By rigid precedence the Brahmans occupy the first rank; they are numerous and influential, and with them may be classed the peculiar and important caste of Bhats, the keepers of secular tradition and of the genealogies.
They were absolute monarchies, but the power of the king was tempered by the extraordinary influence possessed by the hereditary sacerdotal class or Brahmans.
In general terms the Mahrattas, in the wider sense, may be described under two main heads: first the Brahmans, and secondly the low-caste men.
The Mahratta Brahmans possess, in an intense degree, the qualities of that famous caste, physical, intellectual and moral.
In modern times they have proved themselves the most able and ambitious of all the Brahmans in the Indian Empire.