Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

Get access

(7,235 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 of…

Cite this page
Tripathi, Gayacharan, “Priests”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 23 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2018

▲   Back to top   ▲