Goud Saraswat Brahmin
|Regions with significant populations|
|Primary populations in Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Kerala|
|Related ethnic groups|
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.
According to the Sahyadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, ninety-six Saraswat Brahmin families belonging to ten gotras migrated to Goa from the Saraswati river basin, along with Parashurama. Reference to Saraswat names are found in Shilaharas as well as Kadamba copper plate inscriptions. The inscriptions found in Goa bear testimony to the arrival of Brahmin families in the Konkan region.
The Shilahara kings seem to have invited supposedly pure Aryan Brahmins and Kshatriyas from the Indo-Gangetic plain to settle in Konkan. These castes are the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins and Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus.
Sahyadrikhanda and Mangesh Mahatmya allude to migrations of Saraswat Brahmins, constituting ninety-six families, who settled in eight villages of Goa. 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.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.
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. 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, Kerala and North Konkan. The Saraswat Brahmins particularly served as Administrators,village revenue collectors (Kulkarnis), financiers,landlords,Priests,Teachers and Merchants in the intra-Asian trade, and diplomats. Many sources of government income in Goa, Konkan and elsewhere, including taxes on commodities and customs duties, remained in their hands.
Diet and culture
The Saraswat Brahmins of the Konkan region eat fish as part of their diet. Gaud Saraswats eat fish, but Madhva Vaishnavite Gaud Saraswat Brahmins from coastal districts of Karnataka are largely vegetarians.
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There was a craze in the southern and eastern countries for the importation of the supposed pure Aryan Brahmins and Kshatriyas from the indo-gangetic valley in the north. The silhara kings of Konkan also seem to have invited both brahmins and kshatriyas from the north for settling in the south about this time.They are the Gauda Sarasvata Brahmins and the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus of Konkan. The Gauda Sarasvata Brahmins and the Kayastha Prabhus are naturally often referred to as 'Aryas' which is corrupted to 'Aiyyas' in the inscriptions. The local Brahmins were referred to as 'Bhats', and the imported northerners as Aryas...
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The Saraswats are largely a vegetarian community, whose coconut- based cuisine is famed for its variety.
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