Hindu Gotras

The Gotra system is beleived to have come into existence,sometimes during the Vedic period.It is believed that the Gotras system came in to existance, during the period,around 10-8 Century B.C.

In sanskrit 'Go' means cow and Gotra means the cow-pen.In the olden times cow was supposed to be the valuable commodity and the family were recognised by the cow-pens.So,later the term Gotra was linked with the family group and its lineage.

      
      

Initialy the vedic sect used the term Gotra for the identification of the Lineage. The gotra system is part of a system of classification or identification of various Brahmin families in ancient times.Gotra is a lineage,whose members trace their descent to a common ancestor,usually a Rishi of ancient times.

Gotra is very important since it is an identity of a person and his family.As per the Hindu tradition, the term gotra is used only for the lineages of Brahmin,Kshatriya and Vaishyas.

In ancient times, each Gotra had a definite task to perform,so every Veda had priests of specific Gotras for their narration ,guidence and teaching.Sacrifices of certain rituals require priests of a specific Gotra only.

As per the brahminical theory,the Brahmins are the direct descendants of seven Rishis(Saptarshi),who are believed to be the mind-born sons of Brahma.They are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Atri.

It is beleived that the Gotra classification is created from 8 rishis {The Saptarshis(7) + Agastya(1)}. These eight rishis,called Gotrakarins created all the 49 Gotras.The members of a Gotra may not be blood relations, but can be the spiritual inheritors or descendants of a Guru or his followers.

The members of a particular Gotra are believed to possess certain common characteristics by way of nature,skills and profession.

In the ancient times the members of the brahminical Gotras had certain characteristic features to distinguish from the others.like- the Bhargavas used to shave their heads,while the Angirasas had five braids.

As the time elapsed,the number of Gotras increased due to following reasons-

a)the Descendants of original rishi gave rise to new family lineage ie new Gotras,
b) By inter marriage with other sub-groups of the same caste,
c) following a new rishi and adopting his Gotra.

the 'Kul' should not be confused with Gotra.People from the same Kul follow the same cultural customs, rituals and divinity,but the Kul does not not rellate to Lineage or Caste.

Marriage & Gotras

The marriages within one's gotra would be like marrying one's sibling and may lead to harmone problems in the children.In some communities, where the Gotras passed from father to children, marriages were allowed between uncle and niece.

A much more common characteristic of Daivadnya community is a marriage between cross-cousins(between children of brother and sister).So, a man may marry his mother's brother's daughter or his father's sister's daughter but can not marry his father's brother's daughter.

A father's brother's daughter is treated as a sister. Even this cross-cousin marriage is not accepted by the rest of the Hindu society. Marriages takes place within the same Kul but not the same Gotra.Hence at the time of matrimonial commitments,the Kul and the Gotra of Girl and Boy are inquired.

In the most common, Patrilineal Hindu Society, the bride belongs to her father's Gotra before the marriage, and to her husband's gotra after the marriage.However,the groom belongs to his father's gotra forever.

List of Hindu Gotras

(Alphabetically)

Angiras, Atri, Bhardwaj,Bhargav, Bhrigu, Dasodia, Gautam, Gargya, Grandhisila,Hansaj,Harinama, Heritasa, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Koundinya, Kulsa, Lohitaksha, Marichi,Mudgal, Naidhruva, Pamidikula, Parthiva, Sawarna, Serawat, Shandilya, Shankha, Siwa, Upamanyu, Vadrayana, Vasishtha, Vatsa, Vishwamitra