The English word brahmin is derived from the Sanskrit word Brāhmana (Sanskrit: ब्राह्मण). A brahmin was someone who had acquired Brahmavidya or highest spiritual knowledge through rigorous discipline of body and mind, and under strict tutelage. In the early Vedic period, anyone who dedicated himself to an austere life and to the pursual of this knowledge wad designated a brahmin, irrespective of birth or class.
The education of brahmin youths was sponsored by warriors, mostly rulers and feudal lords. To become a priest, the youth had to embrace virtues of truth, purity and morality, and reject the sins of hypocrisy and dishonesty. Brahmins slowly came to be recognized as representatives of the Divine Forces and this helped to strengthen their position in the Hindu caste-system, leading to a phase of Brahmin orthodoxy.