It is almost impossible for a person to change one's own caste during her lifetime.

Bhishma said, 'The status of a Brahmana, O Yudhishthira, is incapable of acquisition by a person belonging to any of the three other orders. That status is the highest with respect to all creatures. Travelling through innumerable orders of existence, by undergoing repeated births, one at last, in some birth, becomes born as a Brahmana.

[Section 27, Anusasanika Parva, Anusasana Parva, The Mahabharata]

The same chapter and its next chapter tell that it is impossible for some orders to attain Brahmanhood in the same lifetime. And also says that it takes a long time and multiple births for the individual in order to become a Brahman.

Although the two chapters say that changing one's caste in her own life is impossible, there can be some exceptions due to some reasons. Some people who changed their own caste in the same lifetime can be obtained from the following statement.

‘Viśvāmitra, Mātaṅga, Vaśiṣṭha, Nārada and others became elevated by special penances, not by birth.’

Śukranīti (4.4, 80-81)

I want to know the names of others from the scriptures. What are the names of other persons from scriptures who changed their caste during their lifetime?


2 Answers 2


Vajrasuchika Upanishad.:

तर्हि जाति ब्राह्मण इति चेत् तन्न । तत्र जात्यन्तरजन्तुष्वनेकजातिसंभवात् महर्षयो बहवः सन्ति । ऋष्यशृङ्गो मृग्याः, कौशिकः कुशात्, जाम्बूको जाम्बूकात्, वाल्मीको वाल्मीकात्, व्यासः कैवर्तकन्यकायाम्, शशपृष्ठात् गौतमः, वसिष्ठ उर्वश्याम्, अगस्त्यः कलशे जात इति शृतत्वात् । एतेषां जात्या विनाप्यग्रे ज्ञानप्रतिपादिता ऋषयो बहवः सन्ति । तस्मात् न जाति ब्राह्मण इति ॥५॥

5. Then is a class the brAhmaNa ? No . Since many rishis have sprung from other castes and orders of creation - RishyashRi.nga was born of deer; kaushika, of kusha grass; jAmbuka of a jackal; vAlmiki of valmIka (an ant-hill); vyAsa of a fisherman's daughter; gautama, of the posteriors of a hare; vasishtha of Urvasi (a celestial nymph in the court of Indra); and agastya of a water-pot; thus have we heard . Of these, many rishis outside the caste have stood first among the teachers of divine wisdom; therefore a class is not the brAhmaNa.

क्या जाति ब्राह्मण है? नहीं, यह भी नहीं हो सकता; क्योंकि विभिन्न जातियों एवं जन्तुओं में भी बहुत से ऋषियों की उत्पत्ति वर्णित है। जैसे- मृगी से श्रृंगी ऋषि की, कुश से कौशिक की, जम्बूक से जाम्बूक की, वल्मीक (बाँबी) से वाल्मीकि की, मल्लाह (धीवर) कन्या (मत्स्यगन्धा) से वेदव्यास की, शशक पृष्ठ से गौतम की, उर्वशी नामक अप्सरा से वसिष्ठ की, कुम्भ (कलश) से अगस्त्य ऋषि की उत्पत्ति वर्णित है। इस प्रकार पूर्व में ही कई ऋषि बिना (ब्राह्मण) जाति के ही प्रकाण्ड विद्वान् हुए हैं, इसलिए जाति विशेष भी ब्राह्मण नहीं हो सकती॥५॥

I hope this clarifies your queries.


Yes. There are some examples. Children of King Rishabhdeva became Brahmana.

S.B. 5:4:13.In addition to these nineteen sons mentioned above, there were eighty-one younger ones, all born of Ṛṣabhadeva and Jayantī. According to the order of their father, they became well-cultured, well-behaved, very pure in their activities and expert in Vedic knowledge and the performance of Vedic rituals. Thus they all became perfectly qualified brāhmaṇas.

Descendants of King Dhrshta became Brahmanas.

S.B. 9:2:17.Manu also had a son known as Dhṛṣṭa, from whom another sect of kṣatriyas was generated, but although they were born of one who had the qualities of a kṣatriya, they became brāhmaṇas."

Raibhya, son of Sage Vatsara and grandson of Rishi Kashyapa had shudra children.

Kurma Purana Part 1: Chapter 19:4. From Vatsara were born Naidhruva and Raibhya of very great fame. The sons born from Raibhya were Shudras who were the most excellent among the knower of Vedas.

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