Monday, April 11, 2016

Some Random thoughts on Sagothra marriages

Some   Random   thoughts   on Sagothra  marriages

By
P.R.Ramachander
       When  we are   not able to arrange marriages    for our children,   we tend to think that  the fault    lies with the several systems that we follow  .For example  many people   believe   that they are  not able to get married  because  of  Astrological matching of horoscopes. There is not much evidence to support such beliefs but in spite of that  , if that  be the case  , there  is no harm   in stopping  astrological matching of horoscopes. Matching of  horoscopes  is not a caste rule  but depends on belief. Nobody compels any one   to match horoscopes before marriage, There is no mention of  marriage based  on horoscope matching in Puranas , sasthras , Rule books of caste etc.  So if we suspect that  our children are  not getting married    due to it and we  and  our children do not  believe in astrology  ,   the first thing would   be to discontinue the  practice of matching horoscopes.
        All the people   next point their accusing  fingers on sagothra  marriages. It is commonly understood that Gothra is the paternal lineage, which is important to Hindus of all shades except the group practicing matrilineal inheritance in Kerala. The Dharma sashtras, I understand also ban the marriages within Pravaras. Pravaras are important note worthy individuals among the ancestors of the Rishis who lead the Gothra. If we agree that sagothra marriages are not to be performed, then it is meaningful not to perform Sapravara marriages.  The advocates of this principle are not doing this because  they  are bothered about inbreeding depression. For these  self same people advocate  marriage of a girl with maternal uncle,  paternal aunt’s son , maternal  uncle’s son (all of them  belong to some  other  Gothra). Since this practice was considered as incest  in most of the northern parts  of  India, the constitution  makes such marriages legal  among people  of south India. Let us examine  the difficulties  created by sagothra marriages. Studies indicate   that  the  most populous Gothra  Bhardwaja   occupies 20%   of the general population. So even for them , they can search for a groom/bride  among the rest 80%  of the population  . Can this be considered    as a difficult   restriction?
Caste among Hindus in Dharma Sasthras depend on the mother rather than the father.  A Brahmin woman marrying a Brahmin , only begets a Brahmin child. If she marries outside the caste she gives birth to Chandala(with Shudhra), Sootha(With Kshatrya), and Vaidehaka(With Vysya). On the other hand the caste of the child born to a Brahmin father to the different caste mothers is same as the caste of the mother(Example four children of  different castes   of  king Samudra Guptha  who was a Brahmin) . But  Gothra   always goes from    father    to son , and that too  if a Brahmin marries a Brahmin,
  Another important point is that  Gothras   does not appear   to  be a population of   patrilineal cousins.  You would find   the same Gothra  in all parts of India, among all sub   castes among Brahmins  , Among those who follow   different Vedas  and Suthras etc. If they are indeed patrilineal cousins   can this happen if they are a  strict patrilineal   community. There  is also fact that  the word Gothra indicates   the place where  Cows were tied.  Thus did Gothra   consist of a pastoral community  whose cows were grazed together   and tied in the same place under leadership of sages because  there are several instances  of great sages   maintaining huge  population of cows. Possibly   when  these people settled down in different places for cultivation   or to  study of Vedas and Sashthras  , they might have started   the present  system of Patrinilineal community.
   I am as confused as  all of you are  but I have a feeling   that what we know about Gothras,  their sages, their pravara   rishis etc   is too little  (https://sanatanisrivaishnava.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/gotras-and-pravaras-of-smarta-and-sri-vaishnava-brahmins-angirasa-bharadwaja-garga-14-groups-of-sri-vaishnava-upanayana-brahmachari-grihasta-vanaprastha-pancha-samskari-ekangi-ekaki-deshant/ )   and following the present system does not cause  much hardship .Even  when I was a kid  sagothra marriages used  to take place (love marriages were not introduced   by present day youngsters but were present from Vedic  and Puranic times.The marriages were called Swayayam vara-self chosen)   by the girl being  given to her uncle’s  family in adoption. To my best  of my knowledge   all those  families are  living a  good life .

    Not being a religious leader   or  a Vedic scholar  , I am forced    to end   my write up  in this confused state.

1 comment:

C P Chandr said...

An unbiased view would arrive at the conclusion that gotra has more to do with your Acharya parampara. It is usually from father but it only indicates your ancestors studied under which rishis. Sagotra marriage cannot be performed because of rishi tharpanam performed by both persons to the same rishi make them notionally karma wise siblings not biological. It is possible to have same gotra but different caste. A biological relationship may not exist but by gotra they are brothers