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Deshastha Brahmin - Deshastha Brahmin

Indian Hindu Brahmin sub-caste

Deshastha Brahmins are a Hindu Brahmin sub-caste mainly from the Indian state of Maharashtra and the northern area of ​​the state of Karnataka. The word Deshastha is derived from the Sanskrit deśa (inland, country) and stha (inhabitant). , literally translated "residents o f the land". The valleys of the Krishna and Godavari rivers and part of the Deccan Plateau next to the Western Ghats are collectively referred to as Desha - the original home of the Deshastha Brahmins. In Tamil Nadu, Deshastha Brahmins are also known as Rayar Brahmins.

Most of the known saints from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were Deshastha Brahmins. Over the millennia, the Deshastha community in the Maharashtra region brought Sanskrit scholars such as Bhavabhuti and Advaita saints such as Dnyaneshwar, Samarth Ramdas and Eknath

. Traditionally, Deshastha Brahmins were so great landowners had enjoyed a higher ritual status in Maharashtra. Vora and Glushkova (1999) state that "Deshastha Brahmins have occupied a central place in Maharashtrian politics, society and even held other offices at various levels of government and were given to them since almost the beginning of the history of Maharashtra state honors and, above all, various kinds of land grants. "

Brahmins are about 10% of the population in Maharashtra. Almost 60 percent of the Maharashtrian Brahmins are Deshastha Brahmins

In northern Karnataka, particularly in the Bijapur, Dharwad and Belgaum Deshasthas districts, they made up about 2.5% of the total population in the 1960s. This region used to be known as the "Bombay-Karnataka Region". According to The Illustrated Weekly of India (a weekly news magazine published by the Times of India), the Deshastha Brahmins were dispersed across the Deccan in 1974, particularly in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and combined Andhra Pradesh. The exact percentage of the population that belongs to the Deshastha parish is very difficult to find out because it is spread across the entire Deccan.


Deshastha Brahmins fall under the Pancha Dravida Brahmin classification of the Brahmin Co. community in India. Along with the Karhade and Konkanastha Brahmins, the Marathi speaking Deshastha Brahmins are referred to as Maharashtrian Brahmins, which denotes these Brahmin subcasts of the Deccan Plateau, which has regional significance in Maharashtra, while the Kannada Deshastha Brahmins from the Deccan Plateau region of Karnataka will speak as Karnataka Brahmins or Karnatic Brahmins.

designated. Based on Veda

Deshastha Brahmins are further divided into two main subgroups, the Deshastha Rigvedi and the Deshastha Yajurvedi. Those who used to eat among each other but did not marry each other, but are now married between the two subgroups, are widespread. These sub-divisions are based on the Veda that they follow.


The Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins (DRB) are followers of Rigveda and follow Rigvedic rituals. Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins are treated as a separate caste from the Deshastha Yajurvedi Madhyandina and Deshastha Kannava's Brahmins by several authors including Malhotra and Iravati Karve. Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins are the oldest sub-caste among Deshasthas. According to Iravati Karve, Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins are found in the western and central Deccan on the banks of the Godavari and Krishna rivers and are common deep in Karnataka. Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins are endogomous groups that include families from different language regions. The Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins include some families who speak Marathi and some speak Kannada. Most marriages take place in families of the same language, but the marriages between Marathi and Kannada speaking families are common. The marriage alliance between Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmins, Telugu Brahmins, and Karnataka Brahmins is also quite common.


The Deshastha Yajurvedi Brahmins are followers of Yajurveda and follow Yajurvedic rituals. They are further divided into two groups called Madhyandins and Kanavas. The Madhyandins follow the Madhyandin branch of Shukla Yajurveda. The word Madhyandin is a fusion of two words Madhya and din, which mean middle and day, respectively. They are so called because they play Sandhya Vandana at noon. Some Yajurvedi deshasthas follow the apastamba subdivision of Krishna Yajurveda. Recently, the Brahmins Yajurvedi Madhyandin and Yajurvedi Kannava were colloquially referred to as Deshastha Yajurvedi Madhyandin and Deshastha Yajurvedi Kannava, although not all traditionally lived or belonged to Desh.

Samaveda and Atharvaveda

There is also a small section under Deshasthas that follow Atharvaveda and Samaveda. They are called Deshastha Samavedi Brahmins and Deshastha Atharvavedi Brahmins. According to Iravati Karve, Samavedi Brahmins are in the Khandesh region of Maharashtra.

present, based on Vedanta

The Deshastha Rigvedi and Deshastha Yajurvedi followed the Vedantas of Madhvacharya and Adi Shankara. They produced a number of acharyas who directed various mathas. These places of learning spread the teachings of the Vedas, Smritis, Puranas and especially Advaita and Dvaita. All over India they have Smarthas and Madhwas among them. These subsections are based on the Vedanta that they follow.

Dvaita Vedanta (Madhvas)

Marathi, Kannada and Telugu speak Deshastha Brahmins according to Dvaita Vedanta of Madhvacharya are known as Deshastha Madhva Brahmins or Deshastha Madhvas Deshastha Madhva Brahmins are followers of ten Madhva Mathas. Of the ten Mathas, the Uttaradi Math, Vyasaraja Math and Raghavendra Math are considered the three leading apostolic institutions of Dvaita Vedanta and are collectively referred to as Mathatraya. Of the ten Deshastha Madhva Mathas, Uttaradi Math is the greatest. In southern India, Deshastha Madhvas were traditionally bilingual in Marathi and Kannada, Telugu or Tamil.

Advaita Vedanta (Smarthas)

Deshasthas according to Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shankara are as Deshastha Smartha Brahmins or Deshastha Smarthas.


Madhavarao known Tanjavarkar (born 1828, died April 4, 1891), a descendant of Deshastha Brahmins with the surname Tanjavarkar or Thanjavurkar

The valleys of the rivers Krishna and Godavari as well as the plateaus of the western ghats (Sahyadri hills) are collectively referred to as Desha - the original home of the Deshastha Brahmans.

The Deshastha Brahmins are evenly distributed throughout the state of Maharashtra, ranging from villages to urban areas. Deshastha also settled outside of Maharashtra, for example in the cities of Indore in Madhya Pradesh and in Chennai and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, which were part of or were influenced by the Maratha Empire. The Deshastha Brahmins of Vadodara in Gujarat are immigrants who came to civil service from the Deccan. In Karnataka, the Deshastha brahmins are mainly concentrated in the districts of Bijapur, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Belgaum, Bidar, Raichur, Bellary and Uttara Kannada. In Andhra Pradesh, the Deshastha Brahmins have settled in different parts, especially in the cities of Anantapur, Kurnool, Tirupati, Cuddapah, Hyderabad (which is now part of Telangana). In Coastal Andhra, Deshastha Brahmins settled in Nellore District, Krishna District and Guntur District. In Telangana, Deshastha Brahmins are distributed in all districts of the state. The Deshastha families who migrated to the Telugu states fully adapted to the Telugu methods, especially when it came to food.

The military settlers (from Thanjavur) included brahmins of various submarines -castes, and due to their isolation from their distant homeland, the subdivisions that separated these castes in their motherland were forgotten and they were all welded together under the common name of Deshasthas. The Brahmin and Maratha migrants migrated to Tanjore and other regions of what is now Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh from the Desh region of Maharashtra in the 17th and 18th centuries, but to this day they retain their own identity. The Marathi-speaking population in Tanjore today are descendants of these Marathi-speaking people. The isolation from their homeland has made them culturally and linguistically alien to the Brahmins in Maharashtra. The early British rulers viewed Deshastha from the south as an independent community and, after the fall of the Peshwa rule in these areas in what is now the areas of northern Karnataka, recruited them strongly in administrative service, giving preference to Deshastha and other Brahmins from Desh.


The location of the state of Maharashtra in India. The majority of Deshastha live in Maharashtra (left). The rivers Krishna and Godavari (right)
Departments of Maharashtra. The blue region is an approximate indication of the Desh.

The word Deshastha comes from the Sanskrit words Desha and Stha, which mean inland or country or inhabitant. Taken together, the two words literally mean "inhabitants of the country". Deshastha is the Maharashtrian Brahmin community with the longest known history, making it the original and oldest Hindu Brahmin sub-caste from Maharashtra. The Deshastha community may be as old as the Vedas, as Vedic literature describes people who are very similar to them. As a result, Deshastha is between 1100 and 1700 BC. Chr. Present on the Desh. As the original Brahmins of Maharashtra, the Deshasthas in Maharashtra were most valued and superior to other Brahmins.

Marathi Brahmins began living in the Hindu holy city of Benares

The traditional occupation of the deshasthas was the priesthood in the Hindu temples or at political-religious ceremonies. Records show that the greatest political and literary leaders since the 13th century have been deshasthas. The greatest village bookkeepers or Kulkarnis were not only village priests but also of the Deshastha caste. Priests in the personal Vitthal temple in Pandharpur are Deshastha, like the priests in many of Pune's temples. Other traditional occupations were village revenue officials, academics, astrologers, administrators, and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners. Deshasthas who study the Vedas improve Vaidika, astrologers lead "Joshi" and practitioners of medicine are called Vaidyas and reciters of the Puranas are called Puraniks.

Philosophy and literature

Deshasthas have belonged to Sanskrit, Marathi literature and Kannada literature, mathematics and philosophy.

The Deshastha community in the Karnataka region sells the Dvaita philosopher Saint Jayatirtha

Deshasthas became prominent writers in Maharashtra between the 13th and 19th centuries. The great Sanskrit scholar Bhavabhuti was a Deshastha Brahmin who lived in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra around AD 700. His works of high Sanskrit poetry and plays are shot only by those of Kalidasa. Two of his well-known pieces are Mahāvīracarita and Mālatī Mādhava. Mahaviracarita is a work about the early life of the Hindu god Rama, overall Malati Madhava is a love story between Malati and her lover Madhava, which hat a happy ending after various twists and turns.

Mukund Raj was another poet from the community who is believed to be old in the 13th century and the first poet to compose in Marathi. He is known for the Viveka-Siddhi and Parammrita, which are metaphysical, pantheistic works associated with Orthodox Vedantism. Other 17th century Deshastha literary scholars were Mukteshwar and Shridhar Swami Nazarekar. Mukteshwar was the grandson of Eknath and the chief poet in the Ovimeter. He is known for translating the Mahabharata and Ramayana into Marathi, but only part of the Mahabharata translation is available and the entire Ramayana translation is lost. Shridhar came from near Pandharpur and his works are said to have replaced the Sanskrit epics to a certain extent. Other important literary contributors of the 17th and 18th centuries were Vaman Pandit, Mahipati, Amritaraya, Anant Phandi and Ramjoshi.

The Deshastha church has produced several saints and philosophers. Most important were Dnyaneshwar, Eknath and Ramdas. Dnyaneshwar, the most venerated of all Bhakti saints, was widely influenced for his commentary on the Bhagvad Gita. It is called Dnyaneshwari and it is written in the Prakrit language. He lives in the 13th century. Eknath was another bhakti saint who heard a controversial poem Eknathi Bhagwat in the 16th century. Other works by Eknath are the Bhavartha Ramayana, the Rukmini Swayamwara and the Swatma Sukha. In the 17th century there was the dasbodh of Saint Samarth Ramdas, who was also the spiritual advisor to Shivaji war.

Military and administration

Hemadpant the sacred fire seven times to complete the marriage. Modern urban wedding ceremonies conclude with an evening reception. A Deshastha woman becomes part of her husband's family after marriage and inherits the gotra and traditions of her husband's family.

After weddings and also after thread ceremonies, Deshastha families arrange a traditional religious chant performance by a Gondhal group.

Deshastha Brahmins dispose of their dead by cremation. The dead man's son carries the corpse to the cremation site on a beer. The eldest son lights the corpse's fire on the head for men and on the feet for women. The ashes are collected in an earthen jar and immersed in a river on the third day after death. This is a 13-day ritual in which the pinda is offered to the dead soul on the 11th and a Śrāddha ceremony followed by a funeral feast on the 13th. The cremation takes place according to Vedic rites, usually within a day of the death of the individual. As with all other Hindus, it is preferred that the ashes be immersed in the Ganges River or the Godavari River. Śrāddha becomes an annual ritual in which all ancestors of the family who have passed away are remembered. It is expected that these rituals will only be performed by male offspring, preferably the eldest son of the deceased.


Deshasthas follow the Saka calendar. They follow several festivals of other Hindu Marathi. These include Gudi Padwa, Rama Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Narali Pournima, Mangala Gaur, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Kojagiri Purnima, Diwali, Khandoba Festival (Champa Shashthi), Makar Sankranti, Maha Shivaratri and Holi.

Of these, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular in Maharashtra state, Diwali, the most popular Hindu festival in all of India, is equally popular in Maharashtra. Deshasthas celebrate the Ganesha festival as a domestic family affair. Depending on the family tradition, a clay image or a shadu is venerated for one and a half, three and a half, seven or a full ten days before it is ceremoniously placed in a river or the sea. This tradition of private celebration runs parallel to the public celebration instituted by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1894. Modak is a popular food during the festival. Ganeshotsav also includes other festivals, namely Hartalika and the Gauri festival, the former being observed by women with a fast while the latter is observed by the installation of idols by Gauris.

The religious under the Deshasthas fasts on the days prescribed for fasting according to the Hindu calendar. Typical fasting days are Ekadashi, Chaturthi, Maha Shivaratri and Janmashtami. Hartalika is a fasting day for women. Some people fast during the week in honor of a particular god, for example Monday for Shiva or Saturday for Hanuman and the planet Saturn, Shani.

Gudi Padwa Gudi or Victory Pole

Gudi Padwa is observed on the first day of the lunar month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. On this day, a victory pole or gudi is set up in front of the houses. The leaves of neem or and shrikhand are part of the kitchen of the day. Like many other Hindu communities, Deshasthas Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanti celebrate the birthdays of Rama and Hanuman, respectively, in the month of Chaitra. A snack eaten by new mothers called the Sunthawada or Dinkawada is the Prasad, or the religious food on Rama Navami. You will observe the Narali Pournima Festival on the same day as the well known North Indian festival of Raksha Bandhan. Deshastha men change their sacred thread on this day.

An important festival for the new brides is Mangala Gaur. It is celebrated every Tuesday by Shravana and includes the worship of Lingam, a gathering of women who tell Limericks or Ukhane by their husbands first name. The women can also play traditional games like Jhimma and Fugadi or more contemporary activities like Bhendya until the wee hours of the morning.

Krishna Janmashtami, Krishna's birthday, on which day Gopalkala, a recipe The special dish consists of curd cheese, cucumber, chopped millet (Jondhale in Marathi) and chili peppers. Sharad Purnima, also called Kojagiri Purnima, the full moon night in the month of Ashvin, is in honor of Lakshmi or Parvati

In Deshastha families, Ganeshotsav is more commonly known as Gauri-Ganpati as it also includes the Gauri Festival.In some families, Gauri is also known as Lakshmi Puja. It is celebrated for three days; On the first day, Lakshmi's arrival is observed. The ladies in the family will take statues of Lakshmi from the door to the place where they will be worshiped. The Kokanstha Brahmins use special stones as symbols for Gauri instead of statues. The statues are in a certain place (very close to the Devaghar) and are adorned with clothes and ornaments. On the second day, family members meet and prepare a Puran Poli meal. This day is the puja day of Mahalakshmi and the food is offered to Mahalakshmi and her blessings sought. On the third day, Mahalakshmi goes to her husband's house. Before leaving, the ladies of the family will invite the ladies from the neighborhood to exchange Haldi-Kumkum. It is common for the whole family to meet during the three days of Mahalakshmi puja. Most families consider Mahalakshmi to be their daughter who lives with her husband's family all year round. but visits her parents (maher) during the three days.

Navaratri, a nine day festival, begins on the first day of the month of Ashvin and ends on the tenth day, or Vijayadashami. This is one of three auspicious days of the year. People exchange leaves of the apti tree as a symbol of gold. During Navaratri, women and girls of Bhondla, known as Bhulabai in the Vidarbh region, hold a singing party in honor of the goddess.

Like all Hindu Marathi, and to varying degrees with other Hindu Indians, Diwali is celebrated over five days by the Deshastha Brahmins. Deshastha Brahmins celebrate this by waking up early in the morning and having an Abhyangasnan. People light their houses with lamps and candles and burst fireworks during the festival. Special sweets and treats such as Anarse, Karanjya, Chakli, Chiwda and Ladu are prepared for the festival. Colorful Rangoli drawings are made in front of the house.

Deshastha Brahmins observe the Khandoba Festival or Champa Shashthi in the month of Mārgashirsh. This is a six day festival from the first to the sixth lunar day of the bright fortnight. Deshastha households perform Ghatasthapana of Khandoba during this festival. The sixth day of the festival is called Champa Sashthi. For Deshastha, the Chaturmas period ends on Champa Sashthi. Since it is customary in many families not to consume onions, garlic and aubergines (Brinjal / Aubergine) during the Chaturmas, the consumption of these foods is linked to the ritual preparation of Vangyache Bharit (Baingan Bharta

Tilgul, are exchanged by Deshasthas on Makar Sankaranti. The center shows sugar-coated sesame seeds surrounded by laddu s of tilgul or sseame jaggery.

Makar Sankranti falls on January 14th when the sun enters Capricorn. Deshastha Brahmins exchange Tilgul or sweets made from jaggery and sesame seeds along with the usual greeting Tilgul Ghya aani God Bola, which means to accept the Tilgul and be kind. Gulpoli, a special type of chapati filled with jaggery, is the dish of the day.

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in the month of Magha in honor of Shiva. A chutney made from cottage cheese (K. awath in Marathi) is part of the kitchen of the day.

Holi falls on the full moon day in Phalguna, the last month. Deshasthas celebrate this festival by lighting a bonfire and offering Puran Poli to the fire. In contrast to Northern Indians, Deshastha Brahmins celebrate the throwing of colors in Rangapanchami five days after Holi.

Social and Political Issues

Maharashtra Brahmins were absent landlords and lived on the surplus without cultivating the land themselves according to ritual restrictions. They were often viewed as exploiters of the tiller. This situation began to change when the newly independent India was enshrined in its constitution, agrarian or land reform. Between 1949 and 1959, the state governments began to pass laws under the constitution to implement this agrarian reform, or Kula Kayada in Marathi. The legislation led to the abolition of various absences such as Inams and Jagire. This land reform implementation has had mixed results in different states. An official investigation found that Maharashtra state did not abolish all absenteeism from 1985 onwards. Other social and political issues are anti-brahminism and the treatment of Dalits.

Questions between the boxes

The main entrance to Vithoba Temple in Pandharpur

During British rule in the 19th century, social reformers such as Jotiba Phule launched campaigns against Brahmins' rule of society and government employment. The campaign was continued in the early 20th century by the Maharaja of Kolhapur, Shahu. The non-Brah in the 1920s