Recently while revising the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta, the following verse inspired me to think and search:

तत्सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणस्त्रिविधः स्मृतः।
ब्राह्मणास्तेन वेदाश्च यज्ञाश्च विहिताः पुरा।।17.23।।

Here ब्राह्मणा can be interpreted as either Brahmanas (considered to be part of Veda) or Brahmins (one of the 4 Varna). Actually I was going through Sanskrit-Gujarati book I have and I used to interpret it as Brahmins:

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You can read Sansrit-Hindi (of Gita press)version from here where you'll find ब्राह्मण​ can mean both. I've gone through English translation because I thought that it would be clearly interpreted as either Brahmanas or Brahmins (in English).

OM, TAT and SATóthis has been declared as the triple appellation of Brahma, who is Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. By that were the Brāhmanas and the Vedas as well as sacrifices created at the cosmic dawn. (23).

So, I surprised a little bit to find that it is interpreted as Brahmanas (part of Veda). So, I want to make sure Whether the verse 17.23 refer to Brahmanas or Brahmins?

Because if it is about Brahmanas (the part of Vedas), then it may help with some related post like Looking for scriptural source that introduce Brahmanas and this.

As I've earlier discussed, there can be three different opinions regarding parts of Vedas:

  1. Brahmanas (including Aranyaka & Upanishads) Apaurusheya, Shruti/Veda!
  2. Considering Brahmanas (including Aaranyaka & Upanishads) Vedas/Shruti but only Samhita part is actually Apaurusheya.
  3. Only Samhita of Vedas are Veda and Shruti. Brahmanas and other parts are expansion and interpretation but not Vedas. -- This is introduced by Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Arya Samaj following.

So, if BG is talking about Brahmanas (part of Veda), I think it may prove Brahmanas Apaurusheya like Samhita of Veda.

1 Answer 1


Though Bhashya of Adi Shankaracharya on this verse of BG doens't elaborate much, according to Sri Ramanujacharya, Brahmanas means the Vedas.

Quoting Sri Ramanujacharya's Bhashya on mentioned verse:

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary By Swami Adidevananda

17.23 Here Brahman means the Veda. It is the secondary meaning of the expression, especially of the ritualistic portion of the Veda. The three-fold expression Om Tat Sat is connected with the Brahman or the Veda. Sacrifices and similar rituals are prescribed in the Vedas. These expressions Om Tat Sat are used in these Vedic rites. The connection of Om is that it should be invariably used at the commencement of the recitation of Vedic hymns. The syllable Tat and Sat indicate that these rituals are worthy of honour. The Brahmanas are those who are to preserve Vedic study as also the Vedas and the sacrificial rites ordained in them. All these were created by Me in the past. Sri Krsna elaborates in the next verses the nature of the connection of these syllables with the Vedic rituals, beginning first with Om.

Here the emphasized text mean Brahmanas the portion of Vedas and also those who preserve Vedic study may mean Brahmins I think. So, Brahmanas should be the Brahmanas (part of Vedas) rather than Brahmins. Although I'm still looking for clear understanding and appropriate/correct interpretations, so, looking for well researched answer.

  • It might be indicating the Bramhanas in the vedas like Shatpath Bramhana.
    – Yogi
    Aug 27, 2017 at 15:53

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