(class), also spelled Brahmin, name of the sacerdotal, or
highest, class (varna) in the system of Hinduism.
Brahmán is the masculine form of the neuter noun Bráhman,
cosmic revelation. This revelation is the responsibility of
the Brahman priest and, by extension, of the entire priestly
class (see Brahman).
According to the Rig-Veda, the task
of the Brahman is to relate knowledge (vidya). The primary
activities of this priestly elite are the study and teaching
of the Veda and the performance of religious celebrations.
According to the Laws of Manu, this class issued from the
mouth of the god Brahma at the moment of creation. To the
orthodox Hindu, the person of a Brahman is sacred; Brahmans
are the chief of all created beings, and other mortals enjoy
life through them. The four stages in the ideal life of a
Brahman are those of student, householder, forest-dweller,
(class)," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001 http://encarta.msn.com
© 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.