As per Hinduism, Parashurama is widely known as a person who raised war against Kshatriyas.

Now as per Vedas, whether a person is a Brahmana or a Kshatriya is based on his karmas only. If one kills another seeking revenge, is he a Brahmana or a Kshatriya?

If Parashurama is to be considered a Brahmana, he should've forgiven the Kshatriyas or at the most he should've cursed them, but why did he take up weapons?

Also Kalki avatar is predicted to be a Brahmana and will raise a war.

I think it's true that Brahmana is the one who never accepts Tamas nature. So can a Brahmana kill someone to seek revenge?

If a Brahmana does kill someone, should we now consider him a Kshatriya taking into account his recent actions?


3 Answers 3


The Brahmins can indeed raise war in times of emergencies or when their life is endangered or when the situation demands so.

The Shastras clearly allow it.

Manu Smriti ,Chapter 8,Sloka 348,says:

8.348. Twice-born men may take up arms when (they are) hindered (in the fulfilment of their duties, when destruction (threatens) the twice-born castes (varna) in (evil) times,

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The Yajnavalkya Smriti similarly says:

21 — 23. In cases of emergency a brahmin shall pursue a Kshatriya's duties (administration and security) or a Vaishya's mercantile activites. But these articles he shall not sell:– fruits, soma, silk, medicinal creepers, curd, milk, ghee, water, sesame seeds, cooked rice, heavy metals, acids and alkalis, honey, lac, requisites of Homa, cloth, stone, utensils flowers, vegetables, clay, leather shoes, deer-skin, silk, salt, meat, oil cakes, roots and perfumes.

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Veda Vyasa also mentioned ‘Aapaddharmaas’ of Brahmanas rendering Kshatriya Dharmas, Kshatriyas assuming the duties of Vaishyas and so on. [Maha Bhagavata Purana provided escape clauses in the context of Varnaashrama Dharma: Yasya yallakshanam drusyata tat teniva vinirdisat/ In other words: the aspects of aptitude and practice may be endorsed; as such the Principles are of general regulative nature while in practice, the updated considerations of ‘Desha-Kaala-Maana Paristhithis’ would indeed prevail]

("Apaaddharmas" mean duties during an emergency.)

The Parshara Smriti(Ch 7,Sloka 35) says:

  1. During a civil commotion, or in exile, or when ill, or in misfortune, the first consideration is to preserve one's life ; practice of religion should at the time be postponed.

The above verse also can be interpreted as Shastras allowing Brahmins to take up arms when the situation is demanding so or when their lives are in danger.


SB 11.17.47

If a brāhmaṇa cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a kṣatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master.

So, a Brahmin can act as merchant(Vaishya) during his troublesome times. If he continues to suffer in trouble, he is allowed to act like a Kshatriya, mean he can participate in war.

Parashurama did kill Kshatriyas and acted as a Kshatriya by indulging in war, but at the same time he was also a Guru, job of Brahmins. And stories in Ithihas and Puranas can never be our rule book.


According to Krishna, these are the duties of Brahmana.


A Brahmana should study, offer sacrifices, make charities, and sojourn to the best of all holy places on the earth; he should teach, minister as a priest in sacrifices offered by others worthy of such help, and accept gifts from persons who are known.


According to Bhishma, the drawing of bow-string, agriculture, destruction of foes, tending cattle, and serving others for welath are improper for brahmana.


Bhishma said, 'Drawing the bow-string, destruction of foes, agriculture, trade, tending cattle, and serving others for wealth, these are improper for a Brahmana.

  • When somnatha Jyotirlingam in Gujarat, India was attacked, and king ran away, Brahmins sacrificed and fought to save temple. so I asked this question. Although brahmins were killed in that battle against Mohmmad Ghajini because they were weaponless and weaker than soldiers. Thank you for your response. +1
    – prem30488
    Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 10:58

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