Kamrupi Brahmins

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Kamrupi Brahmins (Kāmarūpī Brāhmaṇa) (Sanskrit: कामरुपी ब्राह्मण), also known as Kamarupi Brahmana and Kamrupi Bamon; are those brahmins who claimed their descent from the Kanauji immigrant brahmins whom settled in Kamarupa.[1][2] They brought with them different Hindu epics and became the torch-bearers of Aryan culture in the region.[1][3]

Classifications[edit]

In the Smriti view there are four "varnas", or classes: the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and Shudras.

Manu enjoins that[4]

Brahamanasaya Tapo Gyana
Tapa Kshatrasaya Rakshanam
Vaishyasya Tu Tapo Varta
Tapa Sudrasaya Sewanama

The pursuit of knowledge is the austerity of a Brahmana
Protecting the people is the austerity of a Kshatriya
The pursuit of his daily business is the austerity of a Vaishya
And service the austerity of a Sudra.

Background[edit]

Kamrupi brahmins are those brahmins who claimed their descent from the Kanauji immigrant brahmins of a very early period. They settled in Kamrup and later on spread out.[2] This group of Brahmins originate from, and mostly lives in the ancient urban areas of Guwahati, Nalbari and Barpeta.[citation needed] These Brahmins hold surnames Sarma/Sharma, Bhagawati, Bhattacharya, Chakraborty, Mishra, Shastri etc. Kamrupi Brahmins are Shakta and Vaishnava cult followers.[citation needed]

Rites and rituals[edit]

Kamrupi Brahmins differed from fellow Indo-Aryans in their rituals. During a ritual named Amati, mother earth is believed passing through menstrual period and thus to be in an unclean state. Hence on those days farmers would not till the soil or plant any seeds. Orthodox widows and Brahmins abstain from any food except fruits. Devi, a special synthesized form of both Durga of the Hindu pantheon and a tribal female deity, is still being worshiped in Cooch Behar. Worship of Devi is generally performed by a Kamrupi Brahmin of North Bengal.[3]

History[edit]

Kamrupi Brahmins were prosperous during the Varman dynasty's reign of Kamarupa. The Kamrupi king Bhaskar Varman regularly gave land grants to the Kamrupi Brahmins. With these land grants they were also given copper plates grants.[5] A portion of the copper-plate grant of Bhaskar Varman states: Rigvedic, Samavedic and Yajurvedic Brahmins lived in Kamarupa before the time of Bhaskar Varman.[6] Of these three classes of Brahmins the followers of the Bahvrichya branch of the Rigveda were divided into the gotras of: - Kasyapa, - Kausika, - Gautama, - Parasarya, - Bharadvaja, - Varaha, - Vatsya, - Varhaspatya and - Saunaka ; Of those following the Chhandoga branch of the Samaveda belonged to the gotras of : - Paskalya The followers of the Taittiriya branch of the Yajurveda belonged to the gotra of: - Kasyapa And those of the Charaka branch to the gotra of: - Katyayana ; The followers of the Vajasaneya branch belonged to the gotras of: - Angirasa, - Alambayana, - Gargya, - Gautama, - Bharadvaja, - Yaska, - Sakatayana, and - Salankayana besides the six gotras mentioned before.[6] In all these three groups of Brahmanas living in Kamarupa had 26 gotras at the time of their greatest power and standing. In later ages any traces of the Samavedic and Rigvedic Brahmanas disappeared . Most probably they had changed their residence or their lines came to an end.[6] The following lines occur in Raja Harendra Narayan's Raja vansabali -[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mani L. Bose, Social History of Assam: Being a Study of the Origins of Ethnic Identity, 1989, p. 40 when the Aryans entered Assam from the west is uncertain. It seems probably that the Aryan penetration into Assam began from the time of the Brahmanas and the Epics and by the 3rd century A.D. Aryan culture became the predominant.
  2. ^ a b The Journal of the Institute of Bangladesh Studies(1994),Institute of Bangladesh Studies, University of Rajshahi "Kamrupi brahmins are those brahmins who claimed their descent from the Kanauji immigrant brahmins of very early period. They settled in Kamrupa and later on spread out"
  3. ^ a b Barman,R.K (June 2014). "State Formation, Legitimization and Cultural Change A Study of Koch Kingdom". The NEHU Journal, 12 (1): 17–35. 
  4. ^ Manu. Manu Smriti, Adhaya (Chapter) XI Sloka 236. 
  5. ^ Rup Kumar Barman (2007), Contested regionalism: a new look on the history, cultural change, and regionalism of North Bengal and Lower Assam, Abhijeet Publications, p.200 The Copper Plate Grants of Bargaon and Sualkuchi Grant of Ratnapal prove the land grants to the Brahmins at the banks of the Lohita and the Kalang,respectively.
  6. ^ a b c d Vasu, N.N, The Social History of Kamarupa, Vol.1 (1922), p.p 5-6