Brahmin ( Brāhmaṇa, ब्राह्मणः )
Brahmin (Brāhmaṇa, ब्राह्मणः) is the class of educators, law makers, scholars and preachers of Dharma in Hinduism. It is said to occupy the highest position among the four varnas of Hinduism.
The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brāhmana (Brāhman also refers to a mystical concept in Hinduism). Brahmins are also called Vipra "inspired",or Dvija "twice-born".
It is a misconception that brahmins are only priests. Only a subsect of brahmins were involved in the priestly duties.
They also took up various other professions since late vedic ages like doctors, warriors, writers, poets, land owners, ministers, etc. Some parts of India were also ruled by Brahmin Kings.
The history of the Brahmin community in India begins with the Vedic religion of early Hinduism, now often referred to by Hindus as Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas are the primary source of knowledge for brahmin practices. Most sampradayas of Brahmins take inspiration from the Vedas. According to orthodox Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya and anādi (beginning-less), but are revealed truths of eternal validity. The Vedas are considered Śruti (that which is heard) and are the paramount source of Brahmin traditions. Shruti includes not only the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), but also their respective Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.
Brahman and Brahmin (brahman, brahmŠn, masculine) are not the same. Brahman (brŠhman, neuter), since the Upanishads, refers to the Supreme Self. Brahmin or Brahmana (brahmŠn, brāhmaṇa) refers to an individual. Additionally, the word Brahma (brahmā, masculine) refers to first of the gods
The Brahmin castes may be broadly divided into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins from Northern India and considered as Aryans and Pancha-Dravida Brahmins from Southern India considered as Dravidian as per the shloka, however this sloka is from Rajatarangini of Kalhana which is composed only in 11th CE and many communities find their traces from sages mentioned in, much older Vedas and puranas.
कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः,
गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे ||
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः,
पन्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासि ||
Translation: Karnataka (Kannada), Telugu (Andhra), Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), Maharashtra and Gujarat are Five Southern (Panch Dravida). Saraswata, Kanyakubja, Gauda, Utkala (Orissa), Maithili are Five Northern (Pancha Gauda). This classification occurs in Rajatarangini of Kalhana and is mentioned by Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya in "Hindu Castes and Sects."
Pancha Gauda Brahmins
Panch Gaur (the five classes of Northern India): (1) Saraswat, (2) Kanyakubja, (3) Maithil Brahmins, (4) Gauda brahmins (including Sanadhyas), and (5)Utkala Brahmins . In addition, for the purpose of giving an account of Northern Brahmins each of the provinces must be considered separately, such as, Kashmir, Nepal, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Kurukshetra, Rajputana, Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya (Oudh), Gandhar, Punjab, North Western Provinces and Pakistan, Sindh, Central India, Trihoot, Bihar, Orissa, Bengal, Assam, etc. The originate from south of the (now-extinct) Saraswati River.
In Bihar, majority of Brahmins are Kanyakubja Brahmins, Bhumihar Brahmins and Maithil Brahmins with a significant population of Sakaldiwiya or Shakdwipi Brahmins. With the decline of Mughal Empire, in the area of south of Avadh, in the fertile rive-rain rice growing areas of Benares, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Ghazipur, Ballia and Bihar and on the fringes of Bengal, it was the 'military' or Bhumihar Brahmins who strengthened their sway. The distinctive 'caste' identity of Bhumihar Brahman emerged largely through military service, and then confirmed by the forms of continuous 'social spending' which defined a man and his kin as superior and lordly.
In 19th century, many of the Bhumihar Brahmins were zamindars.
Of the 67000 Hindus in the Bengal Army in 1842, 28000 were identified as Rajputs and 25000 as Brahmins, a category that included Bhumihar Brahmins. The Brahmin presence in the Bengal Army was reduced in the late nineteenth century because of their perceived primary role as mutineers in the Mutiny of 1857, led by Mangal Pandey. The Kingdom of Kashi belonged to Bhumihar Brahmins and big zamindari like Bettiah and Tekari belonged to them.
In Gujarat,the Brahmin are classified in mainly Nagar Brahmin, Unewal Brahmin, [[Khedaval Brahmin]], Aavdhich Brahmin and Shrimali Brahmin.
In Haryana, the Brahmin are classified in mainly Dadhich_Brahmin, Gaud Brahmin, Khandelwal Brahmin. But large proportion of Brahmin in Haryana are Gaud (about 90%). Approximately all Brahmin in west U P are adi gaur.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Brahmins are classified in mainly Shri Gaud,
Sanadhya brahmin, Gujar-Gaud Brahmins. Majority of Shri Gaud Brahmins are found in the Malwa region (Indore, Ujjain, Dewas). Eastern MP has dense population of Sarayuparain Brahmins. Hoshangabad and Harda Distt. of MP have a considerable population of Jujhotia (a clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, e.g. Swami Sahajanand Saraswati) and Naremdev Brahmins.
In Nepal, the hill or Khas Brahmins are classified in mainly Upadhaya Brahmin, Jaisi Brahmin and Kumain Brahmins. Upadhaya Brahmins are supposed to have settled in Nepal long before the other two groups. Majority of hill Brahmins are supposed to be of Khasa origin.
In Punjab, they are classified as Saraswat Brahmins.
In Karnataka, Brahmins are mainly classified into Havyaka speaking Havigannada, Hoysala Karnataka speaking kannada, Shivalli and Kota speaking Tulu, Karahada speaking Marathi and have their own tradition and culture.
In Rajasthan, the Brahmins are classified in mainly Dadhich_Brahmin, Gaur Brahmin,Sanadhya brahmins, Rajpurohit / Purohit Brahmins, Sri Gaur Brahmin, Khandelwal Brahmin, Gujar-Gaur Brahmins. Rajpurohit / Purohit Brahmins are mainly found in Marwar & Godwad region of Rajasthan.Shakdwipiya Brahmins are also found at many places in rajasthan they are the major pujari in many temples of western rajasthan. In Sindh, the saraswat Brahmins from Nasarpur of Sindh province are called Nasarpuri Sindh Saraswat Brahmin. During the India and Pakistan partition migrated to India from sindh province.
In Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, the Bhardwaj, the Dogra from Himalayan region of Indian subcontinent.
In Uttar Pradesh from west to east: Sanadhya, Gauda & Tyagi (western UP), Kanyakubja (Central UP), Sarayuparin (Central Uttar Pradesh, Eastern, NE,& SE UP) and Maithil (Varanasi), the South western UP, i.e. Bundelkhand has thick population of Jujhotia brahmins (branch of Kanyakubja brahmins: ref. Between History & Legend:Power & Status in Bundelkhand by Ravindra K Jain). On the Jijhoutia clan of Bhumihar Brahmins, William Crooke writes, "A branch of the Kanaujia Brahmins (Kanyakubja Brahmins) who take their name from the country of Jajakshuku, which is mentioned in the Madanpur inscription." Mathure or mathuria Brahmins 'choubeys' are limited to Mathura area.
In West Bengal the Brahmins are classified in Barendra & Rarhi corresponding to the ancient Barendrabhumi (North Bengal) and Rarhdesh (South Bengal) making present day Bangladesh & West Bengal. It is also said that Barendras are traditional Brahmins who practiced the art of medicinal science and surgery rather than the traditional function of being the teacher or the priest, and so many a times they are not considered true brahmins by the Rarhis, although they are their own offshoots.
The traditional accounts of the origin of Bengali Brahmins are given in texts termed Kulagranthas (e.g., Kuladīpīkā), composed around the 17th century. They mention a ruler named Ādiśūra who invited five Brahmins from Kanyakubja , so that he could conduct a yajŮa, because he could not find Vedic experts locally. Traditional texts mention that Ādiśūra was ancestor of Ballāl Sena from maternal side and five Brahmins had been invited in AD 1077. Historians have located a ruler named Ādiśūra ruling in north Bihar, but not in Bengal. But Ballāl Sena and his predecessors ruled over both Bengal and Mithila (i.e., North Bihar). It is unlikely that the Brahmins from Kānyakubja may have been invited to Mithila for performing a yajŮa, because Mithila was a strong base of Brahmins since Vedic age. Another account mentions a king Shyamal Varma who invited five Brahmins from Kānyakubja who became the progenitors of the Vaidika Brahmins. A third account refers to five Brahmins being the ancestors of Vārendra Brahmins as well. From similarity of titles (e.g., upādhyāya), the first account is most probable.
Besides these two major communities there are also Utkal Brahmins, having migrated from present Orissa and Vaidik Brahmins, having migrated from Western and Northern India.
Pancha Dravida Brahmins
Panch Dravida (the five classes of Southern India): 1) Andhra, 2) Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), 3) Karnataka, 4) Maharashtra and Konkon, and 5) Gujarat. They originate from north of the (now-extinct) Saraswati River.
In Andhra Pradesh, Brahmins are broadly classified into 2 groups: Vaidika (meaning educated in vedas and performing religious vocations) and Niyogi (performing only secular vocation). They are further divided into several sub-castes. However, majority of the Brahmins, both Vaidika and Niyogi, perform only secular professions.
In Karnataka, Brahmins are broadly classified into 2 groups: Madhwa (followers of Shri Madhwacharya) and Smartha (followers of Shri Adi Sankaracharya). They are further divided into several sub-castes. The Tamil Brahmins (both Iyers and Iyengars) are also part of Karnataka Brahmin Community for ages. Other than these groups, there are other brahmin communities viz, Havyaka, Kota, Shivalli, Saraswata etc.
In Kerala, Brahmins are classified into three groups: Namboothiris, Pottis and Pushpakas. (Pushpakas are commonly clubbed with Ampalavasi community). The major priestly activities are performed by Namboothiris while the other temple related activities known as Kazhakam are performed by Pushpaka Brahmins and other Ampalavasis. Sri Adi Shankara was born in Kalady, a village in Kerala, to a Namboothiri Brahmin couple, Shivaguru and Aryamba, and lived for thirty-two years. The Namboothiri Brahmins, Potti Brahmins and Pushpaka Brahmins in Kerala follow the Philosophies of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. The Brahmins who migrated to Kerala from Tamil Nadu are known as Pattar in Kerala. They possess almost same status of Potti Brahmins in Kerala.
In Tamil Nadu, Brahmins belong to 2 major groups: Iyer and Iyengar. Iyers comprise of Smartha and Saivite Brahmins and are broadly classified into Vadama, Vathima, Brhatcharnam, Ashtasahasram, Sholiyar and Gurukkal. There are mostly followers of Adi Shankaracharya and form about three-fourths of Tamil Nadu's Brahmin population. Iyengars comprise of Vaishnavite Brahmins and are divided into two sects: Vadakalai and Thenkalai. They are mostly followers of Ramanuja and make up the remaining one-fourth of the Tamil Brahmin population.
In Maharashtra, Brahmins are classified into five groups: Chitpavan Konkanastha Brahmins, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, Deshastha Brahmin, Karhade Brahmin, and Devrukhe. As the name indicates, Kokanastha Brahmin are from Konkan area. Gaud Saraswat Brahmins are from Konkan region or they may come from Goa or Karnataka, Deshastha Brahmin are from plains of Maharashtra, Karhade Brahmins are perhaps from Karhatak (an ancient region in India that included present day south Maharashtra and northern Karnataka) and Devrukhe Brahmins are from Devrukh near Ratnagiri.
In Madhya Pradesh the descendents of Somnath temple priests, Naramdev Brahmin, Who migrated from Gujrat to Madhyapradesh after the Mohd. Ghazni notorious forays in Saurashtra and desecration of Somnath, and sedenterized along the coast of Narmada river hence derived their name i.e. Narmdiya brahmin or Naramdevs. Guru of Adi guru Shankaracharya, shri Govindacharya claimed to belongs to this community who initiated him in the Omkareshwar in the bank of river Narmada. Naramdevs are in high concentration in Nimar (Khandwa and Khargone)and Bhuvana region (Harda) of Madhyapradesh.
In Gujarat, Brahmins are classified into eight groups: Anavil Brahmin, Audichya Brahmins, Bardai Brahmins, Girinarayan Brahmins, Khedaval, Nagar Brahmins, Shrimali Brahmins, Sidhra-Rudhra Brahmins and Modh Brahmins. The Modh Brahmins worship Matangi Modheshwari mata (Modhera) and are mostly found in North Gujarat and in the Baroda region.
Gotras and pravaras
In general, gotra denotes any person who traces descent in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Panini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as ' apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram' (IV. 1. 162), which means 'the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son. When a person says ' I am Kashypasa-gotra' he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent. According to the Baudh‚yanas'rauta-sŻtra Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadv‚ja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Agastya are 8 sages; the progeny of these eight sages is declared to be gotras. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to Pānini. These gotras are not directly connected to Prajapathy or latter brama. The offspring (apatya) of these eight are gotras and others than these are called ' gotr‚vayava '.
The gotras are arranged in groups, e. g. there are according to the ¬sval‚yana-srautasŻtra four subdivisions of the Vasishtha gana, viz. Upamanyu, Parāshara, Kundina and Vasishtha (other than the first three). Each of these four again has numerous sub-sections, each being called gotra. So the arrangement is first into ganas, then into pakshas, then into individual gotras. The first has survived in the Bhrigu and Āngirasa gana. According to Baudh., the principal eight gotras were divided into pakshas. The pravara of Upamanyu is Vasishtha, Bharadvasu, Indrapramada; the pravara of the Par‚shara gotra is Vasishtha, Sh‚ktya, P‚r‚sharya; the pravara of the Kundina gotra is Vasishtha, Maitr‚varuna, Kaundinya and the pravara of Vasishthas other than these three is simply Vasishtha. It is therefore that some define pravara as the group of sages that distinguishes the founder (lit. the starter) of one gotra from another.
There are two kinds of pravaras, 1) sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara, and 2) putrparampara. Gotrapravaras can be ekarsheya, dwarsheya, triarsheya, pancharsheya, saptarsheya, and up to 19 rishis. Kashyapasa gotra has at least two distinct pravaras in Andhra Pradesh: one with three sages (triarsheya pravara) and the other with seven sages (saptarsheya pravara). This pravara may be either sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara or putraparampara. When it is sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara marriage is not acceptable if half or more than half of the rishis are same in both bride and bridegroom gotras. If it is putraparampara, marriage is totally unacceptable even if one rishi matches.
Sects and rishis
Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and practices, and the Vedic schools which they belong to, Brahmins are further divided into various subcastes. During the sutra period, roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of distinguished teachers among Brahmins.
There are several Brahmin law givers such as Angirasa, Apasthambha, Atri, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautam, Harita, Katyayana, Likhita, Manu, Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa, Vashishta, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya and Yama. These twenty-one rishis were the propounders of Smritis. The oldest among these smritis are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vasishta Sutras.
Descendants from Brahmins
Many Indians and non-Indians claim descent from the Vedic Rishis of both Brahmin and non-Brahmin descent. For example the Dash and Nagas are said to be the descendants of Kashyapa Muni. Visvakarmas are the descendants of Pancha Rishis or Brahmarshies. According to Yajurveda and brahmanda purana They are Sanagha, Sanathana, Abhuvanasa, Prajnasa, Suparnasa. The Kani tribe of South India claim to descend from Agastya Muni.
The Gondhali, Kanet, Bhot, Lohar, Dagi, and Hessis claim to be from Renuka Devi.
The Kasi Kapadi Sudras claim to originate from the Brahmin Sukradeva. Their duty was to transfer water to the sacred city of Kashi.
Dadheech Brahmins/dayama brahmin trace their roots from Dadhichi Rishi. Many Jats clans claim to descend from Dadhichi Rishi while the Dudi Jats claim to be in the linear of Duda Rishi.
Lord Buddha of course, was a descendant of Angirasa through Gautama. There too were Kshatiryas of other clans to whom members descend from Angirasa, to fulfill a childless king's wish.
The backward-caste Matangs claim to descend from Matang Muni, who became a Brahmin by his karma.
The nomadic tribe of Kerala, the Kakkarissi according to one legend are derived from the mouth of Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, and came out Brahmin.
Brahmins taking up other duties
Brahmins have taken on many professions - from being priests, ascetics and scholars to warriors and business people, as is attested for example in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Brahmins with the qualities of Kshatriyas are known as 'Brahmakshatriyas'. An example is the avatara Parshurama who destroyed the entire Haiheyas 21 times. Not only did Sage Parashurama have warrior skills but he was so powerful that he could even fight without the use of any weapons and trained others to fight without weapons. The Bhumihar Brahmins were established when Parashurama destroyed the Kshatriya race, and he set up in their place the descendants of Brahmins, who, after a time, having mostly abandoned their priestly functions (although some still perform), took to land-owning.
Today there is a caste, Brahmakhatris, who are a clan of the Khatris, however this is suspicious since Khatris are a business caste/community of Punjab and belong to the Vaishya caste. Khatri has often been misinterpreted as a variation of the word Kshatriya, meaning warrior, however there are no records of any Khatri kingdoms or empires in Indian history and this claim to Kshatriya is recently made in the 20th century.
Perhaps the word Brahma-kshatriya refers to a person belonging to the heritage of both castes. However, among the Royal Rajput households, brahmins who became the personal teachers and protectors of the Royal princes rose to the status of Rajpurohit and taught the princes everything including martial arts. They would also become the keepers of the Royal lineage and its history. They would also be the protectors of the throne in case the regent was orphaned and a minor.
Kshatriyan Brahmin is a term associated with people of both caste's components.
The Pallavas were an example of Brahmakshatriyas as that is what they called themselves. King Lalitaditya Muktapida of Kashmir ruled all of India and even Central Asia.
King Rudravarma of Champa (Vietnam) of 657 A.D. was the son of a Brahmin father..
King Jayavarma I of Kambuja (Kampuchea) of 781 A.D. was a Brahma-kshatriya.
Brahmins with the qualities of a Vaisya or merchant are known as 'Brahmvyasya'. An example of such persons are people of the Ambastha caste, which exist in places like South India and Bengal. They perform medical work - they have from ancient times practiced the Ayurveda and have been Vaidyas (or doctors).
Many Pallis of South India claim to be Brahmins (while others claim to be Agnikula Kshatriyas.) Kulaman Pallis are nicknamed by outsiders as Kulaman Brahmans. Hemu from Rewari, Haryana was also a Brahmin by birth.
Contributions of the Brahmin community
During the Indian independence movement, many Brahmins, including
Mangal Pandey, Nana Sahib Peshwa, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Tatya Tope, Baikuntha Shukla, Chandrashekar Azad, Yogendra Shukla, Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Adyakrantikarak Vasudev Balvant Phadke, Chaphekar Brothers, Anant Kanhere, Vinayak Deshapande, Vishwanath Vaishampayan (famous as "Bacchan", worked with Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, (Rajguru, Ramprasad Bismil,Chandrashekhar Azad,Vanchinathan, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Ganesh Damodar Savarkar C. Rajagopalachari, Sri Krishna Sinha, Gobind Ballabh Pant, Kamalapati Tripathi, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Ravishankar Shukla, Kailashnath Katju, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Motilal Nehru, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and others were at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and later Indian politics. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President of India, were also Brahmins. Communist leaders like E.M.S. Namboodiripad, Hiren Mukherjee, S. A. Dange, P.C.Joshi, Acharya P. K. Atre and many others were Brahmins.
Brahmins who became Prime Ministers of India include Morarji Desai, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee. Brahmin Presidents of India include V. V. Giri, R. Venkataraman, S. Radhakrisnan and Shankar Dayal Sharma.
Several chiefs of the Indian Army have been brahmins, including General Krishnaswamy Sundarji, General T.N. Raina, General Bipin Chandra Joshi, General Sundararajan Padmanabhan,General V. N. Sharma.
In the Indian Air Force too, brahmins have reached the apex rank of Air Chief. Among these, are Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee, Air Chief Marshal Swaroop Krishan Kaul, Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi. India's first and only cosmonaut, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma is also a brahmin.
In the Indian Navy, Admiral A.K. Chaterji, and Admiral J.G. Nadkarni are brahmins who rose to the heights of their service. Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla, a Kashmiri Pandit, commander of the INS Khukri received the Maha Vir Chakra during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, for his gallantry at the helm of his stricken ship.
Scholars and Writers
Among Brahmin scholars and writers are Panini,Satyabrata Nath, Patanjali, Kalidas,Satya Sandhani Haridutta Dash Chanakya, Banabhatta, Goswami Tulsidas, Sur Das, Keshav das, Behari Saint Dnyaneshwar, Eknath, Samarth Ramdas. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and others like Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Hazariprasad Dwivedi, Sumitranandan Pant, Subramanya Bharathy, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Ramvriksh Benipuri, Caitanya MahaprabhuSuryakant Tripathi Nirala, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Srilal Shukla and Manohar Shyam Joshi. Other Brahmin scholars include Pandurang Vaman Kane, Ram Sharan Sharma and Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya. Modern writers include R. K. Narayan, as well as the famous cartoonist R. K. Laxman.
Scientists from the Brahmin fold include Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Nobel Laureates Sir C.V.Raman and his nephew Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan, the ethno-sociologist M. N. Srinivas, and the modern genius of mathematics Srinivasa Ramanujan, Shakuntala Devi and C. P. Ramanujam. Raja Ramanna, who was instrumental in making India a nuclear weapons state, was also a Brahmin.
In sports, major names include Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and many more; the world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, Ajit Agarkar, Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
Saint musicians include Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri. In entertainment, Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Uthup, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Hema Malini, Basu Chatterjee, Sudhir PhaDke, Balgandharva, Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande,Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan, Shantanu Mukherjee (Shaan), Abhijeet, Alka Yagnik, Madhuri Dixit, Amrita Rao, Sharmila Tagore, Padmini Kolhapuri Deepika Padukone, Aditi Govitrikar, Gayatri Joshi, Sonali Bendre, Rani Mukherjee, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,Kajol, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Vidya Balan, Sonali Kulkarni, Sadhana Saragan (original surname is 'Ghanekar') are prominent names. Tansen, Baiju Bawra the musician of Akbar's court was born a Brahmin. Anupam Kher, Arjun Rampal, Rati Agnihotri, Apurva Agnihotri,Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Kamal Hassan, Mausumi Chatterji, Chunki Pande, Rekha and Meenakshi Sheshadri are also Brahmins.
Brahmin saints include Adi Shankaracharya, Madhwacharya, Mandana Mishra,Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,Dnyaneshwar, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda and Ramana Maharshi. Modern business leaders include the founder of Infosys, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Dr. Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, the founder of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT..
Several notable names in Indian classical music belong to the Brahmin community, such as Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Veena Doreswamy Iyengar, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna (popularly Dr. Balamurali Krishna), Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma etc.
Source :- wikipedia..