Brahman: Bengal

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Brahman: Bengal

This section is an extract from


Ethnographic Glossary.

Printed at the Bengal Secretariat Press.
1891. .

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Tradition of origin

Bdman, Bipra, Dwija, Thdkur, Sanna, Deva-Sanna, Bhudeut, Bhusu1', Agraja , Maharajji,Babaji,Gosainji The highest of three twins born castes, originally the priests of the Aryan community, and now engaged in various professions and following all respectable means of livelihood, except those involving personal or ceremonial pollution. Ooncerning the origin of the caste there has been much discussion, and it is hardly possible to speak of it without to some extent touching upon the vexed question of the origin and development of the caste system itself. Orthodox tradition as expressed in the so¬called Institutes of Manu, in the Mahaharata, in the Puranas, and in the Jatimala or Garland of Castes, refers the evolution of the four original castes to a special act of creation, whereby from the mouth of the Supreme Being prooeeded the Brahman, from his arms the Kshatriya, from his thighs the Vaisya, and from his foot the Sudra. Each of these orders had their special function in life assigned to them according to their natural aptitudes.

To the Brahman the knowledge and teaching of things divine; to the Rshatriya defence of the land from its enemies; to the Vaisya pasture and tillage of the soil; and to the. Sudra the duty of doing willing service to the higher ranks. In the Purusha-Sllkta hymn of the Rig Veda we find a more fanciful and mystic variant of the same legend. The gods drag the primeval man (pl.trusha), regarded apparently as the micro¬cosm or type of all mankind, to the sacrifice, and hew him into four pieces, which, according to the dignity of the members as in the former legend, become the four castes. Another account of the matter is given in the Mahabbarata :-In the beginning, says Bhrigu, there was no distinction of castes or colour. All men were Brahmans.

Created by Brahma on one model, their own actions served to divide them. Brahmans who yielded to the desires of the senses, who gave themselves up to anger and pride,¬these, reddened by anger, became Kshatriyas; others who followed after pasture and agriculture grew yellow and were Vaisyas; others again, hasty. mendacious, and immoral, wholly lost their pristine purity, became black, and were turned into Sudias. A third legend seeks to bring the rise of the caste system into some sort of genealogical relation with the heads of ancinnt tribes and families of the Vedic era. This story represents the mythical Manu as the father of all mankind, and ascribes to his sons or grandsons the formation of the four castes. Members of the race of the Sun are mentioned, who became Brahmans-" Kshatriya by birth, Brahman by profession"-as the legend puts it; while the Saunaka of the race of the Moon, the descendants of Pururavas, became Brahmans, Kshatriyas, or Vaisyas, according to their degree of personal merit. In another place we hear of a mighty king, named Bali, to whom Brahma delegated authority to found the caste system.

These and similar legends, however destitute of historical aCC1.ll'acy, serve nevertheless to throw some light upon the probable origin of the caste system generally, and of the Brahman caste in par¬ticular. They make it clear that early Indian tradition assumes the substantial unity of the Aryan race; that it looks upon kings alld priests as men fashioned of the same substance, and on the distinctions of caste as having been gradually evolved rather than created before the beginning of time.

Caste then, at least in the rigid form in which we now know iL, is an institution of comparatively late origin. During Vedic times, though the germ of Brahmanism may be traced in the relations between the pttrohita and the maghavan, the separation of classes wa.s no sharper than naturally arose from differences of occupation; and with the exception of a single hymn of later origin, the testimony of the whole body of Vedic literature as interpreted by modern soholars is adverse to the existence of a clearly-defined hierarchy of endogamous castes. Even in the Epic era the system had not hardened into its later form.

Marriages between members of different castes were possi.ble. We hear of Vidura the Kshattar, son of a Brahman father and Sudra mother, of Yuyutsu the Karan, son of Dhritarashtra by a Vaisya wife, and we are told that the former took a prominent part in public business, while the latter was con¬spicuous in battle. Finally, in the statement that among the impious Aryans of the Panjab only the eldest son of a Brahman becomes a Brahman, we may surely find a survival of an earlier order of ideas, of the belief that all Aryans are of one blood, and that Bnihmanhood is a matter of personal qualities and aptitudes rather than of descent.

The best modern opinion seems disposed to find the germ of the Brahman caste in the bards, ministers, and family priests who were attached to the king's housebold in Vedic times. Different stages of this institution may be observed. In the earliest ageg the head of every Aryan household was his own priest, and even a king would himself perform the sacrifices which were appropriate to his rank. By degrees families or guilds of priestly singers arose, who sought service under the kings, and were rewarded by rich presents for the hymns of praise and prayer recited and sacrifices offered by them on behalf of their masters. As time went on, the sacrifices became more numerous and more elaborate, and the mass of ritual grew to such an extent that the king could no longer cope with it unaided. The employment of pZlrohits or family priests, formerly optional, now became a sacred duty if the saorifices were not to fall into disuse. The Brahman obtained a monopoly of priestly functions, and a race of sacerdotal specialists arose which tended continually to close its ranks

against the intrusion of outsiders. The idea that virtue made the Brahman gave place to the belief in the efficacy of birth. Inter-marriage with other ranks of the Aryan community was first dis-cOUl'aged and then wholly prohibited, and thus by degrees was developed the rigid law of endogamy which distinguishes the Indian caste system from other apparently similar forms of social gradation.

Internal structure

The Bra,hman caste is commonly divided into ten large classes, according to their locality: five on the north

InternaI Stl'uetnre. f V' h

and five on the south 0 the md ya range. The classes are thus arranged in a Sanskrit nmemonic stanza quoted by Dr. Wilson¬

(I) The five Dravidas, south of the Vindhya range:¬

(1) The Maluinisllt1'as, of the country of the Marathi language.

(2) The Anclhrar or Tctilangas, of the country of the Telugu language.

(3) The DJ'avidas, of the country of the Dravidian or Tamil language.

(4) The KUl'1uitas, of the Karnatika, the country of the Canarese language.

(5) The Gwy'aras, of Gurjarashtra, or the country of the Gujal'll.ti language. (II) The five Gauras, north of the Vyndhya range

(1) The Sa1'aswata~, so called from the oountry watered by the river Saraswati,

(2) '}'he KanyakztbJas, so called from the Kanwakubja or Kanauj oountry.

(3) The Gmwas, so oalled from Gaur, or the country of the Lower Ganges. l

(4) The Utka{as, of the provinoe of Utkala or Odra (Orissa) .

(5) The Maithilas, of the province of Mithila (Tirhut). The Brahmans found in the Lower Provinces of Bengal belong to one or other of the Gaura groups. A tabular scheme of their subdivisions, which are extremely intrioate, will be found in the Appendix. In the following brief desoription it will be convenient to deal first with the Brahmans of Bengal Proper, then with those of Behar, and lastly with the Utkal or Orissa Brahmans. The Bengal Brahmans are divided into five main sub-castes-Rp:RHI, BARENDRA, VAIDlK, SAPTASATI, and MADHYASRENI.


The Rarhi Brahmans derive their name from the Rarh, or the high-lying alluvial traot on the west bank of the river Bhagirathi. Their claim to be of comparatively pure Aryan descent is to some extent borne out by the results of the anthropometric inquiries recorded in another volume of this work. The current tradition is that early in the eleventh century A.D., Adisura or Adisvara, King of Bengal, finding the Brahmans then settled in Bengal too ignorant to perform for him certain Vedic ceremonies, applied to the Raja of Kanauj for priests thoroughly conversant with the sacred ritual of the Aryans. In answer to this request five Brahmans of Kanauj were sent to him¬J~hatta Narayana of the Sandilya section or got?'a; Daksha of the Kasyapa got1'a; Vedagarva or Vidagarbha of the Vatsa gotm, or, as other accounts say, from the family of Bhrigu; Ohandra or Ohhandara of the Savarna gotra; and Sriharsa of the Bharadwaja gotl'a. They brought with them their wives, their sacred fire, and their sacrificial implements. It is said that Adisura was at first disposed to treat them with scanty respect, but he was soon compelled to ac-knowledge his mistake and to beg the Brahmans to forgive him. He then made over to them five populous villages, where they lived for a year. Meanwhile the king was so impressed with the superhuman virtue of Bhatta Narayana, who was a son of Kshitisa, King of Kanauj, that he offered him several more villages. The Brahman, however, declined to take these as a gift, but bought them, as the story goes, at a low price.

They were annexed to the village already in Bhatta Narayana's possession, and the whole area was relieved from payment of revenue for twenty¬four years. Thus tradition ohronicles an early B1'alnnottal' grant, the first it may be of the lOllg series of similar transaotions which have played so important a part in the history of land tenures, in the development of castes, and in promoting the spread of orthodox Hinduism throughout Bengal. Adisura did what the Rajas of outlying tracts of country have constantly done since and are doing still. A local chief, far removed from the great centres of Brahmanical lore, somehow becomes aware of his cere¬monial shortcomings. Probably, as is narrated of Adisura him¬self, a wandering Brahman brings home to him that his local ritual is not up to the orthodox standard. He sends for Brahmans, gives them grants of land near his own residence, and proceeds with their assistance to reform his ways on the model of the devout kings whom Brahmanical literature holds up as the ideal for a Raja to follow after. The Brahmans find for him a pedigree of respeotable antiquity or provide him with a family legend, and in course of time he succeeds in getting himself recognised as a member of some branch of the great Rajput community.

Although the immigrant Brahmans brought their wives with them, tradition says that they contracted second marriages with the women of Bengal, and that their children by the latter were the ancestors of the Barendra Brahmans. The Barendra, on the other hand, claim to represent the offspring from the original Hindustani wives, and allege that the Rarhi Brahmans themselves spring from the mesalliance contracted in Bengal.

By the middle of the eleventh century, when Ballal Sen, the second of the Sen kings of Bengal, instituted his famous inquiry into the personal endowments of the Rarhi Brahmans, their numbers seem to have increased greatly. They are represented as di vidpd into 56 gains or headships of villages, which were reserved for them, and might not be encroached upon by Brahmans of other orders.

It is interesting to trace in Ballal Sen's inquiry the survival or reassertion of the principle referred to above as recognised in ancient times, that the Brahmanhood of the Brahman depends not merely on birth, but also upon personal endowments. It is a question of virtue, not a question of descent. Ballal Sen, of course, could not go so far as this. The time had long passed when a Kshatriya could transform himself into a Brahman by penance and self-denial. But the Sen monarch sought to reaffu'm the ancient principle, so far as was then possible, by testing the qualifications of each Harhi family for the priestly vffice, and classifying them, in the order of their virtue, acoording to the results of this examination. the following nine qualities were selected to serve as the touch¬stone of sacerdotal purity:-A'C!uJ,.l', ceremonial purity; vina,IJa, discipline ; tidya, learning; pratislttha, reputation for purity; t-il•tlut¬da1"sana, zeal in pilgrimage; lIi~htha, piety; Gvritti, observanoe of legal marriages ; tapa, ascetic self-de\'otion; dem'l, liberality.

Tradition is silent concerlirng the precise method in which Balla! Sen carried out his somewhat inquisitorial measures. It seems, Lowever, to be certain that some kind of inquiry into the nine characteristic Brahmanical qualities was held under his orders, and that the kul or social and ceremonial standing of each family wa'J determined accordingly. Some say that twenty-two gain~ were raised to the highest distinotion. Lakshmana Sen disoarded four-teen gains on aooount of their misoonduct, and they became galmC3 Kulins, an order which has now disappeared. Nineteen families belonging to the other eight gains were made Kulins. 'fhe other families of these eight gains were lost sight of. Thus two olasses or grades Ot saoerdotal virtue were formed :-(1) the Kulin, being those who had observed the entire nine oounsels of perfection; (2) the Srotriya, who, though regular students of the Vedas, had lost avritti by intermarrying with families of inferior birth. The Srotriya were again s~bdivided into Siddha or perfect, Sadhya or capable of attaining purity, and Kashta or diffioult. The last-named group was also oalled Ari or enemy, beoause a Kulin marrying a daughter of that group was disgraced.


The relations of these three classes in respeot of marriage were regulated by the prinoiple laid down in the Institutes of Manu for members of the three twioe..born castes, a prinoiple for whioh Mr. Denzil Ibbetson has adopted the convenient and expressive name of hypergamy. The rule was that a man of the Kulin olass could marry a woman of his own olass or of the two higher Srotriya classes; a Siddha Srotriya could marry in his own group or in the Sadhya Srotriya group; while the Sadhya and Kashta Srotriyas might take wives only within the limits of their own classes. Oonversely, women of the Sadhya Srotriya class could marry in their own class or the two classes above them; Siddha Srotriya women in their own class or in the Kulin class; while Kulin women at one end of the soale and Kashta women at the other were restricted in their ohoice of husbands to the Kulin and Kashta groups. Unequal or irregular marriages invol ved loss of reputation and forfeiture of rank. On the other hand, the marriage of a girl into a good Kulin house oonferred a sort of reflected honour on her own family, and in courBe of time this idea was developed into the dootrine known as ktlla-gotra, where¬by the reputation of a family depended upon the charaoter of the marriages made by its female members.

This singular and artifioial organization deranged the natural balance of the sexes, and set up a vigorous competition for husbands among the women of the higher groups. The Bansajas are those Kulins who lost their distinction on aceount of misconduot, i.e., their want of charity, discipline, and due observance of marriage law, three qualities which in later times constituted Kulinism.

The growth of the Bansoja class introduced a further element of complication. In the struggle for husbands, Kulin girls who had no brothers or whose mothers were widows were often given to the sons of Bansaja parents; but families resorting to this device were excluded from the recognised cadre. Thus the brothers of a girl who married beneath her at once became Bo.nsaja, but this degradation did not extend to her uncles. Ifan original Kulin married a BaDsaja maiden, he himself became a Swakrita Bhanga or broken Brahman. His descendants in the second generation were • known as Dwipurusha, in the third as Tl'ipurusha, and in the fourth as Cho.tul'thapurusha. After this stago special designations 147 BR.nnVIAN.

were dropped, and the branch was merged in the Bansaja class. Although in theory these lower branches were completely cut off from the original hierarchy formed by Ballal Sen, natural instincts could not be wholly eradicated from a number of closely related families, ana girls of the Bhanga and Bansaja groups used to marry their cousins of the elder branch. It might perhaps have been expected that these groups would have been admitted to the same privileges as the Srotriya, but this was not the case.

'rhe invasion of Bengal by the Muhammadans in 1203 and the instant collapse of the Hindu kingdom was not without its effect upon the matrimonial organization of the Rarhi Brahmans. Ballal Sen's reforms had been imposed ~pon the caste by the order of a Hindu ruler, and their observance depended upon the maintenance of his supervising authority. When this check was removed, the system could no longer hold together, and soon showed signs of breaking up oompletely. Artificial restriotions had been introduced; the natural balance of the sexes had been disturbed, and a disastrous competition for husbands had set in among the three original groups. New and inferior groups had sprung up, and their natural ambitions still further swelled the demand for Kulin hus-bands. The pressure of neoessity soon showed itself too strong for the rules. Poor Kulins sold their family rank and honour for the bridegroom-price, which had taken the place of the bride-price of earlier times; they added to the number of their wives without regard to the respectability of the families from which they oame; and they raised their prices as the supply of suitable husbands diminished and competition ran higher for a Kulin bridegroom.

The reforms undertaken in the fourteenth century by Devi Vara, a ghatak or genealogist of Jessore, extended only to the Kulins. 'l'hese were divided into three grades-(i) SwabMva or original Kulins, (ii) Bhanga, (iii) Bansaja. The 8wabMva grade was further subdivided into 3fl mels or endogamous groups,• eaoh

bearing the name of the original anoestor of the olan or of his village. This restriotion of the marriages of Kulins to their own mel was the leading feature of Devi Yam's reform. Its prinoiple was adopted and extended, it is believed, by the Kulins themselves, in the singular arrangement known as Palti-Prakriti, or preservation of the type, by whioh families of equal rank were formed into triple groups as it were, for matrimonial purposes, and bound to observe a sort of reoiprooity. Thus Muliliuti families were hound to marry their sons to the daughters of the Chattelji and Banerji families, and vice versa. All kinds of complications are said to have arisen The names of the mels are as follows :-Phuliya, Khardaha, Sarvva¬nandi, Ballabhi, Surai. .6chUrya Sekbari, Pandit Ratni, Bangala, GopalaGhataki, Chayanarcndri, Pramadani, Dasaratha Ghataki, Subharajakhaoi,Nllriya, ]' aya, Bhattanlghavi, Dehati, Chayi. Vij{\ya Pandit, Chadai, Mlidhai, Bidyadhari. Parihal, Sri Rangabhatti. Maladkara KhUni, Kiikumvi, Hari Majumdari. Sri Bundhani, Bhairava Ghataki, Achambita, Dharadhari, Vale, R{tghava Ghosali, Sungo Sarvvanundi, Sacbnauda Khaoi, Chandravuti. from this understanding.

If, for example, the Mukhuti had only one marriageable son and the Chatterji or Banerji ten daughter~ approaching puberty, the former must marry all ten or all must remain spinsters. Meantime the rush of competition for Kulin husbands on the part of Bhanga, Bansaja, and Srotriya classes was as Etrong as before, while the proportionate number or pure Kulins had been reduced by the loss of those wh0 had become Bhangas and Bansajas. In order to dispose of the surplus or women in the higher groups polygamy was introduced, and was resorted to on a very large scale. It was popular with the Kulins because it enabled them to make a handsome income by the accident of their birth; and it was accepted by the parents of the girls concerned as offering the only means of complying with the requirements or the Hindu religion. Tempted by a pan or premium, which often reached the sum of two thousand rupees, SwabMva Kulins made light of their hll and its obligations, and married Bansaja girls, whom they left after the ceremony to be taken care or by their parents. Matrimony became a sort of profession, and the honour of marrying a daughter to a Bhanga Kulin is said to have been 80 highly valued in Eastern Bengal that as soon as a boy was ten years old his friends began to discuss his matrimonial prospects, and before he was twenty he had become the husband of many wives of ages varying from five to fifty.

With the spread of education among the upper classes of Bengal an advance in social morality has been made and the grosser forms of polygamy have fallen into disrepute. But the artificial organization of the caste still presses hard on a Kulin father who is unlucky enough to have a large family of daughters. These must be married before they aU.ain puberty, or disgrace will fall on the family, and three generations of ancestors will be dishonoured. But a Kulin bridegroom can only be obtained by paying a heavy premium, many of the ?nels instituted by Devi'Vara have died out, and in such cases, reciprocal marriage being no longer possible, the son of a family left without a corresponding mel must marry the only daughter of a widow; while the daughter of a Kulin widow, for whom no hush and of equal birth can be procured, may be manied to a Srotriya, and a premium accepted without endangering the family prestige. According to Dr. Wise, a Kulin father in Eastern Bengal could only preserve his kul intact in one or three ways :-By giving her to a Kulin of equal rank ; by making an effigy (kusa-kanya) of her kus(/, grass and giving it in symbol¬ical marriage to a Kulin; by saying to a Kulin in the presence of ghatak witnesses:-" I would give my daughter, if I had one, to you," and putting on his forehead the tilak or distinguishing mark which a married woman wears.

The marriage ceremonies of the Bengal Brahmans comprise five important st'l.ges, viz.¬

Marriage Cermony

r. P urba-bibdha, consisting of-(1) The anointment, called tel halud. After preliminaries have been settled, and the pat1'a km'an, or formal intimation of the consent of the parties, or rather of their guardians on both sides, has been drawn up, an auspioious day is fixed for anointing both the bridegroom and the bride with turmerio. the process must be undergone by both on the same day-the bride a little while after the bridegroom, eaoh in their own house. Usually a part of the turmerio prepared for the bridegroom is sent by his guardian for the use of the bride, but if the oouple live at a distance, this is not deemed essential. In any oase the time at whioh the oere¬mony should be performed is fixed by letter. Those who can afford to do so distribute oil and turmeric among their neighbours on this oocasion.

(2) The entertainment, tht~badL or ayub1•iddMnna. From the day of the anointment until the d!1y of the marriage the betrothed couple are da.ily entertained by their friends and neighbours, a piece of new cloth being presented at the some time. Presents of sweetmeats and cloth n:re sent to their houses by friends, and well-to-do people with a large circle of acquaintances often prolong the interval between the anointing with turmerio and the wedding from two or three days to a month. The rule is that after the anointing the first entertainment is given by the parents, and after that neither the bride nor the bridegroom should again eat in their own homes until they are married.

(3) The divine invooation or adMbds. On the night before the wedding some married laelies, the neighbours and relations of the bride and bridegroom are entertained with a repast, and given presents of betel leaves and arecq. nuts. This is supposed to render the occasion auspioious, and to draw down the blessing of the goels through the goodwill of the ladies entertained, who are looked upon as a sort of fairy goel-mothers.

(4) The propitiation of ancestors, Nandimukh or b1'iclclhi SI'Mdh, is an ordinary sJ'acldh performed at noon on the wedding day in order to prooure the blessing of the deoeased anoestors on the couple. Four ancestors on the father's and three on the mother's side of both parties are thus invoked: if the father and grandfather of the intended bride or bridegroom be living, then only their two immediate (deoeased) predecessors, an<l if only the father be living, then his three immediate predecessors only. The sractdft is performed by the father, or in his absence by the brother, or failing him again by a gyati (agnate) of the bride or the bridegroom as the case may be. If a gyati be not proourable, then the family priest may offioiate.

(5) The bridal prooession (bar-,jat1•i). In the evening or, if he lives at a distance, earlier, the bridegroom goes in procession accom-panied by a kolbm', or best man, who is usually his younger brother, and by a nnmber of his relations, friends and neighbours to the house of the bride, where he is reoeived as in a dttl'brl1', his approach being welcomed by the cry of ttltH~lu from the females of the bride's family. He sits on a masnacl set apart for him in the centre of the hall, and there surrounded by those who accompanied him and by the bride's people (kanyajat1'i), he awaits the moment fixed by the astrologers as auspicious for the performance of the actual ceremony.

(6) Jamatd•bamn, or the bridegroom's welcome by the bride's father. When the proper time has come, the bridegroom is taken by the bride's father into the inner apartments of the house, and is made to stand on a piece of board painted with pounded or powdered rice stirred up with water. The bride's father then offers him water for washing hif; feet (p6.dya a1'gha) and also 1nodhupa1'kya, a concoction of honey, in a small copper cup. These the bridegroom touches in token of acceptance.

t7) Stri-6.clu11', or woman's usage, commences with the weloome given to the bridegroom by the bride's mother by pouring some curds on his feet. This is followed by¬

(a) Satusi or the seven lights of Hymen. Seven married ladies (including the bride's mother or, if she be a widow, one of the bride's aunts) in their best attire, each with a small torch made of chita twig and cotton steeped in oil, go round the bridegroom in procession, led by the bride's mother, who carries on her head a k~tla, or flat bamboo basket, on which are placed 21 small lig1ts made of dhat~wa fruits. As they go round, they sprinkle libations of water, one of them blows a shell trumpet, and all vociferate the hymeneal cry of ~tllt-ulu. After going seven times round the bridegroom, the lights are thrown one by one over his head, so that they fall behind him. The kula is then picked up and placed in front of the bridegroom, and the bride's mother takes her stand upon it and touches (bamn) the forehead of the bridegroom with water, paddy and d~t1'ba grass, betel and areca nut, white mustard seed, curds, white sandal paste, vermilion, a looking¬glass, a comb, a bit of clay from the bed of the Ganges, a yak's tail, shells, a cluster of plantains, and certain other odds and ends, while the rest of the women keep up the cry of ulu-ullt. The bridegroom's height is measured with a thin thread which the bride's mother eats in a bit of plantain. She then places a weaver's shuttle (mdku) between his folded hands and ties them together with thread, and calls upon him, now that he has been bound hand and foot, to bleat once like a sheep to sigoify his humility and subjection. Last of ali, she touches his breast with a padlock and turns the key, whereby the door of speech is closed to the passage of hard words against the bride.

(b) Sritpak, or the seven rounds of the bride. The bride is now brought out attired in a red silk cloth, and seated on a painted board is carried by two men seven times round the bridegroom, who remains standing and then placcd in front of him. As they face each other, a cloth or cover is thrown over them, and their natural shyness being thus for the moment hidden, they are supposed to snatch the suMadrishti or auspicious glance, which will secure their mutual happiness during their married life. Then follows¬

(c) M6.1.lladan, or the exchange of g-arlands, when the bride and bridegroom gi ve each other garlands of flowers. II. Samprad6.n, or the gift and acr.eptance. The bride and bride¬groom are next brought to a place Eet apart in the outer apartment or courtyard of the house, where tho bride's party and the bridegroom's party can witness the formal gift of the bride and her formal acceptance by the bridegroom. 'l'he bride's father or guardian repeats the mantras recited by the family priest, and the bridegroom accepts the gift in these words :-"Who gave her? To whom did he give her? Love gave her. '1'0 love he gave her. Love is the giver. Love is the taker. Love pervades the ooean. With love I aocept her. Love! may this be thiue."

At the same time wedding presents (dan or dan samagri) are given to the bridegroom, and after this the father or guardian is required to bear witness to the contract entered into by the bride-groom by accepting the bride, and as a token of his assent to the marriage accepts a present of five ltaritaki fruits and a piece of cloth. This present is called the parihar.

III. Basara or the bridal wake. The bridegroom is next conducted along with the bride to a room in the inner apartment of the house, a corner of his cMclar being tied to a corner of her cloth. The pair are there received by a bevy of young ladies, who make it their business to tease the bridegroom and try to keep him awake for the rest of the night.

IV. Kusrmdika includes the saptapacli gaman, or pacing of the seven steps, whioh may be deemed the essential and binding portion of the marriage ritual observed by the higher castes. A sacred fire is prepared and worshipped with oblations of ghL On the north side of the fire seven points are marked off, and the bride setting her face westward walks along these points, plaoing her foot on eaoh in turn. As she walks, her husband follows close behind her, touching her heel with his toe and reciting at each step mantras or sacred texts.

Saptapacli gaman is followed by gotra pa1'ibarttan, or the changing of the bride's gotra for that of the bridegroom, and the 6z"nclll1'-dan, or the smearing of vermilion on the bride's forehead and the parting of her hair. The latter ceremony is performed by the husband with his own hand.

Properly speaking, ktw11ldikU ought to take place on the day following the marriage, but Tuesdays and Saturdays are oonsidered unlucky days for the ceremony; and if the day after the wedding is Tuesday or Saturday, klJ.~andika is deferred till the day following that. It is usually performed at the house of the bridegroom, but if he lives a long way off, the ceremony is performed at the bride's father's house. The marriage proper ends with kusanciikti, but certain minor ceremonies follow which may be briefly mentioned here.

V. The conoluding oeremonies¬

(a) Phul.saj!Ja, or the bed of flowers. On the third night after the marriage, the married couple are laid together in a bed deoorated with flowers.

(0) A shta-mangala. On the eighth day the pair are made to enaot with toys and cowrie shells a sort of pantomimic drama of their married life, playing the part of a faithful husband and wife, and affecting to bear with resignation the vicissitudes of fortunes.

(c) Baubluit or Pdka-spat'sa. All the gydUs, relations and friends of the bridegroom are entertained at his house. Their accept¬ance of the invitation is deemed an admission on their part that the marriage has been duly performed, and that the ceremonial purity of the bridegroom has in no wise been affected. In token of their recognition of this fact, they are supposed to eat rice prepared by the bride herself.

After the Pdka-spa?'sa ceremony, the bride is sent back to her father's house until she attains puberty. When this time arrives it is the custom of some families to perform the ceremony known as ga1'bluidlu!m (purification of the womb) or pttna1'biMha. This rite, to which some Hindu writers have attributed a sort of sacramental character, seems to be closely an~logous to the practices observed by a number of savage races on a similar occasion. The idea seems to be, as Mr. J. G. Frazer1 has pointed out, that dangerous influences emanate from a girl when passing through this physioal change, and it is considered necessary to seclude her from the rest of the commu¬nity, and subject her to a sort of penanoe whioh varies greatly in severity. '

Thus the Macusi tribe or British Guiana hang a girl in this state in a hammook at the top of the hut, and make her rast rigorously so long as the symptoms are at their height. ,Vhen she gets well the pots and drinking vessels whioh she has used are broken; and after her first bath she must submit to be beaten by her mother with thin rods without uttering a cry. Another tribe, instead of beating girls who have just recovered rrom this state, expose them to certain large ants whose bite is very painful. The usage followed by the Rarhi Brahmans of Bengal is less severe, but or the same general character as the savage observances. Like the Anstrl'tlian blacks and the African Bushmen, they require a girl to live alone, and do not allow her to see the race or any male. During three days she is shut up in a dark room and is made to undergo certain penances. She must lead the life of a Brahmacbari, that is, she must live upon atap rice and ghee, fish and flesh being strictly interdicted, and sbe may not eat any sweetmeats. Where this 'oeremony is observed, it is held to be a necessary preliminary to the commenoement or marital intercourse. By a reoent change in the law it has been made criminal to have intercourse with a girl under twelve years or age.


It has been mentioned above that the Barendra Brahmans claim to be descended from the five Kanaujiya Barendra. Brahmans imported by Adisura by their original or Hindustani wives. General tradition, however, rejects the latter portion of the claim, and holds that the Barendra are the offspring, not of the original wives, but of Bengali women whom the Kanau-jiyas man-ied after their settlement in Bengal. The sub-caste takes its name from the traot of oountry known as Barendra lying

1 The Golden Bough, pp. 228-42. north of the river Padma between the Karatoya and Mahananda rivers, and corresponding roughly to the districts of Pabna, Rajshahi, and Bogra. Ballal Sen reorganised the Barendra at the same time as the Rarhi Brahmans, and divided them into three hypergamous classes: (1) Kulin, (2) Suddha or pure t3rotriya, (3) Kashta or bad Srotriya. The first class was subdivided into eight gains or com¬munes : Bhadra, BMdri, Bhima, Lahari, Maitra, Rudra-V agisi, Sadhu-Vagisi, and Santa-mani or Sandilya j the seoond into seven groups of the same kind j Atharthi, Bhattasali, Champati, Kamadev¬ta, Karanjan, Nandanavasi, and Navsi j and the third into eighty¬four families, the names of which need not be enumerated here. In addition to the gains we find among the Kulins a further divisi.on into eight. pati or social grades : Atub-Kahni, Baini, Bosnah, Janail, Kutb-Kahni, Nirabhll, Panchuria, Rahala. 'l'he object of this grouping is not very clear. Every gd2'n belongs to a pati, but the pctti is not always identical with the gain, for members of the same gain sometimes marry into different patis. The gains appear to be in theory endogamous. The system of reciprocal marriage (palti-prakriti) which prevails among Rarhi Brahmans is unknown in the Barendra group. The rules governing the three main classes permit a Kulin to marry a Suddha-Srotriya girl, and the children of such a marriage rank as Kulins. Should he marry a Kashta-Srotriya, he loses his kul and becomes a Kap, an irre¬gular group occupying much the same position as the Bansaja among Harhi Brahmans. If a Barendra K ulin marries the daughter of a Kap, he himself is degraded to the group to which his wife belongs, but his children hold somewhat higher rank, and are deemed eligible for marriage to Kulins. No Kulin girl may marry below her own class. If a suitable husband cannot be found, she goes through the form of symbolical marriage to a figure of '.usa grass, and has red lead smeared upon her forehead to show that she is really a wife. The gotras of the Barendra Bub-caste are the same as those of the

Rarhi, viz., Bharadwaja, Kasyapa" Sandilya, Savarna and Vatsya. Their oommonest titles are Bhattacharya, Bhumik, Chakravartti, Chaudhari, M~iumda.r, Parihal, and Sikhdar.


Concerning the origin of the Vaidik Brahmans some differenoes Vaidik. of opinion exist. All agree in honouring them for their adherenoe to Vedic rites, their zeal for Vedio studies, their social independence, and their rejeotion of poly¬gamy. From the faot that some of the most important settlements of the sub-caste are found in the outlying districts of Orissa and Sylhet, some authorities have been led to describe them as descendants of the original Brahmans of Bengal who refused to accept the reforms of Bailal Sen, and took refuge in regions beyond his jurisdiotion. Genealogists of rival sub-castes maintain that Ballal Sen exoluded them from his soheme on the ground that they did not oome up to his standard of purity of desoent. Buohanan mentions a tradition lingering among the Vaidik Brahmans of Dinajpur that they hud been introduoed into that district by Advaita Subuddhi Narayana, Raja of Sylhet. In Orissa, on the other hand, the representatives of this sub-caste are said to have come direct from Kanauj, and to have mado their first settlement in Puri about the twelfth century A.D. This opinion derives support from Mr. Sherring's statement that the Kanaujiya Brahmans of Benares recognise the Vaidik as a branch of their own tribe who have settled in Bengal.

There are two main divisions of Vaidik Brahmans-(l) Paschatya or western, claiming to have come from Kanauj, and (2) Dakshinatya or southern, tracing their origin to the original Bengal stock. The Paschatya had originally eleven got1'(lS, divided into two groups, known as the panc!~a and shash. The former included Bharad¬waja. Sandilya, Saunaka Savarna, and Vasishtha j the latter, Gautama, Kasyapa, Krishnatreya, Rathikara, Sunaka, and Vachyara. The Bharadwaja gotra, however, became extinct, its plaoe being taken by the Sunab gotra of the Shash group. In course of time other got1'as, Ghrita Kausiki, Maitrayali, Tuthlkara, and U pamanya, came to be formed, but the relations of these to the original eleven are not very precisely defined.

Vaidik Brahmans have no Kulins, and their ghataks 01' genea-logists are Brahmans of other sub-castes. Their titles are the same as those of othel' Bengal Brahmans: Bhattacharya, Ohakravartti, and Thakur, are common designations among them. The Paschatya branch is said to have been formerly distributed in fouxteen stluins 01' settlements. Three of these-Dadhichigram, Marichigram, and Santali-have now disappeared, and even their sites are unknown. Of the remaining eleven, Ohandradwip, Kotalipilda, Samanta Sara, are in Backergunge; Alambi, Brahma Paraka, Jayari in Rajshahi ; Akhara, Gaurali. Pani Kantaka in Faridpux; Madhyadesa in Jessore ; and Navadvipa in Nuddea. In theory, these settlements seem to have been of the same character as the ?nels created for the Rarhi Brahmans by Devi Vara. It was intended that all Vaidik Brahmans should reside in one of these villages, and that marriage should be restricted to the local limits laid dO,wn. At the present day, however, marry families live elsewhere and intermarry with families similarly situated. They can, however, rejoin the original Sam4i or association of communes on payment of a heavy fine.


According to popular tradiLion, the Saptasati Brahmans are

S t' descended from the seven hundred ignorant Brahmans sent by Adisura to the Oourt of Kanauj for the puxpose of learning their priestly duties. Others trace their origin to certain Brahmans who were exiled beyond the Brahmaputra river for resisting the innovations of BalIa.1 Sen. It seems to be certain that they are peculiar to Bengal, and that they cannot claim connexion with any of the ten standard Brahmanical tribes. 'l'his view is borne out by the names of their gotras, which, as will be seen from the list given in the Appendix, differ entirely from the standard Brahmanical series, and appear to be of a local or territorial rather than of an epony¬mous type. 1'he Saptasati themselves virtually admit their in¬feriority to the other orders of Brahmans. Men of education and respectability are reluctant to admit that they belong to this sub¬caste, all distinctive practices are being abandcned, and the entire group seems likely to be absorbed in the Srotriya grade of Rarhi Brahmans. The Saptusati have no Kulins, nor do they keep ghataks for the purpose of maintaining genealogies. Notwith-tanding this, they give their daughters in marriage to Kulins of the Rarhi sub-caste, and by paying a heavy dowry, often amounting to as muoh as one thousand rupees, may even obtain brides from families of the Srotriya olass. It is further said that a Rarhi Kulin will eat and ill-ink with the Saptasati, while a Bansaja, though of lower rank than a Kulin, would oonsider this a degradation. The ordinary

. title of the Saptasati is Sarma, not Dev .. Sarmma, as among the ten reoognised tribes. Chakravartti, Chaudhuri, Rai, and SarkaI' are also oommon appellations.


The Madhyasreni Brahmans profess to derive their name from the faot of their original settlements being in the district of Midnapur, lying midway (Madhya-desa) between Bengal and Orissa. They say that their anoestors were Rarhi Brahmans who settled early in Ballal Sen's reign in pargana Mayna in Midnapur. When Ballal Sen was engaged in classifying the Brahmans of the rest of Bengal aooord¬ing to their degree of virtue, he sent a g/iatak or genealogist to the Brahmans settled in Mayna to inolude them in the soheme. They declined, however, to have anything to say to the institution of Kulinism, and there are no Kulins among them to this day. For their resistance to his orders, Ballal Sen ordered them to be out off from the rest of the caste, and all int!3roourse between them and the Brahmans of Bengal Proper was striotly forbidden. The Rarhi Brahmans of the present day, with whom the Madhyasreni thus claim kinship, are by no means inclined to aooept this legend as true.

They point out that it is prima facie most unlikely that a oolony of Rarhi Brahmans should have left their original seats for no parti¬oular reason, and have settled in an out-of-the-way place like pargana Mayna. Again, it is said, if the Madhyasreni were really lUrhi Brahmans, how is it that they have eight gotras, inoluding Parasara, Gautama and Gill-ita Kausika, while the true Rarhi have only five? Gautama and Ghrita Kausika are found among the Brahmans of Orissa, and Parasara is said to be characteristic of the Saptasati Brahmans of Bengal, whose ignorance of correct ritual compelled Adisura to import the ancestors of the Rarhi Brahmans from Kanauj.

On these grounds it is conjectured that the Madhya¬sreni Brahmans may be a composite group made up of members of the Rarhi, Utkal and Saptasati sub-castes, who for some reason broke off from their own classes, settled in an outlying district, and in course of time formed a new sub-caste. Some go so far as to suggest that the original Madhyasreni were expelled from their own sub-castes, and quote a local tradition attaching to them the name Madyadoshi, 'guilty of ill-unkenness,' in support of this view. Although the standard form of Ku!inism is not recognised by the Madhyasreni, those families among them who bear the Rarhi Kulin names of Mukharji, Chatterji. Banerji, are specially sought after in marriage, which praotically comes to much the same thing. Another curious form of hypergamy is also in force among them. People who live in the four villages (Bhamua in pargana Mayna

Gokulnagar in Ohetua, and MaMdljpur and Bhogdanda in Kedar) supposed to be the original seats of the caste are held in great honour, and residents of other villages who marry their daughters to them are expected to pay a heavy bridegroom-price. Most of the Madhyasreni are worshippers of the, Saktis, but in the matter of religion and ceremonial observances generally they do not depart materially from the practices of other Brahmans. It should be observed, however, that widows among them are allowed to eat uncooked food on the eleventh day of either fortnight of the moon, while the widows of other Brahmanical sub-castes are not allowed to touch even water on that day. Some Madhyasrenis again serve the Goalas or Gops as their family priests, and others are said to eat uncooked food at religious ceremonies performed by members of the Kaibartta caste, and to accept gifts from them on those occasions.

The most striking features in the organization of the Brahman caste in Behar are the great number of sub-castes and sections and the complexity of the system of exogamy whioh prevails among them. All recognise the classical traditions concerning the origin . of Brahmans in general, and to these are superadded a number of more or less credible legends designed to account for the separation of partioular groups from the main body.


The few SA:RASWATA Brabmans who are found in Behar claim descent from the Aryan tribe of the Saraswatas, who inhabited the banks of the Saraswati river in the Panjab. They rank as the first of the five Gauras living north of the Vindhya range. The Saraswatas of the Panjab have a very large number of subdivisions, deriving their names from the places in which their ancestors had settled, or from nicknames given to individuals. L ists of these were collected by Pandit Radha Krishna for Dr. John Wilson, and are given in the second volume of the latter's work on Indian castes. No attempt, however, is made to distinguish the endogamous, exogamous, and hypergamous groups, and it is clear from an examination of the lists that sub-castes, sections, and titles denoting hypergamous classes have been mixed up together. The Saraswat Brahmans of Behar, a comparatively small community living at a great distance from the main body of their tribe, have been unable to maintain the elaborate endogamous organization whioh is found among their brethren in the .Panjab. They have no sub-castes, and the titles Sukul, Bajpai, Awasthi, etc., which are found among them, do not appear to have any bearing upon marriage. Withinthelast few years they have begun to intermarry with the Gaur Brahmans.


The KANYA KUBJA or KANAUJIA Brahmans are counted among the five Gauras. 'l'hree main divisions of them are found in Behar: (1) ANTARV1WI or KANAUJIA proper, coming from the country between the Ganges and Jamna: (2) SAIUUPARI or SARWARIA, who are said to have settled on the east of the Sarju or Gogra in the time of Raja Aja, grandfather of Rama. Another story of the origin of the Sarwaria group is worth telling here for the light thnt it throws upon the part whioh misunderstood names may play in the growth of popular tradition :-Onoe upon a time there were two brothers, Kanha and Kubja. They lived. at Kanauj, and their des¬ cendants were oalled Kanaujia Brahmans. Now Ram Ohandra, King of Ajodhya, wished to perform the great saorifioe of a horse, and sent for the Kanaujia Brahmans to help him. When they were, their father made them promise not to take any present fer what they were going to do. But it seems that the saorifice was of no effeot unless the Brahmans were duly rewarded. The Raja. knew this, and oaused diamonds to be hidden in the paokets of betel whioh he gave to the Brahmans. When they got home their father asked if they had taken any presents, and they said they had not.

But when the paokets of betel were opened the diamonds were found, and those Brahmans were at onoe turned out of their caste. So they went baok to the king, ready to curse him for his treachery. But he appeased them with smooth words and with grants of land to dwell on, andthegrants were made in this way. The king shot an arrow as far as he could, and the plaoe where it fell was the boundary of the land. Now the name of an arrow is Sa?" : so these Brahmans were oalled Sarwaria. (3) Sanadhia or Sanauclhia, a group of inferior status, oonoerning whom the following legend is told. It is said that Rama, King of Ajodhya, celebrated a saorifioe and made a great feast, to whioh he invit¬ ed all the Kanaujia Brahmans. In order to test their orthodoxy he desired them to perform the saorifice, and afterwards to partake of the feast fully clothed and not merely with a loin-cloth on, as is the custom of Brahmans.

The Sarwaria and the Antarvedi declined to agree to this departure from established usage, but the Sanaudhia attended the feast and did as the king suggested. For this breach of Brahmanical etiquette th0y were cut off from oom¬ munion with the orthodox, and degraded to a lower level of social and ceremonial purity. the Kanaujias as a class are tall and athletio, though wanting in the peculiar fineness of feature and intelleotual oast of countenanoe which distinguishes the higher grades of Brahmans in other parts of India. 'l'hose of them who enlist in the Native Army are known as Purbiyas, or men of the east, in contradistinction to the people of the Panjab, and one of their titles, PaDre or Pande, being originally a corruption of the word pandit, a learned man, became, under the form of Pandy, the generio designa¬ tion of the mutineers of 1857. Their immoderate soruples oonoerning ceremonial purity in matters of food and drink are held up to ridicule in the well-known proverb Tin KanauJid tera clmllui-" Three Kanaujias want thirteen fireplaoes."


'l'he Gaur Brahmans of Behar, like their bret.hren of the Delhi district, insist that their designation is derived from the ruined oity of GaUl' or Lakhnauti in Maldah, onoe the capital of Bengal. 'l'hey say that their ances¬ tors left Gaur in the days of the l'andavas at the commencement of the Kali Yuga, and settled in the couutry round Delhi. Another version of the same story is that Raja Agar, the eponym of the Agarwal caste, sent for these Brahmans from Bengal, in the same way as A.disur summoned Brahmans from Kanauj. 'fhis tradition, reversing as it does the usual direction of the advance of the Brahmani(1al tribes, has been reoeived with doubt by all writers on the subject of caste. General Cunningham's opinion, that the GaUl'a Brahmans must have belonged originally to the district of

Gonda and not to the mediffival city of GaUl' in Bengal seems to oiIer the best solution of the difficulty. The Gaur Brahmans servetheAgarwals as priests-a fact which is in keeping with, and may have given rise to, the legend noticed above. In Behar they reoognise two sub-castes, ADl GAUR and MADHA GAUR. Many observers have remarked on the liberal spirit displayed by the Gaur Brahmans and on their freedom from that pedantry which the Kanaujias show in caste questions. We may perhaps olaim as an illustration of these qualities the fact that within the last few years intermarriago between GaUl' and Saraswata Brahmans has come to be recognised in Behar. On the other hand, it is equally probable that this relax¬ation of the strict rule of exogamy may have been the result of the numerical weakness of the two groups. 'fhe members of a small sub¬caste, broken up, as such a group necessarily is, into a number of exogamous groups and soattered over a large area of oountry, are bound to find considerable difficulty in getting their daughters married. Whenever this difficulty occurs, the tendenoy will be to enlarge the matrimonial circle so as to increase the number of husbands available at a given time. The Gaur and Saraswata Brahmans, both immigrants into Behar from a distant part of India and separated from their original home by a number of intervening tribes, would be in muoh the same position as the Kayasths and Baidyas in the outiying districts of Eastern Bengal, and would, like them, be driven to modify the strict rules of caste in accordanoe with the dictates of social necessity.


The Maithilor Tirhutia Brahmans rank among the Panch Gaur. Their name is derived from Mithila, an ancient division of india, compnsmg t e modern districts of Saran, Mozu£ferpur, Darbhanga, PUl'niah, and part of Nepal. Dr. Wilson, following Colebrooke, observes that fewer distinotions are recognised among the Maithil Brah¬mans than among any other of the great divisions of Brahmans in India. This statement needs to be qualified. It is true that the Maithil have no endogamous divisions, but their exog¬amous groups are peculiarly numerous and complex, and they have a complete hypergamous system. For the latter purpose thE! caste is divided into five grQUpS-SROTRIYA or SOTE, JOG, PP;NJIBADDH, N AGAR, and J AIWA:R-which take rauk in this order. A man of the Srotriya group may take a wife from the lower groups and is usually paid a considerable sum of money for doing so, but he loses in social estimation by the match, and the children of such unions, though higher than the class from which their mothers came, are nevertheless not deemed to be socially equal to the members of their father's class. The same rule applies to the other olasses in descending order: eaoh may take wives from the groups below it. The principle of this rule is the same as that followed by

Manu in laying down the matrimonial relations of the four orig-inal castes, and in its earliest form it seems to have gone the full length of forbidding a woman of a higher group to marry a man of a lower group. It is important, however, to notice that in Behar tve rule is now much less stringent and rigid than in Bengal. Although it is admitted to be the right thing for a girl to marry within her own group or in a higher group, it is not absolutely obli¬gatory for her to do so, and cases do occur in which a girl of a higher class marries a man of a lower olass in consideration of a substantial bride-price being paid to her parents. The oomparative laxity of .Behar usage in this respect may be due partly to the charaoter of the people and partly to the fact that caste observances in that part of the country have never been laid down by a superior authority, such as Ballal Sen, but have been settled by the people themselves at regular meetings held with that object. It is well known that the leading members of the Maithil sub-caste with their pandits, their pan/iaras or genealogists, and their ghataks or marriage-brokers, come together at many places in Tirhut for the purpose of settling disputed questions of caste custom and of arranging marriages. A commu¬nity which has five hypergamous cIa ses and a double series of exogamous groups-one based on locality and the other on mythical ancestry-and at the same time attaches great importance to purity of blood, may well find it necessary to take stook of its arrangements from time to time and to see whether the rules are being observed,

Among the Maithil Brahmans of Behar, as among the Kulins of Bengal, the bride-price familiar to students of early tradition has given place to the bridegroom-price, whioh hyper¬gamy necessarily tends to develop. Polygamy, formerly characteristic of the Bengal Kulin, is practised in Behar in much the same form by the Bikauwa or 'vendor,' a olass of Maithil Brahmans who derive their name from the praotice of selling themselves, or more raroly their minor sons, to the daughter of th e lower groups of the series given above, Usually the Bikauwas belong to the J og and Panjibaddh olasses, and comparatively few of them aro found among the Srotriya and Nagar groups. Some have as many

as forty or fifty wives, who live with their own parents and are visited at intervals by their husbands. Bikauwa Brahmans who have married into the lower olasses are not received on equal terms by the members of their own ola s, but the women whom they marry consider themselves raised by the alliance. The price paid for a Bikauwa varies according to the class to which he belongs and the means of the family of the girl whom he is to marry. It may be as little as Rs. 20: it has been known to rise as high as l~s. 6,000.


The Sakadwipi or Sakaldwipi Brahmans are supposed to have been brought by Ramo. from Oeylon for the a Wlpl. purpose of practising medicine. According to another opinion they were the indigenous Brahmans or tho ancient country of Mogadha. Some say that it is for this reason that they were formerly called Magas. 'rhe name, however, has droppedi nto disuse, and the Sakadwipi themselves prefer the legend associa.ting them with Rama's famous invasion to that connecting them with a part of the country proverbial among Hindus for its ceremonial impurity. At the present day the bulk of the sub-caste are em¬ployed as priests in Rajput families; some are landholders, some practise Hindu medicine. It is a curious fact that, although the Sakadwipi have the standard eponymous gotms of the Brahman caste, their marriages are regulated not by these, but by ninety-five pw'S or divisions of the local or territorial type; that is to say, ' a Sakadwipi man may marry a woman of his own gotru who in theory is descended from the same mythical ancestor (n'shi) as himself, but may Dot marry a woman whose forefathers are shown by the of her pZl1' to have come from the same village or the same tract of country as his own. To abandon the got1'U altogether and to substitute for it exogamous divisions based on a wholly different order of facts involves so serious a departlll'e from orthodox usage that one is inclined to doubt whether the Sakadwipi can ever have been organized on the regular lines. This doubt is borne 6ut by the statement made by Mr. Sherring/' that" the test applied to a stranger pretending to be a Sakadwipi is to offer him what is called y"hutlui

prini, or water from a vessel from which another person has drun!.¬a custom prohibited by all strict sects of Hindus. Should the stranger not be a Sakadwipi, he will refuse the water, probably with some indignation, as, by drinking it, his caste, whatever it was, would be broken. If a S~,kadwipi, however, he will take it readily."


According to Mr. John Beames, the best living authority on all questions touching the history of Orissa:¬I'radition relates that the original Brah¬mans of Orissa were all extinct at the time of the rise of the Ganga Vansa line of kings, but that 10,000 Brahmans were induced to come from Kanauj and settle in Jajplll', the sacred city on the Baitarani river. The date of this immigration is not stated, but the fact is probably historical, and may have been synchronous with the well-known introduction of Kanauji:l. Brahmans into the neigh¬bouring province of Bengal by King Adisura in the tenth century. When the worship of the idol Jagannath began to be revived at Puri, the Kings of Orissa induced many of the Jajpur Brahmans to settle round the new temple and conduct the ceremonies. Thus there sprang up a division among the Brahmans; those who settled in Puri being called the Dakhinrityu Sreni, or southern class, and those who remained at Jajpur the Uttara Sreni, or northern class. This latter spread all over Northern Orissa. Many of the southern Brahmans, however, are also found in Balasor; and the divisions of the two classes are fairly represented in most parts of the district, though the southern class is less numerous than the northern.

'l'he former are held in greater esteem for learning and purity of race than the latter." Mr. Beames goes on to explain how these two sub-castes are further broken up into functional divisions according to the Veda whose ritual they profess to observe, and into gotras or exogamous groups. In addition to this, certain titles or wpadltis [?] are appropriated to particular got1'1IS [gotrs?], for which they serve, as Mr. Beames points out, the purpose of surnames. It is perhaps due to this connexion with the got?'a [gotrs?] that the titles themselves are frequently used as exogamous divisions. The scheme of srems, gotras, uparlhis, and Vedic classes worked o-q.t by Mr. Beames is shown in the Appendix. Concerning the got1'a names, he observes that they "are for the most part patronymics from well-known Risbis, and are identical with many of those still in use in the North¬Western Provinces. This circumstance seems to add confirmation to the legend of the origin of this caste from Kanauj. A Rishi's name occurs also among upadhis in one instance; Sarangi being from Sanksrit Sarangi, patronymic from Sringa Rishi."

The entire series of names offers an interesting illustration of the curious complexity of the internal structure of the Brahman caste. Starting with the two groups, DAKHINATYA and U'ITARA, based upon territorial habitat, we find each of these broken up into smaller groups, taking their names from certain specialised functions, and also into groups tracing their descent from a mythical ancestor; while through the whole runs a fourth series of distinctive titles, indicating some form of personal merit, whether proficiency in religious knowledge, fullness of ascetic virtue, or it may be merely descent from famous ancestry. By making it possible to classify families in order as it were of hereditary merit, such titles are spe¬cially adapted to give rise to a system of hypergamy. Once let it be admitted and placed on record that a particular family has attained to a high degree of ceremonial purity, and it follows that marriages with members of that family will acquire a special value, which in course of time will take the form of a bride or bridegroom-price. But besides this, titular groups can also be used for exogamous purposes, and this is the case in Orissa, though it is extremely unusual among the higher castes. Lastly, I may draw attention to the remarkable fact that among the Brahmans of this part of the country unquestionable traces may be found of a survival of the totemistic beliefs which are common among the Dravidian and semi-Dravidian groups. rrhus the Brah-mans of the Batsasa gotm [gotrs?] revere the calf as their original ancestor ; the Bharadwaja claim descent not from the Vedic Rishi, but from a bird bearing the same name; the Atreya are the offspring of a deer, and will not eat that animal or sit upon its hide; the Kauchhasa trace

their lineage to a tortoise; and the Kaundinya 'commemorate their descent from the tiger by refusing to sit upon a tiger skin. No attempt can be made here to account for the prevalence of these superstitions. They may be a survival of ancient Aryan totemism; they may be due to the adoption by the immigrant Brahmans of Dravidian beliefs and observances; or, lastly, they may show that the Brahmans of Orissa are themselves Dravidians or have undergone a considerable infusion of Dravidian blood.

An attcmpt is made in the Appendix to reconcile Mr. Beames' account of tho divisions of tho Northern Orissa Brahmans with the structural divisions of the caste in Orissa generally.

The following statement shows the number and distribution of Brahmans in lS72 and 1881 :¬

The number and distribution of Brahmans in lS72 and 1881

the number and distribution of Brahmans in lS72 [1872?] and 1881 [in Bengal-Orissa]

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