Introduction / History
The Shakaldwipi Brahmans originally came to India from Central Asia. It is believed that they may be descendants of the soldiers of Alexander the Great, who conquered a small part of India over 2000 years ago. Some of these soldiers married Indian women, and their children became the Shakaldwipi. No one knows when this people group migrated to their present locations in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Where Are they Located?
Brahmans (often in the past spelled Brahmins) are the highest of the four varna (major caste groupings) in Hinduism. The historical developments of various Brahman castes are not clear, as the history of the caste system itself is unclear. There was perhaps a caste system based on personal merit at one time before the hereditary caste system became dominant, as is seen in modern history. Brahman castes became powerful in the early centuries of the Christian Era through alliances with kings, who granted them landed estates related to temples and temple service. There has never been a comprehensive analysis of all the different types and subgroups of Brahmans.
Traditionally Brahmans have five daily duties; to the gods, to ancestors, to all creatures, to humans, and to study. Thus, daily worship (duty to gods) and chanting of sacred texts (duty to study) are an integral part of many Brahmans' lives, even if this is only a token routine for many.
Most live in India's northern state of Bihar, and other parts of northern and eastern India. However, a smaller number live in Nepal or Bangladesh.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally in the varna system Brahmans are considered as priests, but a temple priest is a lowly position that no Sawaria Brahman family wants their sons to aspire towards. Rather, there is strong pressure for higher education, particularly in computer science and engineering. Shakaldwipi Brahmans have a strong work ethic and are often leaders, whether politically, intellectually, spiritually or socially.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Shakaldwipi Brahmans are deeply influenced by the traditional four stages of life; the first student stage is followed by the householder stage, where marriage, raising a family and being a productive member of society is the primary obligation of an individual. Once children are married there is time for spiritual concerns in the third stage of reclusiveness, which is followed (this is rarely practiced) by itinerant homeless wandering (sannyasa).
Often a busy Brahman will put off spiritual discussions as an issue for later in life. The famous Bhagavad Gita text does not support this, however, as it calls for all humanity to engage in doing good to all without thought of merit or reward for such actions.
Some of the Shakaldwipi Brahmans are noted for worshipping the sun. They have their own clan deities.
What Are Their Needs?
Like other Brahman communities, the Shakaldwipis need to find the humility to accept that only a supreme, holy God can save them from sin.
* Pray that the Lord will show the Sakaldwipi Brahman communities of Nepal their need for forgiveness of sin, and that he offers life to the full.
* Pray for disciple making movements to emerge among Sakaldwipi Brahmans in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.