Goud Saraswat Brahmin

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Goud Saraswat Brahmin
Regions with significant populations
Primary populations in Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra[1]
Related ethnic groups
Saraswat Brahmins, Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins

Goud (also spelt as Gaud or Gawd) Saraswat Brahmins are a Hindu Brahmin community in India and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community. They belong to the Pancha (five) Gauda Brahmana groups. They are popularly referred to by the acronym GSB. They primarily speak Konkani as their mother tongue, but they tend to be fluent in language of the region they are resident in. For example, those living in Karnataka also speak Tulu and Kannada whereas those living in Maharashtra speak Marathi Similarly, those living in Kerala can speak Malayalam.[2]GSB's are divided into two groups, the Madhva Sect,who follows Kashi Math and Gokarna Matha, the Madhva Mathas.The other is the smartha sect,who follows Shri Gaudapadacharya Math and Chitrapur Math, the Smartha Mathas.[3]

Parshurama with Saraswat Brahmin settlers commanding Varuna to make the seas recede to make the Konkan Region


The Saraswat Brahmins believe themselves to be named after the mythical Saraswati river, which was thought to arise in the Himalayas and flow through the present Punjab and Rajasthan region to the western sea near Dwaraka, in Gujarat. Saraswat brahmins are mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhavishya Purana.[4] The Saraswati river of Rigvedic and Vedic texts has been historically identified with parts of watercourses near Lake Pushkar in Rajasthan, Sidhpur in Northern Gujarat and Somnath in Saurashtra, Gujarat. A popular belief identifies it with an underground flow at Prayag, Allahabad, emerging at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna to form the Triveni Sangam. It has been suggested that around 1000 BCE the Yamuna breached and permanently drained the Sarwasati, the most important water course of the Swati Valley civilisation and early Vedic Civilisation; the desertification of their homeland would have compelled the Saraswati migration to the other parts of Bharat Khanda. According to the Sahyadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, ninety-six Brahmin families belonging to ten gotras migrated to Goa from western India, along with Parashurama.[5][6] Linguistic evidence for such a migration of Saraswats to Konkan and Deccan is based on distribution of Indo-Aryan linguistic expansions, beginning before 500 BCE.[7]

Lord Parshuram is considered as the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Due to the injustice done to his father and mother by the Kshatriyas, Parashurama took vow that he will ruin the entire Kshatriya clan from the face of earth,he sought revenge. He decides to do a huge Yagna to purify this earth from all sort of evil.At the same time period, river Saraswati of western India was hit by a calamity resulted in the entire region becoming the victim of drought.[8] The Brahmins that resided on the banks of this river had to leave their penance and study of Vedas there by worked for a livelihood by migrating to other parts of India this went on for a lot of years. When Saraswati restored her waters again the Brahmins delighted, thought they can go back to their Veda studies. But they had been so engrossed in tilling and planting that the entire clan forgot everything they had memorized about the Vedas.They thus, decided to do penance to impress the Vedas and the gods. The entire saraswat Brahmans did penance on devi saraswati. Finally, Devi Saraswati appeared in front of them and advised to listen closely. She said they will have to follow the voice. Thus, they will be able to find the solution for their problems. They followed her order soon they could hear chants of Vedas from far. They followed the voice and found a child reciting the Vedas. Devi Saraswati appeared and said, this child will teach them all the Vedas again. The Brahmins got offended on knowing that they will have to learn from a child now. When the calamity happened she realised that the Brahmins will lose the knowledge of Vedas. Saraswat was born to fulfil the purpose of keeping Veda alive. After listening to the story, the clan bowed in front of him and agreed to learn Veda from him. They, thus came to be known as Saraswat Brahmins.[9] Alternative theory states they got name from the saraswat river.At the same time in the western India Parshuram decided to do a Yagna and needed the purest for land for the purpose. He walked southwards in India but did not find an appropriate place. Therefore, he climbed the Sahyadris. Prayed to Indra Dev and Varun Dev to pull his sea back. Parshuram said he will throw his axes as far as possible in the sea and where it lands the sea has to go back till the demarcation. The gods agreed and stepped back. Parshuram wanted to make this place the most beautiful place in the world. The place is now called KONKAN, the western coast of India, that stretches from Maharashtra, runs across Goa and Karnataka and ends at malabar.[10][11] Now he wanted Brahmins to live in this place. But there weren’t any in south. He travels till Bramavartha region of Saraswati river where he finds a clan of Brahmins chanting mantras since they were in drought affected area,He invites them to live in Konkan as it is a flourished land and they were living in hostile conditions currently. They agreed and traveled with him to the west coast.[12] This is how Saraswats first migrated from North to West in India. They settled in the Agrahars, a civilisation in west.Later in the future, they followed a Guru named Gowdapadacharya and thus they were named as Gowda Saraswat Brahmins or the G.S.Bs.[5][6][8]

Perceptions of modren authors

According to some authors,Even if Parashurama is considered as a historical figure, the regionalisation of Brahmins had not taken place during his era and he had brought only saraswat Brahmins and not specifically Goud Saraswat Brahmins they may have acquired prefix after reaching gowda pradesha.[13][7] According to 19th century Sanskrit scholar and physician, Dr. Bhau Daji and later by Buddhist scholar Dharmananda Damodar Kosambi, there is no connection between Parashurama and the migration of the Brahmins[14][15] but scholars like Dixit,chandran(1997) and dhume(2007) provided the historical evidence of migration of saraswat brahmins from north to south that dates back to 2500BC-1700BC.[16] Some author claim that the Sahyadrikhaṇḍa is later inclusion in the original Sanskrit Skanda Puraṇa but there is no acceptance between authors about this and no valid proofs available.[17][18] Some author claim that the Parashurama legend serves as a symbol of the Sanskritisation that Goan culture experienced with the advent of Brahminical religion to the region.[19] This was achieved to a certain extent through the agency of the Saraswat Brahmins who had migrated to Goa and sought to establish their hegemony while many authors reject this giving evidence of migration.[20][8]


In Kalhana's Rajatarangini (12th century CE), the Saraswats are mentioned as one of the five Pancha Gauda Brahmin communities residing to the north of the Vindhyas.[4] Reference to Saraswat names are found in Shilaharas as well as Kadamba copper plate inscriptions. The inscriptions found in Goa bear testimony to arrival of Brahmin families in the Konkan region.[21] Sahyadrikhanda and Mangesh Mahatmya allude to migrations of Saraswat brahmins, constituting sixty-six families, who settled in eight villages of Goa.The Sahyadrikhanda,however,only mentions Saraswat but not the prefix "Goud"[13] There were regional variations among the Saraswats, such as those among Bardeskars, Pednekars and Sastikars. The Konkana mahatmya, from the 17th century CE, deals with the internal rivalry of the Saraswats and strained relations between these groups.[22] Before foriegn invasion of Goa,Saraswat brahmins held socio-political influence in Goa under various ruling dynasties,Many sources of government income in Goa, Konkan and elsewhere, including taxes on commodities and customs duties, remained in their hands but after invasion of foreign invaders forced Sarsawath Brahmins to quit Goa leaving behind their ancestral property and political power for the sake of maintaining their religion,They eventually settled in near by hindu kingdoms.Many Saraswats left Goa after the invasion of Malik Kafur to the neighbouring regions and during the period of religious persecution of the Portuguese also Saraswats migrated to Uttar Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and North Konkan. The Saraswat Brahmins particularly served as village Kulkarnis, financiers, tax farmers, merchants in the intra-Asian trade,Priests and diplomats.[21][8]

The GSB ancestors identified themselves as of the Saraswat section of the northern Gaud division, in contrast to their Maharashtra and Karnataka Brahman neighbors of the southern division.Native dravida brahmins saw newly migrated konkani brahmins(including Saraswath brahmins) from Goa as competitors and started developing antipathy towards these Brahmins,Those neighbors questioned the GSB’s(and other konkani brahmins) competence to perform all six duties (shatkarma) reserved to Brahmans.[9] There is no substantial evidence to bear out these assertions but they seem mainly to have rested upon a general suspicion of outsiders since it was not naive to them.[23] In spite of such vilification, Saraswats continued to prosper in Maharashtra and other parts of India.Along with their sacerdotal duties, they took up administrative vocations under the ruling dynasties. Therefore, they gradually established themselves as the landowning class and also traders[24] Furthermore, the Dravida Brahmins, in the scramble for posts and positions particularly during Maratha empire rule developed antipathy towards the Saraswath Brahmins, and this rivalry had its manifestation in various places. (In Maharashtra, the Saraswats were described as not Shatkarmis by local brahmins.But the Bombay High Court during the 19th century decreed that they were qualified to perform all the six karmas with proof).[25] Though many families lost their lands due to land reform act but their excellence in modern education became a way to maintain their Socio-economic influence of the community.[26]

Tradition and culture[edit]


During the eighth month of pregnancy, a woman moves to her mother's house, especially during the birth of her first child. The expecting mother also performs Ganapathi Pooja for a successful delivery and a healthy child. On the 6th day, a pen and lamp are kept near the child's head, symbolic of a wish for an intelligent child. On the 12th day, the naming and cradling ceremony is performed wherein the paternal grandmother whispers the child's name into his/her ear and a horoscope is cast.[27] When the child turns three months old, they are taken to the temple, and thereafter the child goes to the father's abode.[28]


GSBs celebrate almost all festivals in vedic Hinduism, and follow the Hindu lunar calendar (Panchang in Konkani) that gives the days on which the fasts and festivals should be observed.Some of main festivals are which is more special with feast(Konkani:Parab jevan) are

Samsar Padvo[edit]

Samsar Padvo which is the first day of Chaitra is celebrated as the New Year Day of GSB’s.Ugadi and Gudi padva is also celebrated on the same day.Delicacy prepared on this day is Madagane, 'hittu' using jackfruit leaves and Kele ambatt using jaggery & banana.

Nagar Panchami[edit]

Celebrated on the 5th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Shravan. Milk is offered to Naga idols with aarthi and prayer to Nagas. Is also celebrated as the victory day of Krishna over the Kaliya snake.Delicacies prepared on this day are Haldi-Panna Patholi. Panchakadai and Cheppa-Kheeri.


On this Shravan full moon day, GSB men change the sacred thread or ‘janevu’.Delicacies prepared on this day are Khotto/ Hitu, Val-Val and Soyi-Bagil Ghessi

Ganesh Chathurthi[edit]

Festival of Lord Ganesha, Pooja is performed by GSB Men.Some of the delicacies prepared on this day are Patharodo, Panchakadai and Modak.


Falls on the 1st day of Karthik month.Usually it is not only important to GSBs istead to whole hindu society.

Tulasi pooja[edit]

Tulsi Pooja is done on the 12th day of Karthik month which usually falls in October/ November.The ritual is performed by the Bhat-Mam/priest or by the eldest man, father or head of the family. Along with this they celebrate all Rigvedic brahmincal festivals but these form Important festivals to them[29]


Traditionally Most of the Gaud saraswat brahmins are vegetarian their food is usually without onion and garlic.The recipes use large amounts of coconut and spices.some of traditional dishes are listed below which include Rice is the staple food of all GSB’s,Daali thoy (Konkani dal. Most famous recipe of the GSB’s),Beebe-upkari (cashew based),Val val (Mixed vegetable stew),Patrode (Colocasia leaves in spicy batter),Chana Ghashi (Chickpeas in coconut gravy),Kadgi chakko (Raw jackfruit side dish),Avnas ambe sasam (Pineapple mango gravy),Patoli(coconut and jaggery in turmeric leaves),Muga mole randayi(Sprouted moong daal side dish)[29]

Notable people[edit]

Government and law[edit]

Education & Literature[edit]

  • Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, popularly known as Pu. La. Deshpande, a notable writer and humorist. He was also an accomplished film and stage actor, music composer, harmonium player, singer, and orator.
  • Rashtrakavi M Govinda Pai, one of the greatest Kannada poets. Was fluent in 25 languages.
  • Anant Pai (1929-2011), fondly known as Uncle Pai, was an Indian educationalist and a pioneer in Indian comics.
  • Suryanath U. Kamath (1937-2015), was an Indian historian who served as the Chief Editor of the Karnataka State Gazetteer from 1981 to 1995.


Entertainment & media[edit]

Spiritual leaders[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lola Nayar (1 October 2012). "The Konkan Rail". Outlook India. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to GSB Konkani". Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  3. ^ V. P. Chavan. Vaishnavism of the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins and a Few Konkani Folklore Tales. Asian Educational Services. p. 22-24. 
  4. ^ a b D. Shyam Babu and Ravindra S. Khare, ed. (2011). Caste in Life: Experiencing Inequalities. Pearson Education India. p. 168. ISBN 9788131754399. 
  5. ^ a b Shree Scanda Puran (Sayadri Khandha) -Ed. Dr. Jarson D. Kunha, Marathi version Ed. By Gajanan shastri Gaytonde, published by Shree Katyani Publication, Mumbai
  6. ^ a b Gomantak Prakruti ani Sanskruti Part-1, p. 206, B. D. Satoskar, Shubhada Publication
  7. ^ a b Mitragotri, Vithal Raghavendra (1999). A socio-cultural history of Goa from the Bhojas to the Vijayanagara. Institute Menezes Braganza. pp. 50–54.  [1]
  8. ^ a b c d https://bookgreat.info/210486306-get-swapna-saraswata-by-gopalakrishna-pai-download-pdf-mobi-free.html
  9. ^ a b http://www.nageshsonde.com/Dakshinatya-Sarasvats.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.goatourism.gov.in/uploads/e_book.pdf
  11. ^ https://books.google.co.in/books?id=-r_EBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=parashurama+and+saraswat&source=bl&ots=e7K0O-5HPm&sig=uhoioNzTn_gSHcKC7rA7vTYGlC4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlzNvUkJXTAhUGpI8KHXiSCD8Q6AEIYDAO
  12. ^ https://books.google.co.in/books?id=-r_EBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA29&lpg=PA29&dq=parashurama+and+saraswat&source=bl&ots=e7K2JV7DHi&sig=lmVpkw4wNvSchM6bx58ufBtFSdc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidjP7cir_TAhVKpo8KHV4rAO0Q6AEIZzAO#v=onepage&q=parashurama%20and%20saraswat&f=false
  13. ^ a b Patil, U.R., 2010. Conflict, identity and narratives: the Brahman communities of western India from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries (Doctoral dissertation)[2]
  14. ^ Kosambī, Dharmānanda. "Dakṣiṇī Sārasvatas". Vividajñāna vistāra (in Marathi). 2 (55): 14. 
  15. ^ Lāḍa, Dr Bhāū Dājī. Indian caste. JAS. p. 54. 
  16. ^ https://books.google.co.in/books?id=-r_EBAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA29&ots=e7K0PX6JMo&dq=parashurama%20and%20saraswat&pg=PA29#v=onepage&q=parashurama%20and%20saraswat&f=false
  17. ^ Shastri, (1995) Introduction to the Puranas, New Delhi: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, pages 118–20
  18. ^ Rao, Nagendra. "The Sahyādri khaṇḍa". Brahmanas of South India. pp. 149–161. 
  19. ^ Kamat, Pratima (2008). Tarini and Tar-vir, the unique boat deities of Goa. Panjim: Goa Institute for Culture and Research in History(GOINCARH). p. 5. ISBN 978-81-906485-0-9. 
  20. ^ Purabhilekh-puratatva: Journal of the Directorate of Archives and Archaeology (Volume 2 ed.). Panaji, Goa: Goa, Daman and Diu (India). Directorate of Archives, Archaeology, and Museum. p. 10. 
  21. ^ a b Pinto, Celsa (1994). Trade and Finance in Portuguese India: A Study of the Portuguese Country Trade, 1770–1840 (Volume 5 of Xavier Centre of Historical Research Porvorim: XCHR studies series ed.). Concept Publishing Company. pp. 53–56. ISBN 9788170225072. 
  22. ^ Konkana Mahatmya. Samant hari. pp. 21–34. 
  23. ^ Conlon, Frank F. A Caste in a Changing World: The Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmans, 1700-1935. Univ of California Pr (June 1977). p. 16. ISBN 0520029984. 
  24. ^ "Dakshinatya Sarasvats- Tale of an Enterprising Community" (PDF). Nagesh D. Sonde. p. 40. Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  25. ^ Kamath, Suryanath (1992). "The Origin and Spread of Gauda Saraswats". Retrieved 7 October 2016. 
  26. ^ http://padasalgi.in/saraswatcommunity.html
  27. ^ "Welcome to GSB Konkani". Gsbkonkani.net. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "Welcome to GSB Konkani". Gsbkonkani.net. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  29. ^ a b c http://nebula.wsimg.com/3b74483bbf30fe44151a4abf24707d21?AccessKeyId=569BB26A284EBA0641AE&disposition=0&alloworigin=1
  30. ^ "Fasts and Festivals". Gsbkonkani.net. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  31. ^ a b http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/identity-is-not-always-destiny/story-C8LKshU805WkpyOKLGx8aP.html
  32. ^ "Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao conferred Bharat Ratna". The Times of India. 4 February 2014. Archived from the original on 4 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  33. ^ "CNR Rao, Sachin receive Bharat Ratna". The Hindu. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  34. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/the-persistence-of-the-brahmin/292640
  35. ^ https://twitter.com/sardesairajdeep/status/531366530584305664?lang=en

Further reading[edit]

  • Suryanath U Kamath (1992). The origin and spread of Gauda Saraswats. 
  • Venkataraya Narayan Kudva (1972). History of the Dakshinatya Saraswats. Samyukta Gauda Saraswata Sabha. 
  • Ramachandra Shyama Nayak. "Saraswath Sudha". 
  • Kawl, M. K. Kashmiri Pandits: Looking to the Future. 
  • Bryant, Edwin (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-513777-9. 
  • Hock, Hans (1999) "Through a Glass Darkly: Modern "Racial" Interpretations vs. Textual and General Prehistoric Evidence on Arya and Dasa/Dasyu in Vedic Indo-Aryan Society." in Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia, ed. Bronkhorst & Deshpande, Ann Arbor.
  • Shaffer, Jim G. (1995). "Cultural tradition and Palaeoethnicity in South Asian Archaeology". In George Erdosy. Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. ISBN 3-11-014447-6. 
  • Conlon, Frank F. (1974). "Caste by Association: The Gauda Sarasvata Brahmana Unification Movement". The Journal of Asian Studies. 33 (3): 351–365. doi:10.2307/2052936. JSTOR 2052936. (Subscription required (help)).