From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Vipra literally means ‘one in whom the seed of dharma has sprouted’.

Vipra as per Ṛgved[edit]

A brāhmaṇa is known by several names. One of them is the word vipra. The Ṛgveda[1] uses this word as applied to the deity Gaṇapati. Etymologically, it means one in whom the seed of dharma has already sprouted.

Vipra, a Brāhmaṇa[edit]

In a more technical sense, he is a brāhmaṇa who has undergone the necessary sacraments and is also endowed with the vidyā or knowledge of the scriptures. He is expected to discharge six duties:

  1. Yajana - performing a sacrifice
  2. Yājana - conducting a sacrifice for others
  3. Adhyayana - studying the scriptures
  4. Adhyāpana - teaching the scriptures to others
  5. Dāna - giving gifts to others
  6. Pratigraha - accepting gifts in accordance with dharma

Vipra, a tree[edit]

These six are called the ṣaṭkarmas for a brāhmaṇa. The tree Aśvattha[2] is also known by this name and considered worthy of worship like a brāhmaṇa.


  1. Ṛgveda 10.112.9
  2. Aśvattha is Ficus religiosa.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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