Literally, Pravara means the most excellent (-Monier-Williams, cf. reference). Pravara is the number of the most excellent rishis who belonged to that particular gotra to which the wearer of sacred thread belongs. Gotra is the name of the founding father (and in a few exceptional cases, founding mother). In vedic ritual, the importance of the pravara appears to be in its use by the ritualist for extolling his ancestry and proclaiming, "as a descendant of worthy ancestors, I am a fit and proper person to do the act I am performing." Generally, there are either three or five pravaras. The sacred thread yajnopavita worn on upanayana has close and essential connection with the concept of pravaras related to Brahmin gotra system. While tying the knots of sacred thread, an oath is taken in the name of each one of these three or five of the most excellent rishis belonging to one's gotra.
(Example :) A brahmana named 'Rama' introduces himself as follows : I am 'Rama', of Shrivatsa gotra, of Āpastamba sutra, of Taittiriya shākha of Yajurveda, of five pravaras named Bhārgava, Chyāvana, Āpnavan, Aurva and Jāmdagnya (This example is based upon the example given by Pattābhirām Shastri in the introduction to Vedārtha-Pārijata, cf. ref.).
According to the listing of authors included in the verses in Rigved, the rishi Jamadagni was a descendant of rishi Bhrigu while the rishis Gautam and Bharadvaja were the descendants of rishi Angirasa.
In a court case "Madhavrao vs Raghavendrarao" which involved a Deshastha Brahmin couple, the German scholar Max Mueller's definition of gotra as descending from eight sages and then branching out to several families was thrown out by reputed judges of a Bombay High Court. The court called the idea of Brahmin families descending from an unbroken line of common ancestors as indicated by the names of their respective gotras and pravaras impossible to accept. The court consulted relevant Hindu texts and stressed the need for Hindu society and law to keep up with the times emphasizing that notions of good social behavior and the general ideology of the Hindu society had changed. The court also said that the mass of material in the Hindu texts is so vast and full of contradictions that it is almost an impossible task to reduce it to order and coherence.
- Pautamarshi:Angirasa,Barhaspatya,Jamdagni,Apnuvat -it is pancha pravar
- Kundina Gowthama :Angirasa, Ayasya, Kundina Gowthama
- Bharadwaja: Angirasa, Barhaspatya, Bharadwaja
- Vadula,Savarni,& Yaska: Bhargava,Vaitahavya,Saavedasa(do not intermarry)
- Vatsa/Srivatsa: Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana/Apnuvat, Aurava, Jamadagnya
- Aarshtisena: Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana,Aarshtisena,Anupa
- Bidasa:Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana/Apnuvat, Aurava,Baida
- Shatamarshana: Angirasa, Powrukutsa,Traasatasya
- AAtreya/Krishnatreya: Atreya,Aarchanaasa,Syaavaasva
- Vadhbhutaka: Atreya,Aarchanaasa,Vadhbhutaka
- Koushika: Vaiswaamitra,Aghamarshana,Koushika
- Kalabodhana/Kalaboudha: Viswaamitra,AAgamarshana,Kalabodhana/Kalaboudha
- Bhargava:Bhargava, Tvashta,Vishvaroopa
- Viswamitra: Vaiswaamitra,Devaraata, Owtala
- Kowndinya: Vashista,Maitraavaruna, Bayan, Kowndinya
- Harita/Haritasa:(2 Variations)
- Harita, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
- Angirasa, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
- Gautamasa: Angirasa,Aayasyasa,Gautama
- Dhanvantari: Angirasa,Barhaspatya,Avatsara,Naidhruba
- Mowdgalya(3 Variations)
- Angirasa, Dhavya, Mowdgalya
- Sandilya (2 Variations)
- Kasyapa, Daivala, Asitha
- Naitruvakaasyapa: Kasyapa,Aavatsara,Naitruva
- Kutsa/Kauchhsa: Aangirasa,Maandhatra,Koutsa
- Kapi: Angirasa, Aamahaiya,Orukshaya
- Kapila: Angirasa, Aamahaiya,Orukshaya
- Kanva (2 Variations)
- Angirasa,Kowra, Kaanva
- Paraasara: Vashista, Shaktri, Paarasarya, Paing
- Upamanyu: Vashista,Aindrapramada,Bhadravasavya
- Aagastya: Aagastya,Tardhachyuta,Sowmavaha
- Gargyasa (2 Variations)
- Angirasa, Sainya, Gaargya
- Bhadarayana: Angirasa,Paarshadaswa, Raatitara
- Kashyapa: Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Daivala
- Sankriti (2 Variations)
- Suryadhwaja: Lakhi (Mehrishi), Soral, Binju
- Daivaratasa: Viswamitra, Daivaratasa, Avudhala
- Shaktri : Vashistha, Shaktri,Parashar
- Jaabaali/Jabali : Bhargava, Vaithahavya, Raivasa - Thrayarisheya
- Vishnuvridha/Vishnuvardhanu : Angirasa, Pourukutsa, Thraasadasya
|चतुस्सागरः पर्यन्त गो ब्राह्मणेभ्य शुभं भवतु||chatussAgara paryantam gobrAhmaNebhyaH shubhaM bhavatu||Prelogue: May all the cows and Brahmanas across the four seas be blessed|
|आङ्गिरस भारद्वाज गार्ग्य शैन्य चतुर्ऋषयः प्रवरान्वित||AngIrasa Barahaspathya BhAradvAja TriaRishayoH pravarAnvita||The names and number of the main rishis to whose lineage the person belongs|
|भारद्वाज गोत्र||BhAradvaja gotraH||Gotra of the person|
|आपस्तम्ब सूत्र||Apastamba sUtraH||The sutra that the person follows|
|यजुर्वेदाम्नाय तैत्तिरीय शाखाध्यायि||Yajurvedaamnaya TaiTreeya shAkhAdhAyI||The veda shakha that the person belongs to|
|श्री राम शर्मा अहं भोः अभिवादये||shrI Vijayababu sharmaH ahaM bhoH AbhivAdaye||Name of the person|
- Sen, Ronojoy (May 15, 2010). "Same-gotra marriages okayed in ’45". TNN. Retrieved Junly 30, 2010.
- Anand, Pinky (May 18, 2010). "The paradox of the 21st century". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Sen, Ronojoy (May 15, 2010). "Same-gotra marriage legal, court had ruled 65 years ago". TNN. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier-Williams, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 55-Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi-110055,Third Print 1988; (original publication Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1899).
- Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier-Williams, ISBN 0-19-864308-X.
- Vedārtha-Pārijāta by Swāmi Karpātri, introduction by Pattābhirām Śāstri, Śri Rādhā krishna Dhanuka Prakāśan Sansthān, Calcutta ; Sañchālaka : Vedaśāstra Research Centre, Kedārghat, Vārānasi,1979 (Sanskrit and Hindi, the introduction has an English translation as well).
Main point to be remembered is these gotras have direct relation to Saptarishis. But Saptarishis change according to yuga. This is contributing factor for different versions in different texts commentaries and Bhashyams. This if considered would obviate differences in interpretation. Another instance is the references to Gotras is different in north India and South India and different parts. For example the same Bhargava Gotra referred in north is referred as Srivathsa quoted by Pattabhirama Sastry in the text. Likewise vasishta Gotra is referred to as Kaundinyasa in South India. This is because of interpretation of Sutras contributed by the Rishis and later explanatory comments.
- Sandhyavandane description – Search for "pravara" in that page.