SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Misra, Padma (1965) Priests and seers in the Vedas, with special reference to the evolution of the Brahman class. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (15MB) | Preview


This study traces the evolution of the Brahmans as a sacerdotal caste during the Vedic period. An alternative view is offered to the generally accepted ideas about the Brahmans based on the Smrtis. By presenting a semantic study of certain keywords for priest-poets in the Rgveda and by relying on a functional approach we hope to offer a more consistent interpretation of the development of the notion of Brahmanism. The factors that contributed to the development of the Vedic priesthood into the Brahman class are traced to the fusion of the pre-Vedic Aryan and indigenous culture patterns and religious ideas. Chapter I deals with the notion of caste and surveys certain historical approaches to it, in so far as they have influenced social studies of the Vedic period, and puts forward the need for a new approach on this subject. The literary sources for the Vedic period, the method of their interpretation and their chronology are discussed in chapter II. The third chapter outlines the pre-Vedic indiganous culture streams and deals with the migration of the Indo-Aryans into India. In addition it surveys the Aryan and the non-Aryan elements of the ensuing composite Vedic society. The four succeeding chapters analyse the words vipra, rsi, purohita and brahman. The conclusion sets out the issues involved in this study.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item