Gotra


Gotra

:"For the wasp genus, see "Gotra (wasp)

A Gotra is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. In most cases, the system is patrilineal and the "gotra" assigned is that of the person's father. Other names used to refer to it are Vansh, Vanshaj, Bedagu, Purvik, Purvajan, Pitru. An individual may decide to identify his lineage by a different gotra, or combination of gotras. For example Lord Rama was Surya Vansha, also known as Raghu Vansha. This was because Lord Rama's great-grandfather Raghu became famous.

The term "gotra", itself, according to strict Hindu tradition is used only for the lineages of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vysya families. A Gotra relates directly to the original seven or eight Rishis of the Vedas. In this sense, Lord Rama did not have a Gotra, and in rituals his Gotra would be the Gotra of his Brahmin priest. This practice is still common today as it was in ancient times according to earliest Hindu sources. Therefore, Gotra has always been only a Brahmin lineage that descends from seven or eight rishis associated with the Saptarishi or the seven stars of the Great Bear constellation as according to original Hindu Vedic system. The word "Gotra" means "ray." In Brahmin tradition, it is the duty of the Brahmin to keep his particular ray alive by doing daily rituals that he may transmit the power of that ray to others for the benefit of mankind. When the "ray" is extinguished, so is that particular beneficial magical stream dead to the human race and that power lost to mankind forever. Hence the importance of a Brahmin's daily Sandhya.

Recently, the term "gotra" has taken broader meanings to include any lineage, Brahmin or otherwise. Therefore, today, other terms are considered synonymous with "gotra" and the distinct meaning of the word and the esoteric connotations are lost to many, even within the Brahmin community.

A common mistake is to consider gotra to be synonymous with clan or Kula. A kula is basically a set of people following similar rituals, often worshipping the same God (the "Kula-Devata" - the God of the clan). Kula has nothing to do with lineage or caste. In fact, it is possible to change one's Kula, based on his faith or ista devatha.

It is common practice in Hindu marriage to enquire about the Kula-Gotra meaning Clan-Lineage of the bride and bridegroom before approving the marriage. In almost all Hindu families, marriages within the same gotra are prohibited since people with same gotra/gothra are considered to be siblings. But marriage within the kula is allowed and even preferred.

Origin of gotra

Gotra is the Sanskrit term for a much older system of tribal clans. The Sanskrit term "Gotra" was initially used by the Vedic people for the identification of the lineages. Generally, these lineages mean patrilineal descent from the sages or "rishi"s in Brahmins, warriors and administrators in Kshatriyas and ancestral trademen in Vaisyas.

The lineage system, either patrilineal or matrilineal, was followed by the South Asian people. In the present day Hinduism, Gotra is applied to all the lineage systems. Many Hindu castes have lineages that do not follow Vedic classification.

Marriages and gotras

Marriages within the gotra ("swagotra" marriages) are banned under the rule of exogamy in the traditional matrimonial system. People within the gotra are regarded as kin and marrying such a person would be thought of as incest. In some communities, where gotra membership passed from father to children, marriages were allowed between uncle and niece, while such marriages were forbidden in matrilineal communities, like Malayalis and Tuluvas, where gotra membership was passed down from the mother. A much more common characteristic of south Indian Hindu society is permission of marriage between cross-cousins (children of brother and sister). 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 father's brother's daughter, a parallel cousin, who is treated as a sister.

North Indian Hindu society not only follows rules of gotra for marriages, but also has many regulations which go beyond the basic definition of gotra.

List of gotras

ee also

* Brahmin gotra system
* Thogata Veera Kshatriya Gotra System
* Tuluva Malayali lineage system
* Hindu genealogy registers at Haridwar
* List of Brahmin gotras
* Pravaras
* List of Kongu Vellala kootams
* Bhatias gotra system

External links

* [http://www.gurjari.net/ico/Mystica/html/gotra.htm gotra]
* [http://www.gsbkerala.com/gotra.htm gsbkerala.com]
* [http://www.sanathanadharma.com/samskaras/index.htm#VIVAHA Marriage Ceremonies]
* [http://www.bharatavarsha.com/iyer/gotra/gotra.html Gotra]
* [http://www.agarwaltoday.com/jul066.html Less Knowledge about gotras - Agarwal Today Article]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gotra — (Sanskrit, n., गोत्र, gotra) ist ein indischer Verwandtschaftsbegriff und am besten mit Klan oder Lineage zu übersetzen. Das Gotra System wurde bereits gegen Ende der vedischen Epoche (900 500 v. Chr.) von indischen Brahmanen beschrieben, kommt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gotra — / gothra (sanskrit) ou gotta (pali) désigne à l’origine un ancien nom de clan indien transmis en lignée paternelle. Le terme est utilisé au XXIe siècle pour désigner toutes sortes de lignées héréditaires, y compris matrilinéaires. Les gotras …   Wikipédia en Français

  • gotra — /goh treuh/, n. a Hindu clan tracing its paternal lineage from a common ancestor, usually a saint or sage. [1875 80; < Skt] * * * Lineage segment within an Indian caste, indicating common descent from a mythical ancestor. Marriage by members of… …   Universalium

  • gotra —    A gotra is an exogamous kinship division within a jati, or subcaste. Members of the same gotra within a subcaste are not allowed to marry among them selves; of course, they must marry within their jati. Gotra literally means “the place of the… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • gotra — Linaje dentro de una casta india que indica una descendencia común de un ancestro mítico. El matrimonio entre miembros de un mismo gotra estaba prohibido por la tradición. Esta costumbre perseguía impedir la endogamia, y también extender la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • gotra — noun The lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth …   Wiktionary

  • gotra — /goh treuh/, n. a Hindu clan tracing its paternal lineage from a common ancestor, usually a saint or sage. [1875 80; < Skt] …   Useful english dictionary

  • Brahmin gotra system — The word gotra means lineage in the Sanskrit language. Among those of the Brahmin caste, gotras are reckoned patrilineally. Each gotra takes the name of a famous Rishi or sage who was the patrilineal forebearer of that clan. And each Gotra is… …   Wikipedia

  • Nara (gotra) — Nara is a gotra of jats. This gotra originated from Greek word Naraya.[citation needed] History Mor and Nara are mentioned as Mura and Naraka two powerful “ Yavana” Kings, who were ruling over the Mura and Naraka along with Varuna in the western… …   Wikipedia

  • Saharan (gotra) — Saharan or Saran is a gotra of jats in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh , Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh in India. They belong to Hindu as well as Sikh religions.As per local traditions they were rulers in Jangladesh. Jangladesh coincided with the… …   Wikipedia


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