Brahman divisions

S Krishna mahadevasiva at
Sun Jun 8 03:57:59 UTC 1997

>On an earlier post concerning various bits of "folklore" about the 
>of various brahman castes, I can only report that in sorting through 
>of these bits of "folklore" I never found a shred of verifiable 
historical            ----------------------------------------

 Dear Sir,
           May I take the liberty of asking you a question? When
you say that you didn't find a shred of evidence, are you saying
that the facts mentioned by the "Shayadri Khand" are wrong? If
so, I agree with you because the it seems to be a little fictional
to be true. The Konkanastha community themselves were "low
class Brahmins" before the Peshwaai and were mostly employed as
"Harkare"( spies) before Balaji Viswanath became the Peshwa.
The Sahyadri Khand itself mentions that the Konkanasthas were
descended from 7 dead bodies and that these dead bodies were
brought to life by Parashurama and that they acquired the name Chitpavan 
because they were purified(Pavan) by the fire( Chita).
To me personally speaking, all this seems a little far fetched
and I suspect that the writer/writers of the SAhyadri Khand
were more interested in proving that the Chitpavan community
had hoary origins than sticking to facts.
            On the other hand, if you mean that I got my facts
wrong as far as the alleged origins of these races are concerned,
I must tell you that I am only quoting other sources, who to
the best of my information, are well informed and know what
they are talking about( with respect to the origins of their community
as well as the Sahyadri Khand) . In addition to
Crawford, who mentions the very doubtful story about Karhadas
being descended from the bones of a donkey, Avinash Pandit,
who wrote an article in the "Illustrated Weekly" about the
Karhada community ( I am refering to the series of articles that
were brought out in the "Illustrated Weekly of India" about various
communities in India from 1970-1974, when Khushwant Singh was the 
editor) also mentions the Sahyadri Khand giving this story about the 
origins of the Karhada community. The only difference is that he refutes 
this story and tells us that the word "Karhada" comes from the word 
"Karad", a town in Southern Maharashtra.
   Since you yourself are an expert on the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin
community,I am sure that you are aware of the fact that Ramakrishna 
Gopal Bhandarkar objected to the fact that Gauda Saraswat Brahmins
had been classified under the heading "Shenvi" and not "Brahmin"
when the Government of Bombay brought about its tract on the 
classification of castes. The fact that some of the Gauda Saraswat
Brahmins were fish eating was repeatedly alluded to by the Chitpavan
Brahmins who thought of them as being inferior to them. I have discussed 
this issue of Gauda Saraswats with a Gauda Saraswat
Brahmin himself( i.e. one of impeccable credentials, his family has
been associated with the Kasi Matha since the last hundred years)
who assures me that the Sahyadri Khand DOES mention the fact that
an outcasted Konkanstha youth and a Shudra woman are responsible for
the origin of the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin race(Neither he nor
 any other GSBs that he knows subscribe to this theory)


>Frank F. Conlon
>Professor of History
>Director, South Asia Center
>University of Washington
>Seattle, WA 98195
>Co-editor of H-ASIA
><conlon at>

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