[Explaining the duties of Brahmins, Manu says:]

Adhyaa-pa-nam adhya-ya-nam

Yajanam yaajanam tathaa

Daanam prati-grahash chai’va

Braahma-naa-naam akalpayan – 1:88


Teaching, studying, making offerings in Yajñas and assisting others to do so, giving charity, and receiving gifts – these are the six duties of Brahmins.

However, one must bear in mind that, as Manu says, receiving gifts for a Brahmin is a mean thing.

On this same subject, the Bhagavad Gita says:

Shamo damas tapah shaucham

Kshaantir aarjavam eva cha

Jyäänam vi-jyäänam aastikyam

Brahma-karma swa-bhaava-jam – 18:42


  • Shama – Serenity: Restraining the mind from sinful desires, not allowing it to incline to commit vice,
  • Dama – Self-control: Restraining the senses from being unjust, and applying them in piety,
  • Tapa – Austerity: Being chaste, controlled in senses, and virtuous,
  • Shaucha – Purity: Being pure in body, mind and intellect,
  • Kshaanti – Forbearance: Developing firm faith in the power of virtue after rising above censure and praise, pleasure and pain, cold and heat, hunger and thirst, loss and gain, and honor and disgrace,
  • Aarjava – Uprightness: Cultivating tender-heartedness, humility, straightforwardness, and simplicity, and giving up sinister motives,
  • Jyääna – Knowledge: Having the ability to teach Shastras, after having studied Vedas with their limbs and sub-limbs; discriminating between right and wrong and determining the exact nature of objects – both animate and inanimate,
  • Vijyääna – Wisdom: Thoroughly knowing the full range of objects ranging from Earth to God, and making appropriate use of them,
  • Aastikya – Faith: Always being conscious of, and never maligning, Veda, God, Emancipation, Transmigration, Virtue, Learning and Good Company, and serving parents, teachers, and guests, these nine actions and qualities must be found in people of the Brahmin Class. With specific regard to purity, Manu states as follows:

Ad-bhir gaatraani shudhyanti

Manah satyena shudhyati

Vidyaa-tapo-bhyaam bhootaa’tmaa

Budhhir jyäänena shudhyati – 5:109


Water cleanses the body limbs, Truth cleanses the mind, Learning, and Austerity cleanse the soul, while Knowledge cleanses the intellect. A person should avoid the defects of like and dislike etc., and should cleanse himself of bodily dirt. Differentiating between right and wrong, he should embrace what is right and abandon what is wrong. This is a sure way to live a pure life.