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In Hindu culture, the term gotra (Sanskrit: गोत्र) is considered to be equivalent to lineage. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patriline. Generally the gotra forms an exogamous unit, with the marriage within the same gotra being prohibited by custom, being regarded as incest.The name of the gotra can be used as a surname, but it is different from a surname and is strictly maintained because of its importance in marriages among Hindus, especially among the higher castes. Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram (IV. 1. 162), which means "the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son." When a person says "I am Vipparla-gotra", he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Vipparla by unbroken male descent.
According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.2.4 Kashyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Vishvamitra, Gautama Maharishi, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja are seven sages (also known as saptarishi); the progeny of these seven sages are declared to be gotras. This enumeration of seven primary gotras seems to have been known to Pāṇini. The offspring (apatya) of these seven are gotras and others than these are called gotrâvayava.
One who follows the system defined by three sages defines himself as tri-a-rishaye. Similarly, for five sages, it is pancha-rishaye, and for seven sages, it is sapta-rishaye.
There exists another theory about gotra: sons and disciples of a sage would have the same gotra; it is believed that they possess similar thought and philosophy. People of the same gotra can be found across different castes. Each Gotra comprises pravaras .
As a Rigvedic terms, gotra simply means "cow pen" or "herd of cows".The specific meaning "family, lineage kin" (as it were "herd within an enclosure") is relatively more recent, first recorded around the mid-1st millennium BCE (e.g., Chandogya Upanishad).
These "lineages" as they developed among the Brahmins of that time meant patrilineal descent. The Brahmanic system was later adopted by other communities, such as the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas
All members of a particular gotra are believed to possess certain common characteristics by way of nature or profession. Many theories have been propounded to explain this system. According to the vedic theories, the Brahmins are direct descendants of seven sages who are believed to be the sons of Brahma, borne out of his mind through yogic prowess. They are (1) Shandilya, (2) Gautama Maharishi, (3) Bharadwaja, (4) Vishvamitra, (5) Jamadagni, (6) Vashista, (7) Kashyapa and (8) Atri . To this list, Agastya is also sometimes added. These eight sages are called gotrakarins, from whom all 49 gotras (especially of the Brahmins) have evolved. For instance, from Atri sprang the Atreya and Gavisthiras gotras.
According to Robert Vane Russell, many gotra of hindu caste are of totemic origin which are named after plants, animals and natural objects. These are universal among non-aryan or primitive tribes, but occurs also in Hindu castes. The commonest totem names are those of animals, including several which are held sacred by Hindus, as bagh or nahar, the tiger; bachas, the calf; murkuria, the peacock; kachhua or limun, the tortoise; nagas, the cobra; hasti, the elephant; bhainsa, the buffalo; richaria, the bear; Kuliha, the Jackal, kurura, the dog; karsayal, the deer; hiran, the black-buck and so on. The utmost variety of names is found, and numerous trees, as well as rice and other crops, salt, sandalwood, cucumber, pepper, and some household implements such as pestle, rolling slab, serves as name of clans. Thus name of the rishis or saints, Bharadwaj means a lark, Kaushik means descended from Kusha,Agastya from agasti flower, Kashyapa from kachhap a tortoise, Taittiri from titar a partridge. Similarly the origin of other rishis is attributed to animals, Rishyasringa to an antilope, Mandavya to a frog, Kanada to an owl. The usual characteristic of totemism is that the member of clan regard themselves as related to or desendend from, the animals or trees which the clan takes its name, and abstain from killing or eating it.
A gotra must be distinguished from a kula. A kula is equal to a particular family , or equal to modern day "clans", Kula does relate to lineage or caste.
Marriages within the gotra ('sagotra' marriages) are not permitted under the rule of exogamy in the traditional matrimonial system. The compound word 'sagotra' is a union of the words 'sa' and 'gotra', where 'sa' means same or similar. It is common practice in preparation for Hindu marriage to inquire about the kula-gotra (meaning clan lineage) of the bride and groom before approving the marriage. People within the gotra are regarded as siblings and marrying such a person would be thought of as taboo. In almost all Hindu families, marriage within the same gotra is not encouraged or practised since they are believed to be descended from the same family. Marriages between different gotras are therefore encouraged. But marriage within the jaati is allowed and even preferred.
For example, Jats and Rajputs have 3000 Gotras and Mudirajas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have 2600 Gotras. Gotra is always passed on from father to children among most Hindus. However, among the Malayali and Tulu people it is passed on from mother to child.
The tatsama words 'sahodara' (brother) and 'sahodari' (sister) derive their roots from the Sanskrit word 'saha udara' (सहोदर) meaning co-uterine or born of the same womb. In communities where gotra membership passed from father to children, marriages were allowed between a woman and her maternal uncle,while such marriages were forbidden in matrilineal communities, like Thiyyars and Tuluvas, where gotra membership was passed down from the mother.
A much more common characteristic of South Indian Hindu society is permission for marriage between cross-cousins (children of brother and sister) as they are of different gotras. Thus, a man is allowed to marry his maternal uncle's daughter or his paternal aunt's daughter, but is not allowed to marry his paternal uncle's daughter. She would be considered a parallel cousin, of the same gotra, and therefore to be treated as a sister.
North Indian Hindu society not only follows the rules of gotra for marriages, but also has many regulations which go beyond the basic definition of gotra and has a broader definition of incest.Some communities in North India do not allow marriage with certain other clans, based on the belief that both clans are of the same patrilineal descent. In other communities, marriage within the gotra of the mother's father, and possibly some others, is prohibited.
A possible workaround for sagotra marriages is to perform a 'Dathu' (adoption) of the bride to a family of different gotra (usually dathu is given to the bride's maternal uncle who belongs to different gotra by the same rule) and let them perform the 'Kanyadanam' ('kanya' (girl) + 'danam' (to give)). Such workarounds are used in rare cases, and the acceptability is questionable.
Vedic Hinduism [ disambiguation needed ] recognises eight types of marriages, thus predominantly follows the principles as stated in the Manu Smriti, referring to 8 types of marriages, the roles and responsibilities of husband and wife and the purpose of marriage. Eight types of marriages are, (1) Brahma Vivaha, (2) Arsa Vivaha, (3) Daiva Vivaha, (4) Prajapatya Vivaha, (5) Gandharva Vivaha, (6) Asura Vivaha, (7) Rakshasa Vivaha, and (8) Paishacha Vivaha. The first four types of marriages reflect the paradigm behind arranged marriages. The last three are prohibited as per Manu Smriti, out of which the last two are condemned. The Gandharva marriage is an analogy to the modern-day love marriages, where the individuals have the liberty to choose their partners. Though Gandharva marriage had its due prominence in our Shahstras, but with advancement of time, Vedic Hinduism giving way to classic Hinduism, the concept of arranged marriage rose to prominence, which till today is predominant ritual for a marriage between two individuals.
However, there is no harm in Sagotra marriage, if the individuals are not related to six generations both from maternal and paternal side, as brought out in chapter 5 of Manu smriti at mantra 60, which states, सपिण्डता तु पुरुषे सप्तमे विनिवर्तते । समानोदकभावस्तु जन्मनाम्नोरवेदने, which means that sapinda ends after seventh generations.Section 5(v) of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 also prohibits sapinda relationship but there is no restriction of Sagotra marriage.
With nuclear families and large scale migration, in search of job or business opportunities or otherwise, it is possible that one may not know his/her gotra. Even if it is known, there is hardly any way to prove its authenticity.
While the gotras are almost universally used for determining excluding marriages that would be traditionally incestuous, they are not legally recognized as such, although those within "degrees of prohibited relationship" or are "sapinda" are not permitted to marry.Khap panchayats in Haryana have campaigned to legally ban marriages within the same gotra. A convener of the Kadyan Khap, Naresh Kadyan, petitioned the courts to seek amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act to legally prohibit such marriages. However, the petition was dismissed as withdrawn after being vacated, with the Delhi High Court warning that the Khap would face heavy penalty costs for wasting the time of the court.
In the 1945 court case of 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 gotras "impossible to accept." The court consulted relevant Hindu texts and stressed the need for Hindu society and law to keep up with the times, emphasising that notions of good social behaviour 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 so full of contradictions that it is a near-impossible task to reduce it to order and coherence.
According to Hindu legends, Jamadagni is one of the Saptarishis in the seventh, current Manvantara. He is the father of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. He was a descendant of the sage Bhrigu, one of the Prajapatis created by Brahma, the God of Creation. Jamadagni had five children with wife Renuka, the youngest of whom was Parashurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Jamadagni was well versed in the scriptures and weaponry without formal instruction.
Atri or Attri is a Vedic sage, who is credited with composing numerous hymns to Agni, Indra and other Vedic deities of Hinduism. Atri is one of the Saptarishi in the Hindu tradition, and the one most mentioned in its scripture Rigveda.
In Hinduism, a Brahmarshi is a member of the highest class of Rishis, especially those credited with the composition of the hymns collected in the Rigveda. A Brahmarshi is a sage who has attained enlightenment and became a Jivanmukta by completely understanding the meaning of Brahman and has attained the highest divine knowledge, infinite knowledge(omniscience) and self knowledge called Brahmajnana. When a Brahmarshi dies he attains Paramukti and frees himself from Samsara, the cycle of birth and death.
Manu is a term found with various meanings in Hinduism. In early texts, it refers to the archetypal man, or to the first man .The Sanskrit term for 'human', मानव means 'of Manu' or 'children of Manu'. In later texts, Manu is the title or name of fourteen mystical Kshatriya rulers of earth, or alternatively as the head of mythical dynasties that begin with each cyclic kalpa (aeon) when the universe is born anew. The title of the text Manusmriti uses this term as a prefix, but refers to the first Manu – Svayambhuva, the spiritual son of Brahma.
The Saptarishi are the seven rishis in ancient India, who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.
A Khap is a community organisation representing a clan or a group of related clans. They are found mostly in northern India, particularly among the people of Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, although historically the term has also been used among other communities. A Khap Panchayat is an assembly of Khap elders, and a Sarv Khap is an assembly of many Khap Panchayats.
In Brahmin Hindu culture, a Pravara is a particular Brahmin's descent from a rishi (sage) who belonged to their gotra (clan). The Pravara has been extensively used in identifying ones ancestry and thus giving salutations to the listener. In vedic ritual, the importance of the pravara appears to be in its use by the ritualist for extolling his ancestry and proclaiming, "as a descendant of worthy ancestors, I am a fit and proper person to do the act I am performing." Generally, there are three, five or seven pravaras. The sacred thread yajnopavita worn on upanayana has close and essential connection with the concept of pravaras related to Brahmin gotra system. While tying the knots of sacred thread, an oath is taken in the name of each one of these three, five or seven of the most excellent rishis belonging to one's gotra.
Soshte is a Maharashtrian surname belonging to the Twashta Kasar community hailing from the Shilaharas Old destroyed Salsette (साष्टी) island in Maharashtra state on India's west coast. The metropolis of Mumbai and the city of Thane lie on this island, making it the 14th most populous island in the world.
This is a list of surnames and gotras of the Daivadnya Brahmin community found on the western coast of India, predominantly from Goa, coastal Karnataka and coastal Maharashtra.
Kaushik or Kaushike is the surname and patri-clan (gotra) of Brahmins and Kshatriya named after Brahmarishi Vishvamitra. Kaushik is used as surname by Brahmins and Kshatriya of Vishwamitra or Kaushika gotra. Kaushik/Koushik is ancient Indian'Gotra' applied to an indo-aryan clan. Origin of Kaushik can be referenced to an ancient Hindu text. There was a Rishi (saint) by the name of "Vishvamitra" literally meaning 'friend of the universe','Vishwa' as in universe and 'Mitra' as in friend, he was also called as Rishi "Kaushik".Vishvamitra is famous in many legendary stories and in different works of Hindu mythology. Kaushika is pravara of Vishwamitra gotra.
Classical Hindu law is a category of Hindu law (dharma) in traditional Hinduism, taken to begin with the transmittance of the Vedas and ending in 1772 with the adoption of "A Plan for the Administration of Justice in Bengal" by the Bengal government.
Vartantu was an Indian sage who had a large ashram in Bharuch for education of children in the kingdom of Raghu II, son of Dilip II and grandfather of Lord Rama.
The Muley Jat, also Mola Jat and Mula Jat, are a community descended from Jats in Islam, found mainly in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, and the province of Punjab in Pakistan. They are predominantly Muslim.
Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development was a paper read by B. R. Ambedkar at an anthropological seminar of Alexander Goldenweiser in New York on 9 May 1916. It was later published in volume XLI of Indian Antiquary in May 1917. In the same year, Ambedkar was awarded a PhD degree by Columbia University on this topic. In 1979, the Education Department of the Government of Maharashtra (Bombay) published this article in the collection of Ambedkar's writings and speeches Volume 1; later, it was translated in many languages.
Kashyapa is a revered Vedic sage of Hinduism. He is one of the Saptarishis, the seven ancient sages of the Rigveda, as well as numerous other Sanskrit texts and Indian mythologies. He is the most ancient Rishi listed in the colophon verse in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
A Gandharva marriage is one of the eight classical types of Hindu marriage. This ancient marriage tradition from the Indian subcontinent was based on mutual attraction between two people, with no rituals, witnesses or family participation. The marriage of Dushyanta and Shakuntala was a historically celebrated example of this class of marriage.
Sapinda is a term used in context of cousin marriages in Hinduism. The subject is to be counted as first generation, and the common ancestor defining sapinda limit is to be within sapinda limit.
Religion in Maharashtra is characterized by the diversity of religious beliefs and practices. Maharashtra possesses six of the world's major religions; namely Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, and Sikhism.
The Brahmins are a community of Vedic Sanatan Sanskriti, who belong to the Brahmin varna.. Among other gotras, parashar is one of the important gotras. According to Hindu mythology there was a rishi called Parasharya who was father of maharshree Ved vyas who has written many Hindu scriptures.