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Daivajna Brahmin…History, rituals and customs.

 

Namasthe to you all.

I am herewith narrating the history, rituals and customs of Daivajna Brahmin community. Being a Daivajna Brahmin, since my child hood I am practicing some rituals and customs which were taught by my parents, relatives & elders. Herewith I am narrating my own views about the community to which I belonged, if any thing in the following narration resembles any rituals and customs it is merely a coincident.

History of Daivajna Brahmin community:

The Daivajna (also spelled Daivadnya) community is a Hindu caste from the western coast of India, the Konkan. Languages spoken by members of the community include Marathi and Konkani. Historically the community has been known as sonars (goldsmiths); members of this community refer to themselves as Daivadnya Brahmins. The name daivadnya refers to an occupation of astrology that may have been practiced in the past. Brahmin traditions include style of clothing and practice of the thread ceremony; much like Bengali Brahmins and Saraswat Brahmins. As a whole, historically the community has been very well-educated and many have played prominent roles in Indian society.

It is believed that, Daiwajna Brahmins are originally from GOA. Due to Socio Economic reasons they migrated mainly to Konkan region (prior to Portuguese rule) i.e. from Rathnagiri to Cochin.

Goa was ruled by Mouryas up to the 7th Century, in 11th century Goa was under the rule of Kadambha Dynasty, in 1469 AD, it passed on to the hands of Bahamani Kingdom from the Vijaya Nagar Empire In 1482 AD, Yousuf Adil Shah King of Bijapur who was its obsolute ruler (observer). In 1510 AD, it became the possession of the Portuguese. In 1560 AD, Portuguese started mass conversion, demolished Temples. Hindus were not allowed to public exercise of their religion and not to speak Konkani.  On 18-12-1961, Goa became the part of the Indian Union and in May 1987 it has become the 25th State of India.

Daivajna Brahmins are Shaivas.  Sri Madhvacharya,  the founder of Dvaitha School of Vedanta (1238-1317 AD) as an initiator of Socio-Political and religious movements as the dynamic founder of surging devotional movement of India and to check foreign influences. In early part of the 13th century Sri Madhvacharya went on a second North Indian tour visited Goa, it is believed that many of the Shaivas came into the fold of Vaishnavas.

Sri Madhvacharya installed icon of Sri Lord Krishna in January 1278 AD and made arrangements for the Pooja of Sri Lord Krishna. Around 1298 AD he ordained eight bachelor boys to sainthood as in charge of separate Maths. Kumbhashi Math is one among them, 19th in the hierarchy was Sri Vagisha Theertha. Sri Vadiraja Swameeji (1480 – 1600 AD) is the successor to him.

An expert Swaranakara want to make an idol of Ganesh in Panchaloha he was surprised to find not Ganesha but an icon with the face of a horse, disappointed and unwillingly to waste any further time he threw it aside. That night he was advised in a dream to give it away to Sri Vadiraja, who had come to the town, the same day had similar dream in which he was instructed to collect the icon. The entire Daiwajna Community of Konkan region became ardent followers of Sri Vadiraja Swameeji.

It is believed that Sri Lord Hayavadana is one of the avatars of Sri Maha Vishnu. When Madhu and Kaitabha taken away the four Vedas from Brahma to Pathala Loka,  Lord Maha Vishnu took the Avatar of Sri Hayagriva and released the Vedas from them. In the second scanda of “Bhagavatha”, we come across about Lord Sri Hayagreeva as Brahma explains to Narada and in “Shanthi Parva” of “Mahabharata” it is mentioned about Sri Hayagreeva.

Sri Lord Hayagreeva holding Vedas, in his left hand and the finger directed towards his feets, Japa mala and Shanka(Conch) in other hands, the Abhaya Hasta signifies that to attain knowledge thorough Vedas and to perform duties accordingly, to attain Salvation, on surrendering him.

Sonda (Sode) is situated about 2000 meters above sea level, 20km from Sirsi in Utttar Kannada Dist of Karnataka. Sonda was once a royal city between 16th & 18th century under rule of Swadi Kings. Arasappa Nayak (1555-1599 AD). The Trivikram temple was built by Arasappa Nayaka, Sri Vadiraja Swameeji established a Muth here to spread the message of Sri Madhvacharya.

Language:
Daiwajna Brahmins speak Konkani it is an independent Language and have no script. Konkani included in 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution, 50 lakhs people speak Konkani in our country, 25 lakhs in Karnataka, 9 lakhs in Goa, 8 lakhs in Maharastra, 8 lakhs in Kerala and 4 lakhs in other parts of the country. Mainly Hindus and Christians speak Konkani. (This data is based on the previous census).

 

Customs:
When a birth takes place in a house, the whole family is considered unclean till the eleventh day; the priest gives them the five produces of cow, i.e. “Panchagavya”, to clean. During the first three days the child is nursed by giving it the end of a rag to suck, the other end of which rests in a saucer of rice broth and molasses. The mother is given salt less rice porridge and molasses for the first three days. On 11th day the cradle ceremony and naming the baby take place.

It is practice when the boy attains about 7 years the Thread ceremony i.e. Brahmopadesha, take place. The boy prostrates before his Father and touching his fathers feet with his hand beg, to be taught the Duties of a Brahman .The father taking the boy on his lap and covering himself and the boy with a white cloth, whispers in to his ear the Gayathri Mantra the sacred prayer to the Sun. (We come across Gayathri Mantra In 3rd marda as the 10th mantra in the 62nd Sukta in Rigveda.) After this the family priest girds the boys left shoulder and fastens another thread to the end of a staff of palas wood and hands it to the father of the boy who passes it to his son telling him that he is now a Brahman.

 

Marriage:
The girl’s parents propose the match and give girl’s horoscope to the boy’s parents to compare it with the girl’s, if the horoscope agrees then the parents settle the marriage. Then the boy’s parents go to the girl’s house and adorn her with flowers this ceremony is known as the “betrothal” or “soiriki”. They perform “Devakarya” to propitiate the family God, the pulse or “udid ceremony” to please Ganapathi. This ceremony takes place in both the houses.

On the fixed auspicious day of marriage ceremony the boy’s parents comes to girl’s house or place along with their relatives and friends, for the Marriage ceremony. First girl garlands boy and then boy garlands to the girl. Soon after this bride’s mother stand beside her husband to the right and pours libation water on the hands of the bride’s father as part of the oblation, Kanyadana to give away their daughter in marriage, Bridegroom ties the Mangalsutra to bride’s neck. In front of the sacred fire bridegroom’s brother offer rings to toes of the bride. Bridegroom holds hands of the bride and both walk seven paces before sacred fire this is called Sapthapathi, signifies that friend throughout the life may go be devoted to me. The grand marriage feast (community feeding), takes place. The bridegroom’s parents send their daughter to bride’s house.

Death:

In regard to the disposal of the dead the invariable is cremation but dead infants are buried. Eleventh day after death the “pretakalpa” of the “Garuda Purana”, “Sapinda Karma” that ought to be performed at the end of the year is performed on the 12th day. In order to be entitled to perform this ceremony, one has to offer sixteen “Masika Shardhas” on that day.

 

Festivals:
(1) New Year begins on Chandramana Yugadi Day, i.e. Chiatra Shukla Paksha Padya.
(2) Ashada Ekadashi falls on Shuddha eleventh day, people fast as usual on every Ekadashi, and have Mudras (seal made out of cooper or silver get heated in holy fire and get impressions on body) from Swamijis, it is common among Madhavas.

 (3) Rugu Upakarma is performed on a day when the moon is in the Asterism called Shravana; this generally takes place on the day of the full Moon. The sacred thread is exchanged after offering pooja in front of sacred fire. Sri Hayagreeva Jayanthi falls on this day and is performed.
(4) Married women perform pooja in front of Tulasi (Basil plant) with Chudis i.e. a bunch of five Garike (Synodon), flowers of red, yellow and violet colour are tied together and placed in betel leaves with Arcanut peaces. After the pooja these Chudis given to elderly ladies (“Aypanabaila” or called as “Suvasinis”) and take their blessings.

(5) Sri Krishna Janmasthami is celebrated on Shravana Krishna Paksha Ashtami Day.
(6) Gowri Thrathiya is in the month of Bhadrapada, Shukla Paksha, on this Day women prepare Vayeena, a set of cleaned coconuts decorated with Vermilion, Turmeric, Kajal and Sandal, with Sugarcane peaces of about 40cms of length, Betel leaves and Arcanut peaces, Cucumber, Bananas, Blouse peace and Vahanti. (i.e. small mirror, small wooden comb, vermilion, turmeric powder and sindhoor.) After the Vayeena Pooja, offering to Goddess Sri Gowri and distributed among elderly relative ladies.

Following day some times on same day is Sri Siddi Vinayaka pooja or it is called as Sri Ganesha Chathurthi is performed.

(7) Remembrance to deceased family members is during Mahalaya or it is known as Pithrapaksha, i.e. Bhadrapada Krishna Paksha. On new Moon day Amavasya Sarva Pithra Shraddha is performed.

(8) Navaratri:  Dasara:  On these nine days Goddess Sri Durga and Kuladevathas (family deities) are worshiped. On the 10th day of Ashvija Shukla Paksha Navami Vijayadashami, is celebrated, on this day the ears of the children are borred for the first time, children are taught alphabets, the new Crop Paddy is brought in to the house and after the pooja, it is tied to various important places of the house, a part of the new crop is being used in the feast. Suvasinis are honoured with “Vahanti” and take their blessings.

(9) Deepavali, the festival of lights is celebrated to honour Sri Laxmi goddess of wealth. Ashvija Bahula Krishna Paksha Trayodashi day evening Goddess Ganga worshiped, next day early morning people take oil bath and wear new cloths .On Amavasya Sri Laxmi Pooja and on Paadya cows are worshiped.

(10) Makara Sankramana (also known as, Makara Sankranti) the passage of the Sun into the sign of Capricorn. The following day it is Uttarayana punya kala.  People take holy bath in sacred rivers.

(11) Nagara Panchami,   (12) Uthana Dwadashi,   (13) Holy Tulasi Pooja (Basil),

(14) Sri Subramanya Shashti,   (15) Vaikunta Ekadashi, and (16) Maha Shivaratri are the other important festivals.

 

Temple / Car Festivals, Jathre, Fiars:

(1) On Shraavana Krishna Paksha Ashtami day Vitlapendi Temple Car festival in Udupi Sri Krishna Math (Mutt) is very popular.

(2) Vijayadashami Day in Tirumala Sri Lord Venkateshwara Brahmostavam is attended by thousands of Devotees.

(3) Ashvija Shukla Paksha Sankranti is, Tula Cauvery Sankaramana, Thirthodbhava at Tala Cauvary (Bhagamandala in Kodagu Dist of Karnataka).

(4) In Udupi from Karthika Shukla Paksha Dwadashi, three to four days Laksha Depotsavam, Car festival of Sri Lord Krishna is takes place.

(5) On Makarasankranti, Udupi Mooru Ratha (Sri Lord Krishna Temple three chariots are drawn in car street. This day pilgrims from various parts of the country take part in this temple festival.
(6) Udupi Sri Krishna Math (Mutt) Paryaya Mahotsavam is on Pushya Krishna Paksha Ekadashi day, i.e. among the eight Maths once in two years the duties of performing pooja of Sri Lord Krishna is changed, this transferring of charge is known as Paryaya Mahotsavam (Paryaothsava). Devotees from all over the world attend this function.

(7) Magha Shukla Paksha Navami is. Sri Madhvanavami. Having lived on earth for 79 years, Sri Madhavachaya departed for Badri; it is also believed that he vanished from this earth.
(8) Sri Guru Vadiraja Aradhane is held on Plaguna Krishna Paksha Chowthi (Chathurthi). Devotees from various parts of the country take part in this occasion in Sonda (Sode).

(9) Palguna Shukla Paksha New Moon Day in Sonda temple festival is held. This is a popular local annual week long fair cum Jathra called Sri Trivikrama Ratha.

Sri Krishnarpanamastu.  

 

Author:
K. Shrinath Shet (Anvekar), Udupi,
              BE, M.Tech, Dip. Journalism, MISTE.
Sr Lecturer in Engineering, Muscat,
Sultanate of Oman.
Email: shrinath_anvekar@yahoo.co.in
Mobile: 00968-92680317.