The term ‘Gotra’ in the Hindu tradition denotes a kinship group, and is viewed as identical to lineage or genealogy. Comprehensively, it denotes individuals who are relatives in a whole male line from a typical male predecessor or patrimonial. Basically, the gotras structures an exogamous unit.
According to Hindu tradition, the gotra holds a significant role in marriages, and marriage within the same gotras is against the law. Though sometimes it is used as a surname, it is not equivalent to a surname,
According to Panini, the term gotra signifies apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram, which means the successor from his son and daughter-in-law. And individuals of one gotra are based in various castes in the country.
Origin of the Gotras
As mentioned in Rig Veda, Gotra connotes a herd of cows, which signifies a closely interconnected lineage. And individuals from a specific gotra carry common attributes- either through profession or by way of nature.
As per the Vedic hypotheses, the Brahmins are immediate relatives of seven sages who are accepted to be the children of Brahma, procreated through yogic ability. TlShandilya, Gautama Maharishi, Bharadwaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vashista, Kashyapa and Atri.
These eight sages are termed as gotrakarins, and from them the 108 gotras (particularly of the Brahmins) have advanced. And to mention, from Atri sprang the Atreya and Gavisthiras gotras.
According to Robert Vane Russell, numerous gotra of hindu religion have a tribal genesis and are named after plants, creatures and natural items. For example, Bharadwaj implies a lark, Kaushik implies slid from Kusha, Agastya from agasti blossom, Kashyapa from kachhap a turtle, Taittiri from titar a partridge. The standard attribute of totemism is that the individuals from a family see themselves as connected with the creatures or trees. And they abide not to harm or kill them in any way.
Implication of Gotras on Marriages
Individuals under the same gotra are considered as kith and kins. Thus, marriage between them is not practiced in the Hindu tradition. Moreover, there is a belief that a child from such marriages would result in genetically transmitted diseases.
In the South Indian Hindu society, marriage between maternal cousins is practiced as they are of different gotras. On the other hand paternal cousins share the same gotras and marriage between them is not possible.
Why Gotra Plays an Important Role in Marriages?
The ancient Vedic theory on the role of gotra on marriages carries some scientific logic. Though, it’s still a matter of debate and raises many question marks by the feminists. And the scientific augmentation is laid down as given below-
The Gotra system basically works like a device tracing down your family’s paternal gene. To put it in another way, finding out the Y-chromosome. It is obvious that males carry XY chromosome and females carry XX chromosome. Hence, individuals who have the same gotra are considered to be belonging to the same clan. Though they might not be related by blood, still they will be considered as siblings. And it is strictly against the law of religion and society to go for conjugal bond.
But at the same time in this modern 21st century there are debates on this. And sometimes it impedes on two individuals who are in love and are bound by this theory. Hence, since the ancient times in the Hindu marriages, finding out the gotras is considered an important step in marriages.
Importance Of Gotras In Other Rituals
Gotras are of extreme significance not only in terms of marriages, but also in every Hindu ritual. The utterance of an individual belonging to a specific gotra is mandatory in the performance of sanskaras or shraddhas. While in the ancient Vedic days, every gotra had to perform a particular task.
List of the Gotras
Below are the name of the main Hindu Gotras
Brahmin Gotra list
|Alambani||Gaubhilya||Krishnatriya or Krishnatreeya||Pouragutsya||Srivatsa||Vishnuvruddha|
|Angad||Ghrit kaushika||Kundina Gowtama||Punagashella||Sumarkanth||Vishvagni|
|Bharadwaj||Kalabodhana/ Kalaboudha /Kalabhavasa||Lohit||Rohinya||Surya||Utsasya|
|Bhargava||Kamakayana Vishwamitra||Lohita-Kowsika||Rauksaayana||Swatantra Kabisa||Suparna|
|Charora||Kapil||Markandeya||Sangar||Upmanyu (Upamanyu)||Saharia Joshi|
|Darbhas||Kaundinyasa||Mudgala (Maudgalya, Moudgil, Modgil, Mudgal)||Sankhyayana||Vardhviyasa||Somnasser|
Bengali Gotra Lists
In the Hindu tradition, the gotra holds a very important place in cultural rituals, especially in terms of marriages. In fact, it defines the identity of a person in our age-old tradition and carries a strong patriarchal history.