Saturday, March 16, 2019

More than 400 Gothras and their Pravara Rishis

More than 400 Gothras   and their Pravara  Rishis

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(I understand a young boy  after upanayanam   went to meet  Head of Sringeri Mutt  recently with his father.  When the chanted “Abhivadaye”, the swamiji asked him for his pravara .He said, he does not know .Then the SWamiji asked   his father for his pravara.To his shock , even the  father did not know..)

Gothras  among Brahmins is considered as a patrilineal lineage.
It is believed   that all Gothras  among Brahmins originate from Seven sages  viz.

1.Viswamithra ,
3.Bharadwaja ,
4.Gowthama ,
8, Agasthya

   The entire population of Brahmins    according to our present belief is the paternal progeny of their sons  .The Word Gothra  means “A place where  cows are tied” . It is well known that the  wealth of  people in the Vedic period was measured by the cows that  were possessed by him. So there   is a theory that   these  great sages  used to maintain  huge number of cattle   in their hermitages  and had large number of people in their hermitages   to assist them. So possibly the Gothras   that we refer   may be  the families of all the people living   in the  hermitage of a great saint .(It is interesting to note   that there are Pravara(most eminent) rishis ,Different Gothras have  1-5 pravara rishis associated  with them,)   The need for this type of thinking  is because   as at present   same Gothra people  follow   several Vedas , Several Grihya Suthras , belong to several sub castes   and  several regions in India .  Apart from that   the population of people   belonging   to different Gothras vary widely. For example   among Tamil Brahmins   the number  of people following  the Bharadwaja Gothra   are about 25% of the population and  the  people belonging to  Agasthya gothra  is very less .Another  important  fact is that   There is a kaushika Gothra   and  a Viswamithra Gothra. The sages indicated by these  name is the same sage .I have read some where  that Kaushika Gothra   was started  by the sage when he was a Kshatriya and Viswamithra Gothra was started   after he became a Brahmin.Still more perplexing thing is that Lord Hanuman   according to  a prayer  addressed to him belongs to Kaundinya Gothra    though nowhere  it is mentioned that  he is a Brahimn by birth.  Ravana is  the son of a sage  is born to a sage and Rakshasi  and I have not come across  any Gothra   for him.

IT is interesting to note that  In the court case Madhavrao vs Raghavendrarao which involved a Deshastha Brahmin couple, the definition of gotra as descending from eight sages and then branching out to several families was thrown out by the Bombay High Court. The court called the idea of Brahmin families descending from an unbroken line of common ancestors as indicated by the names of their respective gothras "impossible to accept." The court consulted relevant Hindu texts and stressed the need for Hindu society and law to keep up with the times, emphasizing that notions of good social behavior and the general ideology of the Hindu society had changed. The court also said that the mass of material in the Hindu texts is so vast and full of contradictions that it is almost an impossible task to reduce it to order and coherence.”

Number  of   more than 400  Brahmin  gothras along with Pravara  Rishis 

Wikipedia  on list of Gothras   mentions that there  are  46 Gothras among  Brahmins.Familypedia    gives a list of  136 Gothras, Sri Ramanan   has compiled  names of about 56 gothras m The world  library   gives a list   of 100  gothras   and I have come across a  list of 51 Gothras earlier. 

So  I  was taken aback   to see  in a book  in tamil  published by Smt.Uma Hariharan, which has been approved by Kanchi Kamakoti mutt , a list of 421  Gothras . The list is classified  as

1.Gothras   with one  Pravara  rishi   19
2, Gothras   with two pravara   rishis  15
3,  Gothras   with three  pravara   rishis 313
4.Digothras  with three   pravara   rishis  23
4.Gothras      with five    pravara  rishis    51

In this list there are   several Gothras    which are repeated  several times   with different Pravaras  and some gothras   are repeated  in   different of these   classes also  I am giving   the complete  list as given in the book and you can see them all in

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