Few days back you would have come across some news clips that Khap Panchayats were actually barring people marrying within the same Gotras. This went to the extent of encouraging honor killings, some politicians supporting it and most of the media and “rationalist” variety opposing it.
Curious to understand the origin of Gotra and the reason behind it I was reading some articles and came upon very interesting pieces which i thought would share here. Now the disclaimer would be that these are part of the Hindu scriptures and we always have a choice to discard them as mythology or read them with an open mind. I decided to stick to the later.
Lets start with few questions:
1. Are you aware that there was a stage when fire did not burn anything and everything like it does now and it started doing it after it was cursed?
2. Are you aware of an instance that a male sage was pregnant (by mistake) and delivered successfully through C Section millions of years ago?
3. Are you aware of the origin and history of ayurvedic vitalizer Chyavanprash? You would have heard as Dabur Chyavanprash or other brands as Chyavanprakasam etc?
4. Are you aware of a pregnancy that lasted 100 years + and also instead of it being in the uterus the fetus was preserved and nurtured in the thigh for about 100 years?
5. Do you know who generated Fire /Agni from water first?
If you are interested in any of them then read on.
Seven great sages:
I am sure you would have heard about Saptharishi or the 7 great sages in Hinduism. The constellation with 7 stars (Ursa Major aka Big Dipper) represents 7 great sages not only in Hinduism but also in many of the other far eastern texts like Chinese & Japanese. You can Google for further information. Even if you have not read about this, i am sure you would have seen this constellation in a clear night sky.
Here is a quick link of Wiki.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saptarshi
Gotra to my understanding signifies ones family / lineage and they are innumerable depending on which lineage you belong to. Everyone is assigned a Gotra whether we know it or not and the belief is that all these Gotra evolved from 7 sages Bhrigu, Angiras, Atri, Vishwamitra, Kashyapar, Vashishtar, Agasthiyar. Now the objection of the Khap leaders is essentially saying that you can’t marry from the same lineage for what ever reason. But side stepping this topic and coming to our questions some of the interesting aspects i read are as follows:
- Sage Bhrigu, who is son of Lord Brahma (born from Brahma’s Skin) is a very renowned and revered sage. Interestingly he is attributed with generation of fire from water. The scripture notes that the fire can produced from items like stones, leaves, space etc, but Sage Bhrigu is attributed with the generation of fire from water. Presence of Oxygen in water which is the basis of fire proves this theory today, but this was documented many years ago.
- It was believed that Agni / fire consumes only items which were offered to it after a Yagna. That means it was not burning anything other than that. This state changed when Sage Bhrigu cursed Agni that you shall consume anything and everything. The term he used is “Sarvapakshakan”. So why did the sage curse Agni?
- It is told that Sage Bhrigu instructed Agni to protect his wife Puloma from a demon during his absence and Agni neglected his duty and allowed the demon to carry Puloma. This invited the curse from Sage Bhrigu. Hence fire started to consume anything and everything from that day… so goes the story.
- Sage Bhrigu’s son is Sage Shyavanar again with great qualities and very respected. It seems that in those days invitation to a Yagna and receiving the produce of Yagna is a very exclusive thing. Sage Shyavanar once invited Ashwini devas for a Yagna and as per the protocol these Ashwini Devas were not supposed to attend. Yet the sage invited them for some reason and honored them with the produce of Yagna despite stiff opposition from his peers. Ashwini Devas are the doctors / ayurvedic experts for the gods and they pleased with the Sage gave him a potion to regain his youth and vitality. This medicine which Ashwini devas gave to Sage Shyavanar is called as “Shyavana pracha valeham”. Leham means Lehyam which is a medicine in thick gel form and the original ‘Shyavana Pracham” is what is currently branded, labeled and sold as vitality medicine.
- After Sage Shyavanar in the same family his successors started marrying from “Kshyatrias”/ warrior clan. If you read the scriptures then its clear that the Brahmins actually married from different caste without any problems and I am not sure why this is being made such an issue now. Some of the great sages had quick over night stands too. (You may be interested in this http://ragsgopalan.blogspot.com/2010/01/yours-weakly-part-22.html ). Some difference in opinion grew so strong that the Brahmins and Kshatriyas started fighting each other and no marks for guessing that all the Brahmins especially the kids / pregnant woman were killed to eliminate Brahmin clan altogether.
- Sage Shyavanar’s wife was pregnant and to escape being killed by the enemies she moved her fetus from Uterus to thighs and sustained / nurtured it there for about 100 years. The kid who was born after 100 years of pregnancy was called Sage Auravar”. Aurava signifies thigh.
- If you have heard of Sage Jamadagni, Lord Parasuram (Vishnu’s avatar) and Sage Vishwamitra – all of them are from the same Sage Bhrigu’s clan. This may also give you some idea as to why Lord Parasuram (grandson of Auravar) was against the Kshatriyas and eliminated 21 generations of them.
- But lets focus on another Sage called Angiras. Sage Angiras is again a son of Lord Brahma and you may be interested to know that Lord Rama (Raghu vamsa), Guru Dronacharya (of Mahabharata fame) are part of Sage Angiras clan.
- Sage Yuvanas (son of Sage Angiras) did a Yagna to beget a good son. The holy water which was to be given to Mrs.Yuvanas the next day was kept in the house. Sage Yuvanas by mistake drank that water in the night without knowing that this is the holy water that is capable of producing an offspring.
- Since the water was powerful there was no way the effect can be reversed. Ashwini Devas (the medical team) came to the rescue. This became the first male pregnancy in the history of mankind, successfully delivered to give birth through “C-Section” and Sage Mamdatha was born.
Rising above some of these interesting tit bits and studying the articles with a deeper contemplation reveals that:
- So called Hinduism has always stressed the importance of Intuition subordinating the Intellect, Experience subordinating Inflexible dogma, Inner realization taking precedence to outer expression and more importantly Conduct subordinating Creed / belief.
- Even the so called perfected souls / sages have faltered in their conduct not in our eyes with contemporary values but per the standards they had set for themselves. The so called “best of periods” did have brutality that is spine chilling.
- The effort has never been and never should be to create a common creed but align ourselves for a common quest.
Instead of using a brutal force imposing an opinion to develop blind faith in an inflexible creed, the society and more so the leaders need to inspire the community to aspire for experiential living and self realization.
Lets realize that the great ones have faltered and yet recognized the mistake and evolved out of it. Then the society and environment was open enough to allow these mistakes and corrective enough to put them back into the right path.
I think we need to be open enough to encourage the sinners to condemn the sin instead of condemning the sinners.
“There never was
There never will be
There is no now
A man for whom there is
All blame or all praise!”
As one wise man said “The muddy roots justify themselves with the gorgeous flowers…”
Lets long for a society where errors are seen as a sign of maturity and relive our lives When errors are seen as a sign of maturity…