Brahmins were not only educators, they also took part in various
service activities and strove to help the poor. Charity and social
service were part of all Brahmin traditions and are enshrined in
their daily practices. Untouchability, which has become such a bane
to the modern mind, arose from Brahmin attempts to maintain
It was part of a culture of purity in which,
Brahmins were taught that they should avoid contact with people who
engaged in professions that hurt other creatures, or were otherwise
violent or sensual in their behavior.
In particular the Brahmins refused to
take food with those who ate meat or violated other Brahmin rules of
purity and non-violence. While one may criticize such aloofness, it
is quite different from that of a rich aristocracy refusing to
associate with poor people, which it is often equated with.