Normal duties of Brahmana varna are waking up early morning, learning and chanting Vedas, etc, But if a Brahmin doesn't perform these duties, is he still respected like other brahmins who perform these duties regularly? I am providing a verse from Manusmriti.

अविद्वांश्चैव विद्वांश्च ब्राह्मणो दैवतं महत् । प्रणीतश्चाप्रणीतश्च यथाऽग्निर्दैवतं महत् ॥ ३१७ ॥

avidvāṃścaiva vidvāṃśca brāhmaṇo daivataṃ mahat | praṇītaścāpraṇītaśca yathā'gnirdaivataṃ mahat || 317 ||

Learned or unlearned, the Brāhmaṇa is a great divinity; just as consecrated or unconsecrated, the fire is a great divinity.—(317)


4 Answers 4


No. He will be considered degraded then. He will be a Brahmin just for the namesake.

From Manu Smriti:

2.103. But he who does not (worship) standing in the morning, nor sitting in the evening, shall be excluded, just like a Sudra, from all the duties and rights of an Aryan.

From VYasa Smriti , chapter 4:

A Brahmana, who has not studied the Vedas, is like a wooden elephant, or a leather-deer, but bear the name of the genus he belongs to. (37)

Like a deserted hamlet, like a waterless well, a Brahmana, who has not read the Vedas, is a Brahmana only in name. (38)

Grains of rice given to an unholy Brahmana, who has broken his vows and neglected the study of the Vedas, begin to cry in dismay, saying, " what evils have we committed to be punished with such a degradation.

And, from the Parashara Smriti:

  1. Brahmans who know not the Gayatri relating to Savita, who are unacquainted with the Sandhya prayers, and with the sacrifice of fire, and who betake to tillage, — are Brahmans in name only

  2. If Brahmans, the mere bearers of a Brahman's name, presume to prescribe a penance for sin, — they are guilty of a sin, and are destined to go to hell.

  3. A Brahman, ignorant of the Gayatri hymn, is more unclean than even a Shoodra ; the Brahmans who know the nature and the sanctity of the Gayatri hymn, are honored and revered by all persons.

Also, in afterlife a Brahmin, who has not performed his duties well, becomes a particular preta as mentioned in the following verse:

Manu Smriti 12.71. A Brahmana who has fallen off from his duty (becomes) an Ulkamukha Preta, who feeds on what has been vomited; and a Kshatriya, a Kataputana (Preta), who eats impure substances and corpses.

  • 1
    @Ajay Yes he will be then a brahmin just for the namesake. As u can see from the Parashara Smriti verse that he then will not have the power to participate in councils and prescribe punishments. Essentially he will be just like a sudra or a vratya then.
    – Rickross
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:48
  • 1
    @Ajay, if you're the son of the CEO, you get a job in the company even if you're unqualified, right ? same here. they are called brahma-bandhus, or related to brahmanas. the tapas done by a man will help for 3, or 7 future generations depending on its shakti. If 3 generations of a family's men do not perform sandhya-vandanam, then they lose even the name-sake brahmanatvam.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 19:07
  • @mar if they lose brahmanatvam then they from then belong to which varna or caste?
    – Harsh
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 17:59
  • @Harsh - probably whichever varna's occupation they chose to do
    – ram
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 15:24

If Brahmin not follow his Dharma properly than he become a lower caste.

Manusmriti 2:103:-103. But a twice born who does not (worship) standing in the morning, nor sitting in the evening, shall be excluded, just like a Sudra, from all the duties and rights of an Aryan.

Manusmriti 2:172. A twice born should not pronounce (any) Vedic text excepting (those required for) the performance of funeral rites, since he is on a level with a Sudra before his birth from the Veda.

Manusmriti 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.


One can't be Brahman by his/her birth but instead by his/her karma (deeds that man does).

Once Shree Ram said to Lakshman that Man can't be a saint or branhman by his birth but instead he can be by his karma (Deeds that man does). Even if you are son of a Maharish that doesn't make you also a Rishi but your karma will decide what or who you actually are... This is the reason, Maharishi Vishwamitra is know as the great Brahma Rishi instead of a great king (Vishwamitra is a son of a king) And Bhagwan Parshuram knows as Kshatriya more than Brahman (His father Maharishi Jamdagney was a Great sage). Both of their karma was apposite of their father's that's why they are not famous for the same thing, for which their father was.

Hence your karma will decide what actually you are, not your birth or your father's karma. So what kind of karma we will perform in our life that karma will decide whether we are brahman or anything else.

  • Well, noble parents always give rises to noble offspring. In that sense, children of noble Brahmin couples are born Brahmins. This is very vast concept. You should check other answers as well. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 13:56
  • Read this- hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/17758/8696 Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:01
  • @Aghori Then why Ravana is considered as devil more than a Brahmin since he was son of Maharishi Pulatsya and Grand son of Lord Brahma himself. As I told that only our karma will decides what we are, not our parent's karma. It is being said by Lord Ram himself. Ram said this to lakshman that one can't be higher of lower cast by his birth but instead buy his karma. He said this to Lakshman when they both did visit at Shabri's kutiya. When mata shabri offer then ber then Lakshman was hazitating to eat becaues Mata Shabri was of lower caste then Ram teaches this to Lakshman.
    – Vishvam
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Aghori It is not neccessary that if parents is bad then Child will also be bad. Prahlad (one of the greatest devotee) was son of Cruel Demon. What you will say about it.
    – Vishvam
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    @AnuragSingh I am not saying that all Asura's are bad. I have already shown exaple of prahlad that His father Hiranyakashyap was a cruel demon but his son was not anything like that. He was kind and great devotee of Narayan. Hence I was proofing by this example that if parents are bad then doesn't mean children will also bad. And if parents are Brahman then doesn't mean children will also be like brahman but instead he can be devil also by his karma. So someone's birth can't decide whether you are of lower caste or higher... This is what i mean to say.
    – Vishvam
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:13

janmana jayate sudrah samskarat dwij uchchte veda pathnat bhavet viprah brahma janati iti brahmanah

“By birth one is a sudra (lowest caste), by the purificatory process one becomes a dvija (higher caste), by study of the Vedas one becomes a vipra, and one who knows Brahman is a brahmana.”


You must log in to answer this question.