views updated May 11 2018

Brāhmaṇa (Skt., ‘that pertaining to brahman’). In Hinduism, the explanatory portion of the Veda developed as a commentary on the mantra portions of the text. Commonly they are dated between 1,000 BCE and 650 BCE. The most important are the following: the Aitareya and Kausītaki (Śāṅkhāyana) Brāhmaṇas of the Ṛg Veda; the Jaiminīya and Pañcaviṃsa (Tāṇḍyamahā) Brāhmaṇas of the Sāma Veda; the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa of the Black and the Śaṭapatha Brāhmaṇa of the White Yajur Veda; the Gopatha Brāhmaṇa of the Atharva Veda. To the Brāhmaṇas were then added the Āraṇyakas.


views updated Jun 08 2018

Brahmana in Hinduism, any of the lengthy commentaries on the Vedas, composed in Sanskrit c.900–700 bc and containing expository material relating to Vedic sacrificial ritual.