Gotra - Informative & researched article on Gotra
 Indianetzone: Largest Free Encyclopedia of India with thousand of articlesIndian Religion


in  
 Art & Culture|Entertainment|Health|Reference|Sports|Society|Travel
Forum  | Free E-magazine  | RSS Feeds  
Indian Food|Indian Religion|Indian Personalities|Indian Villages|Kamasutra|Indian Costume|Indian Weddings|Astrology|Indian Jewellery|Indian Women|Indian Tribals
Home > Society > Indian Religion > Types of Religion in India > Hinduism > Gotra
Gotra
It is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth which relates directly to the original seven or eight Rishis.
 
More on Gotra (1 Articles)
 
 
 
 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 the gotra of the person`s father. The literal meaning of Gotra is "cow-pen" or "cow-shed" in archaic rigvedic Sanskrit.

Gotra is the Sanskrit term for a much older system of tribal clans. The Vedic people for the identification of the lineages initially used the Sanskrit word "Gotra". Generally, these lineages mean patrilineal descent from the mythical sages or rishis in Brahmins, warriors and administrators in Kshatriyas and ancestors in Vaisyas.

A Gotra relates directly to the original seven or eight Rishis of the Vedas. The concept of Gotra has always been associated with the Brahmins. The Gotra has always been only a Brahmin lineage that descends from seven or eight rishis associated with the seven or eight stars of the Great Bear constellation as according to original Hindu Vedic system. The seven rishis were Gautama, Bhardwaja, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Vasistha, Kashyapa and Atri.

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.

Today, the concept of `Gotra` is not anymore restricted to the Brahmin lineage. 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 among the Brahmin community. A common mistake is to consider Gotra to be synonymous with cult or Kula. 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 devtha unlike the Gotra.

Types of Gotras:
As mentioned above, Gotra stands for lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. Hence it is believed that, People belonging to the same gotra also belong to the same caste in the Hindu social system. But in matrilineal Tulu/Malayalee speakers the lineages are the same across the castes.

Some of the common lineages are as follows:
  • Brahmin Gotras
  • Vysya Gotras
  • Dhangar Gotras
  • Jats
  • Tulu/Malyalees


  • Importance of Gotra during marriage
    It is common practice in Hindu marriage to enquire about the Kula-Gotra meaning Cult-Clan of the bride and bridegroom before approving the marriage. While marriage within the kula is allowed and even preferred, marriage within the Gotra is not allowed. This is because, marriages within the gotra ("sagotra" 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 but in the martilineal societies this is strictly banned.

    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.

    (Last Updated on : 09/09/2009)
    More Articles in Hinduism  (893)
     
    Hindu Gods  (440)
     
     
    Vaishnavism  (90)
     
    Panchangam  (15)
     
    Gorakhnathis  (15)
     
     
    Hindu Vrata  (10)
     
    Lokas  (9)
     
    Aarti  (7)
     
     
    Mantra  (7)
     
     
    Shaktism  (6)
     
     
    Brahman  (5)
     
    Puja  (5)
     
    Shradh  (3)
     
    Purohitas  (3)
     
     
    Devadasis  (2)
     
     
    Yajna  (1)
     
    Gotra  (1)
    Recently Updated Articles in Indian Religion
    Sri Ramana Maharshi
    Ramana Maharshi was a 19th century spiritual personality. In spite of being a Brahmin he declared himself an "Atiasrami", a Sastraic state of non-attachment to anything in life.
    Swami Raghavendra
    Swami Raghavendra, advocator of Vaishnavism and the Dvaita philosophy, was the renowned saint of Hinduism.
    Swami Ramdev
    Swami Ramdev is the spiritual Yogi of 21st century who has re established the age old yoga practice of India.
    Mata Amritanandamayi
    Mata Amritanandamayi is an Indian spiritual leader. She is popularly known as Amma. She is sometimes referred as a ‘hugging saint.’
    Sri Ravi Shankar
    Sri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual leader of India. He is the founder of Art of Living Foundation that targets at relieving individual stress, societal problems and violence.
    E-mail this Article | Post a Comment
    Forum
    Forum on Indian Religion
    Free E-magazine
    Subscribe to Free E-Magazine on Society
     
     
    Gotra - Informative & researched article on Gotra
    Sitemap
    Contact Us   |   RSS Feeds
    Copyright © 2008 Jupiter Infomedia Ltd. All rights reserved including the right to reproduce the contents in whole or in part in any form or medium without the express written permission of
    Jupiter Infomedia Ltd.