Introduction / History
Brahmins are a privileged caste in Hinduism, known as a "forward" caste. They are the highest of the four caste groups. The English word brahmin is an anglicized form of the Sanskrit word Brahmana. Brahman refers to the 'Supreme Self' in Hinduism or the first of the gods.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The history of the Brahmins is associated with the Vedic religion of early India, usually referred to as Sanatana Dharma. Brahmins first come to be noticed historically in the Vedic period. How the modern caste system developed is a highly contested topic due to lack of clear data. Brahmins and kings became the dominant social and religious forces in many of the kingdoms that developed over pre-modern India. Discrimination became a feature of the caste system with Brahmins often being assigned blame for the system. Over time, Brahmins became a powerful and influential group in India, and many discriminated against lower castes. However, in modern India some Brahmins claim reverse discrimination due to affirmative action policies of the central and state governments in India that favor lower caste groups.
There are many Brahmin subgroups, and even subgroups of subgroups. The Gaur Brahmins are one of these. They live mainly in northern India, but one can find them throughout the nation.
Brahmins are generally among the well-to-do in India and place a high value on education. Modern Brahmin parents aspire for their sons to become computer programmers and engineers. Thus, an inordinate percentage of Brahmins are among the Hindus who have migrated to the West. The religious training of Brahmins prepares them well for advanced mathematics. In today's world, the top positions in such areas as computer programming, business, teaching, and politics are often filled by Brahmins. They have excelled as educators, law makers, scholars, doctors, warriors, writers, poets, landowners, and politicians.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Only a subset of Brahmins are involved in priestly duties including teaching and preaching. These people are often poor. Some go on spiritual pilgrimages where they depend on donations by devout Hindus.
The growing forces of secularization and globalization in India are strongest among the Brahmins. Most remain vegetarian but some groups eat some meat, particularly fish, and many individuals even from vegetarian Brahmin groups are now eating meat (rarely beef, and often meat eating is surreptitious). Discerning opinions and heart attitudes is difficult, but it seems that only a small minority of today's Brahmins would uphold what was once considered Brahmin orthodoxy: that Brahmins are better by birth than all other peoples.
Most modern Gaur Brahmins do not espouse a doctrine of their superiority by birth above other peoples. Many are now secularists. But most Brahmins respect the ancient (and many not-so-ancient) traditions of their forefathers. Some work to synthesize modern science and Hindu beliefs and practices. There are hundreds of "denominations" of Hinduism and Brahmins have a presence in many; so it is not easy to generalize on what Brahmins believe. Some would be devotees of Vishnu or his avatars of Krishna or Ram, some would be devotees of Shiva, and some would be devotees of the goddess in one of her manifestations. Others are followers of modern gurus. Few today have seriously studied, let along memorized, the ancient Vedas; but one is more likely to find a person knowledgeable about the Vedas and other Hindu texts and teachings among Brahmins than among any non-Brahmin caste group.
What Are Their Needs?
Like people everywhere, the Gaur Brahmins need people to tell them about the centrality of Jesus Christ. They will need ambassadors for Christ who have a high educational level and excellent people skills. They will need to serve the King of kings no matter what the cost.
Pray for Christ to reveal himself to Gaur Brahmins in such a way they will experience his unfathomable holiness.
Gaur Brahmins are seen as knowledgeable and enlightened; pray for the light of the gospel to bring the knowledge of Christ to them.
Pray for love, discernment and wisdom for disciples of Jesus who befriend and share faith with Gaur Brahmins.
Pray for a movement to Christ within the Gaur Brahmin community.
Scripture Prayers for the Brahmin Gaur in India.