विप्र vipra is not an Ordinary Brahmin

The word विप्र vipra usually is used to denote the sense of a Brahmin. The Indic tradition says that a Brahmin devoted to the learning (of the Vedas) is called विप्र vipra, (विद्यया याति विप्रत्वम् vidyayā yāti vipratvam). The word विप्र vipra has been derived from the root-sound विप् vip which means ‘to tremble, shake, shiver, quiver, vibrate’. The third person singular of विप् vip in present tense is वेपते vepate, ‘s/he trembles, shivers, vibrates’. To vibrate also means ‘to be stirred, inspired, and instigated’. The word विप्र vipra then, in a deeper sense, refers to the one who is inwardly stirred or inspired, the one enlightened in mind. A विप्र vipra is he whose mind is clear, pure and open. It is in this mind that there can dawn the right knowledge. Thus a sage or seer (ऋषि ṛṣi), a poet (कवि kavi), a wise man is called विप्र vipra. A ब्रह्मर्षि brahmarṣi is sometimes addressed as विप्रर्षि viprarṣi. The word विप्र-वचस् vipra-vacas refers to the one whose words are inspired. The man having an inspired mind is addressed as विप्र-मन्मन् vipra-manman. He who is inspired or impelled by a विप्र vipra is known as विप्र-जूत vipra-jūta (‘impelled by the thought, driven forward by the thinker within’). The word वेपिष्ठ vepiṣṭha vepishtha or विप्रतम vipratama means the most illumined in knowledge. The word विप्र-चित् vipra-cit or विप्र-चित्ति vipra-citti refers to someone who is acutely insightful and wise.

According to Sri Aurobindo the विप्र vipra is the most illumined one. In the Vedas सूर्य sūrya or sun is called विप्र vipra. Sri Aurobindo says: “Surya enlightens the mind and the thoughts with the illuminations of the Truth. He is vipra, the illumined. It is he who delivers the individual human mind from the circumscribed consciousness of self and environment and enlarges the limited movement which is imposed on it by its preoccupation with its own individuality. Therefore he is brihat, the Large. But his illumination is not a vague light, nor does his large come by a confused and dissolved view of self and object; it holds in itself a clear discernment of things in their totality, their parts and their relations. Therefore he is vipashcit…” (Vol. 15, CWSA, The Secret of the Veda, Page: 289) The word विपश्चित् vipaścit vipashcit, ‘the one clear in perception’, is a compound word with two components: विपश् vipaś and चित् cit. The root विपश् vipaś (वि vi with the root पश् paś meaning to see, behold) means to discern, to observe, perceive, learn, know.

Author, speaker and researcher on subjects related to Sanskrit, Indian Culture, Spirituality, Yoga and Education. SahityaAkademi and President of India Awardee.