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The Gaud Sarswat Brahmins of Mumbai

Very soon I will be shooting the Faith of my Hindu brothers the GSB Community at Kings Circle Ganshotsav Festival and my timeline is a timeline of respect to all faith religiosity ,, I dont think my Faith ever taught me to disrespect my neighbors faith I strengthen my own faith through showing respect to my neighbors Faith .. This is what my Imam taught me ..


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Goud (also spelt as Gowd or Gaud) Saraswat Brahmins (Devanagari:गौड सारस्वत ब्राह्मण, Kannada:ಗೌಡ ಸಾರಸ್ವತ, Malayalam:ഗൌഡ സാരസ്വത) are a Hindu Brahmin community in India and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community. They are popularly referred to as GSBs. They are Konkani people and primarily speak Konkani as their mother tongue.They claim their origin to the Brahmins who lived on the banks of the now extinct river Saraswati of upper Punjab or Kashmir. They derived their name from either the river Saraswati or from their spiritual leader Great Sage Saraswat Muni who lived on the banks of Saraswati. These Brahmins were one of the Pancha Gowda Brahmin groups who lived north of the Vindhyas. They belonged to Smarta tradition and primarily worshiped the five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Throughout the course of history, the Saraswat Brahmins have migrated to a variety of locations and are found mostly in Western coast of India.[1]


Saraswat muni(who was a devotee of Goddess Saraswati) once was in need of disciples to spread his teachings and knowledge to various parts of the world. However he could not get students who were capable of the task. So he prayed to Goddess Saraswati to help him. Pleased with his devotion the Goddess gave him fourteen sons. Each of them had a name and the same is used by his descendents as their surname. Each of these sons had characteristics according to their names. They were taught by the sage and sent to different parts of the world with certain objectives. The Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and even the Bhavisyottara Purana. Eiher they may have come from Central Asia to the Indian sub-continent through the Hindu-Kush mountains and the Khyber pass to south in about 2000-1500 BC or they were Indigenous.[1] The meaning of the word 'Saraswat' has more than one origin. One refers to 'offspring of Saraswati'[citation needed] , the Goddess of learning applied usually to learned and scholarly people. It may also denote the residents of Saraswati river basin. The Brahmins of this region who are referred to as 'Saraswats' in Mahabharata and Puranas were learned in Vedic lore[citation needed]. They concentrated on studying subjects like astronomy, metaphysics, medicine and allied subjects and disseminating knowledge[citation needed]. To trace the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins' ancestry from Kashmir to Goa,story of famous seer "Saraswata" is considered,when there was a famine in north India,he continued to recite vedic texts by consuming fishes.[2]


Due to geo-morphosis in the Himalayas, the Saraswati began to dry up and the Saraswats were forced to migrate to greener pastures. Some went to Kashmir in the north, others went eastwards. Few made their way to the Konkan and Goa. These came to be recognized as Goud Saraswats or Dakshinatya Saraswats, to distinguish them from other Saraswat groups of North.


The new immigrants were called 'Goud' because they were followers of Monism or Advaita as preached by Shri Goudapadacharya, who was guru of Shri Govinda Padacharya whose direct disciple was the great Shri Shankaracharya, who resurrected Hinduism or Vedic religion in India. Shri Gaudapadacharya Mutt, first mutt of Saraswats dedicated to the memory of Goudapadacharya was established in Keloshi (Quellosim) in Goa in the 8th century AD. and later moved to Kaivalyapura or Kavale in Goa as the mutt at Keloshi was destroyed in 1564 AD. by the Portuguese rulers. To this day, the swamis of Kavale math are known as Goudapadacharyas. Kavale Math is Goud Saraswat Community's Adimath (first math) and three main sub-sects of Dakshinatya Saraswats, viz., Sashtikar (Dorke including Bardeshkars like Divkar), Shenvis (Karbharis), and Chitrapur Saraswats (Bhanaps) were all known as Goud Saraswats or Konkani Brahmins till three-hundred years ago. Other Saraswat subsects include Pednekars, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins and Balavalikars.Daivadnya Brahmin is also considered to have the same mindset .


In the 13th century, Dwaita (Vaishnava) philosophy advocated by Madhvacharya became popular and many Saraswats adopted vaishnavism. They continued to worship the deities they brought with them from the North. These were 'Mahan Girish' or Mangueshi, Shakti or Shanta durga, Vishnu, Ganesh and Surya. They form the 'Panchayatan' or five deities, sacred to all Saraswats.


Goud Saraswats were in all the kingdoms of the western coast under different dynasties right from 6th century AD. Kadamba, Rashtrakuta, Hoysala, Chalukya Shilahara and Vijayanagara kings had given important posts to Saraswats. There were admirals, treasurers, ambassadors, army chiefs and foreign language-interpreters among them. They were famous traders, who conducted maritime trade with Eastern and Western countries of the contemporary world. The spoken language of Saraswats is Konkani.


The Portuguese traders followed by Christian missionaries. Forcible conversions[citation needed] began to take place under the Portuguese Royal Patronage[citation needed] in 1560 AD. Most of the Saraswat families left Goa with their family deities, risking life and limb. They settled down in the adjoining Hindu principalities. New temples came up in the coastal districts of Karnataka for Saraswat deities. As time passed, the idols were taken back to newly constructed temples in Goa. They are not in the original ancient spots, where churches were built[citation needed], destroying earlier temples[citation needed]. Many people migrated to Kerala and built temples mainly dedicated to Vishnu and his different avatars. The first Vaishnava Saraswat Math of Gokarna Math lineage was established in the year 1475 AD in Varanasi. The origin of Gokarna Math comes from the lineage of Sri Palimar Math, one of the eight Maths established by Sripad Madhwacharya in Udupi.[3] Kashi Math at Kochi came up in 1560 AD. All the Vaishnav Saraswats (Madhwa) are Kulavis (followers) of either Kashi Math or Gokarna Math. 'Smarth' Saraswats owe allegiance to either Kavale Math or Chitrapur Math.


Saraswats continued to hold important posts under Keladi or Nagar rulers. Many families who emigrated from Goa settled down in smaller towns and villages in Shimoga, South and North Kanara Districts. Saraswats were the first beneficiaries of English education introduced in 1840 AD[citation needed] .


he GSB population is estimated to be around three hundred-thousand.


The Goud Saraswat Brahmins, in the course of their migration settled on a small strip on the west coast of India in the present day Goa. This is evident with many of the temples of the Kuladevas being located in Goa. Over time, facing religious persecution by the Portuguese, they moved further south to coastal Karnataka and Kerala. They are found all over the west coast of India ranging from Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, most of them having their deities in Goa. They are all linked together by the common Konkani language. Konkani has been substantially influenced by local languages in each of the regions.


Gaud Saraswat Brahmins are categorized by Last name (indicating profession), Gotra (lineage) or Math (spiritual guru).



Goud Saraswat Brahmins speak primararily Konkani as their mother tongue. The Konkani they speak is slightly different from the Konkani spoken by other communities such as the Catholics, Navayaths, Siddis etc. The Konkani spoken by Goan Saraswats, Karnataka Saraswats and Kerala Saraswats is also different. The Konkani spoken by Karnataka Saraswats has borrowed loan words from Kannada while the Konkani spoken by Kerala Saraswats has borrowed loan words from Malayalam and speak with a corrupted Malayalam accent. This was due to several centuries of domicile by the Saraswats in these areas.


However the usage of the language by the community is on the decline due to the following factors-


In Goa, the Portuguese discouraged the usage of Konkani in Goa and imposed Portuguese language as official, leading to its decline in Goa[citation needed].

In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, the usage of Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam respectively was preferred in place of Konkani.

The need for usage of English and Hindi languages has also contributed to this decline.


The sub-sects of the Goud Saraswats


Bardeskars/Bardezi (Saraswat Brahmins who settled in "Bara Desh"(12 countries) region of Ancient Goa, in mordern day called as Bardez Taluka)

Bhalavalikars/Rajapur Saraswat Brahmin ( Saraswat Brahmins who left Goa during Portuguese inquisition, and settled in Rajapur, Maharashtra)

Shenavi/Karbhari (Shenvi,Wagle,Pandit,Kakodkar, Borkar, Nagarsekar, Patki,Rajadhyaksha,Ginde,Satoskar,,etc.)

Sashtikars (Saraswat Brahmins who settled in 'Sashti'(sixty-six villages) region of Ancient Goa, in mordern day called as Salcette Taluka)

Bhanap/Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin (Chandavarkar, Benegal, Karnad, Haldipur, Padukone, Nadkarni etc.)

Kudaldeshkar ( Saraswat Brahmins who settled in kudal desh )


Most of the Saraswat settlements including the Chitrapur Saraswats and Shenvi/Karbhari were in settled Bardez and Salcette Taluka.

GSB Muths

Kashi Math, Walkeshwar branch, Mumbai.


Sri Kashi Math (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh) - Belong to the Dvaita School with Madhva Sampradaya

Sri Chitrapur Math (Shirali, Karnataka)- Belong to the Advaita School with Shankaracharya as Adi Guru

Gokarna Mutt (Partagal-Cancona, GOA) - Belong to the Dvaita School with Madhva Sampradaya

Shri Gaudapadacharya Math (Kavale, Ponda, Goa)- Belong to the Advaita School with Shankaracharya as Adi Guru

Dabholi Math (kudal, Maharastra)- Belong to the Advaita School with Shankaracharya as Adi Guru

he Goud saraswat Brahmins wherever they migrated mingled with the local people, but kept their identity by their Surnames even today. The most popular surname among GSBs is Kamath Those in agriculture were called Kamathi. Mathi means soil and Kama is work, that is working in soil ( Kama + Mathi). Later this became Kamath.


The surnames of GSBs are mainly two types.


The village names of Gomantak where they settled originally or migrated. This practice is prevalent among Rajapur saraswats. They have surnames like Salkar, Asgaonkar, Bandivadekar, Madkaikar, Borkar, Sakhalkar, Sawerdekar, Haldwanekar, Chimbalkar, Navelkar, Marathe, Lotlikar, Salwankar, Karlekar, Burake, Bhagav,Bhatkar, Tendulkar, Tergaonkar, Patkar, Juvale, Dhonde, Shinkar, Shendre, Shetye, Bokade, Takur, Gawade, Potkar, Askekar, Shenai, Gavalkar, Shembekar, Lanjolkar etc. which are the original local village names of Gomantak. The word 'Kar" means "From" or citizen of. Thus kakodkar means person from village kakod. Kar is also a surname of viswabrahmins of bengal. This enabled one to identify the profession and the domicile.

Surnames indicating the profession adopted by the Saraswats like Pai, Purohit, Nayak etc.


Shenoy- Originally for the Shenvis in Goa. Since most of them took up Administrative jobs they were called Shanbhags (officers) which later became Shenoy.

Pai- Pai in Konkani language means foot or leg. The common person who had not amassed wealth or power was known as Pai.Their job was menial in maintaining ledgers and doing odd jobs. The Pai who was mainly ledger keepers.

Kamat - Those in agriculture were called Kamathi. Mathi means soil and Kama is work, that is working in soil ( Kama + Mathi). Later this became Kamat.

Keni, Kini- Those who cultivated herbs were Kinvis, presently called Kini or Keni.

Vaidya- Those who prepared the concoction was prepared and dispensed it

Hegde- The animals required for tilling, transportation and other works were under Haya- Gade (actually Horse tenderer), modernized to Hegde. One more realistic origin of this surname is in Kannada and this surname is used by GSBs in Karnataka. He-gade (Hiriya Gade or head man in Kannada) possibly was heading a village or a settlement. A similar surname of Hegde is followed by other communities in coastal Karnataka like Havyakas, Bunts and Jains.

Nayak, Rao- Those worked as Army commandants were called Nayaks. Some Nayaks who were honoured by the King with titles like Ravubahadur adopted Rao as their Surname

Baliga - The daily requirements of every family for survival, presentations, etc. were the responsibility of the Ballo. There is another theory that the foot soldier with a spear was called Ballo. The soldier Ballo (Baliga) was under the command of Nayak.

Prabhu - Feudal lords called themselves Prabhu. He lived in a palatial home called mahal, and the caretaker was known as Mahalyar, presently modernized to Mallya.

Acharya, Bhat and Vadhyar- The poojas in the big temple and its rituals were under Acharya, and in small temples conducted by Bhat. Every family had exclusive priest to perform the rites, and he was the family Purohit and was called Vadhyar.

Mahajan- The temples were administered by Mahajans

Bhandarkar, Divkar- Stores and godown keepers were called Bhandari or Bhandarkar.

Nadkarni, Kulkarni- A person maintaining statistics was called Karni. Land was called Nadu, and the person maintaining land records was known as Nadkarni, and Kulkarni maintained census, and social register.

Bhakta - Doing odd jobs in temples and poojas.

Shanbhag- Shanbhags were mainly Clerks doing administrative jobs as well.


In Karnataka, the village of refuge was used as a prefix to call oneself Padbidri Mohandas Prabhu, or Kinnigoli Ramanath Kamath. The kerala civilization induced the name of the house or the exact area rather than the village, and in some places, the present profession was also added to the name. So we have today, Thayyil Muralidhar Kamath (Thayyil means tailoring house), or Kannaparambil Gopalakrishna Pai (Parambil means garden or farm belonging to kannan).


Today the name has no links with the profession. However the GSBs still retain their Surnames down the generations.[4][5]


Other GSB surnames include Barbu, Dalvi, Dangi, Dempo, Desai, Padiyar, Sardessai and Shama.[6] For a list of surnames, refer List of Goud Saraswat Brahmin surnames.


Like most Hindu communities, the Gowda Saraswat Brahmins have rituals which occur throughout the life cycle.


During the 8th month of pregnancy, a woman moves to her mother's house, especially during the birth of her first child. The expecting mother also performs Ganapathi Pooja for a successful delivery and a healthy child. On the 6th day, a pen and lamp are kept near the child's head, symbolic of a wish for an intelligent child. On the 12th day, the naming and cradling ceremony is performed wherein the paternal grandmother whispers the child's name into his/her ear and a horoscope is cast.[7] When the child turns 3 months old, a visit to the temple is done and thereafter, the child goes to the father's abode.[8]



On eleventh day of child birth barso is held. If done with homa (holy fire - havan), it is called Barso homa. Childs ears are pierced, child is named and cradled on this day.



When the child is 2 years, before he completes third year the "Chawla" (Child's first hair cut) ceremony is held. Like Barso, Munji, marriage and last rites, Chawla is one of the samskara's child will undergo being a GSB.



When the male child turns 8 years old, the Munji (Konkani word for Upanayanam) is performed. In this ceremony, the jannuvey or the sacred thread is placed on the left shoulder of the child. From that day on, he becomes an official member of his caste, and is called a dwija (translated in English as "twice-born"). In ancient times, the boy was sent to gurukula to learn Vedas and scriptures. The boy was expected to practice extreme discipline during this period known as brahmacharya. He was expected to lead a celibate life, living on alms, and surviving on selected vegetarian saatvic food and observing considerable austerity in behaviour and deeds. On completion of the thread ceremony the boy will be eligible to go to gurukula which is available in 4 places across India i.e. Kashi Mutt Gurukula / Patashala at Mangalore and Mulki, Gokarn Mutt Gurukula at Partagali and Kavale Mutt Gurukula at Goa. Priests will be studying at anyone of these gurukulas. Normal members of GSB Community study here. The thread is changed every year in a festival known as Sutta Punav in the Hindu month of Shravan and under different circumstances like Suthige etc.


Some of the main rituals in a GSB munji are Devatha Prarthana, Ganapathi Puja, Udada Murthu, Matrubhojan, Yajnopavita Dharana, Brahmachari Agnikaryam, Savitri Upadesha, Danda Dharana, Matrabiksha etc.[9]



A typical GSB marriage consists of the following events - Varan Appoche, Nandi, Nishchaithambul, Yedur Kansnani, Urdha Murthu, Kashi Yatra, Lagna, Havan Purnavati, Chautanan, Tulsi Puja and Mandal Virajan.[10]

Death Ceremonies


The other extremely important rituals for the GSB's are the death ceremonies. All GSB's are cremated according to Vedic rites, usually within a day of the individual's death. The death rites include a 13-day ceremony. The ashes of the departed are immersed at a confluence of two rivers (sangam) or the sea. Like all other Hindus, the preference is for the ashes to be immersed in the Ganges river or river Godavari. There is also a yearly shraddha that needs to be performed. These rituals are expected to be performed only by male descendants (preferably the eldest son) of the deceased.



See List of Festivals of Goud Saraswat Brahmins


GSB's celebrate almost all festivals in Hinduism. They follow the Hindu Lunar calendar, almanac to be specific which is known as Panchang in Konkani, that gives the days on which the fasts and festivals should be observed.[11]


Main article: Saraswat cuisine


Most of the GSB's including Chitrapur Saraswats and some Rajapur Saraswats are vegetarian. Their food is usually without onion and garlic. However some GSB's from North Kanara, Goa and Maharashtra are piscovegetarian (fish eaters). The inclusion of fish in the diet is not looked upon as Non vegetarian. Legend has it that when the Saraswati River dried up, the Saraswats who could not farm, were permitted to eat sea food/fish. The fish were euphemistically called Sea Vegetable or झळकें from ( जल काय -Jal Kaay). However they too eat only vegetarian food without onion and garlic on festival days and on Mondays, which is auspicious for Lord Shiva. The recipes use large amounts of coconut and spices. Rice is the staple food of all GSB's.


Some of the special recipes of GSB's are-


Daali thoy (Konkani dal. Most famous recipe of the GSB's)

Beebe-upkari (cashew based)

Val val (Mixed vegetable stew, adapted from the French[12])

Patrode (Colocasia leaves in spicy batter)

Chana Ghashi (Chickpeas in coconut gravy)

Kadgi chakko (Raw jackfruit side dish)

Avnas ambe sasam (Pineapple mango gravy)

Patoli(coconut and jaggery in turmeric leaves)

Muga mole randayi(Sprouted moong daal side dish)



Kuldevtas are considered of utmost importance to the GSB's. Normally Saraswats who follow the Advaita Sampradaya believe in the concept of "Panchayatan" - worshipping 5 gods like form of Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Surya and Ganapati. Some GSB Temples still maintain this concept, while others which follow Madhva Sampradaya believe in Lord Hari being supreme and parivara devatas being the Lords Devotees and hence they have main deity installed in the main sanctorum with 4 parivara devatas around. "Kuldev" or "kuldaivat" are the deities which a set of families primarily worship. Their temples are built and maintained by these families, also called "Mahajans" (or Kulavis) of their respective temple.


Many Kuldevs/Kuldevatas are situated in Goa. However, during the early Portuguese persecutions, many Saraswats fled Goa along with their Kuldevs to nearby regions of Maharashtra & Karnataka. Hence, besides Goa, there are many GSB Temples in Maharashtra (Konkan side like Malwan, Vengurla, Savantwadi, Kudal, Ratnagiri, etc.). The Saraswats of Goa are predominantly the worshipers of Shiva and Durga, though many of them have got converted to Vaishnavites but they still retain their worship to their ancestral shavaite and vedic deities.


Many Saraswats have a strong faith in Durga and continue to pay respect and tribute by either taking part in festivals or some other occasions relating to Durga. Every Saraswat Brahmin has a system of worshipping two deities amongst which one is a Pallavi or supporting deity. Majority of the Saraswats have some or the other aspect of Durga included in their Family Deity. It can be Shantadurga, Aryadurga, Mahamaya, Vijayadurga or Mahalakshmi.



See Gotravali of Goud Saraswat Brahmins


Every GSB belongs to a particular gotra. Gotra can be roughly said to be a clan. The gotra are names of great sages or rishi's of Hindu religion. Hence gotra indicates to sage to which a brahmin belongs to. Marriage is not allowed between bride and groom if both belong to same gotra. This might be to avoid same blood group marriage, as it is believed in old days, people of same gotra belong to same family.


GSBs belong to following Gotras:











Vishwamitra (Kamshi)

Shankha Pingala (Kamsa)






Garga cf. Gaygeya




Notable GSBs


Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSBs) have made significant contribution to a variety of fields like literature, business, sports, cinema, law, etc. For a list of notable individuals belonging to GSB community (including its sub-communities) refer List of Prominent Goud Saraswat Brahmins


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Taken on August 31, 2011