Warrior Brahmins: an oxymoron?

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Mahatma Gandhi

All my life I was surrounded by images and mythology of the warrior brahmin or priest. I thought there was no qualms with this claim that a priest and a warrior was the same thing. The more I researched true varnas (the four personality archtypes of Hindusim) I began to realize there is a huge divide in the personality types of the four varnas.

Somewhat like the five factions in the Divergent Series, the four varnas (not castes, this is a later corruption of the four varnas) the natural order of society and personalities keeps a healthy society running. Warrior Kings or Chiefs, Priests or Brahmin, Merchants, Sellers and Farmers and last but not least Laborers[varnas wikipedia].

It won’t make sense to our western sensibilities, but if you take almost any modern personality tests and run them through the higher, more ancient varna system, you will discover that there is a natural harmony and order of things. I like how Divergent (2014) demonstrates, in a very modified version, the basic varnas in a science fiction environment (seemingly based on the later more corrupted caste system):

So you can see in this simple movie’s words, that people tend to accel or their personalities fit more or less a general mold. So are you an abdication or a dauntless; a giving bhramin or a protective warrior?

A Warrior or a Brahmin?

Quakers are a classic example of conscientious objectors to serving in the military. The non-violent revolution of Ghandi, the ascetic, another good example. So can a priest or church leader be also a true warrior? I think not. There are too many personal examples I have talking to priestly people who are more ascetic and spiritual, that I don’t think they can. They should not harm any life in combat, they choose hunger strikes instead of violence, a life of asceticism to sports and combat. In fact they are polar opposites. This is why it is important to distinguish real martial arts from sport and from more natural and scientific martial arts that have no reality in combat.

Can a priest/pastor do martial arts?

A pastor when protecting his flock may muster some kind of self defense, but taking the example from Yeshua of Nazareth, we can see he chose to turn the other cheek, and to be crucified, instead of fending off his attackers. In fact when Simon Peter cut off the ear of the guard, Yeshua chose to heal him instead. This is the way of self sacrifice and healing; and not of protecting.

The Lamb of God – Clip starts at 9:01 in the Garden

He was also a son of David however, and King David was a Warrior-King who unified Israel and fought off its attackers. So Yeshua chose his path, but I’m not saying there is a hard set rule, we could learn from their choices. Is there a way to do martial arts as a more spiritual peaceful type? Yes, however the choice has consequences. It’s not really meant as a martial path, but more of a health and fitness way.

Two prime examples of martial arts for pastors/ spiritual people/ yogis:

ISAI Natural Martial Arts:

ISAI The Martial Art of Formless Flow

Monya Gorelik studied Tai chi, Yoga and human natural biomechanics for a number of years. This style is a great foundation for natural human movement, which can be built upon with actual functional self defense, but in its current state it is more of a basis for natural human movement and a healthy lifestyle. This is a great practice for Brahmin, priests, yogis and the ascetics’ lifestyle a.k.a. Varna personality type.


Play-fight is an exploratory play-fighting style, great for self exploration, getting to know your environment and having fun.

Play-Fight Practice by Formless Arts / Bruno Caverna

So do you abhor violence? Take punches rather than give them? Roll with the punches and prefer a life of hippies, yogis, quakers, ascetics or peace loving people? These are a couple of choices for you when it comes to martial arts; although minus the marital.

Warrior or Brahmin Dharma?

Dharma or righteous paths for Brahmin or the priestly scholars and of the protecting shepherd chiefs is very different. One is a life of giving and assisting others spiritually, the other is protecting and administering them, in otherwords keeping them relatively out of harms way, and ensuring liberty. It’s time to choose, are you a Kshatriya or a Brahmin?

Choosing her faction in Divergent clip:

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