Goud Saraswat Brahmin
|Regions with significant populations|
|Primary populations in Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra|
|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 as GSBs. They primarily speak Konkani as their mother tongue, but are also bilingual in Tulu and Kannada
Perceptions of mythology and history
According to the mythological chronicle Sahyadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, ninety-six Brahmin families belonging to ten gotras migrated to Goa from north-western India.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 Brahmins and not specifically Saraswat Brahmins. According to Bhau Daji and Dharmananda Damodar Kosambi, there is no connection between Parashurama and the migration of the Brahmins. The Sahyadrikhaṇḍa is a later inclusion in the original Sanskrit Skanda Puraṇa, not a part of the original Sanskrit text. The Parashurama legend serves as a symbol of the Sanskritisation that Goan culture experienced with the advent of Brahminical religion to the region. This was achieved to a certain extent through the agency of the Saraswat Brahmins who had migrated to Goa who sought to establish their hegemony.
Sahyadrikhanda mentions the original home of Saraswats as Tirhut. The section in which the Tirhut is mentioned has been tentatively dated to 1400 CE. A writer on the basis of the genealogy and chronology of Puranic sages has mentioned that Aryans reached Goa around 2500 BCE. This is based on a preconceived notion that Aryans and Saraswats were identical. Elsewhere in the same work the author has argued that Parashurama had brought only Brahmins and not specifically Saraswat brahmins. Therefore, equating Aryans and Saraswats seems to be far-fetched. It is more reasonable to suppose that the Saraswats of Goa migrated from northwestern Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Sindh, Kutch and Saurashtra. There is no agreement among scholars about the original home of Saraswats. The name by which these Brahmins have been designated clearly indicates that the river Saraswati had played an important role in their life. Even after the disappearance of the river, the Brahmins who had once inhabited the banks of river Saraswati retained the name of the region. There are evidences in history about the migration of the population from one region to another regions account of foreign invasions and sudden climatic changes. Recent researches in archaeology have shown that the Saraswati river dried up before 1000 BCE. For the study of the migration of the Saraswats to Konkan and Deccan, the linguistics provides corroborative evidence. The main line of Indo-Aryan linguistic expansion began from north to south much before 500 BCE. The Saraswats settled themselves in Rajasthan, Sindh and Gujarat. In ancient Gujarat there was a separate division called Saraswat Mandal. There are many Konkani words which are found only in Gujrati. From this it is evident that Saraswats had settled in Gujarat migrated to Goa. This also indicates that the Saraswats from the Kutch regions might have migrated to Goa on account of Arab invasion in the 8th century CE.
Reference to Saraswat names are found in Shilaharas well as Kadamba copper plate inscriptions. Certain Muslim incursions in North India provoked the Brahmin exodus. The inscriptions found in Goa bear testimony to arrival of Brahmin families in the Konkan region. Sahyadrikhanda and Mangesh Mahatmya allude to migrations of Saraswat brahmins, constituting sixty-six families, who settled in eight villages of Goa. There were regional variations among the Saraswats, such as those among Bardeskars, Pednelkars, Kudalkars and Sashtikars. The Konkana mahatmya, from the 17th century CE, deals with the internal rivalry of the Saraswats and strained relations between these groups. Saraswats were not recognised by the local Brahmins as well as others. They were not entitled to the six duties of the Brahmins called Shatkarmas and they were called Trikarmi, entitled to three duties like the other Dvijas. Hence besides their sacerdotal duties, they took up administrative vocations under the ruling dynasties. Therefore, they gradually established themselves in the landowning class and also as traders. After settling down in Konkan and Goa in about 800 CE Saraswats may have taken about a century to acquire patronage from the Shilaharas and the Kadambas of Goa. 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, and diplomats. Many sources of government income in Goa, Konkan and elsewhere, including taxes on commodities and customs duties, remained in their hands.
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. When the child turns three months old, they are taken to the temple, and thereafter the child goes to the father's abode.
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