• A brahmin is considered to be of Purity(Sattva guna) and Sudra of Impurity(Tamas guna).
  • Both Brahmin and Sudra position are given to a person who is Born in that varnas(Brahmin Varna , Sudra Varna) and also with Qualities(Sattva Guna , Tamas Guna) according to it .
  • A Person can be born in a brahmin family cannot be accepted as a Brahmin if he posses sudra qualities.


  • If a Sudras touch is considered to be impure can the touch of the Brahmin possesing sudra quality can also be considered to be IMPURE ?

  • If it is considered to be IMPURE should the Brahmin be prohibited from his duties( Right to perform Pooja in Temple, Various Yagna )

5 Answers 5


A Brahmin who does not have the qualities of an ideal Brahmin should have to be treated accordingly.There are many verses in Smritis which say so.

Manu Smriti 4.245. A Brahmana who always connects himself with the most excellent (ones), and shuns all inferior ones, (himself) becomes most distinguished; by an opposite conduct he becomes a Sudra.

Manu smriti 8.102. Brahmanas who tend cattle, who trade, who are mechanics, actors (or singers), menial servants or usurers, the (judge) shall treat like Sudras

The panegyrics, the flatterers, cheats, those who act harshly, and those who are avaricious, these five Brahmanas should never be adored, even if they are equal to Vrihaspati in learning.(Atri Smriti Chapter 1,Verse 273)

Similarly a Brahmin who does not know the Gayatri or who fails do his religious duties is also a Sudra by karmas.

  1. A Brahman, ignorant of the Gayatri hymn, is more unclean than even a Sudra ; the Brahmans who know the nature and the sanctity of the Gayatri hymn, are honored and revered by all persons.(Parashara Smriti,Chapter 8,Verse 24)

And a Brahmin who is of unrighteous conduct is a Chandala.

He who sets his face against righteousness, is but a Chandala by his acts. He gains nothing by being a mendicant, or by worshipping the household fire.(Parashara Smriti,Chapter 8 )

But, i have not found any verses like the ones you are looking for.Which say that a bad Brahmin should be prohibited from participating in religious acts.On the contrary i found this:

enter image description here

25.Even a Brahman of a bad character deserves respect; but not so a Sudra, even though his passions may have been subdued by him. Who would quit a wicked cow, and try to milk a docile female ass?(Parashara Smriti,Chapter 8,Verse 25)

This is possibly because the Smritis give considerable importance to the sanctity of a Brahmin birth and also to the power of the purificatory Samskaras.

  • 2
    The last statement of Parashara Smriti contradicts with Lord Shivas statement from Mahabharata.
    – Tezz
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:08
  • @Tezz But MB is not a Sruti text..So how does it become more authoritative than Smritis?..But u can of course argue that its Bhagawan who's saying so..Then i know that Lord Shiva has said the same thing at other places too..Like in the Brahma Purana..There too He says that its conduct which determines Dvijatwa..But,if that's the case then what is the value of Samskara?Are they just for name sake?
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:29
  • 2
    the thing might be the last verse of Parashara Smriti is interpolated... as we already discussed in that Smriti Contradicting question... one reason there was 'Because we Find Motives.' So that rule in Parashara Smriti may have been added by certain Brahmin who is of bad character... When One attains Djivtawa then he should do prescribed Samskaras too... so they are not just for name sake...
    – Tezz
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:34
  • @Tezz whether interpolated or not we can't say for sure..And that other Q is about Sruti-Smriti and not about Smriti-Itihasa..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 6:09
  • 2
    @Ajay last statement contradicts because Mahabharata tells hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/17515/… "One that is a Brahmana, when he becomes wicked in conduct and observes no distinction in respect of food, falls away from the status of Brahmanahood and becomes a Sudra. Even a Sudra, O goddess, that has purified his soul by pure deeds and that has subjugated all his senses, deserves to be waited upon and served with reverence as a Brahmana. "
    – Tezz
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 8:56

Yaksha asked Yudhishtir the following question-

राजन् कुलेन वृत्तेन स्वाध्यायेन शृतेन वा। ब्राह्मण्यं केन भवति? प्रब्रूह्मोतत्सुनिश्चितं Meaning: King, how does one become a Brahmin: by birth? By conduct? By study of Vedas? By education? Tell me precisely.

To which Yudhishtir replies:

शृणु यक्ष कुलं तात न स्वाध्यायो न च शृतं कारणं हि द्विजत्वे च वृतमेव न संशयः। Meaning: Listen, Yaksha, it is neither birth nor education, nor even the study of Vedas. Without doubt, it is conduct alone that marks the Brahmin.

Therefore, it is clearly seen a conduct only, tells whether someone is Brahmin. And conduct is manifestation of what has been accumulated in conscious, subconscious & unconscious mind. Given that someone is born Brahmin implies his unconscious & subconscious mind is Sattvik which can be downgraded to Tamsik or Rajsik or mixture based on present Karmas (happens if deluded into Māyā or poor upbringing) & at the same time one born into lower caste can upgrade his mind through Rigorous spiritual practices which can burn all his previous Tamsik or Rajsik Samskars imbedded in subconscious & unconscious mind ( through grace or good upbringing). Therefore conduct alone should be the criteria of one's purity or impurity.

Ref- Actually the Mahabharata episode/event

  • 2
    friend my question was if a person born as a brahmin and lives with tamas guna will be prohibted from his duties or not, will his touch be considered IMPURE and i am not able to understand cleraly what is the relation between your answer and my question
    – Sakthi
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 2:16
  • 1
    @Sakthi I answered what you asked. His touch will be impure. In the right sense he should be prohibited from Brahminical duties. Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 5:59
  • friend your answer from scripture contains only about brahmin status is given by conduct. I agree with you completely there is no doubt about it. But does our scriptures says he is impure and prohibted from his duties this is my question
    – Sakthi
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 6:24
  • friend this scriptural answer does not tells about prohibition of his duties and a person born as a brahmin and living with Tamas guna
    – Sakthi
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 6:38
  • 1
    @Sakthi I think it is enough to infer. Scriptures are not supposed to write each and every bit. We should arrive at conclusions as well. He can't be pure if he is Tamsik, & Tamsik should be prohibited ( provided you affirm his Tamsik nature) and until Dwapar a Brahmin born used to be trained to become Sattvik only right from the childhood, might be the reason they didn't mention such cases. We can arrive at any conclusion if we catch the reason. So, we can conclude Such guy should be prohibited if found. Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 6:48

Here is statement of Lord Maheswara himself from the Anushashana Parva of Mahabharata:

Endued with knowledge and science, purified from all dross, and fully conversant with the Vedas, a pious Kshatriya, by his own acts, becomes a Brahmana. It is with the aid of these acts, O goddess, that a person who has sprung from a degraded order, viz., a Sudra, may become a Brahmana refined of all stains and possessed of Vedic lore, One that is a Brahmana, when he becomes wicked in conduct and observes no distinction in respect of food, falls away from the status of Brahmanahood and becomes a Sudra. Even a Sudra, O goddess, that has purified his soul by pure deeds and that has subjugated all his senses, deserves to be waited upon and served with reverence as a Brahmana. This has been said by the Self-born Brahmana himself. When a pious nature and pious deeds are noticeable in even a Sudra, he should, according to my opinion, be held superior to a person of the three regenerate classes. Neither birth, nor the purificatory rites, nor learning, nor offspring, can be regarded as grounds for conferring upon one the regenerate status. Verily, conduct is the only ground. All Brahmanas in this world are Brahmanas in consequence of conduct. A Sudra, if he is established on good conduct, is regarded as possessed of the status of a Brahmana. The status of Brahma, O auspicious lady, is equal wherever it exists. Even this is my opinion. He, indeed, is a Brahmana in whom the status of Brahma exists,--that condition which is bereft of attributes and which has no stain attached to it.

So, obviously Brahmana by birth can become Sudra by his conduct. Statement of Lord Shiva certainly has high authoritiy than any other Smritis or Acharyas. For instance, in this chapter of Atharvaveda whose Devata is Lord Rudra, Lord states:

My word is truth, what I deny is falsehood.

  • 1
    👏👏👏 Good finding. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 7:06
  • 1
    You are doing cherry picking of verses. Read the whole passage carefully, Lord Shiva is saying that a Brahmin through bad deeds become Shudras in next birth by taking birth from a Shudras women. Commented May 22, 2020 at 7:29

Manu Smriti II.168 says:

A twice-born man who, not having studied the Veda, applies himself to other (and worldly study), soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Sudra and his descendents (after him).

  • vishwandanda thanks for answering but it doesn't tell about prohibiiton of duties and it tells he will fall to the CONDITION of sudra and not HE IS CONSIDERED TO BE A SUDRA (or) HIS TOUCH IS IMPURE AS A SUDRA
    – Sakthi
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 15:41
  • @Sakthi - and exactly what does the condition of the Sudra mean if not impurity and prohibition of performing brahminical duties? Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 15:46
  • friend as we know sudra's are not given brahminic duties by birth itself and they can only change by pure activities,but a brahmin has it by birth itself and we can say him to be impure but is there prohibition or not and Like a sudra will he be treated as no touching in temple and so on. I can give you an perfect example : duryodhana as a khstriya had tamas guna like a sudra but was he prohibited from a kshtriya. So for a brahmin will be prohibited or not as he plays a major role in worshipping god and for a brhamin Purity is considered VERY HIGHLY
    – Sakthi
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 15:52

A Brahmin is always remains a Brahmin.

Vanaparva:CLXLIX:-Whether the Brahmana be cognisant of the Vedas or ignorant of them, whether they be pure or impure, they should never be insulted, for Brahmanas are like fires.

Parasara Smriti 8.11 “Brahmanas, who are ignorant of the Vedas, and Gayatri and Sandhya, and those who do not cast any oblation in the sacrificial fire and live by agriculture, are only Brahmanas in name.

Chandogya Upanishad 6.1.1. Harih, Om. There lived once Svetaketu Aruneya (the grandson of Aruna). To him his father (Uddilaka, the son of Aruna) said: ‘Svetaketu, go to school; for there is none belonging to our race, darling, who, not having studied (the Veda), is, as it were, a Brahmana by birth only.’

Anushasan Parva:CLI :-Even the Brahmana that is destitute of knowledge is a god and is a high instrument for cleansing others. He amongst them, then, that is possessed of knowledge is a much higher god and like unto the ocean when full (to the brim). Learned or unlearned, Brahmana is always a high deity. Sanctified or unsanctified (with the aid of Mantras), Fire is ever a great deity. A blazing fire even when it burns on a crematorium, is not regarded as tainted in consequence of the character of the spot whereon it burns. Clarified butter looks beautiful whether kept on the sacrificial altar or in a chamber. So, if a Brahmana be always engaged in evil acts, he is still to be regarded as deserving of honour. Indeed, know that the Brahmana is always a high deity.'"

Manu Smriti 9.317. A Brahmana, be he ignorant or learned, is a great divinity, just as the fire, whether carried forth (for the performance of a burnt-oblation) or not carried forth, is a great divinity.

  • A small translation error - Chandogya Up 6.1.1 says " Āruṇi had a son named Śvetaketu. Once Āruṇi told him: ‘Śvetaketu, you should now live as a brahmacārin. No one in our family has not studied the scriptures and has not been a good brāhmin’" Commented Jun 18, 2021 at 7:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .