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Given here is information collected from a case filed in the religious court
of Sankarswami of Shrungeri Muth during Peshwa rule in Maharashtra.
Pathare Prabhu community residing in Mumbai and America is one of the ancient most communities of the ruling families in India. According to Hindu dictates a member of this family is to rule on subjects of India. In accordance to this dictate, a member of this community objected to the rule of Brahman Pesewa in the region of Maharashtra in eighteenth century. According to the same dictate a Brahman is to do his priestly and spiritual duties and not to hold sword of state. On that the ruler Pesewa was annoyed and he in return declared an injunction on all priests in the region that they shall not perform certain rituals for members of Pathare Prabhu community. That decree was challenged in the court of Shankarswami of Shrungeri Muth, which is the highest office for settlement of Hindu-Brahman disagreements. The Swami gave verdict in favour of Pathare Prabhu community. The dispute remained as pesewa ignored the ruling and continued to rule, finally the Pathare Prabhu community helped the upcoming East India Company and with them the pesewa raj ended. Following is the summery of that ruling. This summery shows the line of family from the first ancestor onwards.
King Ram had two sons luv and kush. They had progeny and a line of kingship was formed. Names mentioned are as given here, Kush, Atithi, Naishadh, Nul, Naabh, Pundarik, Kshemdhanvaa, Devanik, Vaasy, Dal, Shil, Dhi, Ooyaam, Vajranath, Khandan, Vyushita, Vishasama, Hiranya, Naabhi, Kaushal, Soam, Brahmishta, Pushya, Sudarshana, Anirvana and Kshemaka. Out of them Kshemaka the last son had a king in his line and that king was called Ashvapati. His kingdom was somewhere in the region today we call Nepal spreading to present day Bihar and Uttar pradesh. Ashvapati had twelve queens but no one could conceive a child. So he was without issue. According to the customs of those days a yadnya called "Putrakameshthi" was performed under the able guidance of vrushi Bhrugu. The Yadnya was successful and those 12 queens gave birth to 12 sons and one daughter. The daughter is famous for her penance to save her husband Satyavan. Her name was "(sati) Savitry".
Twelve sons had following names, Anuj, Dewak, Pruthu, Vrutuparpaaa, Jay, Sushibhnu, Sovaam, Sumant, Kaudinya, Manduk, Kushik, Martanda. These are the 12 heads of 12 surnames of the prabhu families. Since, Ashvapati was a suryavanshi these 12 families are suryavanshi.
In India along with suryavanshi kings somavanshi kings were also ruling. The most important amongst them was one called Pururavas. He had hundred sons. Out of those hundred sons one was called Bhanu. His line is concerned for prabhu link. The line is as follows,
Bhanu had only one son Nrupajit and after that each one descendant had also only one son, the line is, Tradhumadh, Indu, Dhrushtadyumna, Dharm, Kaam, Kaushik, Ranamandan, Sibhri, Baglaan, Vajra, Indumandan, Kampal, Salil, Dharmadhvaj. Dharmadhvaj had three sons and they are, Bhushan, Kanti and Pruthu.
Out of these kings up to Kampal (or kamapal)all kings are considered as Aryan kings and including Kampal following kings are considered as Nagvanshi kings. This is because, there were intermarriages going on amongst these royalties and when the blood line of Nagvansh exceeded that of the Aryans following kings are called Nagvanshi. Kampal had his kingdom somewhere around Assam, Bengal, Tripura region. Other kings had spread in the region of Brahmadesh, Chin. We see that region of influence of the two lines are very close to each other and this explains why they were intermarrying.
Pruthu in the Kampal line is important for prabhu community. He had fifteen queens and like Ashvapati he also did not have any issue. He also performed Putrakameshthi Yajna under the presiding authority of vrushi Vashishtha. He had 78 sons and eldest son of each wife is the head of each Somavanshi Prabhu families. There names are, Sham, Pruthu, brahma, Shripati, Paudarik, Vajradanshtra, Shripal, Shalmali, Parthiw, Vasuki, Surath, Gaj, Aandy, Sweth, Vansh.
The 12 Suryavanshi Surnames are enlisted here with other details which shows there Vedic links. Order of listing is, first in line man is mentioned then Gotra, family deity, and last is surname.
1) Anuj - Bhardwaj - Prabhavati - Rane,
2) Devak - Putamaksh - Kalika - Pradhan,
3) Pruthu - Vasitha - Chandika - Kothare,
4) Wrutuparpa - Kashyap - Mahalakshmi - Navalkar,
5) Jay - Harit - Yogeshwari - Patterao (this family is extinct),
6) Sushibhnu - Vrundvishnu - Indrayani - Dhurandhar,
7) Sovaam - Brahmajanardana - Kamaksha - Brhamandkar (this family is about to be extinct),
8) Sumant - Saunalya - Ekwira - Desai, Zaawabaa
9) Kaundinya - Kaundinya - Ambika - Nayak (this family gave last king of prabhu community, was defeated by sultan of Gujarat, brother-in-law of Aurangjeb), Dalavi
10) Manduk - Mandavya - Maaheshwari - Mankar
11) Kushik - Kaushik - Durga - Velkar,
12) Martanda - Vishwamitra - twarita - Vyavaharkar (this family is about to be extinct),
The 15 Somvanshi Surnames are enlisted here with other details which shows there Vedic links. Order of listing is, first in line man is mentioned then Gotra, family deity, and last is surname.
1) Sham - Shri chyawanbhargawa - Ekwira - Ranjit (this family is about to be extinct),
2) Pruthu - Gautam - Vajrayi - Gorakshkar,
3) Brahma - Shandilya - Vadajai - Rao,
4) Shripati - Devdatta - Jogai - Jaykar,
5) Paundarik - Martanda - Tarai - Dharadhar,
6) Vajradanshtra - Jamadagni - Jogeshwari - Talpade,
7) Shripal - Nanabhya - Kanaka - Kirtikar, Aagaaskar
8) Shalmali - Mugdal - Ghantai - Ajinkya (this family is about to be extinct),
9) Parthiw - Chanaksh - Chandika - Dhairyawan,
10) Vasuki - Bhargaw - Vadjai - Senjit,
11) Surath - Upamanu - Jatika - Vijaykar,
12) Gaj - Mahendru - Vajrai - Trilokekar,
13) Aandi - Paulasti - Jiteshwar - Prabhakar (this family is about to be extinct),
14) Sweth - Gargya - Ekwira - Vajkar (this family is about to be extinct),
15) Vansh - Vaishampayan - Harjai - Anandkar, Vaidya (this family is about to be extinct),
For all the 27 noted families Veda, shakhaa and sutra are common and they are Yajurved, Madhyanjani and Katyayani. Principal deity is Chandramaa for somavanshi and Surya for Suryavanshi. Deity for worshiping is Shri Madhaw for both. Kula-Guru is same for both Vashishtha. It is because of these similarities that the families are considered as a single community even though they belong to two different vansh (som and surya). Out of original 27 families only 17 are active, nine are dying and one is already extinct; as on 2000 AD.
Prabhu surnames are designations of royalties based on epithet of each families first man. Gotra is the name of the gurukul to which first man of the family went for education. The family deity is the principal deity of the gurukul. Deity of worship for the family is supposed to be Madhaw for both but present practice is to worship family deity (kul daivata) and not Madhaw (Lord Krishna). Pricipal deity (guiding deity of the vansh or clan) of Ashwpati is surya and of Pururav is Chandra are mentioned as principal vansh (clan) for their following generations respectively. Surnames have changed from "sen" suffix to "kar" suffix for example Kirtisen became Kirtikar, Jaysen - Jaykar.
Names of kula-Guru are actually ancient surnames of the vrushi families in which traditionally spiritual discipline continued; and that is why we find these names appearing at different periods. Often it is mistaken for name of an individual and that creates confusion.
About Confusion in two distinct Communities
There is always confusion about two distinct communities one called Pathare Prabhu and the other called Somavanshi Pathare Kshatrya also referred to as Panchkalashi & Choukalshi. Somavanshi Pathare Kshatrya are descendants of Satrapas who had settled in and around Rajasthan and Gujarat region. They were employed in the army of Pathare Prabhu rulers and so they had come very close to the community of Pathare Prabhu, sharing mutually some traditions. This makes lesser trained observers to feel that the two communities have common ancestry. Somavanshi Pathare Kshatrya men and women clearly show distinct handsome facial features of the Satrap clan while Pathare Prabhu men and women show facial features those are more similar to Bengaly and Nepaly people.
As for surnames, Somavanshi Pathare Kshatrya carry surnames indicating the posts they held in army. For example, Mhaatre, this is a very common surname and that means controllers of elephant army. Raavate, means horse riding warriors. It is traditionally believed that Somavanshi Pathare Kshatryas came along with Bimba Dev a Pathare Prabhu ruler in Konkan region and settled in and around Mumbai island. Many other surnames are indicative of the place where they first settled such as, Paralkar, Dadarkar, Soparkar etc.
There is no clear evidence but it is strongly believed that because this community of Kshatryas was with Pathare Prabhus and since they are of Somavansh collectively the community was identified as Kshatryas (soldiers) of Pathare Prabhus and so the name Somavanshi Pathare Kshatrya. Further research may give better understanding on this topic.
About Pratihari kings:
Very often due to lack of understanding of descend of different kingly families’ linkages, we put Puranic (kingly families mentioned in the Indian mythology) kingly families on pratihari heritage and visa versa. To avoid that given here is how these two classes of Kingships came into existence. This will help understand many confusing things about heritage linkages of different kingly families. We also see a third class of kings arising to power on the strength of their own power those kings will be call Shiledar kings. Founder of Vijaynagar Empire and also founder of Maratha raj in the later period are examples in point. Puranic kingly families are those who are mentioned in ancient literature of puranas. Pathare Prabhu comes under this class. We see that pratihari kings came to be in power at about two thousand years and after that. We do not see puranic kingly families in any prominence after that. One explanation is that many puranic kingly families were extinct due to no further progeny. In most of the cases after the death of the last king of that link the queens were appointed as head of the state. These queens preferred to have her guards as her adviser rather than conventional royal advisers. This was to avoid any insurgency and take over of the power from her by these courtiers. These guards were very much loyal to those queens and so that practice continued all over India. After the death of queen these guards took over as rightful kings. This process was helped by Brahmin priesthood. Brahmin priesthood was more comfortable with these shudra kings and had better control over the society with the help of these otherwise ignorant kings. They served as court advisers and gradually Brahmins replaced original kingly adviser in the due curse. During the rule of original kingly courtiers, Brahmins never had free hand in all the matters of the state. They were always questioned by the true royalties and Brahmins were subjected to answer them. When pratihari kings took over Brahmins became the authority everywhere! It is seen that during this period temple architecture flourished all over India. Many great temples were built and that was possible because Brahmins were the principal adviser to the shudra kings. They were called shudra kings because these guards (Pratihari means door keeper, attendant) were always from that class of people. They came from lowest cadre of soldiers. Brahmins invented funny procedures to convert these otherwise ignorant and ill educated kings as full fledged royalties. This rule of uneducated kings continued up to Maratha raj in Maharashtra. In H.P.Blavatsky’s chapter 6, Patara Prabhus, one such invented procedure is mentioned.
During Peshwa rule in Maharashtra, Peshwas had condemed pathare prabhus as one of these pratihari kings and ordered all Brahmins not to perform special religious ceremonies befitting puranic royalties (called kshatriya sanskar) at any of the Pathare Prabhu occasion on the pretext that this community is not pure royal blood; in the court of the sankar muth at shrungeri. Given here are some of the details of the case proceeding and in that the details of Pathare Prabhu community are authentically explained.
Most probably the proceedings are available at the library of chronicles at Shrungeri Muth in Karnataka and also at Karvir in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Original proceedings are in Kannada script and Sanskrit language. This information is based on the findings produced before the Sankarswami of Shrungeri Muth at the time of that case. The case was won by Pathare Prabhu people and Peshwas were ordered to keep their hands off the Prabhus. By the dictates of Sankarswami of the Muth.
In Maharashtra after fall of satvahan kings, came all pratihari kings and their dynasties are Vakatak, Chalukya, Yadav, Rashtrakut, chola, Kadamba, Shilahar, Paramar (not in order of ruling period) and many more. These kings encouraged building of temples and appeased Brahmins to keep them on their side as against true ruling class who was deposed. Also posts such as Deshpande and Deshmukh were created where Brahmins were placed to keep the power safely in their hands. This is how the power was passed from the hands of true royalties to shudra chieftains. When studying kingships or royalties in India this classification of different ruling families (puranic, pratihari and also Shiledar) helps understand many intricate things, those are recorded, properly. This is a subject by itself.
It is often found in many records prepared by some wrongly informed readers that Pathare Prabhus are rajput and they originally hail from Rajasthan. This is not possible since, the origin of this community is attributed to Ashvapati and Pururav (circa 700 BC) and the rajputs are people of Saka, Parthians and Kushan origin with some Hun blood who came in India at about 150 BC onwards.
Since, Ashvapati ruled region around Nepal and Pururav around Kamarup (Assam), we have to understand that Pathare Prabhus hailed from that region and that Pathare Prabhus are not rajputs. During the course of history of this community of rulers they did move to Rajasthan and Gujarat as conquerors but that does not mean that the community originally hails from that region.
- Shree Bhrugu sumhita
- Pattanprabhu Lekhamani by Shamrao Moroji Nayak (1862)
- Mahikavati Bakhar
- History of Shilahar Dynesty
- Nirmal Mahatmya Pothi