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Finding Out About Deshasth (Marathi) Brahmins

Jul 24, 2008
What is there to know about Deshasth (Marathi) Brahmins? Apparently, there is a lot to learn about this interesting sub-group of Brahmins. Like many other Brahmins, they also share the belief in the basic philosophies of Hinduism. There are however some minor aspects that set them apart from other Brahmins.

Deshasth Brahmins are actually distinguished first by geographic location. Deshasth is of Sanskrit origin. Not everyone agrees about the translation of this term. It is generally agreed though that Deshasthas do not reside near coasts. They are therefore individuals who are primarily located inland. The Deshasth Brahmins mainly live in Maharashtra among other Brahmin communities. Maharastra is located in the western inland portion of India.

Like other Brahmin communities, the Deshasth Brahmins have sub groups. The two major groups are the Rigvedi and the Yajurvedi. Many sources however also specifically mention the Marathi Brahmins who are also Deshasth.

Marathi is actually a language spoken primarily by the Maharashtrians. They are of Indo-Aryan descent who mainly live in Maharashtra. It is therefore safe to conclude that some but not all Deshasth Brahmins are Marathi. Among the Maharashtrians, the Marathi Brahmins make up less than 5% of the inhabitants.

Marathi Brahmins share a lot of similarities with other Brahmin groups. Like other Brahmins for example they also practice rituals of purification and cleansing. They are also primarily vegetarians with some allowing the consumption of approved dairy-based products.

Not all of them however can be pinned down to an absolutely strict philosophical leaning. One thing you should know about Deshasth (Marathi) Brahmins is that they can either be Vaishnavas or Shaivites. This simply means that some view either Vishnu or Shiva as the Supreme God. All other gods are either demigods or lower gods compared to the Supreme God. As with other Brahmins, Marathi Brahmins may also choose to honor other manifestations of their Supreme God and other deities.

Marathi Brahmins may also differ according to some other philosophical beliefs. Again, this is similar to other Brahmins. They may believe for example that God has no real attributes and only choose either Shiva or Vishnu as their preferred manifestation of one and the same God. Others however may truly believe in a separate and true God manifestation.

The Marathi Brahmins share the same occupational history as other Brahmins. Historically, Brahmins belong to the highest caste and were once strictly dedicated to priestly duties, studying, teaching the scriptures and astrology. As in any other state or area in India, the Marathi Brahmins were indispensable. They were needed for religious rituals, marriages, death ceremonies and to reveal scriptural truths to members of the other classes.

There were some who dabbled with traditional medicine and farming. The latter form of occupation probably emerged due to the fact that many Brahmins were awarded lands by the warrior class for the execution of religious duties.

These days, Marathi Brahmins have joined other Brahmins in secular fields. There are Marathi Brahmins in almost any kind of employment and have achieved much in different modern fields in the arts and sciences. Marathi Brahmins however are said to be particularly distinguished in the areas of social justice, literature and other fields within the realm of the arts.

This is not only true for the Marathi Brahmins in India. Many of them have chosen to excel outside of India. There are many Marathi success stories in foreign entertainment, sports, politics and business.

There is much more to learn about Deshasth (Marathi) Brahmins. Not every piece of information however is available through accessible means. Those who wish to learn more about this Brahmin sub group should seek knowledge from the Marathi Brahmins themselves. Many can be found populating online forum sites.
About the Author
James Gunaseelan writes for Marathi brahmin (deshasth) brides and grooms (boys and girls) website

For Marathi brahmin (deshasth) brides and grooms (boys and girls) for marriage and matrimony visit http://www.brahminsmatrimony.com/browse/all/Deshasth/all
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