Vaidiks & Vedic Religion

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 13 23:06:32 UTC 1999

----Original Message Follows----
From: Swaminathan Madhuresan <smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: Vaidiks & Vedic Religion
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 08:43:13 -0700

Sri Swaminathan wrote:
Thanks to Vishal for the explanation of Agrawal caste lore.
Are Agra (Taj Mahal city) and Agarwals connected?

Vishal writes:
No. Agra derives its name from the ancient Saivite temple (no longer extant)
of Agresvara. This was one of the "Pancha Mahadeva" temples in the region.
Of the remaining 4, one was at Aligarh (called Koil in ancient times), one
at Meerut (now extant and called the Pura Mahadeva temple) and I do not know
about the whereabouts of the other two. These 5 temples are linked with the
cult of the Kawarias who survive to this day and worship at the Meerat
temple. My local residents of Agra (including my relatives who have been
living there from several generations) firmly believe that the Taj Mahal
stands at the site of the ancient Agresvara temple.

Sri Swaminanthan wrote:
The caste origin myths resemble those of the Tamil CheTTiyar
castes, (Sanskritized Shresti) and Telugu Gomati (Arya Vaishya) myths.
These castes are not Vaidiks in a big way out in the South.
How is the word bania (vANiya in Sanskrit??) derived?
Are ta. vaNikam, vANipam related to equivalents in sanskrit?
Borrowings, which way??

Vishal wrote:
Our elders told us that the name 'Bania' (by which we are commonly known) is
derived from the Sanskrit word 'Vanik'. We are also told that the Banias of
Bengal are 'Benis' (Example- Beni Madho- the famous freedom fighter), that
of Gujarat are the Patels, Gandhis, Shahs, Mehtas etc. (for instance, one of
the nick names of Mahatma Gandhi was 'The Bahadur Bania").  However, all
North Indian Vaishyas are not Baniyas. For instance, the Mahesvari subcaste
found in Rajasthan. In my expiences, the Shettys and Benis do feel very
happy when they meet an Agarwal like me :-) and state that we belong to the
same community.

In an email, someone had mentioned the name 'Kundu'. We know a family of
Kundus who are Bengali Brahmins that had settled in Multan (now in Pakistan)
during the British rule and subsequently came over to Delhi.



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