1.Are both Ajanma and Naishtika refer to the same thing or is there a subtle difference ?

  1. Also Skanda Purana mentioned four type of brahmacharis - Naishtika , Brahma, gayatra and prajapatya. But it was silent on the differences .

  2. What is the difference between Hanuman , Ayappa and Bhisma when it comes to Brahmachari?

  3. And how is nitya Brahmachari any different from the above brahmacharis ?

Please cite scriptures as much as possible. Thank you !


2 Answers 2


The Smritis talk about only two types of Brahmacharis viz:- Naishthika and Upakurvanaka.

  • Naishthika is one who remains in the studentship phase of life (the Brahmacharya Ashrama) for the entire life. He lives with the Guru (serves the fire in the Guru's absence) and he does not have marriage and the life of a householder.

  • Upakurvanaka will marry after completing his Brahmacharya Ashrama unlike the Naishtika.

These are the basic differences between the two types of Brahmacharis as mentioned in the Smritis.

Two classes of Brahmacharin have been mentioned by the wise in the Smriti. The first is Upakurvanaka (a Brahmana, in a state of pupilage, who wishes to pass on to the state of a householder); the second is Naishthika (one who leads a life of perpetual celibacy). (8)

Daksha Smriti 1.8

The ritualistic (Naishtkika) Brahmacharin who practises this vow from his Upanayana (investure with the holy thread) till death, attains to Brahma. (40)

The twice-born one, who practises this vow for thirty-six years, is called a Upakurvanak. At the close of this Vrata, the vowist should shave bis head. Thus having finished the study of all the Vedas or of any part thereof, he (the student) should give honorarium to his preceptor (Dakshina) after having obtained his permission thereto, and bathe thereafter (41)

Vyasa Smriti 1.40,41

And, to my knowledge, these are the only two types that are mentioned in scriptures.

Note that here Brahmachari refers to a person who is living in the first order (among the four orders found in Hinduism) of life.

  • There are four types of brahmacārīs mentioned in Āśramopaniṣat, viz. - Gāyatra, Brāhma, Prājāpatya and Br̥han. Prājāpatya is confusing, and Br̥han is Naiṣṭhika. archive.org/details/SamnyasaUpanishads/page/n169/mode/… The above 4 are mentioned as - Sāvitra, Brāhma, Prājāpatya, and Naiṣṭhika in Skanda Purāṇa ( And the same are mentioned in Vaikhānasa dharmasūtra archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.238112/page/n207/mode/…
    – Bingming
    Jan 6 at 3:46
  • 1
    Thx for the info ..you can post your answer too @Bingming
    – Rickross
    Jan 6 at 8:58

The four types of brahmacari that I know are: naisthika-brahmacari, brahma-brahmacari, prajapatya-brahmacari and savitra-brahmacari (I'm guessing that savitra-brahmacari is another name for gayatra-brahmacari which you mentioned).

Out of these, the last three are upakurvana-brahmacaries, which means that the brahmacari can marry later, after the brahmacari period is over.

"There are four types of brahmacaris. The first is called savitra, which refers to a brahmacari who, after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony, must observe at least three days of celibacy. The next is called prajapatya, which refers to a brahmacari who strictly observes celibacy for at least one year after initiation. The next is called brahma-brahmacari, which refers to a brahmacari who observes celibacy from the time of initiation up to the time of the completion of his study of the Vedic literature. The next stage is called naisthika, which refers to a brahmacari who is celibate throughout his whole life. Out of these, the first three are upakurvana, which means that the brahmacari can marry later, after the brahmacari period is over. The naisthika-brahmacari, however, is completely reluctant to have any sex life."

The most known and prominent naisthika-brahmacaris in Vedic tradition are; the four Kumaras and Narada Muni.


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