Brahmins are found in typical, traditional Hindu societies of Nepal and India. The community is primarily engaged in studying Vedas, carrying Vedic rituals and being committed to dharma. Their earn their livelihood by propagating the insights of Vedic literature, which largely speak of spirituality, yoga, philosophy, religion, rituals, temples, arts, logic, dance, pronunciation, so on and so forth.
Over the years, Brahmins have switched over to new professions, from being priests and scholars to being warriors and business man. In the ancient times, Brahmins with quality of Kshatriyas were referred to as Brahmakshatriyas, for instance, sage Parashurama mentioned in Hindu mythologies. Further, they have taken up professions like medicine (vaidya). Bengal Brahmins have surnames like Gupta, Senguptas and Dasguptas. These Brahmins are considered offspring of Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine and father of Ayurveda.
Kshatriya Brahmin and Brahma-kshatriya are people with a mix of both the Brahmin and Kshatriya caste. On the other hand, Brahmins who were personal teachers of the royal princes were accorded the position of Rajpurohit and educated the princes on every subject under the sun, including martial arts.
Brahmins with traits of a Vaisya or merchant are referred to as ‘Brahmvyasya’. For instance the Ambastha caste,based in South India.
Brahmins are known practioners of vegetarianism or lacto-vegetarianism. However, Brahmins hailing from Mithila, Punjab, West Bengal, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Nepal, are non-vegetarians.
Most Brahmin wear sacred thread. Brahmin also belong to a particular Gotra, which is specific for each family and designate their origin.
Gujarati Brahmins are refered to as Gurjara Brahmins. The Gurjara Brahmins are divided into many groups and sub castes, with most of them having their origins in Rajasthan.
Kanaujiya or Kanyakumbj Brahmins is said to hail from Kanauj and entered Kutch through Sindh. Others are primarily found in Jamnagar, Morbi, Junagadh and Rajkot. These Brahmins mostly carry surnames like Bhatt, Pingal, Kaileyas, Bhaglani,Lakhlani, Ghediya etc.
Bahun is the local term for Pahari or “hill” Brahmin caste, who are primarily educators, scholars and priests. About 31 percent of the population here are Brahmins. The community is based here since the ancient times. Over the years they moved eastward to China, Tibet, and the Himalayan foothills.
Prior to British colonization, Brahmins, known as ponna, formed an influential group. Brahmins who arrived during the British rule are referred to as kala Indians. Burmese Brahmins can be largely divided in four sub groups : Manipur brahmins, Arakanese Brahmins, Sagaing Brahmins and Indian Brahmins.