Kuladevata

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Shri Mangesh -- also popularly known as Mangireesh or Manguesh-- is the Presiding Deity at one of Goa's most prominent temples. Shri Mangesh is the Kuladevata of millions of Hindu GSBs around the world.

Kuladevata (kula-dèvatā) or Kuladevi, also known as Kuladev and Kuladaivat, stands for "family deity, that is either a god or a goddess" within Hinduism, as distinct from personal ishta-devata and village deities. This is similar to tutelary deity worshiped in other parts of world.

Kuldevi mantra: Om Sri Kuldevyai Namah.

In practice[edit]

The word Kuladevata is derived from two words: Kula, meaning clan and Devata, meaning deity. Thus, it can be said that Kuladevatas are deities which are worshiped by particular clans. The deity can be a male, female, animal or even an object, like a holy stone. Hindu families make a pilgrimage to the Kuladevata or Kuladevi temple to obtain the blessing of the deity after an auspicious occasion such as a wedding. Kuladevatas are worshiped in several sects of Hinduism and Jainism. In the state of Maharashtra, the Kuladevatas are mainly manifestations of Shiva or Shakti such as Khandoba or Bhavani, respectively. In the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, these deities are generally, the various manifestations of Parvati, the consort of Shiva. She is worshiped by different names by different clans. The Indian King Cobra(Nag) is also a famous Kuladevata. It is known by several names, such as, Nagadevata and Nagabaapji and is worshiped by several Hindu, Jain and Kshatriya clans. Some Kshatriya clans also claim themselves to be "Nagavanshi" or Descendents of the Naga.

In South India, Balaji of Tirupati is one of the main Kuladevatas.

In Kerala, amongst the Nair community, each tharavadu (ancestral family house) has a Kula Devata - often, the devi form of Bhadra, besides Para Devatas of ancestors in tharavadu temples. However, each branch of the family and members are also worship Ishta-Devata depending upon village deities and choices.

In Andhra Pradesh, Goddess Vasavi Kanyakaparameshwari is the Kuladevi for the Arya Vysya community.

In Tamil Nadu, Goddess Kamakshi and Lord Muruga are family deities for many Brahmin Iyers and also to Nadars Maravar And Vellalars. Goddess Angalaparameshwari for majority of chettiars and vellalars. Lord Narashima for Brahmin Iyengars and also to Naidu. Worship of Kuladevta is very much prominent amongst the Brahmins and Kshatriyas of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, that are the Konkani Saraswats and Daivajna. Most of the Kuldevta temples are found in Goa, Shantadurga, Mahalakshmi, Nagesh, Mangesh, Ramnath to name a few. Kuladevtas play a very pious role in the Konkani Saraswats and Daivajna Brahmins, it can even supplant the role of the Istadevta.

Worship of the kul-devata or kul-devi is considered to be of utmost importance. The Kul-devata is the guardian of the family, of the lineage. Ancestors of the family have worshipped the deity and there is a bond between the family and the deity. Hence such worship bears fruits early. Worship of the kuldevata is said to appease the deity who is the sole protector of the family. One who worships his/her family deity is said to be protected by the deity in times of calamity.

Maharashtra and Karnataka[edit]

Kuladevata worshipped in Maharashtra and Karnataka include:

Kuladevatas of Konkani people[edit]

Konkani people worship following deities as their Kuladevatas, most of the temples are located in Goa. Some of the deities were shifted to other places in Konkan by the devotees during the Goa Inquisition.[1] Some of them are listed below:

Sindh[edit]

Hinglaj Mata is the Kuldevi of all Hindus of Sindh. The Majority of Sindhi Hindus today is ignorant about this. The Gotra in Sindhis is known as Nukh. But today a majority of Sindhi Hindus are ignorant about their Nukh (Gotra).

Gujarat and Rajasthan[edit]

Kuladevata worshipped in Gujarat and Rajasthan include: Ambaji mata- Nagar Brahmins and royal kshatriyas

Nadar kuladevata[edit]

Kuladevata of the Nadar caste include:

  • Goddess Bhadrakali is the tutelary deity of the Nadar community as a whole. But each Kutam (sub division) has its own family deity / Kŭladaiwat/kŭla-dèvatā.[3]
  • Each Kutam (sub division) of Nadar caste have other forms of goddess Bhadrakali (MuthuMaalai amman, MuthuAara amman) or Lingam (SuyambuLingam, SankaraLingam) or Aiyanar (Arunsunai Kaatha Aiyanar, Ponvandu Aiyanar, Karkuvel Aiyanar) as family deity / Kŭladaiwat/kŭla-dèvatā

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Pra. Pā Śiroḍakara, H. K. Mandal, Anthropological Survey of India (1993). People of India: Goa Volume 21 of People of India, Kumar Suresh Singh Volume 21 of State Series, Kumar Suresh Singh. Anthropological Survey of India,. pp. 283 pages. ISBN 9788171547609. 
  2. ^ Mallikarjuna Temple, Goa
  3. ^ Robert L. Hardgrave (1969). The Nadars of Tamilnad: The Political Culture of a Community in Change. University of California Press. p. 38. ISBN 81-7304-701-4.