(7,294 words)

The Sanskrit word for “priests” as a social group is brāhmaṇa (origin of the English “Brahman” or “Brahmin”) is derived from the Sanskrit word brahman, which originally means mystical or spiritual knowledge as well as a hymn or a poem containing such knowledge; hence, it was often used to refer to the Vedas, the ancient texts containing the sacred knowledge of the ritual hymns and invocations. In the Upaniṣads, the term brahman is used in the sense of the abstract supreme power that is the basic source …

Cite this page
Gayacharan Tripathi, “Priests”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 16 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2012

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