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The Concept of Pancha Janah in Hinduism – Five People or Five Classes of People


Concept of Pancha Janah in Hinduism is found in the Aitareya Brahmana.
Aitareya Brahmana explains the term pancha janah as gods, gandharvas (including apsaras), human beings, serpents and departed ancestors.

As per Sayana, the Pancha Janah are the five social groups – the four castes – Brahmin, Shatriya, Vaishya, Shudhra – along with Nishada (barbarians) as the fifth.

Yaska in his Nirukta enumerates the five classes as gods, human beings, gandharvas, asuras and rakshasas.

As per some scholars, the pancha janah included people staying on the four quarters of the earth and those residing in the central part.

There is also a belief that the term was used to refer to the five tribes of Anu, Druhyu, Turvasu, Yadu and Puru in ancient Hindu world.

There is another interpretation pancha janah are the five divisions of Devas – Purva Devah, Mura Devah, Sisna Devah, Sura Devah And Vishwa Devah.

Notes take from - Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VIII - IHRF - page 3