Introduction / History
Brahmin is a Hindu caste. The English word brahmin is an anglicized form of the Sanskrit word Brahmana. Brahmin refers to the "supreme self" in Hinduism or the first of the gods. Due to the diversity in language, religious and cultural traditions and practices, and the Vedic schools which they belong to, there are numerous types of Brahmins. One of these is the Utkal.
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 notice historically in the Vedic period, but 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 of 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.
Only a subset of Brahmins is involved in priestly duties including teaching and preaching. They excel as educators, scholars, doctors, warriors, writers, poets, landowners, politicians. Modern Brahmin parents aspire for their sons to become computer programmers and engineers.
There was a time when India included what is now Bangladesh and Pakistan. After the 1947 partition, some Brahmins remained in Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh. They naturally hold less power in these Muslim countries than their counterparts in India.
Brahmins are generally among the well-to-do and place a high value on education. (Thus an inordinate percentage of Brahmins are among the Hindus who have migrated to the West.) Probably most still perform daily worship rituals, but the growing forces of secularization and globalization in India are strongest among the Brahmins. Most are 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. This feeling of superiority is harder to maintain for Brahmins who live in Muslim countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Utkal Brahmins practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.
What Are Their Needs?
Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.
These people need to put their hope and identity in the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Pray for workers to go to the Utkal Brahmins, and for their hearts to be ready to receive their savior.
Pray for families of believers loving and serving others to grow reproducing churches.
Pray for a chain reaction of families reaching families that results in thousands of new believers who share their faith with others.
Pray for grace and truth expanding into their entire society as all believers learn to love others.
Scripture Prayers for the Brahmin Utkal in Bangladesh.