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The 20 Gothrams

From: K. Srinivasan (
Date: Mon Aug 07 1995 - 07:01:39 PDT

>Date: 06 Aug 95 09:14:42 EDT
>From: "V. Sadagopan" <>
>To: Prapatti <>
>There are 20 Gothras. Each has its own three Rishis, which are referrred to in
>the Pravaram.I will list  the 20 Gothras/Pravaras and illustrate one of  the
>famous Gothras with details .
>1. Bharadwaja ------------------------------    Aankirasa, Bhaarhaspatya, Bharadwaja
>2. Shatamarshana  ------------------------    AAnkirasa, Powrukutsa,Traasatasya
>3 .AAtreya----------------------------------------Atreya,Aarchanaasa,Syaavaasva
>4 .Vatula-----------------------------------------Bhargava,Vaitahavya,Saavedasa
>5 .Srivatsa---------------------------------------Bhargava, Syaavana,AApnavaana,Owrva,Jaamadaghnya
>6. Kowsika------------------------------------Vaiswaamitra, AAgamarshana,Kowsika
>7. Viswamitra--------------------------------  Vaiswaamitra,Devaraata, Owtala
>8. Kowndinya-------------------------------- Vaasishta,Maitraavaruna, Kowndinya
>9. Harita----------------------------------------AAnkirasa, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
>10. Mowdkalya(3 Variations)------------(1) AAnkiras,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya                                                                  (2)Tarkshya,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya
                       (3) AAnkirsa, Dhavya, Mowdgalya
>11.Sandilya (2 Variations)-----------------(1) Kasyapa,Aavatsaara,Daivala                                                               (2) Kasyapa,Aavatsaara,Sandilya
>13.Kutsa-----------------------------------Aankirasa, Maandhatra,Kowtsa
>14.Kanva--------------------------------(1) Aankirasa, Ajameeda,Kaanva
>                                                            (2) Aankirasa, Kowra, Kaanva
>15.Paraasara---------------------------(1) Vaasishta, Saaktya, Paarasarya
>17. Gargi-------------------------(1) Aankirasa,Bharhaspatya,Bharadwaja,Sainya,Gargya
                                                (2) Aangirasa, Sainya, Gaargya
>18.Bhadarayana----------------Aankirasa,Paarshadaswa, Raatitara
>19.Kasyapa---------------------Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Daivala
>20.Sunkriti ----------------------(1) Aankirasa,Kowravidha,Saankritya
                                                  (2) Sadhya,Kowravidha,Saankritya
>Among the 20, based on an analysis of Pravaras, one can see the Aankirasa Rishi
>appears 12 times    including multiple versions. Aankirasa is the Rishi with
>whom more than half of the Atharva Veda samhitas a re associated. An analysis of
>the Rishis associated with the Veda Mantras will give info on the other Rishis
>associated with the twenty Gothras and their lineage.
>Sage Kanva is the father of Sakutala celebrated by Kaalidasa. Bhargava referes
>to the lineage of Bhrigu Maharishi, the foster father of Maha Lakshmi worshipped
>as Bhargavi. . I will now say  afew words about Shatamarshana Gothram. Natha
>Muni, Aalavandar(Yaamuna Muni) belong to this Gothram.Bharadwaja appears in
>Raamayanam .

>About Shatamarshana Gothram lineage, Before Shatamarshana: Ankiras,Purugutsar
>and Trasadasyuwere  all born in this Gothram. Shatamarshana gothris  are called
>Sreshtars or Sottai Kulam  people in Tamil. Aalawandar  refers to his reputed
>Lineage  referring to his grandfather Nata Muni & Shatamarshana thi s way:: "
>P.S; I wonder How many Gothras are represented in our Study Group . Mine is
>Vatula Gothram.

"sottai nambi" son of Alavandhar (great grand son of Nathamuni) , one of the 74 mudhalis,
could be the reason for the name "sottai kulam". { Perhaps he was bald in some usual part of
the head and was addressed that way!).

Question 1: I know that these 20 Gothrams covers Smarthas as well as Sri Vaishnavas. Does
it cover all other castes as well?

Among Sri Vaishnavas, I think the most common is "Sri Vatsa Gothram". (including mine).
All Chakravarthys are Srivatsa gotram.

Normally gothram is used to exclude marriage between people who trace to same
father's side lineage, however distant it may be. I think this concept is of North Indian origin,
introduced mainly to have high birth rate.

{Incidentally, an Iyer lady and Iyengar man friends of mine who got married, decided to
ignore the identical gothram, that they had! They had no common relatives for atleast a
1000 years!.}.

K. Srinivasan