[INDOLOGY] Sāvarṇi gotra, Sāvarṇa gotra, and Śaiva dīkṣā name

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at aol.com
Sat Feb 3 02:52:58 UTC 2024

Dear Ganesan,

Thank you for your post.

I have been interested in the Savarṇas mentioned in Tamil inscriptions for quite sometime and have posted some messages on the Indology list sometime ago. Indeed, I had corresponded with Dominic Goodall related to his paper, “Saiddhāntika paddhatis I. On Rāmanātha, the Earliest Southern Author of the Śaivasiddhānta of Whom Works Survive, and on Eleventh-century Revisions of the Somaśambhupaddhati”, where on p. 196, he translates savarṇakulasaṃbhavaḥ. Rāmanātha obviously belonged to the community called Savarṇa.

My query is related to the Savarṇa kula in order to explore if there was any connection to the Sāvarṇa gotra. While there seems to have been a Vedic ṛṣi called Sāvarṇi, and the Sāvarṇi gotra might claim a lineage from him, the Sāvarṇa gotra is a mystery. Medieval Tamil inscriptions have several instances of Savarṇas with varous gotras being mentioned separately from Brahmins.  Today there does not seem to be any Savarṇa community. They seemed to have merged into the Brahmin community. Since the Sāvarṇa gotra is mentioned in connection with persons from north India, I wonder if the creation of the Sāvarṇa gotra was one attempt at brahminizing their lineage in the north.  Was that the reason the dīkṣā name of Umāpatideva alias Jñānaśivadeva had both śiva and deva relating to the brahmin-kṣatriya parentage? 


The Pullūr plates and Taṇṭanoṭṭam plates are in the book ‘Thirty Pallava Copper Plates’, 1966, The Tamil Varalatru Kazhagam, Madras. For the Kahla plate, see Kahla plate of the Kalachuri Sōḍhadeva; [Vikrama-] Samvat 1134, EI, vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 85-93. For Umāpatideva alias Jñānaśivadeva, see ‘The Pallavarayanpettai Inscription of Rajadhiraja II’, EI, vo. 21, no. 31, pp. 184-193. 





From: Ganesan T <ganesan at ifpindia.org>
Date: Friday, February 2, 2024 at 3:35 AM
To: Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan <palaniappa at aol.com>
Cc: indology list <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Sāvarṇi gotra, Sāvarṇa gotra, and Śaiva dīkṣā name


Dear Sri Palaniappan,

It is very interesting to know about the  Sāvaṛṇa/ Sāvaṛṇi gotra mentioned in the inscriptions.

I am not sure about the existence of such a gotra.

But, in the  Naṭarājapaddhati, a Śaiva[siddhānta] ritual manual composed in the Tamil country in the 11th century CE (one century earlier that the well known paddhati composed by Aghoraśivācārya ), which I, along with my colleague  am critically editing for the first time based on a single manuscript  (the 1st volume will soon be going to the press), its author Rāmanātha  states that he was born in the  savarṇakula. 

According to the Suprabhedagama, one of the 28  Śaiva Mūlāgama-s, a person born of marriage between a brāhmaṇa man and a kṣatriya woman where the rituals are performed by reciting the [appropriate] mantra-s, is known as a ‘savarṇa’ 

It is also stated there that savarṇa is one among the anuloma- varṇa-s.  

I have given these details in my introduction to the edited text.


I am not sure how far this information will be useful for you or in any way clarify your doubts.


I just wanted to share this information with you.


Best wishes




Research Associate
Saiva Agama & Saivasiddhanta
French Institute of Pondicherry
E mail: ganesan at ifpindia.org
Web: www.ifpindia.org 

On Tue, Jan 23, 2024 at 11:03 PM Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

The Pullūr plates and Taṇṭantōṭṭam plates of Pallava king Nandivarman II of 8th century CE mention a few Brāhmins belonging to Ṣāvarṇi gotra and Chandoga sutra. The Kahla plate of Soḍhadeva of 1077 CE mentions a Brahmin belonging to Sāvarṇa gotra and Chandoga śākhā. A stone inscription from Ārpākkam of Cōḻa Rājādhirāja II of the second half of the 12th century CE mentions a Śaiva teacher with the name Umāpatideva alias Jñānaśivadeva who belonged to the Dakṣiṇarāḍha of Gauḍadeśa and Gaṃgoḷi Sāvaṛṇa gotra. Do Sāvarṇi and Sāvarṇa refer to the same gotra? Given the -deva part of the dīkṣā name of the Śaiva teacher, could he still be a Brahmin?


Thank you in advance for any clarifications.




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