I know it is mandatory for kshatriya to fight but what if the situation requires a brahmin or some other caste to fight?And how does a brahmin defends himself if he is against kshatriyas? Can someone be a brahmin(scholar) and a Kshatriya?

1 Answer 1


There are 3 parts to the question, which shall be answered separately.

1. What if the situation requires some other caste to fight?

Other castes are allowed to take up arms when dacoits/ robbers are causing havoc on the settlement.

When robbers, breaking through all restraints, spread devastation around, all the orders may take up arms. By so doing they incur no sin, O Yudhishthira!'
-Mahabharata Shantiparva Chapter 77

A Brahmin can under extraneous circumstances also use weapons for the protection of the other three castes, besides himself (covered in point 2):

The Brahmana, by taking up arms for the three orders, does not incur sin. People say that there is no higher duty than casting off life under such circumstances.
-Mahabharata Shantiparva Chapter 77

Another time when a Brahmin can take up arms is in times of distress when he is not able to survive by adhering to his Varna duties. In such a case the Manusmriti advises as follows:

If the Brāhmaṇa is unable to subsist by his own occupation as described above, he may make a living by the function of the Kṣatriya; since this latter is next to him.— Manusmriti 10.81

2. How does a Brahmin defend himself if he is against Kshatriyas?

So there might be a situation where Kshatriyas become hostile towards Brahmins and in order to protect themselves, they are allowed to take up arms:

By penances, by Brahmacharya, by weapons, and by (physical) might, applied with or without the aid of deceit, the Kshatriyas should be subjugated. If the Kshatriya misconducts himself, especially towards Brahmanas, the Vedas themselves will subjugate them.
-Mahabharata Shantiparva Chapter 77

An example of this from the scriptures is the famous conflict between Vasishtha and Vishvamitra, before he became a Brahmarshi. Vasishtha won. Another example would be that of Parashurama and Kartavirya Arjuna.

All in all there are 3 circumstances where a Brahmin can take arms- in the case of robbers, to protect himself and to protect other castes. Besides during times of distress he can live by he profession of a Kshatriya.

3. Can someone be a Brahmin and a kshatriya?

No, one cannot be a Brahmin and a kshatriya at the same time. Varna is based on birth and can be changed like Vishvamitra in case one shows qualities of another Varna. However, one cannot keep oscillating as per his whims. There are answers on the site you can refer to for the same.

  • But how do we expect an ordinary Brahmin to fight kshatriya because kshatriya are naturally stonger ?
    – Shiv
    Oct 1, 2022 at 9:12
  • Under Normal circumstances, Brahmins are not supposed to fight with Kshatriyas. Kshatriyas will protect Brahmins. Each one has a different role. If the situation does arise, each one’s karma will play an important role in determine who will win, or as the answer says, the Veda’s will favour the Brahmins on the correct side. @AyushBora
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 2, 2022 at 17:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .