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Learning About Telugu Brahmins

Not many sources have a lot to say about Telugu Brahmins. This is probably because Telugu Brahmins have common beliefs with many other Brahmin groups. They also distinctly have a low profile when it comes to politics, preferring to excel instead in other fields. Telugu Brahmins are not distinguished by their religious philosophies but by their language.

Telugu Brahmins speak Telugu. This is a language of Dravidian origins and is greatly influenced by Sanskrit. It is an official language of India and is the third most spoken in the nation. It is spoken in many other Indian regions including Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Its main speakers however are the residents of the state Andhra Pradesh where it is a state language. Andhra Pradesh is the biggest southern state and the fourth biggest in India. It has both a large land area and is well-populated.

Like Iyer Brahmins, Telugu Brahmins are followers of Adi Shankara who was a major proponent of Advaita Vedanta. It is believed that it was Adi Shankara who first brought about the various aspects followed by the Vedic groups into a solid philosophy.

As believers of Advaita Vedanta, Telugu Brahmins believe that there is no reality but Brahman. They also believe that there is no way of describing God and attributing traits and qualities to him. He is timeless, omnipotent and omnipresent. The only reason why some individuals may attribute traits to him is because of human ignorance. They further teach that the different names for God are really one and the same God that is reality.

Telugu Brahmins are allowed by Vedic interpretation to worship different forms of God. That is, God in whatever name. In contrast, some Brahmins only consider Vishnu or Shiva to be the true God. Other gods are simply demigods, deities or subordinates of the true God

Sources about Telugu Brahmins also refer to them as Smarta Brahmins. This is because Smarta refers to adherence to tradition. Smarta Brahmins in particular adhere to the Vedic traditions. This is an important distinction since some other beliefs that are not based on the sacred scriptures or the Vedas have become incorporated in various Hindu philosophies.

Telugu Brahmins share the history of other Brahmin classes and subclasses. Brahmins are typically viewed by those who do not live in India as the highest level in the social caste system. Originally though, Brahmins of the ancient times could be any person from any class or family who achieved great understanding of the sacred scriptures.

Later on in history, Brahmins became the most important persons in society. Gradually, their top position in society became a permanent caste distinction. Brahmins became priests and teachers. In the case of Telugu Brahmins, many of them were rewarded with land in exchange for their work.

In the past, there were strict regulations. Brahmins were only supposed to perform religious rites, study and teach. Regulations also limited or even prevented the movement of individuals into the higher Brahmin caste. The Telugu Brahmins however could either be Niyogi or Vaidika. The Vaidika concentrate in religious studies, teaching and priestly duties. The Niyogi can participate in non-priestly professions.

Like other Brahmins, the Telugu Brahmins have undergone a lot of changes. It is obvious that these days many Brahmins seek secular involvement. Although there are comparatively less Telugu Brahmins in politics, many of them have chosen to be involved in other fields like science and the arts.

There are other numerous details about Telugu Brahmins. Like many other aspects of Hindu religion and culture, the Brahmins are made up of complex and ever changing groups and sub groups of people.

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Listed: July 24, 2008 5:53 pm