  Does it belong to the Brahmana or to the Kshatriya.

The god of Wind said: 10. Everything that exists in the universe belongs to the Brahmana on account of his birth and precedence.  Persons, conversant with morality, declare it. 11. What the Brahmana eats is his own. The place he dwells in is his own. What he gives away is his own. He deserves the respect of all the (other) orders. He is the first-born and the foremost. 12. As a woman, in the absence of her husband, marries his younger brother, even so the Earth, for the refusal of the Brahmana, has accepted his next-born, viz., the Kshatriya, for her master.  This is the first rule. In times, however, of distress, there is exception to this. [Pururavas to Wind god] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXII. P.108

11. The king should never treat indifferently those Brahmanas who do not observe their duties. For the sake of making his people virtuous, he should punish and take them away from their betters. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVI. P. 113

21. Even as a Brahmana in a time of distress may officiate at the sacrifice of a person for whom he should never officiate and eat forbidden food, so there is no doubt that a Kshatriya may take riches from every one save ascetics and Brahmanas. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. CXXX. P. 191

11-12. …That Brahmana who has been compelled by want to fast for three days, may take away without permission, according to the rule of a person who cares only for today and not for the morrow, only what is necessary for a single meal, from the husking tub or the field or the garden or any other place of even a degraded man.  He should, however, whether asked or unasked, inform the king of his deed. 13. If the king knows his own duty he should not punish such a Brahmana. He should remember that a Brahmana becomes stricken with hunger only through the fault of the Kshatriya. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXVI. P. 243

41. I am a Kshatriya. I do not know how to say the word—Give.  The only thing, O best of twice-born ones, that we can say is—Give (us) battle. [king Ikshak to a Brahmana] 44. You boasted that your words always pray for battle. Why then do you not pray for a battle with me. [the Brahmana to king Ikshak]. 45. It is said that Brahmanas are armed with the thunder of speech, and that Kshatriyas have might of arms. Hence, O learned Brahmana, this wordy warfare has taken place between you and me. [king Ikshak to a Brahmana] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CXCIX. P. 295.

8. It is impossible for a king that is hostile to Brahmanas to continue living in this world or in acquiring happiness in the next. [Sudasa to Utanka].— ibid. ASHWAMEDHA PARVA, VOL. 7Ch.LVIII. P. 425

Dana (receiver of dhana; to be supported):

Yudhisthira supports by giving thirty servant maids to each of eighty-eight thousands Snataka Brahmanas who lead domestic life. [Duryodhana to Dhritarastra] (49:17)—ibid. SABHA PARVA p.386

50…  I  desire  it [wealth] only  for  the  support  of  the  Brahmanas….[Yudhisthira to Saunaka]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p  4.  Ch. II.

82. …Try  now  to  obtain  success  in  penances in  order  to  support  the  Brahmanas….[Saunaka to Yudhisthira]—ibid. Ch. II. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p  6.

78. Whatever sin a king commits in acquiring dominions, he consumes it all by means of performing sacrifices in which large Dakshinas are given away. 79….as the moon emerges from the clouds, so does a king emerge from all sins by bestowing thousands of villages and kine on the Brahmanas. [Bhima to Yudhisthira].—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.XXXIII. Vol. 2, p.51.

37. As you support numerous Brahmanas, learned in the Vedas, your continued residence here (in this forest) may exhaust the deer of the forest and may be destructive of the creepers and plant. [Vysa to Yudhisthira].—ibid. VANA PARVA, Ch. XXXVI Vol. 2, p.55.

77. …As an offering of ghee to Agni is never in vain, so a gift to the Brahmanas learned in the Vedas is never in vain. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.].—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. p. 299

86. …A Brahmana is the (proper) time for a Sradha (i.e. there is no special time for a Sradha.  It may be celebrated whenever an able priest can be secured)…. [Yudhisthira to Yaksha]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, CCCXII, p. 449

2. The residue, after supporting the Brahmanas, should be devoted to the support of other people.  Nobody should take by injuring the Brahmanas. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.LXXXIX. P. 132

6. The king should further say to him [Brahmana who want of support, wishes to leave a kingdom],–Indeed, O Brahmana, people say that only that which is sufficient should be assigned to a Brahmana to maintain him. I, however, do not hold that opinion.  On the other hand, I think that if a Brahmana seeks to abandon a kingdom for the king neglecting to provide him with means of support, such means should be assigned to him, and, further, if he wishes to take that step for procuring the means of luxury, he (p.132) should still be requested to say and supplied with those luxuries. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.LXXXIX. Pp. 132-3

3. Only the Dakshina, should be given to those Brahmanas who are not poor.  Uncooked food should be given beyond the limits of the sacrificial altar, to those Brahmanas that have fallen away (in consequence of their sinful deeds) from their own dignity. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXVI. P. 243

13. For a Brahmana living like a house-holder, there is no means save the acceptance of gifts for the sake of the gods, or the Rishis, or the Pitris, or the preceptor, or the aged, or the diseased, or the hungry. [Vyasa to Shuka].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCXXXIV. P. 355

7. In that house where Brahmanas do not eat, the departed manes refuse to eat. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid.ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXXIV. P. 97

36. If a Brahmana accepts the gifts made to him by the king, he loses, by such acceptance, the merit that he would otherwise win by his penances, that day….[The Seven Rishis to king Vrishadarbhi].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XCIII. P. 201

13. If one seeing a celibate a Brahmana arrived at one’s house, offers to him the first portion of his food that belongs as of right to a Brahmana, and eats the residue, he is considered as eating Amrita. [Vishnu to Indra].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXXVI. P. 269


Learned in the Vedas and the Vedangas and an inspirer of confidence in all creatures, kind to all, truthful, and forgiving (11:15); And a great retainer of the Vedas in memory,–these are the natural duties of a Brahmana…. [ Khagama to Ruru] (11:17)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.35

20. …no Brahmana ever sold the Vedas, and none of them ever read them aloud before a Sudra. [Vaishampayana to Janamejaya]—ibid. Ch. 64. ADI PARVA p.88

…the earth swallows up a … Brahmana who does not stir out of his house [for studies]. [Duryodhana to Dhritarastra] (55:14)—ibid. SABHA PARVA p.395

5…begging, which is a success to the Brahmana….[Bhima to Yudhisthira].—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.XXXIII. Vol. 2, p.50.

13. By japa by Mantras by Homa, and by the study of the Vedas they (Brahmanas) build a Veda boat and with it they  save others as well as themselves. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.] —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P. 296

75. The Brahmana, who eats in silence from a plate, keeping his hands between his knees, succeeds in saving others.  76. Those Brahmanas who abstain from drink and who are never spoken by others as having any fault and who daily read the Samhitas are capable of saving others. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.]. —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P. 299

83. That Brahmana who adores (the goddess) Sandhya in the morning and in the evening and who recites the sacred Gayari, who is the mother of the Vedas, (84.) is cleansed from all his sins after being sanctified by the latter….. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.]. —ibid.  VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P. 299.

18. …No vicious-minded man can ever expound the mysteries of virtue and vice.19. As it is very difficult for a Sudra to learn the mysteries of eternal religion.  I do not consider you to be a Sudra.  There must be some reason for all this. 20. You must have been born as a Sudra as a result of your past Karma (in a previous birth).  O high-souled one, I eagerly desire to learn truth of this matter.   Tell this to me with attention and according to your inclination. [Kunshika to Fowler]… 22. …I was a Brahmana previously (in my another birth); I was well-read in the Vedas and learned in the Vedangs. 23. Through my own fault I have been degraded to my present state… [Fowler to Kunshika].—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2,.Ch. CCXIV. p. 323  [So it is explained as usual that the Fowler was or should be a Brahmana in previous birth.  Because other than a Brahmin others, particularly a Sudra cannot posses such knowledge.—Dayanad]

24. …conducting sacrifices on behalf of others, teaching, charity, celebration of sacrifices and acceptance of gifts,–to be the duties of the Brahmanas. [Dhristadyuman to Vibhatsu {Arjuna}].—ibid. Drona Parva, Vol. 4Ch.CXCVIII. P.354

45….The Brahmana, or the regenerate persons, are characterized as presiding at sacrifices, teaching, and also by the acceptance of pure gifts, and again, the Brahmanas, that is, the twice-born persons, were established upon the earth inorder that they would shower forth blessings upon all the people. [Salya to Duryodhana]. —ibid. Karna Parva. Vol. 4 Ch. XXXII. P. 440

8. Penances, sacrifices, forgiveness, learning, mendicancy, restraint of senses, contemplation, living in solitude, contentment, and knowledge (of Brahma), should…be practiced by Brahmanas to the best of their ability for the attainment of success. [Vyasa to Yudhishthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. XXIII P. 27

22b…Brahmana should [get over their difficulties ] do so by Mantras and Homa…. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXVI. P. 244

24. The Brahmana living like a house-holder should conquer anger and envy, practice the virtues already named, and, adoring the gods in the five sacrifices, eat after having fed the gods, Pitris, and guests. [Vyasa to Shuka].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCXXXIV. P. 357

23. A Brahmana has not been born for the gratification of senses. On the other hand, his body, for being subjected to mortification and penances in this world so that he may enjoy peerless happiness in the next world. 24. The status of Brahmanhood is acquired by long-continued and austere penances.  Having gained that status one should never waste his time in the gratification of his senses….[Vyasa to his son Shuka].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCCXXII, p. 509

5. A Brahmana should never do anything else than what has been laid down for him.  Protected, they should protect others.  By acting thus, they are sure to acquire what is for their behoof. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXXV. P. 98

55. That Brahmana who wishes to secure his own good, should always live upon the remains of the food that may remain in his house after satisfying the needs of all others…. [Maheshwara to Uma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXLIII. p.296

22. Know that three of these acts should form the livelihood of the Brahmanas, viz., teaching (pupils), officiating at the sacrifices of others, and the acceptance of gifts from a person who is pure. 23. As to the other duties which remain, numbering three, viz., making of gifts, study, and sacrifice these are accompanied by merit. [Brahman to Seven Rishis].— ibid. ASHWAMEDHA PARVA, VOL. 7Ch.XLV. P. 407

On emergency (to survive):

2. When a Brahmana loses his means of livelihood and is visited by distress, he may certainly act like a Vaishya and derive his support by agriculture and tending cattle, if, of course, he is not capable to perform Kshatriya duties. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVIII. P. 115

29. The Brahmana, by fighting for the three other castes, does not commit sin.  People say that there is no higher duty than renouncing life under such circumstances. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVIII. P. 116

34. The Brahmana, by fighting on these three occasions, does not commit sin, viz., for protecting himself, for compelling the other castes to follow their duties, and for punishing robbers. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVIII. P. 116

25..In a time of distress, when ordinary practices cannot be followed, a Kshatriya may support himself by even unjust and improper means. The very Brahmanas, it is seen, do the same when their means of living run out. 26. When the Brahmanas act thus, what doubt is there regarding the (conduct of the Kshatriyas):  This is, indeed, settled…..[Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. CXXX. P. 191


A certain Brahmana saw the king roaming in the forest.  Being hungry, he begged of the king some food with meat.[Gandharva to Arjuna] (178:24)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.247

Having fed thousands of Brahmanas with sweetened milk mixed with rice, honey and Ghee, with fruits and rots and with the meat of boar and deer, the ruler of men king Yudhisthira entered into it (the palace)… With the various preparations of meat, with various kinds of other food,…the king gratified the superior Brahmanas…. [Vaishampayana to Janamejaya] (4:1-4)—ibid.  SABHA PARVA p.324

4. The best of men [the Pandavas] ate the produce of the wilderness and the (meat of) deer killed with pure arrows, which they first dedicated to the Brahmanas. [Vaishampayana to Janamejaya]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. L. p. 75

6. There were ten thousand most illustrious Snataka Brahmanas, who had perfect knowledge in the matter and means  of salvation, and whom Yudhisthira fed in the woods. 7. He dedicated the black and other kinds of deer and clean animals of the forest to those Brahmanas, after having killed them with his arrows. [Vaishampayana to Janamejaya]— VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. L.—ibid. p75

22. The bull, earth, little ants, worms born in dirt, and poison, should not be eaten by Brahmans. (p.51) 23. They should also abstain from eating fishes that have no scales, and four-legged aquatic animals like frongs and others, except the tortoise. [Vyasa to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.XXXVII. Pp. 51-52

34….Rice boiled in sugared milk, food mixed with the Tila seed, meat, and cakes, that have not been dedicated to the gods, should not be taken by Brahmanas, who live as householders …..[Vyasa to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.XXXVII. P. 52

8. He [robber kayavya] showed great reverence for those Brahmanas who had retired from the world for living in the forest.  Killing the deer, he often took meet to them. 9. As regards those who were reluctant, from fear of others, to accept gifts from him for the profession he followed, he used to repair to their houses before dawn and leave meat at their doors. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. CXXX.V P. 196

21. …I sometimes eat rice and meat and other food of the riches kind…. 23. I never reject such enjoyments as are not inconsistent with virtue and as can be secured without effort. I do not at the same time, stir myself for gaining objects difficult of acquisition. [Brahmana Ajagara to king Prahrada]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXXIX. P. 269


Guru, guide:

17. …Making the Brahmana [Kunishika] proceed before him, he (fowler) departed towards his own abode. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira]. —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CCVI. P. 310 [This means that no one should walk before a Brahmin but always follow him.  This I experienced personally in North India.  When I went to Rewa area in M.P., in the villages, others will only walk behind me and never before me.—db]

17. An exception should be made…in the case of a Brahmana, though he be addicted to all sorts of vices; for a Brahmana is the preceptor of all the other classes, and he is allowed precedence in everything. [Draupadi toKrishna] —ibid. UDYOGA PARVA. Vol. III.  Ch. LXXXII, p. 120

2. …The four modes of life … have been laid down for the Brahmana.  The other three orders do not adopt them,….— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva.Ch. LXII. P. 91



Bramhana’s heart is as soft as butter even though his words are like sharp razors.  But contrary is the case with the Kshatrya.  His words are as soft as butter, but his heart is like a sharp instrument. [Paushya to Uttanka]— M.N.[Manmatha Nath]  Dutt, Mahabharata,Delhi, Parimala Publications, 7 vols.Vol. I.1988,Ch. 3:124 ADI PARVA p.27

The might of the Kshatryas lies in their physical strength,–that of the Brahmanas lies in their forgiveness….[Vashistha to Nandini](177:28)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.246


24-26. The Brahmanas, that have thoroughly studied the Vedas, that have obtained tranquility in their souls, and that have subdued their anger, obtain a high reward by performing many sacrifices. But such reward is not obtained by men who are wicked in their acts, who are overwhelmed with covetiousness, who are mean and disreputable, who have their souls unblessed and impure. Therefore O Brahmana, know that his reward which is obtained by only self-controlled men and not obtained by ignorant and foolish men—this which is attainable by asceticism alone, –produces high merits. [Deity (Narayana) to Markandeya]—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.CIXXXIX. Vol. 2, p. 280.


22. …O proud one, do you not know, or have you not heard from old men that.  23. Really the Brahmanas are like fire, and even can burn the whole earth. [The Brahmana to the woman in the story of Kunshika]. —ibid.  VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CCV. P. 308


61. As regards ourselves, we are Brahmanas, by nature merciful and reluctant to give pain to any one. We desire your, as well as of others, well-being, even as we wish the good of ourselves. [The sage Kalakavrikshiya to Kshemadarshin, the king of Koshala].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXXII. P. 123


37. You should always treat the Brahmanas like the gods. The Brahmanas, if enraged, can inflict pains in a variety of ways. 38. If they be pleased, you will win high fame.  If otherwise, great will be your fear. If pleased, the Brahmanas become like ambrosia.  If enraged, they become like poison. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. CXLII. P. 220


37. A Brahmana can have no wealth which is the state of being alone, the state by virtue of which he can look upon everything impartially, the practice of truthfulness, good conduct, patience, abstention from injury, simplicity and avoidance of all rites and sacrifices. [Medhavin to his father]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. CLXXV p. 264.


35. …There (p.417)  is no eye like Knowledge. There is no reward like Knowledge. 36. There is no sorrow like attachment. There is no happiness like Renunciation. 37. For a Brahmana there can be no wealth like living in solitude[Medhavin to his father].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCLXXVII. Pp. 417-18


38. Why do you require riches, relatives, friends and wives?  You are a Brahmana and you have death to encounter!  Search your own Self which is concealed in a cave.  Where have your grandfathers gone and where your father too? [Medhavin to his father].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCLXXVII. P. 418


10. The most courageous men are struck with fear at their [Brahmana] name. Their virtues and powers are extraordinary and immeasurable. Some amongst them are like wells and pits with mouths covered by grass and creepers, while others resemble the sky shorn of clouds and darkness. 11. Some amongst them are of dreadful dispositions.  Some are as mild and soft in disposition as cotton. Some amongst them are very cunning.  Some amongst them are given to the practice of penances. 12. Some amongst them are employed in agricultural pursuits. Some amongst them are engaged in the keep of kine.  Some amongst them live upon eleemosynary alms.  Some amongst them are even thieves.  Some amongst them are fond of creating quarrels and disputes.  Some, again, amongst them are actors and dancers. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXXIII. P. 96


19. Expert in praise and dispraise, and themselves the origin or cause of other people’s fame and ignominy, the Brahmanas, O king, always become angry with those who seek to injure others. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid.ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXXIII. P. 96


5. A Brahmana should always practice self denial controlling even speech, and recite the Vedas.  The Brahmana should marry and surround himself with children and relatives, from desire of acquiring virtue. He should never sleep. 7. He should restrain from meat …. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XCIII. P. 199


Not to do:


[Sukra said] ‘That wretched Brahmana, who being unable to resist the temptation, will drink liquor from this day, shall be considered as to have committed the sin of slaying a Brahmana, and he shall be hated both in this and in the other world.(65)  I set this limit to the conduct of the Brahmanas everywhere.  Let this (my solemn words) be heard by the honest men, by the Brahmanas, by the celestials, and by those who regard their superiors.’(66). [Vaishampayana to Janamejaya]  (76:65-66)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.116


20a. Hence a Brahmana without self-restraint is an object of censure….[Ashwatthaman to Kripa and Kritavarman]. —ibid. Vol. V. Sauptika Parva. Ch. III. P. 133


17. If a Brahmana well acquainted with the Vedas takes up arms and tries to kill you in battle, you may proceed against him for taking his life. By such an act the slayer does not become guilty of Brahmanicide. [Vyasa to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.XXXIII, p. 48


29. …The true Kshatriya, ever observant of his duties, should punish a Brahmana, in spite of his being the master of the Vedas if he rushes to battle with an uplifted weapon. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. X. p. 78


6. Those, who are employed in law courts for summoning people, those who perform worship for others for money, those who perform the sacrifices of Vaishyas and Shudras, those who officiate in sacrifices on behalf of a whole village, and those who make voyage on the ocean,–these five are regarded as Chandalas among Brahmanas. 7. Those who become Ritwijas, Purohitas, counselors, envoys and messengers, become, O king, equal to Kshatriyas. 8. Those, who ride horses or elephants or cars or become foot-soldier, become, O king, equal to Vaishyas…..[Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVI. P. 113


4. A Brahmana must not sell [when he follows the duties of a Vaishya] wines, salt, sessamum seeds, animals having manes, bulls, honey, meat and cooked food, ….under any circumstances, A Brahmana, by selling these, would go to hell. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXVIII. P. 115


20b…The fault of the Brahmanas is their non-observance of vows…. [Narada to Vyasa].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCCXXIX. P. 522


14. Those Brahmanas who practice as physicians, those who get regular pay for adoring the images of gods established by the rich, or live upon the service of the gods, those who observe vows from pride or other false motives, and those who sell Soma wine, do not deserve to be invited. 15. Those Brahmanas who are, by profession, vocalists, or dancers or players or instrumental musicians, or reciters of sacred books, or warriors, and athletes, should not, O king, be invited. [for Shraddha] [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXIII. P. 72


19. …Much wealth, when possessed by (p.141) a Brahmana; becomes a source of evil to him. 20. Constant association with riches and prosperity is sure to fill him with pride and cause him to be stupefied. If the Brahmanas become stupefied and steeped in folly, virtue and duties are sure to suffer destruction. Forsooth, if virtue and duty come to an end, it will lead to the destruction of all creatures. [Bhishma Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LXI, pp. 141-42


23-24. The offerings made in all rites in honor of the celestials and in those in honor of the departed Manes, should never be given away to a Brahmana who has accepted service under the king, or who rings the bell or attends to minor duties in acts of worship or at Shraddhas, or who keeps kine, or who drives a trade, or who follows some art as a profession, or who is an actor, or who quarrels with friends, or who is destitute of Vedic studies, or who marries a Shudra woman. [Dharma to the deities].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXXVI. P. 269


15. If a good Brahmana takes the food of one who lives by his learning, he is considered as taking the food of a Shudra.  All good men should avoid such food. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. CXXXV. P. 278 [A Brahmin should not make a living through his learning—db]


5. In accepting meat, or honey, or salt, a Brahmana becomes purged off of all sins by standing till the rising of the Sun. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. CXXXVI. P. 278 [The idealism here is that a Brahmin should not receive these things.—db]


6-7. If a Brahmana accepts gold from any one, he becomes cleansed of all sins by silently reciting the great Gayatri, and by holding a piece of iron in his hand, before the public.  In accepting money or clothes or women or gold, the purification is the same as before. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. CXXXVI. P. 278 [The idealism here is that a Brahmin should not receive these things.—db]


20. The Brahmana who takes his food in the company of Shudras, is purged from all impurities by duly performing the ceremonies of purification. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. CXXXVI. P. 279


17. The food that comes from cruel and fierce persons is censurable.  So also is the food that has been cooked for serving a large number of persons.  The same is said of the food that is cooked for the first Shraddha of a dead person. So also is the food that is sullied for the usual faults and the food that is supplied by a Shudra.  These should never be taken by a Brahmana at any time. [Maheshwara to Uma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXLIII. p.294




6. The  celestials have  compassion  on  their  devotees specially  on  the  brahmanas   whose   conduct  is pure. [brahmanas to Yudhisthira ]–ibid. Ch. II. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p. 3.


98-10. Eight preliminary causes ruin a man; despising the Brahmanas, the struggle with the Brahmanas, the acquirement of a Brahmana’s wealth, taking the life of Brahmana, rejoicing at reviling them, disapproval of praise to them, not remembering them on occasions of festivity, and finding fault with them when they ask for anything. These defects should a wise man understand and understanding them, should avoid. [Vidura to Dhritarastra] —ibid. UDYOGA PARVA. Vol. III. Ch. XXXIII, p. 45


….8. Brahma can never live in one who is not a Brahman. [Parasurama to Karna, as he cheated him by telling that he was a Brahmana to obtain the celestial weapons]. —ibid. Karna Parva. Vol. 4 Ch. XLII, p. 464


17. Upon his [Brahmana] death, the rewards sought by him become eternal.  Indeed these wait upon him for eternity like servants ever careful to execute the orders of their master. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXI. P. 91




4….  The   sufferings  of  the  brahmanas  may  overwhelm  even  the  celestials ,   what  to  speak  of  me….[ Yudhisthira  to Brahmanas]—ibid. Ch. II. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, p.  3.


17. All the gods, with the preceptors and the Rishis, went to the spot where Shakra lay stricken with fear. 18. There did they perform the sacrifice of a horse on a large scale, capable of absolving one from the sin of having slain a brahmana, for the absolution of the large minded Mahendra. 19. Then, O Yudhisthira, was the crime of slaying that Brahmana divided among the trees, the rivers and the mountains, and the world and the women. (p.16) 20. (This sin) being thus divided among all beings and having left the lord of the gods, Vasava was cured of his disorder and getting rid of his sins, came to himself. [Shalya to Yudhisthira] —ibid. UDYOGA PARVA. Vol. III. Ch. XIII, pp. 16-17


22. Stained as you are with the sin of Brahmanicide, people looking at you the slayer of a Brahmana, have to look at the Sun for purifying themselves. [Arjuna to Dhristadyuman]. —ibid. Drona Parva, Vol. 4 Ch.CXCIX. P.356


12. Everything is protected by protecting Brahmana’s wealth….[Bhishma to Yudhisthira] — ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva. Ch. LXXV. P. 112


[The worm, who born as a Kshatriya which remembered his previous birth because:] Vyasa said: 19. I have to-day been adored by you O king, with various words expressive of respect.  Changed into a worm, your memory had become clouded.  That memory has again appeared. 20. The sin you have committed in a pristine life, has not yet been dissipated—that sin, viz., which was acquired by you while you were a Shudra covetous of riches and cruel in conduct and hostile to the Brahmanas. 21-23. You were able to obtain a sight of my body.  That was an act of merit to you while you were a worm. On account of your having saluted and worshipped me, you shall rise higher, for, from the Kshatriya order you shall rise to the status of a Brahmana, if only you die on the field of battle for the sake of kine or Brahmana. [The worm (which moved quickly on a road to avoid the carts to be crushed) to Vyasa].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXVII. P. 258


16. Kings are desirous of acquiring piety, and Brahmanas are causeways of piety.  Therefore, the king should always strive to protect the twice-born ones. [Brahman to Seven Rishis].— ibid. ASHWAMEDHA PARVA, VOL. 7Ch.XLIII. P. 404




…A Brahmana should never be disregarded whether his acts be right or wrong. [The Brahmanas to other Brahmanas on seeing Arjuna in disguise as a Brahmana went to the Suvayamra of Drupadi.] (190:13)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.260


31a. …That end which becomes theirs who touch the Brahmanas and the fire with their feet…[Arjuna to Yudhisthira.  Arjuna took vow to kill Jayadrath and says these things] —ibid. Drona Parva, Vol. 4.  Ch. LXXIII, p.106 [The point is that one should not touch a Brahmin and fire by their feet—Dayanand]


72. One should never appear deceitfully before a king; nor before a Brahmana; nor before his wife when that wife is possessed of every wifely virtue.  Those who appear in deceitful guise before these three very soon meet with destruction. [Janaka to Sannyasini Sulabha].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCCXXI. P. 503


27. let the Brahmanas live in whatever way they like. You should always bend your head to them with respect….[Bhishma Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LIX, p. 139


18. Solicited by a Brahmana, one should not enquire about his family or conduct or Vedic learning.  Asked for food, one should give food to him who asks. [Narada to Bhishma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LXIII. P. 147


So many chapter about adoring, respecting, protecting serving etc of Brahmins in Mbh. For example from CLII to CLIX  in Anushasana Parva (p. 325-337) (around 268 verses) is devoted for this purpose, apart from so many verses in other places in the whole of Mbh.—db. And read this how both Vasudeva and his wife Rukmini even served the Brahmana:


29. Highly intelligent that Brahmana shone with effulgence like fire, and struck, before me, my youthful Rukmini, as if she were an animal born to drag the cars of human beings. 30. Seeing this, I did not fee the slightest grief born of malice or the desire to injure the Rishi.  Having yoked Rukmini to the car, he went out, desirous of passing along the high road of the city. … 33. The poison of a virulent snake is greatly powerful.  More powerful than poison is a Brahmana.  There is no physician for a person who has been bit or burnt by the virulent snake of a Brahmana. 34. As the irresistible Durvasas proceeded on the car, Rukmini tottered on (p.236) road and frequently dropped down. At this the twice-born Rishi became angry and began to urge Rukmini on by striking her with the whip. … 38. [Durvasa said: to Vasudeva] …I have not found the slightest fault in you, O Govinda, I have been highly pleased with you.  Do you solicit the fruition of such desires as you please. …. Vasudeva said 52. Entering our house I saw that everything which the Rishi had broken or burnt had re-appeared fresh. [Vasudeva to Yudhisthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CLIX. Pp. 336-37




78. The Brahmanas have anger as their weapon; they never fight with weapons made of iron or steel. The Brahmanas kill their enemies with anger, as the wielder of thunder killed the Asuras. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.]. —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX.—p. 299


73b…The power of Brahmanas well-versed in the Vedas is in the Vedas….[Janaka to Sannyasini Sulabha].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCCXXI. P. 503


17. The Brahmanas are competent to make him a god, that is to a god. They can, again, divest one who is a deity of his status as such.  He becomes a king, whom they wish to make a king.  He, on the other hand, is crushed whom they do not love or like. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira]. — ibid.ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXXIII. P. 96




[Vinata to Garuda] But let not your heart be ever set on killing a Brahmana.  A Brahmana is not to be killed amongst all creatures; he is like the fire. (3) A Brahmana, when angry, becomes like the fire or the sun or the poison or a (p.46) sharp weapon.  A Brahmana is declared to be the Lord of all creatures.  For these and other reasons the Brahman is adored of all. (4) O child, he is never to be killed by you even if you be angry.  Enmity with Brahmanas is never proper under any circumstances. (5) O sinless one, neither fire nor the sun does consume so much as does a Brahman of rigid austerity when angry. (6) You must know a good Brahmana by these indications.  A Brahmana is the first-born of all creatures, the best of four castes, the father, master and teacher of all. (7). (28:3-7)—ibid. Ch. 28 ADI PARVA pp.46-47


[Devjani said] Brahmanas have already been mixed with Kshatryas, and Kshatryas with Brahmans.  You are a son of a Rishi and yourself a Rishi.  Therefore, O son of Nahusha, marryme.(19)  [Yayati said]  O beautiful lady, the four orders have no doubt sprung from one body.  But they have different duties and virtues, which are not the same (for every order.)  The Brahmanas are superior to all. (20) …The wise men know that a Brahmana is more to be avoided than an angry and virulently poisonous snake, or a blazing and flaming fire.(23) …The snake kills only on[c]e.  The sharpest weapon kills but a single person.  But the Brahmana, if angry, destroys many cities and kingdoms. (25)  Therefore … I think that Brahmanas should be avoided more than the two, (the snake and the fire)….(26) [Devjani and Yayati] (81:19,20, 23,25&26)—ibid. ADI PARVA p.121


1. When no Bramhana passes along a path, it then belongs first to the blind, then to the deaf, then to women, then to the carriers of burden and then (last of all) to the king. But when a Bramhana is met on the way, it solely belongs to him [Astavakra to King Janaka].—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.CXXXIII. Vol. 2, p.194,


66… The merit equal to that of giving  away a Kapila cow in Puskara (thirtha ) is obtained by washing the feet of the Brahmanas.  As long as the earth remains moist with the water touched by the feet of a Brahmana, so long do the Pitris drink water from the lotus leaves. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.]. —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P.298


88. Whether learned in the Vedas or not, whether pure or impure, they should never be insulted, for Brahmanas are like fires, covered with ashes.  89. A fire that blazes forth in a place of cremation is never impure, so is a Brahmanas either learned or ignorant is always pure.  He is superior to a celestial. [Markandeya to Yudhisthira.]. —ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P. 299


22. Not to mention the men on earth, even Indra bows down to them….. [The Brahmana to the woman in the story of Kunshika]. —ibid.  VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CCV. P. 308


8. …All (inferior) creatures seek to be born as men.  Among men, again, the dignity of a Brahmana is much coveted….How happy, again, should you feel yourself, as you think that amongst living creatures you are a superior Brahmana. [Indra appearing in the shape of a jackal to Kashyapa who wanted to give up his life when knocked down by a rich Vaishya by his ratha]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXXX. P. 270


12. The remnants of a Brahmana’s food are like nectar.  They are like the mother’s milk.  People highly value those remnants. The good, by eating them, attains to Brahma. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira]. —ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva  Ch.CXCIII. P. 286


7. The three other castes should be placed under the control of the Brahmanas. If those three castes be kept within the limits of virtue, then the subsidiary caste (that have sprung from intermixture) will imitate their practices. [Satyavat to Dyumutsena].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCLXVII. P. 399


34. Sacrifices have the Brahmanas for their progenitor, and truly they depend upon the Brahmanas. The whole universe depends upon sacrifice, and sacrifice depends upon the universe. [Syumarashmi to Kapila]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCLXVIII, p. 402


9. …The Brahmanas represent the eldest creation amongst men. None were created before who were superior to the Brahmanas.  He who offers food into the mouth of a Brahmana is considered as pouring libations into a burning fire…. [Vishnu to Arjuna].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CCCXLIII. P. 558


6. Passing through numberless orders of existence by undergoing repeated births, one at last, in some birth, becomes born as a Brahmana. [Bhishma to Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXVII. P. 86


30. One born as a Chandala can never acquire that dignity [of Brahmana] which is considered as the most sacred among the celestial and Asuras and human beings. [Indra to Matanga].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXVII. P. 87


14. If, … the dignity of a Brahmana be really unattainable by any of the three other castes, alas, men do not adhere to it who have succeeded in acquiring that high status. [Matanga to Indra].— ibid.ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXIX. P. 88


16. Forsooth, the dignity of a Brahmana is highly difficult to attain, and being attained, is difficult to maintain.  It is capable of removing every sort of grief.  Alas, having got it, men do not always seek to keep it up. [Matanga to Indra].— ibid.ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXIX. P. 88


30. …The status of a Brahmana is highly difficult to get; having become a Brahmana, it is highly difficult to obtain the status of a Rishi; having become a Rishi it is difficult to become an ascetic. [Rishi Chyavana to king Kushika].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LV. P. 133


34. It was only the Kshatriya and the Vaishya who could serve the Brahmana by touching his body or approaching his presence….[Bhishma Yudhishthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LIX, p. 139


22. The Brahmana is the guest of all creatures in the universe.  He is entitled to the first part of every food…..[Narada to Bhishma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. LXIII. P. 147


9. Without the Brahmana, all would be darkness.  Nothing would be known. The four castes would not exist.  The distinction between virtue and sin, truth and untruth, would disappear. [Maitreya to Vyasa].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXXI. P. 261


10. By the very food they [Brahmana] eat, they rescue the three worlds from great fear.  They are, as it were, theIslandfor all worlds.  They are the eyes of all persons gifted with sight. [Bhishma to Yushisthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CLI. P.324


13. Shorn of attachments, purged of all sins, getting over all pairs of opposites, they [Brahmana] are unattached to all worldly things….16. They [Brahmana] would make gods of those who are not gods, and not gods of those who are gods.  Enraged, they can create other worlds and other Regents of the worlds than those who exist….18. They are the gods, and the cause of all causes.  They are the authority of all authorities.  What man of intelligence and wisdom is there who would seek to humiliate them…. 20. Even the Brahmana who is destitute of knowledge is a god and is a great instrument for purifying others. He amongst them, then, who is possessed of knowledge is a much higher god and like the ocean when full (to the brim). 21. Learned or unlearned, the Brahmana is always a great deity. Purified or not, Fire is ever a great god…. 23. So if the Brahmana be always engaged in evil deeds, he is still to be considered as deserving of honors. Indeed, know that the Brahmana is always a great god. [Bhishma to Yushisthira].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CLI. P.325


Who is a Brahmin:


21. O monarch of snakes, it is said that he is a Brahmana in whom are found (the qualities of) truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, good conduct, benevolence, asceticism and mercy. [Yudhisthira to Snake].—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.CLXXX. Vol. 2, p. 261


25. The Sudra in whom these characteristics are present is no Sudra (i.e.) something higher, a Brahmana, and the Brahmana in whom these are wanting is no Brahmana at all (i.e.) a Sudra. [Yudhisthira to Snake].—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.CLXXX. Vol. 2, p261.


30. If, O monarch as you assert, a Brahmana is recognized by certain virtues then, O long lived one, the distinction of castes is to no purpose so long as he does not possess these qualities. [Snake to Yudhisthira]—ibid. VANA PARVA,Ch.CLXXX. Vol. 2, pp. 261-62.


17 –18 . One should with great care feed them at the time of Sradh ceremonies but those among them (Brahmana) that are cursed or fallen that are either exceedingly handsome or excessively black, that have diseased nails, that are lepers, that are deceitful, that are bastards, born of widows or of women with their husbands in exile and that support  themselves by the profession of arms – all these should be excluded.— [Markandeya to Yudhisthira. ]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CXCX. P. 297


32. …the wrath of persons, that resides in their body, is their mortal enemy.  The gods know him to be a Brahmana, who forsakes his wrath and spiritual ignorance; and who also speaks the truth here, and comforts the preceptor.  The gods know him to be a Brahmana, who having himself injured, never injures others; and who, again, possesses passions all controlled; and who is holy, virtuous, and ever devoted to the studies of the Vedas. [The woman to Kunshika]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, CCV. P. 309


13-14. There is no doubt that even now I consider you to be a Brahmana, for the Brahmana who is vain and haughty who is sinful and evil-minded and who is fond of degraded practices, is no better than a Sudra.  The Sudra who is, endued with righteousness, self-control and truthfulness, 15. is considered by me as a Brahmana. A man becomes a Brahmana by his own good act; by his own evil Karma a man meets with an evil and terrible doom.[Kunshika to Fowler]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, Ch. CCXV. P. 324


108….Neither birth nor learning (makes one a Brahmana).  It admits of no doubt that good character only is the cause of Brahmanhood. [Yudhisthira to Yaksha]—ibid. VANA PARVA, Vol. 2, CCCXII, p. 450


34. That man is to be regarded as a Brahmana whose religious practices remain ever unknown even to the members of his family among whom he lives—wise men also known him to be a Brahmana. [Sanat-Sujata to Dhritarastra]. —ibid. UDYOGA PARVA. Vol. III. Ch. XLII, p. 68


10. That man who is houseless, who roves over the world like a mendicant who has the foot of a tree for his refuge, who observes the vow of silence, never cooks for himself, and tries to control his sense, is, …Renouncer observing the vow of mendicancy. 11. That Brahmana who, disregarding anger and joy, and especially deceitfulness, always devotes his time to the study of the Vedas, is a Renouncer observing the vow of mendicancy. [Nakula to Yudhishthira].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.XII. P. 14



5. That Brahmana who has sufficient stores for feeding his family for three or more years, deserves to drink the Soma. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXVI. P. 243 [But the ideal for Brahmana is that he should not have food stored for more than three days.—db]


27. Those Brahmanas who know women in their season, or who never celebrate sacrifices, or whose families have no members well-read in the Vedas, are considered as Shudras in act. 28. That Brahmana who, having married a Shudra girl, lives for twelve years continually in a village which has only a well to give water, becomes a Shudra in act. [Bhishma to Yudhisthira]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti ParvaCh.CLXVI. P. 244


24. The gods regard him as a Brahmana who is shorn of desire, who never struggles [for worldly emoluments], who never lowers his head to any one, who never flatter another, and who is shorn of all sorts of attachment. [Vyasa to Shuka].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. CCXLV P. 371


2. He who has mastered all the Vedas, having served dutifully his preceptor and practiced the vow of celibacy, he who knows all the Riks, Yajushes, and Samans, is not a twice-born person. 3. One who treats all creatures like his kinsman, and one who is acquainted with Brahma, is said to be the master of all the Vedas.  One who is shorn of desire, never dies. It is by such a conduct and such a bent of mind that one becomes a truly twice-born one. 4. Having performed only various sorts of religious rights and various sacrifices completed with sacrificial presents, one does not gain the dignity of a Brahmana if he is devoid of mercy and has not renounced desire. [Vyasa to Shuka]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. CCLI P. 378


34. The gods consider him a Brahmana who has cast of all desire of fruit, who does not exert for worldly acts, who never bows down his head to any one, who never praises others, and who is gifted with strength though his acts have all been weakened. [Tuladhara to Jajali].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch CCLXIII. P. 393


30. The gods consider him a Brahmanas who has cast off his upper garment, who sleeps on the naked earth, who makes his arm a pillow, and whose heart is endued with tranquility. 31. That person who … pays no attention to the joys and griefs of others, should be known as a Brahmana. [Kapila to Syumarashmi]— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. CCLXIX, p. 404


14. I know that person as a Brahmana and Muni who governs the rising impulse of speech, the impulse of anger appearing in the mind, the impulse of thirst, and the impulse of the stomach and the organ of pleasure. [Swan to Sadhyas].— ibid. Vol. 6. Shanti Parva Ch. CCC. P. 463


Yudhishthira said: 5. It has been said that a Brahmana who is sought for the performance of a religious rite should never be examined.  The learned, however, hold that while performing rites for the Pitris, the Brahmana who is sought to be engaged, should be examined. Bhishma said: 6. As regards the religious rite for the deities, these do not yield fruits on account of the Brahmana who is engaged in doing them but through the grace of the deities themselves.  Forsooth, those persons who perform sacrifices acquire the merit of those acts, through the favor of the deities. [Yudhishthira and Bhishma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. XXII. P. 70


7. Penances, knowledge of the Vedas, and birth in a pure family, these are the causes of the status which one acquires of a Brahmana.  When one is possessed of these three qualities, then does he come to be called a twice-born person. [Maitreya to Vyasa].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXXI. P. 261


48. Even a Shudra, O goddess, who has purified his soul by pure deeds and who has controlled all his senses, deserves to be waited upon and served with respect as a Brahmana.  This has been said by the Self-Create Brahman himself. 49. When a pious nature and pious deeds are seen in even a Shudra, he should, according to my opinion, be held superior to a person of the three twice-born classes.  50. Neither birth, nor the purificatory rites, nor learning, nor offspring, can be considered as grounds for conferring upon one the dignity of a twice-born person, Indeed, conduct is the only ground. 51. All Brahmanas in this world are Brahmanas on account of conduct.  A Shudra, if he is of good conduct, is considered as equal to a Brahmana. [Maheshwara to Uma].— ibid. ANUSHASANA PARVA, Volume VII. Ch. CXLIII. p.296