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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.

The full affiliation of a brāhamana consists of (1)gotra, (2)sutra (of Kalpa), (3)shakha, (4)pravaras .

(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.).

While the gotras were classified initially according to eight rishis, the pravaras were classified under the names of the following seven rishis:

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.

The pravara identifies the association of a person with two, three (or sometimes five) of the above-mentioned rishis. It also signifies the Sutras contributed to different Vedas by those rishis.

For example, Kashyapa Gothram has 3 rishis associated with it viz. Kashyap, Nidruva and Avatsara

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[1]

Gotra Pravara[edit]

  1. Kapisa: Angirasa,Bharadwaja,Matavacha,Bharhaspatya,Vaandana - it is pancha pravar
  2. Pautamarshi:Angirasa,Barhaspatya,Jamdagni,Apnuvat -it is pancha pravar
  3. Kundina Gowthama :Angirasa, Ayasya, Kundina Gowthama
  4. Bharadwaja: Angirasa, Barhaspatya, Bharadwaja
  5. Vadula,Savarni,& Yaska: Bhargava,Vaitahavya,Saavedasa(do not intermarry)
  6. Maitreya:Bhargava,Daivodasa,Vadhryasva
  7. Shaunaka:Shaunaka(ekarsheya)
  8. Gartsamada:Bhargava,Sunahotra,Gartsamada
  9. Vatsa/Srivatsa: Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana/Apnuvat, Aurava, Jamadagnya
  10. Aarshtisena: Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana,Aarshtisena,Anupa
  11. Bidasa:Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana/Apnuvat, Aurava,Baida
  12. Saavarni:Bhargava,Vaitahavya,Savedasa
  13. Shatamarshana: Angirasa, Powrukutsa,Traasatasya
  14. AAtreya/Krishnatreya: Atreya,Aarchanaasa,Syaavaasva
  15. Vadhbhutaka: Atreya,Aarchanaasa,Vadhbhutaka
  16. Gavisthiras:Atreya,Gavisthira,Purvatitha
  17. Koushika: Vaiswaamitra,Aghamarshana,Koushika
  18. Kalabodhana/Kalaboudha: Viswaamitra,AAgamarshana,Kalabodhana/Kalaboudha
  19. Bhargava:Bhargava, Tvashta/Ahabhuna/Abnavana,Vishvaroopa
  20. Viswamitra: Vaiswaamitra,Devaraata, Owtala
  21. Kowndinya: Vashista,Maitraavaruna, Bayan, Kowndinya
  22. Kapinjala:Vashista,Aindrapramada,Abharadvasavya
  23. Vashista:Vashista(ekarsheya)
  24. Harita/Haritasa:(2 Variations)
    1. Harita, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
    2. Angirasa, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
  25. Gautamasa: Angirasa,Aayasyasa,Gautama
  26. Dhanvantari: Angirasa,Barhaspatya,Avatsara,Naidhruba
  27. Mowdgalya(3 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya
    2. Tarkshya,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya
    3. Angirasa, Dhavya, Mowdgalya
  28. Sandilya (2 Variations)
    1. Kasyapa,Aavatsaara,Daivala
    2. Kasyapa,Aavatsaara,Sandilya
    3. Kasyapa, Daivala, Asitha
  29. Naitruvakaasyapa: Kasyapa,Aavatsara,Naitruva
  30. Kutsa/Kauchhsa: Aangirasa,Maandhatra,Koutsa
  31. Kapi: Angirasa, Aamahaiya,Orukshaya
  32. Kapila: Angirasa, Aamahaiya,Orukshaya
  33. Kanva (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Ajameeda,Kaanva
    2. Angirasa,Kowra, Kaanva
  34. Paraasara: Vashista, Shaktri, Paarasarya, Paing
  35. Upamanyu: Vashista,Aindrapramada,Bhadravasavya
  36. Aagastya: Aagastya,Tardhachyuta,Sowmavaha
  37. Gargyasa (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Bharhaspatya,Bharadwaja,Sainya,Gargya
    2. Angirasa, Sainya, Gaargya
  38. Bhadarayana: Angirasa,Paarshadaswa, Raatitara
  39. Kashyapa: Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Daivala
  40. Sankriti (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Kowravidha,Saankritya
    2. Sadhya,Kowravidha,Saankritya
  41. Suryadhwaja: Lakhi (Mehrishi), Soral, Binju
  42. Daivaratasa: Viswamitra, Daivaratasa, Avudhala
    1. chikitasa—viswamitra,Devarata,Aghamarshana
  43. Shaktri : Vashistha, Shaktri,Parashar
  44. Jaabaali/Jabali : Bhargava, Vaithahavya, Raivasa - Thrayarisheya
  45. Vishnuvridha/Vishnuvardhanu : Angirasa, Pourukutsa, Thraasadasya


Sanskrit Transliteration Meaning
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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sen, Ronojoy (May 15, 2010). "Same-gotra marriages okayed in ’45". TNN. Retrieved Junly 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ Anand, Pinky (May 18, 2010). "The paradox of the 21st century". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ Sen, Ronojoy (May 15, 2010). "Same-gotra marriage legal, court had ruled 65 years ago". TNN. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]