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The Samyukta Saraswat January 1973 Vol. I No. 1

Editor-in-Chief Prof. B. P. ADARKAR

Editorial — The Revival of

Executive Editor : P. R. KAIKINI


Saraswatism Discovering the Saraswat Identity — The Saraswats of Kashmir by Karmayogi Pt. J. L. K. Jalali Gujarat by Dr. Janardan Pandya

Page No.

The Settlements of the Deccan by Shri K. K. Pai and Shri M. P. Pai Editorial and Business Offices 4/418, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Bombay-34 Tel 371416

Printed by P. R. Kaikini at Philpress, 28D Police Court Lane, Fort, Bombay and Published by him for THE ALL INDIA SARASWAT FOUNDATION at 4/418, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road. Bombay 34. Tel 371416

Leadership in Kutch and


11 14

Saraswat Youth and the AISCO by Dr. D. V. Kerkar


Our Sacred Crest—by D. N. Nadkarni


Books for your attention


AISCO. The Testament of Faith Saraswat Social Service Institutions of Kashmir — by Karmayogi Pt. J. L. K. Jalali


For Saraswats, A Challenging Future by Shri A. N. Bhatt

41 49

Kerala Saraswats—by N. Purushothama Mallaya 53 'ITie AISCO faces the future, by Shri J. S. Rao 67 Saraswats Unite to Serve Humanity by Smt. Sila Kaikini The Gita to our Rescue by Shri S. V Pikale 75

The views expressed contributors are their own, and not necessarily shared by THE S A M Y U K T A S A R A S W A T


SAHYADRIKHANDA, edited with Marathi Translation by Vyakaranacharya Gajananshastri Gaitonde. 326 pages, with 4 - colour jacket

Rs. 25/-

Sacred, and of engrossing interest to all Saraswats. The original story of Shree Parashuraina's settlement of Saraswats and their Kula Deva as in Goa.

DHARMA - BODH, by Vyakaranacharya Gajananshastri Gaitonde. . .

Rs. 4 /-

Brahmanical faith and practices cogently explained in simple Marathi, with Stotra s in simple Samskrit, and information about Saraswat Kula Devatas.

LAW OF INCOME TAX IN INDIA, by S. V. Pikale, B.A., LL.B., Advocate, Supreme Court and H. C. Banavali, M.A., LL.M., Advocate. BY THE SAME AUTHORS — (1) Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959; (2) Central Sales Tax Act, 1956; (3) Goa Daman Din Sales Tax Laws.

SHREE KATYAYANI PUBLICATIONS 4/418, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, BOMBAY-34. TELEPHONE : 371244



Vol. I No. 1


January 1973


THE REVIVAL OF SARASWATISM The SAMYUKTA SARASWAT is the official mouthpiece of the All-India Saraswat Foundation and its parent body, the All-India Saraswat Cultural Organisation. We have much pleasure in presenting this first issue of our Journal so as to coincide with the Inaugural Function of the AISCO, which is being held on December 23, 24 and 25, 1972. In doing so, we hope and pray that the foundations of Saraswat revivalism, which is the principal aim of the above two organisations, apart from the aims of national regeneration and international spiritual and cultural progress, will now be well and truly laid. The question uppermost in the minds of both friends and critics alike will be, as it has been jn the past, the question of "communalism,” viz., why, in this late twentieth century and in a country already affected by the communal virus, it becomes necessary to sponsor a new "communal” organisation. Elsewhere in this issue, this question has been directly as well as indirectly answered by some of the contributors. We would like to draw the attention of readers also to our Avedan-Patra of January 21, 1972, in which the aims and objects and the future programme of the AISCO have been succinctly and clearly outlined. However, it may be worthwhile to attack this central issue right at the outset and, perhaps, once for all, so far as the entire movement of Saraswat revivalism is concerned. First of all, we would like clearly to state that according to our way of think-


ing, we Saraswats are human beings first, with obligations towards other peoples and other nations on this globe for the maintenance of international peace and order and promotion of universal welfare. Secondly, we are Indians and Hindus, owing allegiance to our motherland and our dharma. Thirdly, and no less important, we are Saraswats with duties towards our community and to our ethos, which have survived for centuries not only the ravages of time but also communal and religious persecutions at the hands of alien peoples and religions. Having made this triple system of duties and obligations clear, we must add that the allegiance in each of the three categories is equally sacred and important to us and that there is no essential conflict between them. No doubt there may occasionally be marginal conflict here and there, but by and large, it has been and it should be possible to maintain a reasonable balance in our attitude towards the three entities, viz., the world, the nation and the community. In fact, such a balance Is bound to strengthen not only the community but by implication the nation and perhaps the world. Moreover, in the case of India, the real crux of the so-called Communalism centres round the twin problems of the Hindu-Muslim conflict and Untouchability — both of which have been the legacies of history. The former has nothing to do with “community” in the proper sense of the term but is entirely an inter-religious matter. On the other hand, the latter is mainly a class issue, as even Mahatma Gandhi used to say, arising from the


professional nexus. By abolishing communities or castes, it will not be possible to get rid of either of these twin problems of communalism which are a festering sore in the body politic of India. Thus, when our leaders speak of the evils of communalism, they have the above two evils mainly in view and their remarks have very little relevance to community life as such. Therefore, so far as the Saraswat community is concerned, there is no reason to have any guilt complex: nor is there any reason for the critics to cavil at our efforts to elevate the community by reviving our ethos for the good not only of our own members but of the nation as well. In this context, we can do no better than draw the attention of our readers to a recent book by Shri K. Guru Dutt, entitled Community and Communion, in which the author most conclusively proves by reference to modern research In sociology and psychology and with impeccable logic that “community’’ and "caste” are not the same and that community life does not involve any “communalism.’’ Not only this but he goes further and illustrates with an exhaustive study of the Bhanaps or Chicrapur Saraswats how a community by maintaining its own individual ethos can bring about its uplift. This is not a solitary instance. There are innumerable other small and big communities, such as the Parsis of Western India, the Kashmiri Saraswats, the Ayyangars, the Nagar Brahmins, the Syrian Christians of Kerala, the Nambudri Brahmins, the Chettiars and Mudaliars, et al., which have brought success and glory to themselves and to the nation by preserving their respective cultures, by fostering family life, by forming institutions o'? mutual assistance for promoting the health, education, employment and the


economic status of their constituents, and above all, by strengthening their ethical and other values of life. There have Indeed been occasional lapses from ideals, especially in respect of nepotism and “casteism", but which system or way of life is ever perfect ? And, in any case, what are the alternatives ? As Shri Guru Dutt points o u t : “In huge modern societies, the crowd’ never breaks up it has no groups to return to, nothing to introduce sanity arid order and discipline into its overexcited mind, worked by propaganda and advertisement through the giant mass-media. There is the phenomenon of human beings being reduced to (mere automatons and) robots manoeuvred by the commissars of totalitarian regimes.” It is clear that in totalitarian regimes, the human automatons have to function within the straitjackets of edicts issued by high authority, while in our old-fashioned societies, community life with its freedom, its creativeness and its boundless group energy, is capable of producing the most fruitful results. A Saraswat cultural revival can be a movement of great importance not only to the community itself but to the nation and perhaps to the rest of the world. In substance, such a revival will doubtless be a revival of Aryadharma, which has been the basis of India’s culture and spiritual life. From the most ancient times, e.g., from Vedic times right up to our own days, Saraswats have played a most prominent part in our nation’s affairs, in politics, in administration, in learning, in diplomacy, in statecraft and in warfare and military strategy. Centuries ago, there was a collapse of the Hindu Aryan civilisation after the historical drought of 12 years, which led to the initiation of 60,000 Brahmin sages on the banks of the river Saraswati near


Kurukshetra, by the Saraswat Muni. Since then the Aryan civilisation was spread in many parts of India, wherever the Saraswats migrated. They brought culture, prosperity and political stability to various regions and helped to build the nation. Parashuram, the greatest Saraswat of all, venerated for ages as an Avatar, was not only a demigod, but a leader of men, a great and powerful warrior, a terror to all evildoers, and above all, a constructive statesman and coloniser. The revival of Saraswatism in its essentials, in. our view, is a necessity today, when we find the country torn by dissensions, demoralised in various ways by the elements of corruption which have crept into public life, and weakened by internal and external calamities. We Saraswats have done it before and there is no reason why we should not or cannot do It once again. We feel that at this juncture, it is not merely the words of the Vedas and Vedanta, but their spirit, which is the spirit of Aryadharma, the spirit of yajna, i.e., devotion to the higher ideal of life and personal sacrifices for the good of the community and the nation, which assume great importance. Saraswatism, born in the heart of Aryavarta, on the banks of the river Saraswati and in the vicinity of Kurukshetra, is indeed the essence of the Hindu way of life, and for centuries, we Saraswats and our sister communities, some of whom (e.g. the other Panchagaudas) evolved out of our migration, throughout the land that is India, have been the custodians of all that is sacred to the people. We must, therefore, revive those essentials of Saraswatism — particularly those which would be in tune with the modern times and would appear to be necessary for a


social renaissance and the uplift of moral standards. This means that we must first do some introspection and reform and organise our own community and then, secondly, spread and propagate the essentials of Saraswatism throughout India and the rest of the world. These are two distinct steps, but there is no doubt in our mind that we must attend first to the former objective. We must reiterate here what has already been said in our documentation, including the constitution of the AISCO and the trust deed of the Saraswat Foundation, viz., that our movement is cultural and not communal (in the narrow sense of the term). We might go even further and say that the movement is spiritual, because it will cater for the spirit of the nation. On the other hand, it will not be religious (in the narrow sense of the term again), but will strive to inculcate those high ideals of life which fired the imagination and permeated the life of our forefathers, the ancient Aryans of India. There is a great danger today of the collapse of our civilisation, based upon Aryadharma, if the leaders of our intelligentsia do not awaken to the need of re-building the Aryan Hindu culture, which seems to be on the verge of rapid disintegration and decay, owing to the onslaughts of debasing alien cultures and mores of life and conflicting centrifugal social forces in the country itself. May the Saraswats take the lead in a new movement which will emphasise that man does not live by bread alone, but that there are higher issues and values of life, which bring great social and spiritual advantages of welfare and happiness! Let it not be said by future historians that we Saraswats failed in our duty to ourselves, our nation and the world !



THE SARASWAT SANMARG SERIES of tracts and books He who looks at the marvellous harmony in the anatomy of the universe, as well as his own, is inclined to deflate his ego and devalue his individual interests. He seeks the path of social harmony, which is indeed the Saraswat Sanmarg. The cultivation of this way of life is the objective of the All India Saraswat Foundation. Contemplation of the harmony is the object of the Saraswat Sanmarg series of publications.

1. OUR SACRED CREST D. N. Nadkami An essay on the Crest of the AISCO and the All India Saraswat Foundation, as a Symbol of the Saraswat ethos Rs. 2

2. COMMUNITY AND COMMUNION: The Saraswat Experience K. GURU DUTT An illuminating treatise on the nature of Indian communities and their creative role in the national life. Rs. 5

Published by

THE All INDIA SARASWAT FOUNDATION 4/4I8, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, BOMBAY-34



Editorial Note

DISCOVERING THE SARASWAT IDENTITY Consolidation of the Saraswat ethos as a worthy prototype for the national ethos calls for a dose study of the cultural elements common to all the regional groups of Saraswats throughout the country. The principal elements of the culture of any society include language, religious beliefs and practices, food habits, social customs, domestic habits, attitude to wealth, level and trend of education, mythology, and knowledge of history, including the history of the social group concerned. A study of Saraswat Culture involves an evaluation of the life of each territorial group, and then of the community as a whole, in all these aspects. Self-awareness of a community, implying consciousness of the common identity and a fair knowledge of the community‟s history, is thus essential to the-development of its culture and its ethos. In the case of the Saraswats, this is a field in which a great deal of work awaits to be done. As matters stand, the territorial groups have little knowledge of one another. Even within a group, a good deal of ignorance and misconception prevails about its own history and even identity. Among the Dakshini Saraswats, better known as Gowd Saraswat Brahmins, there are still those who believe that the followers of the Chitrapur Math are a distinct and separate community. There are others who assume that the G.S.B‟s consist only of the followers of the four Maths Kavle, Kashi, Gokam and Chitrapur. The fact is that there are five G.S.B. Maths, including the Dabholi Math of the Kudaldeshkar sect; and there are other sects which acknowledge the Shankaracharya of Sringeri as their Pontif. It has been the privilege of Saraswat socialservice institutions like the G.S.B. Temples Trust, the Saraswat Vidyarthi Sahayyak Mandali and the Saraswat Brahman Samaj to hold these sects and sub-sects together and to nurse the Dakshini Saraswat identity. A study of the regional and sectarian institutions of Saraswats thus becomes an essential feature of the search for the Saraswat ethos. Taking first things first, “Samyukta Saraswat" proposes to stimulate an understanding of the historical background of the present territorial


groups of Saraswats. A beginning is made with the three articles which follow, relating respectively to the Saraswats of Kashmir, Gujarat and the Deccan. These articles, not being intended to be either comprehensive or conclusive, are excellent opening statements on subjects with plenty of scope for development. And they all come from persons with the authority of keen interest, deep study and mature judgment. It is hoped that these esteemed contributors‟ interest in the “Samyukta Saraswat” and its mission will grow, that they will follow up their presentation of their respective themes, and that others with similar advantages will also follow suit. Attention is invited, meanwhile, to a well authenticated history of the Saraswats of Kerala prepared by Shri N. Purushothama Mallaya as a paper for presentation at the Inaugural Session of the AISCO, and to a similar paper prepared by Pt. J. L. K. Jalali on Saraswat Institutions in Kashmir, both of which are reproduced elsewhere in this issue. There has been a difference of opinion among scholars regarding the precise location of the original home of the Saraswats, as also the exact period or periods of their dispersal throughout the country. Scripture, tradition and legend are the principal sources of such inferences as may be reasonably drawn. While these inferences perhaps lack the definitive quality demanded by history, they are not by that reason any the less relevant in a cultural evaluation. Legend and tradition represent a spirit and an attitude which have withstood the ravages of time. Patient research in ancient and medieval inscriptions and in classical literature can help to produce a plausible outline of the cultural course of each of the present territorial groups, up to the advent of European influence in India. Material for research in relation to the subsequent period is distinctly richer. Substantial work on lines has been done already. In regard to Dakshini Saraswats, an enormous amount of material has been uncovered and collected notably by Prof. A. K. Priolkar


and the late Dr. P. S. Pisurlekar, to which Shri Vinayak Narayan Dhume of Kumbharjuva, Goa, has recently added his quota. The task of presenting a connected story of fact, legend and inference, with a variety of cultural information, mainly about Dakshini Saraswats, was first accomplished by Mathastha Ganesh Ramachandra Sharma two decades ago. It has been recently repeated by the late Shri V N. Kudva. Much research work remains to be done, however, mainly on the lines already indicated by the efforts of Prof. Priolkar and Dr. Pisurlekar. The rich collection of microfilms of documents, manuscripts and old books in the Portuguese archives in Lisbon, gifted by Dr. Pisurlekar to the Bombay University‟s Centre of PostGraduate Study at Panaji, is believed to be a promising source of authentic strands of Dakshini Saraswat history. For the layman, information concerning the historical background and at least some aspects of the culture of Dakshini Saraswats is not so scanty. Handy books on the subject are (i) “Saraswat Bhooshan” (Marathi) by Pt. Ganesh Ramchandra Sharma, published by Popular Book Depot, Bombay; (ii) Shree Shantaduiga Tonple Centenary Commemoration

Volume (Marathi), issued by the Shree Shantadurga Seva Samiti, Bombay; (iii) “History of the Dakshinatya Saraswats” (English) by Shri V. N. Kudva, published by the Samyukta Gowd Saraswat Brahman Sabha, Madras; and (iv) “History of the Shree Mangeshi Temple" (Marathi) by Shri V. N. Dhume, published by Timaji Kakodkar at Margao, Goa. Information concerning the Kula-Devatas and Gotras of Dakshini Saraswats is given in Shri Gajanan Shastri Gaitonde‟s “Dharma Bodh" (Marathi), published by Shree Katyayani Publications, Bombay; while an exquisite pen portrait of the Chitrapur sect is drawn by Shri K. Guru Dutt in his illuminating treatise on "Community and Communion” (English), of which a second edition is just issued in the Saraswat Sanmarg Series of the All India Saraswat Foundation. Incidentally, the four books last mentioned, which are recent publications, are reviewed in this issue. “Samyukta Saraswat” looks forward to readers coming up with additions to this bibliography, evaluation of the published material, and similar information concerning other Saraswat groups such as those in U.P., West Bengal, Kashmir, Punjab. Gujarat and Cutch.



Tel: Office 326070 Resd. 259566




Saraswat Identity — I

THE SARASWATS OF KASHMIR By Karma Yogi J. L. K. Jalali, President, The All State Kashmiri Pandits Conference The Kashmiri Hindus called Kashmiri Pandits are the Saraswat Brahmans of Kashmir. I have before me the Census Report of the Jammu and Kashmir State for the year 1901, in which the sub-castes of the Saraswat Brahmans of the State, particularly Jammu, have been shown as 32, and the Kashmiri Pandit is one of them. Now that the Saraswats of India are uniting in one body, it is very necessary to know which classes of Saraswats are to be found in which part of the country, so that one has a clear idea about the magnitude of their numbers, their socio-economic status and stability, their contribution to the development and progress of the country, apart from their political contribution for the attainment of the nation's independence as also for the maintenance of solidarity of this largest democracy in the world as the greatest power in South-east Asia. Though a minority in Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits are an incalculable asset and make the State a Saraswat stronghold in the north of the country. They claim their descent from the great Sage Kashyapa, who got the satisaras, the lake of the goddess Sati (Uma), desiccated and then inhabited by immigrants from Bharat. In course of time, the immigrants divided themselves into six clans (or gotras) headed by the sfiges Dattatreya, Bharadwaja, Mudhgale, Pathadeva. Upamanyu and Dhuma, and with the passage of time got further subdivided into 133 gotras through inter-marriage and intermixture with other Brahmans.


Here in Kashmir a curious historical label of religious hue is to be found among them; and it would only amuse the reader to know that when in the beginning of the fourteenth century under pressure of forcible conversion by Sultan Sikandar, the Iconoclast, the Kashmiri Pandits fled to the plains of India, and were followed by hordes of emigres under successive reigns, the “eleven houses or families'‟ that somehow managed to remain behind under cover, and their descendants, came to be known as . to distinguish them from those who later returned after Sultan Zainulabidin announced religious tolerance and freedom of faith and conscience and remitted a part tax on Hindus and were called Bhanamasis” Apparently Bhammasis would be those who adopted the solar calendar; but in Kashmir both the Malmasis and the Bhasnamasis follow the lunosolar calendar; and this label of so-called distinction is only in evidence at the time the intercalary month is scheduled to fall (every three years), and the adhikamasa is observed at different intervals by the two. Its presence is more marked if and when the intercalary month falls (as this year) in Magh or Phagan. and the two Shivratri (Herat) festivals and two New Year‟s Days fall at intervals of one month.

Saraswat Contribution The Kashmiri Hindus were the dynastic rulers of Kashmir, though non-Kashmiris at times also occupied the throne. But from the middle of the fourteenth century. Islamic ascendancy coupled with mass prosely-


tisation reduced the three million Hindu majority of Kashmir to much less than a hundred thousand which fell and rose with every ebb and flow of the political tide. The converts to Islam, who form the majority now, are in fact the very Pandits whose blood flows in their veins; and that is mainly responsible for the proverbial secularism of Kashmir, notwithstanding the fanatic excesses that have at times accentuated the socio-economic insecurity of the Hindus. It is incontrovertible that it is this Pandit who has made Kashmir what it is now at a great personal and social sacrifice. For example, when the Pathan rulers of Kabul out-heroded the former Muslim monarchs and governors in their tyranny, oppression and exploitation in Kashmir,' it was the Kashmiri Pandit, Birbal Dhar, who hostaged his son, Rajak Dhar, with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lion of the Punjab, and persuaded him to invade and occupy Kashmir to rid the Kashmiris of the intolerable excesses of the foreigners in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. After the Dogra occupation of the Valley as a part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it was the Kashmiri Pandit who substantially contributed to the rehabilitation of its depleted economy either as an officer of the Government or as an assistant in the office or in the field “settling” the mountainous frontiers of Ladakh, Baltistan and Gilgit. While Kashmir is known as “the Paradise on Earth” and tourists from all parts of the globe come and enjoy its scenic beauty, its trout-fishing and snipe-shooting, the Kashmiri Pandit has emblazoned its cultural firmament. Despite the vicissitudes of time, he has given the world a Philosophy of Positivism (Vishvasya Jivitam Satyam praksshaikatmakashcha sah) in contradistinction to the Vedantin‟s Neti which has even now attracted scholars and savants, seekers and searchers from the different parts of the world to have a taste of the Pierian Spring


of knowledge and spiritual beatitude. The great Acharyas, Vasugupta, Somananda, Utpala, Abhinavagupti (and now Rajanaka Lachmanjoo Swami), the great sages and saints, Yogini Lalleshwari, Rupa Bhawani, the powerful Rishi Peer Swami Krishna Kar, Mahatma Prasadji (Great Bab), the great scholars, poets and rhetoricians, Kaiyat, Mammat and Bana, the great PoetHistorian Kalhana, the linguistic-magicianauthor of Kalpadruma, Sahib Kaul, the beatific Karma Yogi Paramananda and the devotional poet Krishna Razan are some of the ever bright luminaries whose effulgence has flood-lit Kashmir and its people over the centuries. The goddess Uma has been the presiding deity of Kashmir yaiva Uma saiva Kashtrtira (She who is Uma is herself Kashmira), and Shakti-worship, notwithstanding the philosophy of Shaivism, has been the dominant underlying substratum on which all other edifices have been superimposed, sometimes improvised temporarily, sometimes enduringly. And this is still extant in one form or another, as the several goddesses like Sharika, Rajna, Jwala, Tripura. Durga, Chandi, Sheetala, Kali, Hari and others, who are worshipped by the Kashmiris, stand as guardian angels spread out in the Valley of Kashmir. Unfortunately the goddess Sharada, the embodiment of wisdom and learning who guarded the northern frontier of the Valley, has now been cease-fired ‟ along with the Sharadi fort out into the so-called Azad Kashmir under the illegal control of Pakistan. Sharada is still with us all the same and represents our traditional culture. To Remember and Respect In the politico-administrative field, in the line of monarchical rulers, there have been kings and queens and among them Emperor Lalitaditya stands out as the flaming orb of Kashmir s greatness, economic prosperity,


industrial growth, trade expansion, foreignstate domination and suzerainty over feudatories and colonial settlements. With China, Iran, etc., he had established diplomatic relations and his grandson, Javapida Vinayaditya, extended Kashmir‟s sway over the' Gauda (Bengal) kings. Ranaditya, Pravarsena, Avantivarman, Shankarvarman, Meghavahana, Harsha, Yashaskara, Yasho-vati, Sugandha, Didda, Kotarani and others are some of the kings and queens whose exploits will in due course be recorded in the pages of this journal with a view to acquainting the reader with what contribution they (and their professional experts) have made in the building up of Kashmir and its past in the context of Mother India. In the Kashmir of today, no more do we find kings and queens; but nonetheless there are ministers, administrative heads, business magnates, leaders of note, great scholars and others whose social, political, economic and cultural contribution to the State and society cannot go unnoticed. During the pre-popular regimes there have been great personalities

like Chaudhri Mahesh, Nand Ram, Birbai Dhar, Tilak Munshi, and Nila Kaul Jalali (better known as Nilanag after Maharaja Ranbirsingh invested him with this title), while the last of the Dogra rulers, Maharaja Harisingh, elevated Ramchandra Kak to the Prime Ministership of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In the popular regime now there have been many important Kashmiris, of whom the name of the author‟s cousin, Shri Durga Prashad Dhar, ex-Minister of Kashmir and now Chairman of the Policy Planning Committee of the External Affairs Ministry of the Government of India, deserves to be mentioned. The names of some of the past stalwarts and pillars of the Kashmiri community, such as Pandit Motilal Nehru, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Kailashnath Katju and others are too wellknown to need special mention. Moreover, the jewel of India, Jawaharlal Nehru — whose memory we treasure—and his illustrious daughter, Indira Priyadarshini, have been the crowning glory of Kashmir and of India.

Saraswat Identity — 2

LEADERSHIP IN KUTCH AND GUJARAT By Dr. Janardan Pandya, M.A., Ph.D. The origin of Saraswat Brahmins is traced in Puranas, Mahabharata and in the Rigved Bhasya of Sayanacharya. Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Shri Dayaram Khatau Sharma has given in his book “Raghuvanshi Ratnakar or Adarsha Itihas” varied opinions about the origin of Saraswat Brahmins in ancient stories of Puranas and as stated in Rigved Bhasya of Sayanacharya. Sayanacharya in his book “Rigved Bhasya” has stated as follows “In the assembly of Brahma, Durvasa Rishi, while reciting the Vedas, had mis-spelt some words and for this mistake Devi Saraswati liad ridiculed him. Durvasa Rishi had shown his anger by THE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973

saying that she had inherited human nature and she would have to take birth in the liuman world. Hearing this. Saraswati Devi became grieved (vexed) and asked to be pardoned by Durvasa Rishi. Durvasa showed mercy to her and said that Dadhichi the son of Charan Rishi. would accept her as his wife and she would give birth to a son who would be known as Saraswat Rishi and then


she would be free from human bondage and her son, Saraswat Rishi. would establish the Saraswat Brahmin race.� Sanswat Brahmins resided on the bank of the Saraswati in Punjab and were worshipping Goddess Saraswati. They were originally known as sons of Devi Saraswati and Punjab at that time was known as Saraswat Desh. During a drought in the Punjab. Saraswat Rishi worshipped Shakambhari Devi and saved her by restarting the learning of the Vedas, The Saraswat Brahmins migrated from Punjab to Kunikshetra, Matsya, Panchal and Kanyakubja. They established themselves in places north of the Vindhyachal and they were known as Kanyakubjas, Gauds. Uthals and Maithilis. Those who resided in the places south of the Vindhyachal mountain are known as Andhraites, Dravidians, Karnatakis, Maharashtrians and Gurjars. The history of Saraswat Brahmins was traceable up to the Rajput era. Brahmins have contributed much to the prosperity of that era. The Afghans and the Iranians envied the rise and prosperity of the Rajputs and they invaded various places from Punjab to Kashmir. During this period, Maharaja Ramsaran Dev was ruling over Punjab and Kashmir. In the fifth century. Ramasaran Dev lost the battle in Punjab to the Afghans and the Iranians and the Saraswats escorted Rajput families safely to the area of Sindh. The Saraswats were more numerous than the Rajputs and they actually managed the affairs of the State. In Sindh the kingdom of the Rajputs was divided into two parts, Sumra and Samavamsha. The Lohanas established themselves in the kingdom of the Sumras and Saraswats did so in the Soma kingdom of Nagarsamaiya. Due to conflicts between the Sumras and Lohanas, Chachdev captured the nor-


them part of Sindh and the Saraswat Brahmins ruled over Sindh for 75 years. From Sindh to Kutch The Turks captured from Chachdev the Somavams kingdom of Sindh. One of Somavams came down to Kutch and with them came the Lohanas and One batch came and established itself in Kathiawad and another in Kutch. Somavamsi Modh and Manai

power from Solanki and Chawda in Kutch. The Turks gave regional management to the remaining Saraswats and Lohanas In Sindh, the Lohanas were managing the local Government till the defeat of Mir Rustom in Samvat 1819 by the British. In Kutch also, the Lohanas were managing the local affairs till the Somavamsi reign of Shri Lakhpatji of Jedeja. The Saraswats helped Jamshri Kud Gharji to capture power in Kutch and he in return gave them the position of purohits of Somavamsa and till today the Saraswats are the purohits of Kutch Jadeja. In the seventeenth century, Rakhenagar captured the power from the Jadejas and established permanent rule in Kutch. He captured Kutch with the help of the Suba and Kalo Joshi were Dewans of the Nawab of Ahmedabad and at that time Morvi was given to him by the Saraswats. Rudho Joshi at Morvi. They gave Morvi to the Hindu kings to stop cow slaughter and harassment from the Nawab. Rav Shri Khengarji called brave Saraswats to Kutch and gave Bambhadai to Kalo Joshi and Bayad to Rudho Joshi. The Saraswats were classed as brave and self-respecting persons. Their services were utilised by Deshalji to have a temple like that of Dwarkadheesh, and a temple of Trivikramaraiji was built at Narayansarovar.


In Samvat 1900 the Saraswats were in service as Talatis and in the revenue departments. They not only enlightened the historical place of Narayansarovar but also gave to the region poets, literary men, pleaders and musicians as well as advisers.

Pitambarji is known to many for his noble and pious life. Some of the Saraswats migrated and others perferred to serve in Kutch.

preservation of Kutch; and this historic event was known to every villager, and even today a monument (Pado) to Mulji Lakhani, the leader of brave Saraswats, stands as evidence to that glorious Sacrifice at the mouth of Jhara-Dungapur, Kutch.

In independent India the Saraswats have produced learned people, scholars, literateures, poets, scientists, businessmen and judges.

From this historical reference one can easily understand that Saraswats have been The Saraswats, 700 in number, heroes and selfless people. They looked notfought with the Sindh Army of to their own interest but to that of the proGodeji and gave their lives for the vince as a whole.

After 1819 the Saraswats and other sects became subordinates and some of them were serving in the kingdoms of Kutch rulers and others became farmers and purohits. Bombay Settlement

In the beginning of the 20th century the Shri Kutch Deshiya Saraswati Brahman Mahasthan was formed and educational and social activities were started, and buildings have been purchased by it in De Souza Street at Vadgadi in Bombay. For free Sanskrit education a Pathshala has been established in that building and the Trust of the Mahasthan has also been formed and the Bal Gangadhar Tilak Pustakalaya from the Madhavji Tulsidas Joshi Trust was started for students.

When the Kutch people came to know that Bombay harbour in the south was expanding, the Banias, Bhatias and Lohanas went In Kutch-Anjar, a Saraswat Brahmin to Bombay and started business in cotton Boarding House has been established from and grains. Parties of Boda .Toshi and Valii Narsi who were the chief business commu- donations from Sheth Kanji Jadavji. nities of Bombay came from Kutch, Anjar The Saraswats of Kutch have started also and Sandhan. their social, educational and religious activities at Mulund and they have constructed The Saraswats started their career in the their own building known as Saraswati Wadi. field of learning and went to Dwarka, Bombay and Kashi and acquired high It has been said that Saraswat Brahmins degree and proficiency in knowledge of have rendered social, political, religious and Sanskrit and other languages. In Ayurved, educational services to the people and the Rasayan Sastra, Astrology, Yajna, etc., the States from the Vedic age till the Peshwa Saraswats have predominated. Pandit rule.



Saraswat Identity — 3


Shri K. K. Pai and Shri M. P. Pai It is generally agreed that Saraswats inliatnted Aryavartha also known as Brahmavartha, a piece of fertile land bounded in the north by river Drisadvati and in the south by river Saraswati. It is believed that they migrated from Central Asia and it is very likely that they came from the Polar region when that part of the land became unihabitable due to climatic changes. Geologists are of the opinion that 10,000 years ago, the Polar region had an equable climate and an eternal spring was in existence there for thousands of years. River Saraswati

No trace of this river is to be found anywhere in India though it is recorded that the river had its source at Plaksha Prasravana in the Himalayas and then flowing through Kurukhetra and the present Rajasthan region it joined the Arabian Sea near Dwarka. There is no such river answering this description, not even the bed of this river is to be seen in the course described. However, it is likely that the migrating Aryans must have named several rivers on their route as Saraswati. This name seems to have captured their imagination. Achaenenian Emperor Darius 521-481 B.C. — in his inscription refers to river Haraquati (Sans. Saraswati‟) and also to river Harayu (Sans. „Sarayu‟) in Western Afghanistan. Haraquati is presently known as ArgandAb In Rigveda there is a reference to Saraswati, and one gets an impression that this is a celestial river or possibly an eflulgent glow of light at the horizon which


battled with the fearful darkness in the Polar region. The sloka in Rigveda is as follows “Utsaya Nah Saraswati Ghora Hiranyavartani Vratagni Vasti Sustutim 6-61-7” It is also possible that a clan of Aryans who performed the Saraswat Yajna and worshipped Saraswati Devi might have been called Saraswats, This was a Yajna of migration and the performance of which brought them to Bharatadesha through the northwest frontier. The details of the Yajna are to be found in various scriptures. Ancestors : Mythologically Saraswat Muni, son of Dadhichi, has been referred to as the Ancestor of all the Saraswats. 'The legend tells us that these Saraswats lived in Aryavarta happily pursuing their Vedic studies but were unfortunately overtaken by a severe famine and all the Saraswats migrated from Aryavartha. Saraswati Devi seems to have asked Saraswat Muni to stay on the banks of the Saraswati river and sustain life by eating fish, and when the famine disappeared to give back the Vedas to the survivors of the clan. Historians agree that Bhargawa Rama (Parashurama) son of Jamadagni and Renuka was a Saraswat. He seems to have waged twentyone wars to exterminate the wicked Kshatriya kings and having given away the land to Brahmins he left northern India and migrated to the south. It is possible that he took the sea route from one of


temple was in existence till the temple was converted into a mosque by the followers of Islam. This is a significant fact as time and again people have come from middle east and settled down in South India by sea route whenever they found persecution there was unbearable. One such example is the arrival of Navayats of Bhatkal who came in large numbers and settled down and it is interesting to note that their language is akin to Konkani though it differs in many ways from the actual Kankani spoken in the region of Bhatkal. Chitpavan Brahmins must have also belonged to the Saraswat clan as evidenced by their high learning and they are also following the Vedic Dharma and they too migrated in the distant past to South India as they were unable to stand the persecution in the middle eastern countries. Plenty of evidence has been collected by research scholars in history to show that the Pallava kadamba and Ganga rulers of south India were .Saraswats It is possible that the apabramsha of word „Gangaâ€&#x; became Konga, from which the name Konkan must have been derived for the coastal strip of our country extending from Thana to TrivanAshoka had his edicts in South India drun carved in the Brahmi lipi. If the people in The Guru of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the locality were unable to read this script Govinda Bhagawat Padacharya and his he would have certainly got them written up Guru Srimad Gowda Padacharya were unin the local language. This again goes to doubtedly Saraswats. The question whether show that the people who could read this Shankaracharya himself was a Saraswat or script were already existing in South India not needs a lot of research. Shankaracharja posterior to Ashoka. was a worshipper of Shakti and he installed the idol of Kamakshidevi in Kanchipura and Outside India, in the lands adjoining to composed the beautiful Anandalahari and our country, Saraswats lived in Parad, soundaryalahari, which makes us believe Phallava, Sumer, Asura, Kamboja etc, and that he too must have been a Saraswat. were all following the Vedic Dharma. Their According to Sri N. Venkatraman. nine of language was very near to Sanskrit and there the gurus who adorned Kanchi Kamakoti was a close intercourse between the people "Peetam in the past were Saraswat. The of our country and those people. There is famous Mandana Misra who became a plenty of evidence to show that the king disciple of Shankaracharya who ruled Mecca (in those days Mukthe- Saraswat. swara) was a Saraswat king and the Shiva the ports from Saurashtra and landed in South India in the present Goa, It is interesting to note that an island near Goa was named by him as Revati Dweepa and a hill as Gomantaka and another place as Kushasthali in Goa. All these names are also existing in Saurashtra. There are several references to various Saraswat Brahmins coming down south from northern India and settling in various places starting temples and seats of learning and it is they who brought the vaidik form of worship to South India. Suttanipata of Budhist canon makes mention of a Vedic scholar, Bavari, living in Asmaka country in Dakshinapatha. It is stated that a number of his disciples travelled north to meet Lord Buddha who had by then become very famous by his teachings. The great Apasthambha, who lived on the banks of the Godavari in 400 B.C. and has been credited with having written Shrauta Grahya and Dharmasutra, was also living in South India. There is reason to believe that these two intellectual giants were Saraswats.



Vijayanagara Kingdom & Role of Saraswats : It is very interesting to note that Chaunda. Madhava. a Goan Saraswat who was in the court of Vijayanagara King has played a great role in founding and strengthening the vijayanagara kingdqm. Chaunda Madhava was a great scholar, administrator and a man of character and there are several edicts where the Vijayanagara kings have extolled his qualities. He was the son of Chaundabhatta and Machaladevi belonging to the Angirasa Gotra. Subsequently, another Goan Saraswat played a great role in the administration the Vijayanagara Kingdom and he happened to be the Minister of Harihara. His name was Veera Vasantha Madhava. Veera Vasantha‟s son, Bachanna, ruled over Goa and Tulunad and in Tulunad we find several edicts in Bachanna‟s name. The Sri Subramanya Temple at Kuke Subramanya received land grants from Bachanna in the year Shaka 1329. Saraswats in South Kanara :

It is commonly believed that the Saraswats came to South Kanara District after the Portuguese conquest of Goa but there is plenty of evidence to show that they were in different parts of the District of South Kanara much before the Portuguese conquest of Goa. The late Sri Govinda Pai was of opinion that the famous Sri Madananteshwar temple was in the hands of Saraswat Brahmins in the Shaka year 1215. in the year 1225, Bankideva II made land grants to one Vamana Shenabhava. This means Brahmins were in South Kaimra District posterior to Shaka 13th century. The people were closely associated with the ruling dynasties of Tulunad. Alupa kings of Tulunad were assisted by the Saraswat brahmins in performing daily pooja in the various temple Influence of Saraswat form of worship is to be seen in many of the temples. It is interesting that out of three famous ancient Saraswat temples of South Kanara, one is situated in 16

Manjeshwar (Sri Madanantheswara temple), THesewnd in Karangalpady (Shiva temple) gnd the third in Gollerkeri (Ganapathi Temple). In iHere seem to have Temples dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. out of which two temples are not in existence at present and the third one is ouF of Saraswat hands.

Nireshalva (Hoige been three Saraswat


Saraswats in Maharashtra :

We know that many Saraswats played a great role in the Maharashtra kingdom and names of Pitambar Shenoy, Rama Kamati, Sabaji Chature and Jivaji Ballal Bakshi are all great names. In the limited scope of this paper it is not possible for us to dilate on this topic. All that we would say is that one feels very proud when one looks back to the contribution made by Saraswats spread over the country particularly in Dakshinapatha in founding empires, in giving excellent administration and popularising the Vaidik form of worship. They played a great role in the national life in those days and played it very well indeed ! We are grateful to Sri Basti Pundahka Shenoy for permitting us to quote freely from his beautiful book published in Kannada “Review of Konkani and Marathi and Ancient History of Saraswat Brahmins” W'e have also referred to “History of Dakshinathya Saraswats” by the late V. N. Kudva, I.C.S. in writing this paper.


Since the dawn of history, scholarship and expertise in all arts and sciences have been a charactenstic of Saraswats, votaries of Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. The imparting of learning has also been a passion of Saraswat life. Under modern conditions, this passion has been expressing itself in the promotion of Schools and Colleges and the organisation of schoiarship societies to render financial assistance to needy students. There are a number of

Saraswat scholarship societies, mostly products of local initialive and therefore segmentary in their fields of operation. The generously motivated article given below suggests the liberalisation of Saraswat student assistance under the unitary control of an All India Saraswat Educational Trust with a nation-wide network of branch offices. "Samyukta Saraswat” will welcome the. views of persons actively engaged in the conduct of scholarship societies.

SARASWAT YOUTH AND THE AISCO By Dr. D. V. Kerkar, M.D., D.G.O., Margao, Goa The All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation has definitely taken a timely and bold step in trying to bring together Saraswats from the different Maths in the Deccan as well as from different parts of India. The success or failure of such a venture apart from the initial success would depend upon how the youth of our community responds to this new programme. Saraswats even after a very exhaustive survey are a comparatively small community. Gone are the days when Saraswats enjoyed a privileged position for just being Saraswats. Many a young Saraswat of today basking in the glory of the past achievements of his community finds himself harassed at every possible step from college admission to securing a job „for belonging to an advanced community‟, and is often frustrated. Poor economic resources coupled with the middle class urge “to keep up appearances” compel many to discontinue their education and seek a petty white-collar job. The future of the community will depend upon how we look after these impressionable angry Saraswat young men.

these responsibilities fully or even adequately, The small Saraswat community could set an example and give a lead in making up for the inadequacy of state action. Health and education of the community should be looked after with community funds and should cease to be individual liabilities. At the moment 1 shall restrict myself to education only. City dwellers may not be fully aware of the problem of economic backwardness of Saraswats in rural areas. There are very few parents there who can afford to give their children the best education that the children are capable of. Education of even young children is a burden to quite a few, and there are those who find education of any kind to be a luxury they cannot afford. The need for a community organisation to look after education, therefore, becomes imperative. With the availability of sincere and dedicated workers and excellent administrative talents in the community, the proper management of such an organisation will not be difficult. This is a modest proposal.

In a Welfare State, health and education are primarily the responsibility of the Government. In an economically backward country like ours, it will be expecting too much of the state to carry out any one of



It is suggested that an AH India Saraswat Educational Trust be created within the AISCO, with regional and divisional branches spread over the country. This should finance the education of any student on a mere application and not on the basis of certified poverty. At present there are a few organisations which give help to “poor” students. Given to the cult of keeping up appearances, a very small percentage of really deserving or needy students try to get help from these institutions. The compulsion to produce an array of certificates from different sources to prove the inability of one‟s parents to look after the education of their children is, to say the least, insulting and derogatory to self-respect. This trauma to the impressionable young people can and should be spared. Without putting the aspirant in such an embarrassing position, economic help for education should be granted on request alone. The reimbursement of this help should not be insisted upon. Saraswats, brought up in an instinctive tendency to altruism and honesty, will feel morally bound to replenish the funds. I personally feel confident that within a short time the resources of the trust will increase many fold and those helped by this trust in time of their need will devote themselves to the progressive betterment of the institution. While taking care of the needy and the average, the trust should encourage by awards and scholarships the excellence in the youth in any sphere, curricular or extracurricular. All India talent competitions should be organised every year, predominance being given to athletics and games. Such competitions held in regions and divisions will have their logical culmination in an All-India Meet. Similar activities will draw the Saraswat youth together, develop iheir talents and draw them towards the AISCO. With the spread of education, it is common to find a high school within a few miles of any village. University educaUon however is beyond the reach of many of


those who do not stay within a reasonable distance from a college or university. The expenses of lodging and boarding alone are prohibitive and beyond the means of average parents. Subsidised youth hostels near as many educational centres as possible are the need of the moment. The Saraswat Educational Trust should make a good beginning in this direction. One is justly proud of the many Saraswat temples ; neat, clean and well maintained; but 1 am not aware of any that is contributing substantially towards the education of the Saraswats. Agrashalas and Dharmashalas are being built with community funds by the temple trustees and a lot of money is spent over these buildings. Will it be possible to construct these Agrashalas and Dharmashalas so that they can be utilised as hostels or classrooms during the major part of the year and thus serve the community and the nation better ? I entertain no doubt about the vast resources needed to implement the All India Saraswat Educational Trust scheme even on a humble scale. Finances for such a scheme will necessarily have to be raised from the community. Swamijis and Saraswat temples should give a fixed percentage of their income to the trust. Any event or occasion worth celebration and commemoration should remind the members of the Saraswat community to donate to the funds of “AISET” Titles like „Guardian of Youth‟, „Friend of Youth‟, „Guide of Youth‟, should be awarded to the donors contributing large sums to the trust. If the “AISET” concept is accepted in principle, details can always be worked out by those experienced in the line. It is truly said, “It is good to give when asked, but better still when not asked!”


The crest of the AISCO and the All India Saraswat Foundation symbolises the spirit of Saraswatism and indicates the Saraswat way of life. An essay on the implications of the symbol, written by Shri D. N. Nadkarni, is published as a booklet in the Foundation’s “Saraswat Sanmarg Series” of publications, announced on page 6 of this issue. In view of the vital significance of the subject, a substantial portion of the essay is reproduced below.


Yajna in Life and Culture

(By D, N. Nadkarni)

The crest has the negative virtue of avoiding dissent as well as the positive virtue of practical idealism. It epitomises the what and the why of the AISCO as well as of its ambitious creation, the All India Saraswat Foundation.

of the spirit. The situation calls for an appeal to the true genius of India; and that genius is found in the inspired utterances of the seers of the Vedas. “Back to the Vedas” is a familiar slogan, used in earnest as well as in derision. It is a misleading slogan. For, the minds of the ancient rishis are not only abreast of modern thought but far ahead of it. It is medieval thought that is crusted and out of date. A revival of Vedic wisdom, a re-reading of the Veda in the modem context, and a scraping-out of the layers of excrescence that have piled up on the popular mind through the ages: that is the national need at this moment. That is the core of the AISCO‟s objectives, for the task may well be claimed to be a peculiarly Saraswat privilege.

The bewildering stresses and strains that the country is passing through, are symptoms of an inner crisis of faith, of a confusion in the popular concept of the meaning and purpose of life. At the root of the political, economic and social upheavals is a wavering

The genesis and pristine character of Chaturvarnya, the Order of the Four Divisions of Society, as recorded in the Brihadararryaka Upanishad (I; IV; 11-15), make it the responsibility of the Brahmanas to guard the social structure of the nation

If the All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation were to do no more than popularising its crest, it would achieve a great deal more than reasonable optimism expects of it. The AISCO crest, designed by the Preparatory Committee in an evidently inspired moment, depicts a Yajna or sacrificial fire with the Pranava Om superimposed and bearing the motto “May sacrifice be attained through sacrifice.” A more felicitous emblem could hardly be wished.



and to step in to correct any imbalances that may emeige. At the present time, it is the responsibility of all Brahmanas as a class, of those, that is, who claim or own up to the Brahmanical heritage, to think out, plan and initiate measures, within the limitatioos of their present condition, to set right the loosened and shaking cultural structure of Indian society. And, to the extent that this process involves a modernised revival of Vedic wisdom, it is possible for a vigorous Saraswat patriotism to claim precedence in the responsibility. Whether fact, fable or legend, the story goes that the Saraswats saved the Veda through a long period of devastating famine. Opportunity beckons to the Saraswats today to accept that story as an allegory, and to substantiate the allegory with their actions. NOTHlNG SECTARIAN HERE That is the message of the crest of the All-India Saraswat Cultural Organisation and of the Saraswat Foundation. A primary virtue of the design lies in the fact that it rises above sectarian dogma and, indeed, is valid for all sects. The divergent theological and metaphysical beliefs within the Saraswat fold itself are reconciled. It is valid to the Dwaitin as well as to the Adwaitin, to the Vaishnavite as well as to the Shaivite. It proclaims a universal ideal and a universal means of attaining it. Its message is not for Saraswats alone, but for the nation; indeed, for all humanity. The “Om” in the crest proclaims that universality. The Pranava is a symbol of Truth, of the Eternal Verity in existence. The Gita (VIII-13) calls it “Brahman in a single syllable” It is capsuled Reality. The Katha Vpanishad (1-2-15) carries this vivid description or definition of Om: “The Goal which all the Vedas repeatedly proclaim, which motivates all austerities, in pursuit of which men practise Brahmacharya, that Goal I declare to you in brief. It is Om.”






Om, therefore, the pettiness in human thought and action vanishes, and men‟s minds are attuned to the sublime and the beautiful. The inscription of this inspiring symbol in the AISCO crest is conclusive assurance that the AISCO is motivated by the quest for national and universal wellbeing, and not by any parochial ambition of sectarian Saraswat progress. It is no wonder, therefore, that the very first major action of the AISCO, taken within a few weeks of its own formation, was the creation of the non-sectarian All India Saraswat Foundation, dedicated to the service of the nation and of humanity. SYMBOL OF HARI-HARI The substance of the crest is the representation of Yajna. The theological significance of Yajna is not without its interest to the Saraswat mind.

“Yajna is Vishnu, Protector of all lives, ‟ says the Maitrayani Upanishad. Taittiriya Samhita (1-7-4) re-affirms statement. Sacrifice is Vishnu or Supreme.

that The the the

Vishnu makes His appearance when the Yajna is complete. The reign of peace and plenty is an expression of the Grace of Vishnu. But the Grace of Vishnu is not earned until the offering to Rudra is complete. The sacred flame of Yajna is Rudra. He is the God of destruction, of the perennial mutation of all that has name or form. He is therefore God of evolution as well as of revolution. The Shiva-Linga we worship


represents the flame of the sacrifcial fire, and the base, of the Linga represents the “Vedi” or “Havana-kunda”. The word “linga” means „"symbol”. The ShivaLinga is a symbol of the sacred fire, or Yajna.

The Gita uses the word yajna in the psychological and sociological senses alone. No ritual is implied. Any doubt on this issue that may be relevant to the Third Chapter is dissolved by the Fourth which, in ten lucid verses (24 to 33), enumerates a variety of psychological and social disciplines as The theological concept of Yajna is the yajnas. For example, unison of Hari and Hara. The philosophical concept is also the same. The Grace of Vishnu is nothing less than “happiness un“Some others offer their sense organs like touched by sorrow” The oblation to Rudra ears as oblation to the fire of discipline.” is nothing less than all that the sacrificer No ritual can possibly be meant in references has and is. The one is conditional on the of this kind. other. In adopting the Yajna symbol for The Vedas and the Upanishads are replete its crest, the AISCO proclaims the Saraswat ideology of self-sacrifice for the benefit of with the concept of yajna as the Law of society at large. That is Yajna. That is the Life. The Shaiapatha Brahmana (9-4-1 -11) sums up the concept. worship of Hari-Hara. HIE NATURE OF YAJNA

“All sentient beings live on yajna.” Men, like the gods, being endowed with intelligence, are called upon to adopt yajna, that is, self-sacrifice, as a deliberate way of life. The right life is a series of sacrifices. Indeed, the three ritual sacrifices that the Brahmana is expected to perform every day are a symbol of the self-sacrifice that every man is expected to perform during the three stages of his life. Thus the Chhandogya Upanishad (3/16/1-7) divides man‟s life into three spans of yajna. The first 24 years are “Pratah-Savana”, the morning sacrifice. The next 44 years are the Mid-day Yajna. The last 48 years are the third or Evening The spiritual and ethical significance of Sacrifice. Thus the man who consciously the ritual yajna itself is made plain by the leads a life of yajna lives 116 years. “Human Chhandogya Upanishad (III-17-4) with the life is Yajna.” declaration that “austerity, charity, uprightness, nonviolence and truthfulness are the Yajna or self-sacrifice is a law of nature, dakshina" or gifts with which the yajna is a law of life, and therefore a primary, into be completed; in other words, that the escapable Dharma. “Man was created with ritual yajna is an occasion for a renewal of Yajna.” declares the Gita (111-10): the resolve to pursue these virtues. Yajna has three aspects: self-restraint, selfdenial, and service of others. „ What is known Yajna is the central theme of the Vedic way of life. The Vedic mantras have a dual implication: ritual-cum-physical, and psychological-cum-philosophical. And, though they give the impression of a miscellany, they converge into a logical, practical and noble way of life. All references to the ritual Yajna in the Vedas thus carry, and are intended to carry, far-reaching psychological, philosophical and sociological implications. The ritual yajna is a symbol and reminder of the philosophical concepts and psychological disciplines which are the inner yajna.



as Yajna is Brahmacharya (or self-restraint) The rationale of self-denial as a form of itself,” announces the Chhandogya Upa- sacrifice and the rationale of surrender to God as an expression of Bhakti are the same. nishad (8-5-1): God pervades all. "Brahma havih" as the The Gita (IV. 26-32) spells out several Gita puts it : all that you can offer as oblaexamples of yajna in all three aspects : tion is itself Brahman. The Isha Upanishad, sacrifice of the senses in the lire of self- in the celebrated aphorism from which it restraint; sacrifice of wealth in the fire of lakes its name, says the same thing somewhat self-denial; and the sacrifice of possessions, differently: „„All this, whatever moves in including wealth and talent, in the fire of this world, is enveloped by God.” altruistic service, ending up with the annihilation of the ego in a dedication of life to Even as Yajna is a process of Jnana Yoga humanity. and Bhakti Yoga, it is also a process of Karma Yoga PERVASIVENESS OF YAJNA The idealist form of Yajna is the BrahmaYajna, performed in the faith that all is in reality Brahman. Self-sacrifice, according to “This world of men suffers bondage from the Gita (IV-24). is thus a process of Jnana all action save that which is done for the sake of sacrifice; therefore, O Son of Kunti, or Self-Realisation perform all action without attachment.” (Gita, 1II-9). Yajna, thus, is a safety measure against the chain-reaction of Karma; “The sacrifice is offered to Brahman, the which means that it is an instrument of oblation is Brahman, it is offered by Karma Yoga or Anasakti Yoga. Note, Brahman in the fire that is Brahman; thus incidentally, the implication of the advice to he who is fully engrossed in this act (of Arjuna. The implication is that detachment, sacrifice) which is Brahman, must needs as a form of self-denial, is Yajna. And this pass on to Brahman.” To know this, is is re-affirmed in the next (Chapter (IV-23): Jnana, the “Realisation of the Self”, which is the aim of all spiritual aspiration and the goal of all human life. “Of the free soul who has shed all attachSelf-denial for the universal good is also, ment, whose mind is firmly grounded in according to the Gita, an expression of knowledge, who acts only for sacrifice, all Bhakti. For, all those acts and things Karma is extinguished;” that is, its power of which, in Chapter IV of the Gita, are comchain-reaction is destroyed. mended to be performed in the spirit of sacrifice, are again commended in Chapter Yajna, then, is the ground of all the three IX to be surrendered to God as an expres- great Paths of Salvation: Jnana Yoga. sion of Bhakti Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. It is the Dharma which ensures Moksha. Without it, there is no Moksha. It has to be the first It is plain, therefore, that the two acts or concern of those concerned with man‟s ultiprocesses, of sacrifice and of surrender, are mate destiny. No wonder that Yajna was the mainstay of life in the Vedic age. spiritually identical. Yajna, then, is Bhakti.




Even so, were the insurance of Moksha the only claim to be made for Yajna, its use in the crest of the All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation would have been a measure of doubtful propriety. For, the direct and primary concern of the AISCO will be rather with the development of Artha and Kama than with Moksha. The AISCO will look for ways and means of betterment of the economic, social and cultural conditions of Saraswats and of their place in the national life. The Saraswat Foundation will do the same for a wider public. Their interest in spiritual advancement will be only incidental to that search.

led a vigorous, active life of usefulness to mankind. The Mundaka Upanishad which treats of Sannyasa and, indeed, derives its name from the Sannyasins' practice of shaving the head, makes this explicit statement; “Sporting in the Self, delighting in the Self, a man of action all the same, such a one is the greatest among the knowers of Brahman.” (III-1-4)

Great seers of the Upanishads, like Yajnavalkya, were happily married men who earned and gave and also saved. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (I-IV-3) reports Yajnavalkya‟s dictum that “the vacant part of man is completed by the woman;” that man and wife together make a rounded Yajna will not let down the AISCO or personality the Foundation. The crest is assured of vindication. For, the sages of the Vedas and Upanishads had discovered in Yajna a Sex was by no means taboo in the Vedic synthesis of the three compelling and ap- way of life. The Gita, indeed, gives the parently incongruous ambitions natural to stamp of divine identity to the “procreative man, Artha and Kama and Moksha, the passion: ” urge for physical, emotional and spiritual fulfilment. Men are urged to produce wealth, not to shun it. The Taittireeya Upanishad lays Because yajna or self-sacrifice was the down the “vrata” or social discipline in this Vedic way of Life, it was a full life, both respect. “Wealth should not be disparaged; personally and socially. Yajna here is a that is social discipline do not process of discipline, detachment and distriforbear to earn wealth; that is social discibution, not of renunciation. It is not basipline Step up economic produccally the way of Sannyasa, except the tivity; gather more wealth; that is social Sannyasa accepted as the fourth and final discipline.” (The word used in the text is “ashrama” or stage of the “shata-kratu", “anna”, literally meaning “food” But the the man who lives a hundred years in the word “anna” and the relevant words spirit of yajna; or of the one who takes to ”pacha” meaning cooking and “ada” meanSannyasa from a compelling inner urge for ing eating are employed in Vedic literature self-expression, the same kind of urge which as well as in the Gita in the larger sense of brings forth great poets or great musicians. wealth and its use.) It is worth digressing here to point out that the Vedic concept of Sannyasa itself was not quite the same as that of later ages. The Vedic Sannyasin was not an anchorite. Not even the man of God-realisation was In the context of worldly pleasures, yajna consists of obedience to Dharma. expected to withdraw from the world. He



personal and social. The Gita, again, en“Those who live on amrita, that is, the nobles disciplined enjoyment, “treasures residue of sacrifice, attain to eternal not Brahman.” averse to Dharma" are of divine origin; In the economic context, too, yajna consists of obedience to Dharma, in adopting the Dharmic attitude to wealth and possessions. It is an attitude of “anasakti” or detachment, not of indifference or abhorrcnce. The first two books of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, especially the celebrated Yajnavalkya-Maitreyi Dialogue, lay the foundation of the Gandhian theory of the Trusteeship of Wealth, to which the Mahatma is believed to have been inspired by the Isha aphorism, “Find your enjoyment in a spirit of detachment; covet not what ought to be another‟s”

As wealth must be shared, so too must knowledge and skill be shared with those who need them. That is yajna of a high order. The Manu-Smriti (4-28) calls it Brahma Yajna : At the same time, if you are capable of building up your own knowledge and skills, it is your duty to do so. Self-improvement is “Swaadhyaaya Yajna” (Gita, lV-28). Indolence and indifference make a man an “ayajna”, a wrong kind of man.

Yajna thus functions in the realm of culture, too. Virtues like humility and nonviolence are yajna, as they involve a process It is a form of Voluntary Socialism. of self-restraint : Precepts like “Atithi-Devo-Bhava” are “Yajna is humility.” (Yajur-Veda 13-8). derived from this concept : “Look upon the needy as God Himself.” This voluntary socialism of the concept of Yajna is pres“Non-violence is Yajna.” (Shatapatha cribed both on moral and practical grounds. Brahmana, 1-2-4). While the “gathering of wealth” is encourAs a life of yajna is commended on ethical aged, hoarding and meanness are denounced: and cultural grounds, it is also commended on the practical consideration of material “The lone eater is the lone sinner” (Rig and social advancement. The moral law Veda X-117-6). He who uses his wealth offers the best rule of worldly achievement. for himself alone leads a life of sin. That Thus, the individual who practises yajna is is the moral rule of the Veda. The Gita better off than the one who does not: (III-13) confirms the rule. “Those who cook for themselves alone, feed on sin.” “Those who do not perform yajna (do not give away in the spirit of yajna) go to On the other hand, “those who enjoy ruin even if they are liberal in their spendwhat remains after the performance of ing” { R i g Veda 1-33-4) sacrifice (giving to the needy) are freed from all sins.” (Gita, III -13). The residue of “People who do not perform yajna are sacrifice is called “amrita” or elixir of eternal life. The Marm-Smriti as well as the humbled and repulsed in any competition Gita uses the word “amrita” in that sense. with people who do perform yaina.” (Rig Veda, 1-33-5). Thus, the Gita (IV-31).



The Gita has the last word on the subject Yoga of intelligence. (Therefore) take re(lV-31) ; “This world itself is not for the fuge in the intelligence.” (II-49) non-sacrificer. What hope for him, then, of a higher world ?” A nation or a community of people leading an organised life of sacrifice will “attain the highest good” (Gita. III-11): CALL TO CONSCIENCE What is the sanction, what is the urge, behind the call to the life of yajna ? It would be a poor yajna that is performed in blind obedience to the Veda. For, the Veda countenances no Commandments, execept from the Acharya to the initiated pupil. The Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita inform, reveal, exhort and warn; they do not command. Their truths are announced to the human intelligence, and it is up to every man to accept them or to pass them by. The human will, the most precious of God‟s creations, is to be exercised, strengthened and illumined in freedom; it is not to be weakened, bent or suppressed by subordination. The reins of man‟s destiny must be held by his own free and healthy will. So it is that the Gayatri Mantra, the most sacred of all Mantras and the pass-word of Brahmanism, asks not for the salvation of the soul but for illumination of the intelligence “We absorb in our intellect the supreme light-energy of the god Savitr, that he may inspire and Stimulate our intelligence.”

Openmindedness, contemplation and equanimiiy are cardinal conditions of this Buddhi Yoga or recourse to the intelligence. Gita, II -42, 44, 48). Dogmatism, bigotry and blind obedience are un-Vedic attitudes. Faith itself must stem from conviction, not hang on blind belief. Uniquely among the great religions of the world, Vedic wisdom proclaims that primacy of the human intelligence and freedom of the human will, from which the modem ideology of Liberty and Democracy is derived. Any possible doubt on this score is set at rest by Shree Krishna. That is a lesson of the Gita which merits more attention than it generally receives. The Divine Song took shape, not because of Arjuna‟s “vishaada” or depression, but in response to his insistent appeal for a commandment or directive. Right at the beginning of the soul-stirring dialogue, Arjuna beseaches Shree Krishna: “Tell me for certain wherein lies my good.” (II-7) Shree Krishna‟s response is a dissertation on life and death and honour. That does not satisfy Arjuna, who repeats his appeal for a directive which he can blindly obey. “Tell me decisively the one thing by which I can attain to the highest good.” (III-2) And Arjuna does not stop with a mere appeal. Being aware of the impropriety of blind belief in matters of the spirit, he hastens to create that relationship between Shree Krishna and himself which alone would make command and obedience legitimate : the Guru-Shishya relationship. “I am Thy disciple. Direct me. who seek refuge in Thee.” (II-7)

The Gita confirms this primacy of the intelligence. “Mere action, O Dhananjaya, is far inferior to (action flowing from) the



The point is that even so, Shree Krishna hands out neither a directive nor a commsndment. On the other hand, having led his “beloved friend” Arjuna into “the mystery of all mysteries” of existence, and having given him the unprecedented privilege of a glimpse of Cosmic Reality, the Lord yet calls upon him to use his own judgment to decide what is good for him :

“Thus have I explained to you the most mysterious of all mysterious knowledge. Ponder over it thoroughly, and then act as you will.” (XVIII-63). A genuine inner conviction, not formal outward conduct, is what matters. Sacrifice must therefore emanate from a free, healthy and illumined intelligence. The self-sacrifice of fools and fanatics is not Yajna. Rabblerousing and mass indoctrination are offences against God who made the human intelligence as man‟s instrument of approach to the divine. The inspiration to a life of yajna must therefore come from a free intelligence, from a clear understanding of Dharma or the Law of Life, as a result of “pondering over it thoroughly.” The Taittireeya Upanishad makes this clear

from this call to conscience. For, what is culture but an outward expression of an inner grace ? THE BADGE OF THE SARASWAT Discipline, Detachment and Service are the three major components of this Yajna. All other virtues flow from this combination. Service rendered as Yajna extends to all living beings, and becomes an act of dedication, of surrender to God. The nature of the individual is transformed in the process. All trace of selfishness vanishes. Life becomes a continuous yajna. The last lingering weakness is the awareness of the yajna. That, too, must go. The feeling, the satisfaction, the exaltation of yajna must be consigned to the flame. That is the supreme yajna. That is the culmination and fulfilment of the life of sacrifice. Of men who accomplish that ultimate Yajna, the Gita (lV-25) says that “They offer Sacrifice itself as oblation to the Fire of Brahman.” What the Gita commends to the individual, the Rig Veda commends to societies of men. Accept the concept of sacrificing Sacrifice itself, and mankind will be transformed into a race of supermen. That is the law implicit in creation, and it is set out plainly in the most popular of all Rig Vedic mantras, the Purusha Sookta :

“Sacrifice is actuated by a refined under“The gods worshipped Yajna with yajna; standing based on sound knowledge; and so, too, are duties.” Mahatma Gandhi called it and that became the primary Dharma. Those the “inner voice” The common, and comm- great souls who perform such Yajna attain to the realm of the Sadhya gods of yore.” only ill-used, name for it is Conscience. That is the ideal invoked by the pictorial The Life of Yajna, then, must derive its sanction from the conscience of man; and part of the crest of the AISCO. The inscripits driving force, as in all noble endeavour, tion set below it places the idealism on the from Faith. And the faith, in this case, is practical plane. in the divine origin of the conscience itself. The Yajna in the crest of the Saraswat Cultural Organisation derives its propriety



“May sacrifice be attained through sacri' fice.” The reference is not to the culmination of yajna, but to the process of progressive realisation of yajna through constant effort at self-discipline and self-sacrifice. The quotation is from the climax of the Rudraadkyaaya, usually known simply as “Rudra”, the mantra now employed in the “abhishek” of the Shiva Linga. The Rudraadhyaasya is part of the Taittireeya Samhita. It was of course a mantra for a ritual Yajna, Even now, “Maha Rudra” and “Ati-Rudra”, consisting of multiple repetitions of the “Rudra”, are occasionally performed with "havana” or the sacred fire. The “Rudra” is a mantra of invocation and prayer based on a recognition of the divine in all existence and in all experience. The context of the present quotation runs thus

enlightened understanding.” (Tait. Up., 2-5-1). Therefore, every act of self-sacrifice adds to the sacrificer‟s enlightenment which, in turn, inspires further and larger selfsacrifice. That is “Krama-Mukti”, a progressive course of Mukti. That is also the process asked for in the prayer to Rudra : “May sacrifice be attained through sacrifice.” There is humility in this approach, born of a recognition of the need for divine intervention for human progress and salvation. It is not given to mam to reach his destiny by his own effort alone. The Grace of God is essential, Grace itself does not come as a whimsical gift. It comes in response to prayer.

It is important, here, to appreciate the nature of prayer. Prayer is not only to be thought, said and sung. Prayer must be lived. Mere supplication is not prayer. The spirit of humility which supplication implies, and the spirit of the objective of the supplication, must alike permeate the thought and conduct of the supplicant. Then alone is the supplication a prayer, and win ensure divine response. Shree Krishna has made this clear beyond doubt. It is a prayer for the “attainment”, that (Gita, IV-11). is, for the perfection, of life, the vital airs, the sense organs, the mind and the spirit, “As men approach Me, in that spirit do through Yajna or self-discipline; and for the I respond.” It is only when heart and mind progressive development of the self-discip- are of one accord in guiding a man‟s life line itself through the practice of self-discip- and disciplining his conduct, that supplicaline. The refinement and perfection of the tion becomes the soul‟s prayer and evokes senses, the mind and the vital airs through a response in kind, the Grace of God. It is the yajna of self-control are also referred to thus that the Shwetashwatara Upanishad in the Gita (IV-26, 27, 29). declares that man can realise his destiny only by a “a combination of the power of The prayer in the “Rudra” is for the self-discipline and the Grace of God” clarity of mind to see the path of yajna, and for the strength of will to adhere to it. It is The invocation in the “Rudra" is primaalso a prayer for “Krama-Mukti”, for rily for this power of self-discipline which the progressive realisation of man's is an essential qualification of prayer. As mission on earth. “The consummation prayer evokes Grace, and Grace in turn of all right endeavour is enlightenment.” (Gita, IV-33). “Sacrifice is inspired by an



inspires prayer, the distinction between the two tends to fade away. Prayer and Grace become one. Bhakti which initiated prayer. Karma which gave prayer its vitality, and Jnana which is the light of Grace, are then seen to be not only inseparable but in reality the same.

yerful sacrifice to give light and strength to a troubled nation. How far the AISCO and the Foundation will succeed in this objective, one does not know. The sponsors, however, may go ahead in the confidence that their effort is immune to frustration :

For most of us, whose aims and ambitions in life do not reach up to that denouement, it is enough to regard the "Rudra" as an invocation to God to kindle and feed the flame of human conscience. With divine aid, small conscientious self-denials lead to major ones, and the Yajna of selfrestraint and self-denial becomes the man's compulsive prakriti or nature; so that he works and sweats without sorrow, and is happy with the "amrita" or remains of his yajna, freely giving of his time and talent and earnings for the benefit of humanity. Such a man has no fear for his position in society. As said earlier, he is assured of victory in the competition inevitable in any social order. (Rig. Veda, 1-33-5). And he attracts the unqualified assurance given by the Gita (III.II) to all men of yajna, “you shall attain the supreme good.”

A beginning made in the cause of Dharma can never come to nought. That is the assurance of the Gita (II-40). The seed of sacred intentions is never destroyed. It may take time to sprout. But some day it will inevitably grow into a tree that gives shade and fruit.

This law and this goal of human existence are symbolised in the crest of the All-India Saraswat Cultural Organisation which, in turn, -has passed it on to the All India Saraswat Foundation. The adoption of the crest implies a commitment to live up to it, to demonstrate the beneficent power of pra-


The crest, meanwhile, is by itself an achievement. It embodies a faith which the Saraswats may well be proud to be known by. For, as the Gita asserts, the essence of the human personality is faith; and a man should therefore be identified by his faith, rather than by his works. (XVII-3)

What is true of theindividual is also true of a social group. May the Saraswats be worthly of being identified by their Organisation‟s Crest. May it be given to them, in an ever increasing measure, to continue their tradition of service of their fellowmen. May it be given to them, more and more, to feed the Flame of thereby to invoke the Grace of Vishnu to settle on this troubled land


BOOKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION A SOURCE BOOK RECLAIMED SAHYADRIKHANDA edited with Marathi Translation by Gajananshastri Gaitonde. 1972. Shree Katyayani Publications, 603, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Bombay 34. Pp. 326. Rs. 25/-.

This learned production by Gajananshastri Gaitonde, based upon prolonged and thorough research work, deserves to be warmly applauded. Luckily it coincides with the Inaugural Function of the All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation, and we must also congratulate our enterprising Vice-President, Shri S. V. Pikale, for having lent his support to its publication and made its appearance possible. For some obscure reasons, in which intercaste jealousies seem to have played some part, the Sahyadrikhanda portion of the Skandapurana had been suppressed and ignored by those who were handling Sanskrit works. It was an irony of fate or good fortune that a Goan Christian scholar, Dr. J. Gerson Da Cunha, should have been the first to bring out a scientifically reconstructed edition, in which the text was drawn from fourteen MSS from various parts of India, with the variae lectionis relegated to the footnotes. Gajananshastri, who acknowledges his debt to Dr. Da Cunha, goes further and has now given us, a solid piece of work, after a still wider research all over India. Sahyadrikhanda is a source document for the history of the Saraswats who were settled by Parashurama, the seventh incarnation of the Hindu divinity, in the region adjoining the Sahyadri mountain range; and it is also primar ly the life-story of Parashurama himself, and of his illustrious father, Jamadagni, and mother Renuka. It is a most


thrilling chapter in the history of the Saraswats who owe so much to Parashurama, especially during the period of migration from their northern homes to southern and western India. The Marathi translation is beautiful and impeccable. This is a book which every Saraswat should possess both for the Sanskrit text and the translation. — B. P. A.

„„A GEM OF A BOOK” COMMUNITY AND COMMUNION by K. Guru Dutt. Foreword by Shrimat Parijnanashram Swamiji. 1972. Published by the Author. Bangalore. Second Edition Published by The All India Saraswat Foundation, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Bombay 34, Price Rs. 5.00

This little book, subtitled “The Saraswat Experience” is indeed a gem of a book. The author, Shri K. Guru Dutt, who has had a distinguished official career and has also devotedly served many causes, apart from being a reputed author of many bocks, has successfully attacked the problem of caste and community and given a convincing answer to the question whether, living within a community and promoting its social and cultural life, we incur the stigma of “communalism.” India has had a tradition of V arnashramadharma, with its inevitable appendages of castes and sub-castes. — a tradition which is inherent in the Hindu way of life and which shows no signs of any decay of abatement. The question arises whether this tradition is helpful or harmful to our social and national life. It is a superficial conclusion that our caste system breeds


communalism in the country. Indeed, in India communalism is most rampant in the sphere of the Hindu-Muslim polarisation and in the treatment of the Untouchables. This is what our leaders have in mind when they condemn communalism, but it would be illogical to conclude that we could deal with these major aspects of communalism by abolishing all castes or communities. There is so much in this book with which the reviewer agrees that perhaps it may be as well to give a few quotations. According to Mr. Dutt, “the convergence of much modem thought points to the recognition of the role of small vital human groups as the only bridge between the two extremes” of authoritarian collectivism and extreme individualism. “The disintegration of the small community in a mass-production society is confronting the modern West with its gravest problem that of finding a substitute.” “There is the phenomenon of human beings being reduced to the role of robots manoeuvred by the commissars of totalitarian regimes.” “Community, communication and culture form a closely interlinked constellation of ideas, which provide the key to the understanding of human behaviour at all levels.” In Chapter II, Mr. Dutt examines the divergent views of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru about Vamashram and rightly comes to the conclusion that Nehru‟s ideology is “seeking to establish a stranglehold on our social and cultural life, under the guise of a “socialistic pattern of society” On the other hand, Gandhiji‟s attitude towards Vamashram that it “defines man‟s mission on this earth” and that it was necessary to weed out untouchability rather than destroy caste altogether, wins his approval. He further endorses the Gandhian approach to caste by saying : “I am venturing to suggest that the principle of „community‟ is diametrically opposed to that of


„communalism‟ (casteism) which consists in the exjrfoitation of caste sentiment exclusively for economic and political ends." The author proceeds to discuss the concept of Dharma and gives us a learned analysis of the Hindu Aryan way of life. The argument here is so condensed and thoughtprovoking that considerations of space alone prevent us from quoting more from the book. In the last Chapter on “The Saraswat Outlook”, Mr. Dutt illustrates his views by reference to the Bhanap institutions of the Chitrapur Saraswats and their way of life and conclusively proves that community life can be culturally and socially beneficent and helpful to national welfare and growth. The Foreword by His Holiness Swami Paraijnanashram quite rightly concludes that the book “is a great revival of our ancient sentiments to suit modern conditions”. — B.P.A.

DAKSHINATYA SARASWATS HISTORY OF THE DAKSHINATYA SARASWATS. By the late Shri V. N. Kudva, ICS. Samyukta Gowda Saraswata Sabha, Madras. Pp. viii + 367. Rs, 30/-,

This brilliant book written by the late Shri V. N, Kudva, CIE, ICS and published posthumously, nearly a decade after its production, by the Samyukta Gowda Saraswata Sabha of Madras, must rank as one of the finest works on the subject of the history of the Saraswats. It is an authentic, scholarly and throughgoing piece of research and fills a distinct gap in the English literarure on the subject, comparable only to the wellknown Marathi work, Saraswat Bhushan, written by Shri Ganesh Ramchandra Sharma, some years ago. Although it mainly relates to the history of the Dakshinatya (Southern)


Saraswats, however, there are some chapters of general interest, e.g.. Chapter I on the “Original Home of the Saraswats” and Chapter XXI on “The Saraswats of the North.” Moreover, every part of the book evinces a deep study of the historical and archaeological data as well as a balanced view of the religious and cultural activities of the Southern Saraswats since they left their ancient home on the banks of the Saraswati. In Chapter I, relating to the original home of the Saraswats, the author contents himself with quoting various authorities, but the selection of the sources of information is skilful and the conclusions quite plausible. He approvingly quotes Pandit Govind Narayan Mishra that the Saraswats migrated from the Punjab to Kanyakubja, to Gauda (or the Gangetic valley), to Mithila and to Utkal — so that the Brahmins of the latter regions, the so called Panchagaudas, were none else but Saraswats themselves in their origin. The routes of Saraswat migration to these and other parts of India and the later settlements are succinctly analysed. Chapters II, III and IV deal with Konkan and Goa, the dynasties which ruled over Goa, the Portuguese conquest and the persecutions and the subsequent exodus of the Saraswats from Goa. The story of the religious persecution of the Hindus, the demolition of hundreds of their temples and the destruction of the sacred Konkani literature is very well told in these chapters and in Annexure I. Shri Kudva states (p. 342) “In 1560, all the Brahmans were expelled from the Portuguese territories. They were given a month‟s time to sell their movable and immovable properties to the Christians and it was ordered that persons who continued to stay were liable to be punished with life-long slavery.” Evidently, even Idi Amin could not have learnt much from the Portuguese in this matter!


Part II of the book, comprising Chapters V to IX, is mainly historical and covers the history of the Saraswats in North Konkan, in Maharashtra and in Belgaum, Dharwar and Tanjore; in Kanara and Karnatak including the Keladi Kingdom, and inKerala. It shows what a prominent and distinguished part the Saraswats played in the politics, administration and commerce of these regions throughout the pre-British period. This is followed by Part III with instructive and most interesting chapters on the religion and faith of the Saraswats, their Kuladevatas and tutelary gods, sub-divisions, surnames, religious Maths and temples. In Part IV, there is a scholarly chapter on the Konkani language. The main conclusion that emerges is that “Konkani is a sister and an elder sister of Marathi” (p. 220). The final Chapter XXI, on the Northern Saraswats, sheds considerable light on an obscure subject. Four Appendices and three Annextures on various interesting topics add to the value and authority of the book. Altogether, this work is the best single contribution in English we have come across on the history, religion and culture of the southern Saraswats and deserves to be read by all Saraswats interested in the community‟s glorious past. B.P.A.


SACRED HISTORY SHREE MANGESH DEVASTHAN—SAMAGRA ITIHAAS, by Vinayak Narayan Shenvi Dhume; published by Timaji Shenvi Kakodkar, Margao, Goa; 192 pages, plus 14 pages of art plate; price Rs. 8.00

The concept of Kula Devata or Deity of the Clan is a unique feature of the life of Dakshini Saraswats, more commonly known as Gowd Saraswat Brahmins or G.S.B‟s.


There are some two-score Kula Devata temples, most of them in Goa and a few in Goa‟s neighbourhood, and the entire G.S.B. population is shared between them, each family owing allegiance to one of them. The allegiance is traditional and unalterable. The families and individuals thus attached to each temple are known as the kulavis of that temple and of the Kida Devata. Although they are public temples for all purposes, their management is generally in the hands of the kulavis. Anatomy of Faith The Kida Devata system cuts across the deistic and metaphysical difference within the G.S.B. fold. Nagesh. Ramnath, Ravalnath, Katyayani. are Shaiva deities claiming Madhvan Vaishnav G.S.Bs. as their kulavis. Many Advaitin Shaiva G.S.Bs., on the other hand, have a Vaishnav deity like Mahalakshmi or Mahalasa for their Palavi or auxiliary Kida Devata. Faith in the Kula Devata is not quite the same thing as spiritual faith in God. There is an easy familiarity in the relationship which makes it possible to describe the Kula Devta as an onmipotent and omniscient grandfather or grandmother. In joy, in danger and in grief, the mind turns to the Kula Devata. The most trivial of domestic problems and life‟s most momentous ones are alike referred for solution. And the kulavi goes about life with the warm confidence that he is under a benign and special protection. Every Kula Devata temple has its own technique of Kowl or prasad, that is, a method of consulting the Deity. Employment and business deals, the son‟s education and the daughter‟s dowry, personal health and domestic peace — all problems that the householder is heir to, are brought up for guidance and aid. And the guidance, often contrary to the dictates of obvious evidence, invariably turns out to have been right and beneficient Neither does the


always wait to be appealed to. Thwe are those who gratefully acknowledge having been warned of danger or of error, or having been guided to the cure of an unyielding malady, by messages conveyed m even by more tangible methods. This reviewer gratefully records that he has been a beneficiary of this phenomenon of unmerited compassion. He also contritely confesses that he is even now paying the penalty for his foolish failure to abide by the prasad advice on an important question. The whole point about the Kulavi-Kula Devata relationship is that this guidance and these intercessions are not regarded as miracles. They evoke gratitude and piety and humility, but not amazement, because the Kulavi expects them of his Kula Devata. They are his privilege by virtue of his being born a Kulavi, even as it is his natural duty to worship his Kula Devata. A G.S.B. home without a picture of the Kula Devata is an exception, and even anglicised young couples, when they set up their homes, find an odd corner for such a picture. Story of a Culture It is curious, in these circumstances, that there is very little literature on the histories and the glories of these temples. Or, perhaps, it is not so curious, after all. For, to the G. S.B., the Kula Devata is not only a living Presence; it is a perennial Presence. History implies acceptance of the conditions of time in relation to the past and, by implication, to the future; which is something from which the pious mind instinctively recoils. As for the glories, one knows them in one‟s life; so, what is there to learn? And yet, if knowledge of the history of one‟s own society is an essential ingredient of culture, definitive histories of the Kula Devata temples are an elementary responsibility of those interested in Saraswat culture and its promotion. All G.S.Bs. have there-


fore reason to be grateful to Shri Dhume for having set an example with this History of the Mangeshi temple. It is not irrelevant to observe that Shri Dhume is neither a writer nor a researcher by profession or by vocation. He is a pious man who lives a few miles away from the Mangeshi temple and is seen in the palanquin procession at the temple every Monday night almost without exception. He has also served a few years as an office-bearer in the Managing Committee of the temple. The inspiration of piety alone accounts for the arduous researches that have yeilded the wealth of material he has collected, and the order and lucidity with which it is presented. Fully Informative The outstanding feature of this book is that it vindicates the pretentious-sounding claim in its title, that it is a “complete history” of the Mangeshi temple. Folklore and legend, the Sahyadri Khand and the Mangireesh Mahatmya, the results of researches of Prof. Priyolkar and Dr. Pisuriekar, have been duly utilised. The author, however, has relied substantially on the researches he has himself made. He has done the most obvious thing in examining the temple‟s own records, with some illuminating results. He has gone through such relevant official records as the Portuguese left behind them on the Liberation of Goa. He has also had access to the reports and books written by Jesuit Missionaries of the Sixteenth century, on their proud achievements in destroying Hindu temples in Goa and converting the local heathens to “the true path”, and to the corresponding reports of the Portuguese civil and military authorities which backed the Jesuit zeal. A comprehensive story of the Mangeshi temple has emerged from this material, and it has been told simply and concisely. And to that story, the author has been able to


add a great deal of other information. We are told, for instance, not only where the Mangeshi temple precisely was before the Unga was shifted to escape the Jesuit attack, but what farm lands it owned. We now know' not only the year when the present temple was constructed, but also the date of the building contract, the amount of the contract and the contractor's name. We have a full list of the temple‟s present properties, of the Poojas and festivals, of the temple‟s retainers and their functions. The regulations governing the temple management, including elections to the Managing Committee, are included. For the first time in print is given the full technique of obtaining the Deity‟s protection and guidance by the process of prasad. For the Pious The book would be more than worth its price only for the excellently reproduced photographs of the Unga of Shree Mangesh, of the various kavachas used, and of the Upa-Devatas in the temple. Kulavis of Mangeshi will do well to read this book with reverent care. It will repay others, too, to read it. For the author and the publisher, it has been obviously a labour of love. For, the production values including the art plates and the five-colour jacket, offered for Rs. 8 less trade commission, can leave no margin of profit to the publisher and therefore no scope for monetary reward to the author. But both will earn the gratitude of their fellow Saraswats and, doubtless, the Grace of Shree Mangesh. — D. N. N. Marathi

EVERYMAN‟S GUIDE TO BRAHMANISM DHARMA-BODH, by Vyakaranacharya Gajananshastri Gaitonde: published by Shree Katyayani Publications, 603 Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Bombay 34; 92 pages; price Rs. 4.00.

Whatever be the sins that history may attribute to the Brahmins, there is no gain-


saying that Brahmanism is not merely the corner-stone but the very foundation of Indian culture. Therefore, if this Secular State of ours does mean to become a classless state as well as a casteless state, the wiser course would be to extend and universalise Brahmanism than to eliminate the Brahmins. The inspiration for such a course of national orientation can be best provided by the Brahmins themselves. And, if the Brahmins mean to provide that inspiration and leadership, they can do no better than to submit themselves to a course of introspection and re-education. This course of introspection and selfeducation is necessary even without the noble ambition of national orientation. It is needed for the self-preservation of Brahmins as a social and nationally useful community. For, the struggle for economic survival and security has bred a neglect of religion and an indifference to rites and rituals which are exercises in the transformation of religious beliefs into the believerâ€&#x;s way of life. The time has come for Brahmins to lake a fresh look at their religious beliefs and practices, and to make a conscious effort at integrating them in their normal life. In this, .the small and amazingly well-organised Chitrapur Saraswat community has set a convincing example. In a planned and progressive promotion of religious practices over the last forty years, with the Chitrapur Math as the centre of veneration as well as of inspiration, the Chitrapur Saraswats have demonstrated not only that the active pursuit of religion is not incompatible with modernism but that it actually enriches culture and social life and even clears the path to real economic well-being. A Simple Guide In this context. Shri Gajananshastri Gaitonde and his Publishers have rendered a signal service, not only to Brahmins but to


Hindus generally. Dharma-Bodh is designed to encourage the believing Brahmin to become a practising Brahmin. The essentials of Brahmanical beliefs are here enumerated and explained; and so are the essentials of Brahmanical practices. Theism, the concept of Karma and transmigration of the soul, the significance of the Gayatri and of Sandhya-Vandan, the rationale of idol worship and the place of Ganapati in the Pantheon, the samskaras or ritual dedications at the various significant stages of life, the Brahmanical habit of humility and perpetual self-education through observation of nature; all these are explained with remarkable brevity, lucidity, cogency and simplicity which make the book both easy and interesting. The techniques of essential rituals and the text of the mantras essential in them are also given with a sense of selectivity which obviates the objection that modern life leaves no time tor religious performances. Books on the subjects treated in “Dharma-Bodh� are by no means lacking, in Marathi at any rate. There are learned treatises, with full text and translation, on the samskaras, on pooja, on Sandhya Vandan. But they are generally too complete, too literal, and therefore too abstruse to be of practical use to the busy layman. And even among such books there is hardly any that holds within its covers the whole range of subjects that Shri Gajananshastri has managed to combine into a compact guide to Brahmanism. It is the sign of a profound scholar, that his erudition does not appear on the surface and make the common reader halt in his reading. Shri Gajananshastri is such a scholar. The Kida-Devatas To this beautiful little hand-book of Brahmanism, the Shastri has added an Appendix of great interest to Dakshini


Saraswats. He has listed the Saraswat Kula Devatas, with the present as well as prePortuguese location of each temple, the family names of the kulavis. and the dhyana or invocatory mantra of each deity. It is plain that this information has been laboriously compiled with personal visits to many of the temples. It is plain, too, that the compilation is not altogether complete, although the Shastri has listed as many as 39 Kula Devatas, more than twice the number in Shri Ganesh Ramachandra Sharma‟s monumental “Saraswat Bhushan” Here is a very generous base for definitive research. Another valuable appendage is a choice collection of stotras or songs of prayer. Attention may be drawn particularly to two stotras, both composed by Shri Gajananshastri himself, one addressed to Shree Shantadurga and the other to Shree Katyayani. The pious will heartily agree that four rupees, which is the price of the book, is not too much price for these two stotras alone. They are inspired compositions, expressing a simple faith in felicitously simple Sanskrit which almost any educated Hindu will understand.—D.N.N.

THE ETERNAL VERITY A NEW CONCEPT THE TRIAD OF TIME, SPACE AND MATTER, by Pt. J. L. K. Jalali; published by Kala-Kendra, Srinagar; 113 pages; price Rs. 7.50.

Pt. Jalali is held in high esteem among Kashmiri Pandits as a Karma Yogi. He is a sound scholar in metaphysics and in Kashmir‟s cultural history. He is author of many books, including one in Sanskrit verse. The present little volume is not just another book, and its subject is not one of those standard topics which give endless scope for learned disputation. We are here


presented with an altogether new and revolutionary metaphysical concept; indeed, a new Religion. This new concept or religion did not come to the author in a flash of inspiration or as a Revelation. It grew on him in long years of milling over the spiritual posers of certain events in his secular life. Pt. Jalali proclaims that Time (Kaala) is the ultimate verity of life and all existence, the “One-without-a-Second”; and that space and matter are real, too. and are auxiliary to Time. The Vedantic theory of the unreality of all that has “name and form” is denied. The conceptual and terminological pattern of Vedantic thought is. however generally retained. The concept of Sat. Chit and Ananda, the Vedantic approximation to the identification of Brahman-Atman, is here attributed to Time. The places of Purusha and Prakriti, or Shiva and Shakti (which is the parallel used by the author) are given to Time and Space. The place held by God in all theistic faiths is given to Time. “Time is not a dead, lifeless God. He is a living God. He is all-pervading, all-enveloping” (p. 33). Again: “ ..what happens in this universe or elsewhere happens by the Will of the Great KALA (TIME)” (p. 71). The three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) are accepted. Man is allowed a free will within limits which are indicated. It is held that nothing new happens in life; that every event is a repetition of an old one in a new form, as the Hydrogen Bomb being a new form, perhaps, of Arjuna's weapons. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is stated to be in conformity with this concept of Time. A distinction is made between “finite-infinity” and “infinite-infinity'' Two clear advantages are claimed for this Religion of Time. It is a positive reli-


gion. There is none of the vexatious nega tive approach of the Vedanta; no “Neli, Neti” Secondly, it lays down a clear path of human conduct, without the confusing conundrums that Vedanta revels in. "The Notary of KALA has a dear cut path before Me. He has not to get himself lost in the labyrinth of non-knowingness. Realisation comes by following that path in the way indicated to him”. The prospect, indeed, is tempting. This leviewer spent long hours trying to place Time in his old mental temple of God. Habits of thought die hard, and it is comparatively easier to learn than to unlearn. The ideas of Brahman which is "anirvachaneeya” (beyond description),, and of God who is "kaalaateeta” (beyond time), are not easily dislodged. And the process of unlearning is not helped by the manner in which the new religion is here presented. Refutation of accepted beliefs must now at least supplement this presentation of the Truth as the author sees it. That will be for the benefit of us the common people, whose beliefs stop at what their commonplace minds can grasp. Significant response can come, meanwhile, only from the author‟s peers, from men of pure heart and a vigorous mind trained to that degree of one-pointed contemplation which moulds their judgments in the realm beyond the rnind. Despite the author‟s rejection of negativism, the Upanishadic warning that „'the Atman is not to be apprehended by definitions nor by intellectual perception nor by scholarship may well apply to the apprehension of Koala. — D. N. N.

It is highly appropriate that elucidation of the rationale of the crest, adopted by the AISCO and AISF, forms the substances of the maiden publication in this Series. In adopting the Yajna symbol for its crest, the AISCO proclaims the Saraswat ideology of self-sacrifice for the benefit of society at large. The booklet spells out the far-reaching implications of the concept of Yajna and its immense relevance for our tangled times. It will not do to merely hail the pictorial Yajna symbol as the Badge of the Saraswat. As the author rightly says (p. 29), “the adoption of the crest implies a commitment to live up to it, to demonstrate the beneficent power of prayerful sacrifice to give light and strength to a troubled nation.” The sacred crest should be vindicated in action by all who swear by it. This means that the Saraswat fraternity, in particular, needs first and foremost a clear grasp of the many facets of Yajna in our life and culture, for understanding alone paves the way to meaningful action. The booklet answers this need very well. The author says (p. 11), “No attempt is made here to present a thesis on Yajna.” The arid scholar may not regard the booklet as a thesis, but the lay reader, amply rewarded by his reading, cannot but look upon it as a highly illuminating thesis on a modest scale. Within a small compass of thirty pages the author has summed up all the essentials of Yajna with handy quotations from the Gita, Upanishads and Vedic hymns to buttress his point.

On page 12 we read, “If the All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation were to do YAJNA, THE MODERN NEED no more than popularising its crest, it would OUR SACRED CREST By D. N Nadkarni achieve a great deal more than reasonable (The All India Saraswat Foundation, 4/418, optimism expects of it.” The society Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Bombay-34; at large is becoming a bundle of Rs. 2/-) The booklet under review is the first to self-seekers everywhere and it is, inbe launched in the Saraswat Sanmarg Series. deed, high time that utmost effort is made to highlight the Vedic ideal



of Sacrifice, not in its outmoded ritual setting, but in the modern context. The author has fared extremely well in his wide exploration of the symbolism of Yajna. In Gita we reach the high watermark of the Yajna symbolism. The author, Shri Nadkarni, dives again and again into Gita to come up with fresh insights into the psychological, sociological and philosophical implications of Yajna. Shri Nadkarni has a gift for eloquent elucidation and is steeped in our Vedic lore. The reviewer fondly hopes that the AISF will bring forth many more booklets by him to interpret the Vedic—and hence the Saraswat— Ideals of Sanatana Dharma.



Best Compliments from




In January, 1972. the AISCO proclaimed itself to the Saraswat world. The "Aavedana Patra” then issued was a testament of faith. It spelt out the ideology and aims of the AISCO, and the imperative need for its

formation at the present stage of development paper is now with the added confidence from Saraswat response during the last months.


“In our devotion to our families, in the generosity of our charity, in our spirit of progress, we do homage to God Saraswat”


THE All-India Saraswat Cultural Orgaoisation (AISCO for short) was founded in Bombay on November 19, 1971, and is registered under the Registration of Societies Act and the Public Trust Act. The AISCO is more than an institution. It is a movement of Saraswat Revivalism. It is a national movement and a nationalist movement.



We have forgotten that we are a nationwide clan, dedicated by faith and by tradition to the cause of national advancement. We have all but abandoned our ancient Vedic idealism of a full life of purposeful and voluntary socialism, and are drifting to the purposeless domain of a privileged and alienated individualism. Even the regional and sectarian splinter-identities assumed in our decadence have become insupportable. The altruistic genius characteristic of Saraswats now only skims over the surface of the national life.

Too long have we Saraswats forgotten our heritage and our history. We know little of the Saraswat prowess in the arts of war and of peace, which has enriched the annals of the nation. The absence of that backAll this needs to be changed. It must be ground has made us indifferent to Saraswat changed for the good of the Saraswat and achievements of our own time. the good of the country.



There is need for revival of our pride in Saraswat heroes of the past and the present; for authentic accounts of Saraswat achievements in national defence, statesmanship, scholarship and the arts. There is need for stimulation of the Saraswat ethos, so that Saraswats may meaningfully take their due place at the vanguard of the nation‟ cultural life. There is need for revival of Saraswat selfawareness, so that Saraswats of all India may take collective responsibility for the weak and handicapped elements among them, wherever found.

institutions of Saraswats, including those of regional and sub-caste groups throughout India, with a view to disclosure of organisational gaps in the fulfilment of the community‟s obligation to the weaker elements within it. 5. Compilation of an All India Saraswat Directory and Who‟s Who. 6. Research in the significant contributions of Saraswats in various fields of national life and growth. 7. Research relevant to a concise enunciation of the Saraswat Faith, based on the personal and social ethic of the Veda interpreted in terms of modern psychological and physical conditions, as the ground of the Saraswat Way of Life.

And, to achieve these ends, there is urgent need for clarification and dissemination of the pristine Vedic faith of the Saraswats, that well reasoned body of practical ethics which alone offers a firm bridge betThis is only the beginning of a long, arduween the eternal verities of life and the ous task and effort. It is also the beginning demands of the modem machine age. of what, God willing, may well turn out to The AISCO is an expression of a live ap- be a new chapter of glory in the Saraswat preciation of these needs. It is a movement annals of national usefulness. designed to influence every Saraswat houseThis hope is derived from a confident hold from Srinagar to Madras and from expectation of a massive response from Bombay to Calcutta. Saraswats of all sects and regions to the Preparations for the first few measures in AISCO aims and ambitions. that process are already under way. They The AISCO counts on the benign blessings include : — of the illustrious Swamijis of the four great 1. An AISCO journal Maths; on the active co-operation of all Quarterly” Saraswat institutions, large and small, religious and secular; and on the whole-hearted 2. An all-India association of all persons whose talents and Saraswat Cultural public spirit have earned them a position of ConThe Saraswat influence in the community. And so, the vention, to be held at AISCO looks forward to counting a meman early conveber in every Saraswat household throughout nient date. the country. 3. Survey of the religious and social Membership of the AISCO is open to customs and manners of Saraswats of different regions throughout India, Saraswats of all sects and regions, as well with a view to cultivation of a closer as to Saraswat institutions. A wide range of membership is offered, as shown below : — mutual understanding. 4. Survey of the voluntary social service



Class of Membership

Fee for Individuals

Rs. 5,000 in lump

Founder Member

Rs. 5,000 in lump

Rs. 2.000


Rs. 1,000 Rs. 500

Rs. 1.000


Rs. 500

Rs. 200 Life Member Ordinary Member

Rs. 20 per year Fee for Institutions

agitator. An acute awareness of the national crisis of faith which has affected the Saraswat way of life was alone responsible for bringing them together. Their faith in the Saraswat Dharma has spelt out the constitution of the AISCO. And, in their pledge to do all they can to place the AISCO on the path of fulfilment, they draw their conThe aims and efforts of the AISCO merit fidence from the divine assurance in the the active participation of every thinking Gita, Saraswat. It hardly need be emphasised that a movement of Saraswat Revivalism will strengthen the roots and branches of all healthy Saraswat institutions. The promo“Here no effort undertaken is lost; no ters of the AISCO are not unaware of the short-lived career of past efforts at consolida- frustration befalls. Even a little of this tion of Saraswats on a national scale. The righteous course spells deliverance from last such serious effort was made a little over great peril”. four decades ago. It did not last long, because the time was not ripe for it yet. The B. P. ADARKAR metamorphosis which the national social President, structure is rapidly undergoing at the present time dictates the need for the AISCO. In AISCO. another decade, it may well be too late. Every member shall be entitled to a tree copy of the “Saraswat Quarterly”; and, through it, access to the results of researches conducted by the AISCO. Every member, too, shall have the privilege of being a delegate at all Conventions organised by the AISCO.

The promoters of the AISCO are drawn from all walks of life : industry, business. administration, scholarship, fine arts, the liberal professions, and plain clerkship. None of them is a politician or professional


Bombay, 21st January, 1972.


The formation of the All India Saraswat Cultural Organisation (AISCO and the formulation of its aims and objects earned a quick and warm response of welcome from Saraswat intellectuals and leaders from many parts of the country. Among the first to extend their welcome and offer their wholehearted co-operation was Karma Yogi Pt. J. L. K. Jalali of Kashmir. As thinker, author, social worker, and a natural leader of men, Pt. Jalali is held in reverence among Kashmiri Saraswats and is President of the Kashmir Pandits Association.

of Saraswats, Pt. Jalali prepared a Paper on SARASWAT SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN KASHMIR, for presentation at the Inaugural function of the AISCO in Bombay on December 23, 24 and 25, 1912, Although numerically a small minority, the' Saraswats of Kashmir, styled Pandits, have a long tradition of leadership in Kashmir's life and culture. In general education, women's education, health service, refugee relief, Saraswat leadership has paved the path of progress.

Pt. Jalali has told the story of this leadership in the service of the people, with a wealth of In pursuance of the AISCO aim of promoting significant details. The Paper is reproduced here. communion between the various territorial groups

SARASWAT SOCIAL SERVICE INSTITUTIONS OF KASHMIR BY Karma Yogi Pt. J. L. K. Jalali K A L O H A M ( I A M TIME)! I am a Kalavadin, but as a Saraswat I must first offer my salutations to and invoke the blessings of goddess Saraswati in the words of Devapala, the commentator of the Grihya-Sutras of the Kashmiri Saraswat Muni Laugakani

large part of the population of our vast country to arouse in them the sense of duty as patriotic

citizens, as fearless soldiers when inspired by Viduraâ€&#x;s inspiring exhortation

(I bow with full faith and devotion to the fullbosomed young goddes Saraswati, who dispels the darkness that sometimes envelopes the Intellect, who makes one perceive the Real Truth of this Ocean of the changing Universe, who with her refined understanding and intelligence makes one exert and put in right effort to acquire wealth and prosperity). May that great Goddess of the Saraswats be benignant and shower her choicest blessings on this Conference and the members v/ho have so assiduously planned, worked and organised this Inaugural Function with the sole desire of drawing together and consolidating a THE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973

(Let no Indian mother give birth to a son who has no anger, no courage, is not brave, and only appeases the foe). Such sons have to fight the enemy on the battlefield, and as honest civilians when they have to administer the country, free it from corruption, remove its chronic poverty, contribute to its wealth, prosperity and economic development, industrialize it or bring about the green revolution to feed its teeming millions right from Leh to Kanyakumari. Friends, I have been asked to speak on a subject which on the very face of it appears to be prosaic but, in fact, is very interesting and important. One of the aims and objects of the All India 41

Saraswat Cultural Organisation is to “encourage and co-ordinate the activities of social service institutions promoted or conducted by the Saraswats, whether for the benefit of all Saraswats or a section of Saraswats or of the public at largo‟‟ As such it is but proper and obligatory that I comply with the wishes of the organisation I may tell you comrades, that it is we the


Saraswats who from the time of the Rigveda have made a remarkable contribution in all possible fields of development towards the progress and advancement of the people, whatever the shape of the world or whatever the form of the government was. If it was anarchic or monarchic in the past, if it became despotic or absolute at times, and if it is democratic or popular today, the government is after all a government, and the Artha-shastra of the great Kautilya will continue to hold good and apply to any government or under any form of government admonishing the rulers or the men in power to understandwell and follow the fourfold injunctions of how to run the administration, how to develop the resources of the country and exploit the means of wealth, how to circumvent and annihilate the enemy, how to defend one‟s hearth and home, or how to protect the nation from the machinations of designing and scheming Machiavellis. “Social Service Institutions” is apparently a limited field. But if we cover all the allied activities under it, I think it will not be beyond or outside the periphery of the subject. The phrase “Social Service Institutions" tempts one to talk of so many educational, welfare, religious, cultural and social institutions, but my ambit is circumscribed by the limitations of a Pradesh (Kashmir), which has not had the advantages of a State like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat or the Punjab. Though our contacts with the Punjab have been intimate in the past, the impact has been comparably not so healthy and fruitful as one would have expected it to be. Had I widened the scope of my survey to include Northern India, it would have meant and required personal tour to acquire first-hand knowledge of Saraswat institutions as distinguished from non-Saraswat ones.

About Kashmir only 1 should have liked to talk of the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir, but the information from Jammu is not complete. In the Ladakh frontier there is no private social service institution of Saraswats. I would, however, take up Kashmir first. If I were to count all the cultural and religious bodies and organisations, both big and small, it would swell this survey. So I shall deal with only important institutions that would give an idea of the kind of social service institutions that we in Kashmir have been able to start, estaTHE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973

blish and organise with the limited means available. These would comprise the educational, health and socio-cultural institutions. which have come into being during the present century or a little earlier. I should have further liked to dwell on how the Saraswats of Kashmir, your brethren in the mountain-girt Valley in the faraway North, have fared in the past, and how, notwithstanding the vicissitudes of time, we have tried to preserve the ancient Saraswat traditions for which we had to pay dearly, so much so that about three million of us have now been reduced to a small number of less than a hundred thousand in Kashmir. The sword and bayonet of proselytisation, abduction, rape, mass killing, “sack-drowning” and “red-hot panning” in the past and now forced migration under economic pressure have done all that. I do not want to go into details lest bitter memories be revived which we had better forget in the modem world, in the secular India of today. Let me tell you, friends, that we are a small minority and with the Kashmiri Saraswats living in Jammu and other parts of the country, we are about 150,000 persons all told. At home, under the stress and strain of the times we are putting up a heroic fight not to be washed away by the onrush of waters that sometimes cause cracks in our social dykes of ancient build and make. But now that we are an indivisible part of a bigger whole, the byegone past will, I believe, be never repeated.

Pioneering in Education Without digressing into history, let me come straight to what we have done in educational and other fields. It was in the beginning of the present century that in order to counteract the overt and covert activities of the missionary schools so far as we Saraswats were concerned, the stalwart Kashmiri, Dayakishen Kaul, Private Secretary to Maharaja Pratap Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, persuaded Dr. Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society of India, to approach the great Brahmin and Indian leader, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya of revered memory, and ask the Banaras Hindu Educational Society to open a Hindu High School in Srinagar. This institution later developed into the first Hindu College of Kashmir. Both the school and the college were subsequently taken over by the State and named Sri Pratap Hindu High School and Sri Pratap Hindu College, respectively. Later the word Hindu was dropped. It was in this school and in this college that I had my early education. Our college was affiliated to the Uni-


versity of the Punjab, and to take my examination in B.A. (with Honours) I had to run down to Lahore (now in Pakistan) travelling by a onehorse tonga stage by stage for about a week and then board the train at Rawalpindi! The Hindu High School had a few branches, and in one of them (at Rainawari) I was being taught the Nityakarmavidhi, Sandhyopasana, Snanavidhi, the fortnightly Pakshagah, etc. The sermons given every morning before the school bell tolled for regular class work make me recall those boyhood days with animation and elation; and I feel grateful to those Head Pandits of the school for the religious instruction I received then and the impression their day-to-day discourses made on my young mind. The same was the case with other boys. It was a time when no girls went to school and female education was taboo. Hindu College started as an Intermediate College. The father of our Union Plainning Minister, Shri D. P. Dhar, was the first under-graduate. The first four graduates produced by this college in the year 1911—when it passed into the hands of the Government — are no more. I still remember the grand dinner that was given by the first Saraswat High Court Judge and Judicial Minister of the State, Rai Bahadur Pandit Radhakrishen Kaul Jalali, in honour of these Saraswat graduates, when he commended them to the four Ministers of the Maharaja with a personal request to provide them with decent appointments in their respective ministries. But how they were treated and what tribulations they had to undergo is a matter of history which had better be consigned to the archives of memory. We have today another college in Kashmir which was started by the joint efforts of several Kashmiri Saraswats, 30 years ago, in which I also had a hand. For this the credit goes mainly to the late Pandit Sona Kaul Madan, who generously contributed to its finances and was the Chairman of the Managing Committee for a number of years. The College was called the Hindu College. On the demise of the Father of the Nation, it was renamed Gandhi Memorial College. It is managed by a body of Saraswats only. This institution, though originally started to obviate the difficulties experienced by young Saraswat boys and girls of Kashmir in securing admission to the Government Colleges, has thrown open its portals to non-Saraswats and non-Hindus of the State and outside. At present there are over five hundred students on its rolls who receive edu-


cation in arts and sciences. A teachers‟ training department has also been added which produces trained teachers by the dozen and relieves the congestion in the Government Training Institutes. It, however, requires rehousing for which necessary steps are being taken. As a social service institution, it has rendered yeoman's service in the initial stages, and now with a grant-in-aid from the State Government, it is becoming selfsupporting. The college is situated at Namlchabal, Bagh Dilawar Khan, in the city of Srinagar. The Hindu High School at Shitalnath, the Lalded Memorial High School at Badiyar, the National High School at Karan Nagar are the other social service institutions run and managed by Saraswats. The institutions have kept their doors open for non-Saraswats also. Mention needs to be made of an institution which has now parsed into the hands of and is managed by the Saraswats themselves. It is the Central School at Fateh Kadal, which was once the famous missionary school of the late Reverend (Canon) C. E. Tyndale Biscoe run by the Church Missionary Society of England. Canon Biscoe‟s school with its motto of “In All This Be Men” rendered such an exemplary service to the people of Kashmir that it is no exaggeration to say that such an institution has no parallel in the educational history of the State, let alone the mission it had in view. It produced long and short swimmers, high and long jumpers, gymnasts and athletes, rowers and paddlers, footballers and cricketers, and transformed the Kashmiri boy completely. When the Church Missionary Society wound up the school, the Central School was taken over and run by a band of devoted Saraswat workers and teachers who deserve every encouragement. To encourage female education among Saraswats, the veteran old leader, the late Pandit Hargopal Kaul, a lawyer by profession, was the first Saraswat who took the bold step of giving school education to his daughter, who later became a District Inspectress of Schools. Instead of appreciating his services to the community in this respect, doggerels and distichs were composed to condemn him for this “unorthodox” step. This admirable individual effort was later followed by the Women Welfare Trust, a Saraswat institution, which on the one hand encouraged learning and teaching of Hindi and on the other did its best to preserve the Saraswat traditions. The Trust schools are doing very useful work, and some 1500 girls are receiving modem education in arts and science in accordance with the syllabus of the Kashmir Board of Examinations and the University.


Women's Education The first attempt to start a college for the Saraswat girls of Kashmir was made by Pandit Tribhuwan Nath Kaul, son of a Saraswat Conservator of Forests, and an Oriental College for Women came into being wherein one of my daughters volunteered to act as an honorary lecturer. This college was later shifted from Tankipora to Barbarshah and named Mahila Mahavidyalaya. Attached to the college is a school where some six hundred girls are imparted education-through the Hindi medium. Credit goes to Shri Shambhunath Parimoo and his wife Shrimati Kamla Parimoo, who is now the Principal of the Oriental College, for running this Saraswat institution efficiently. Shri Shambhunath has also organised the work of popularising the Rashtra rthasha in Kashmir. The Kashmir Branch of the Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti of Wardha is responsible for producing some 8000 non-Hindu passes in different examinations of the Rashtra Bhasha. Both the Mahila Mahavidyalaya and the Rashtra Bhasha Branch were presided over and looked after for a number of years by one of my friends, Shri Jagadhar Zadoo, a scholar of repute. Another institution of note is the Vishvabharati College for Women at Rainawari, for which Shri Prenuiath Thussoo, a devoted selfless worker, and a few other Saraswat friends deserve appreciation. This is also a Saraswat institution and is looked after by a well-organised Managing Committee. The Dharmarth Trust of Dr. Karan Singh, Union Minister for Civil Aviation & Tourism, has provided land for this institution on which the buildings of the College stand in beautiful surroundings. It is a well-disciplined institution where Saraswats and non-Saraswats are imparted education.

Sanskrit To promote the learning of Sanskrit, a classfellow of mine, the late Pandit Parmanand, founded the Rupadevi Sharada Peetha in the name of his daughter, and created a Trust, of which I was a member. In the beginning there was a very poor response notwithstanding the remission of tuition fee, grant of scholarships and stipends, and supply of text-books free of charge. Consequently, it had to be run as a fullfledged college for girls under the University of Kashmir, and Sanskrit is taught as one of the subjects. Now that the Government of India is encouraging the learning of Sanskrit, the Sharada


Peetha may revive its original plan and, if circumstances favour, it may become the Sanskrit College for Women, provided there is an appreciable number of girl students interested and willing to opt for Sanskrit. I call it a real Saraswat social service institution, which was established by the donor with his personal savings. Though originally intended for Saraswat girls only, it has opened its portals to girls of other classes and communities also. I am glad to say that with the financial assistance given by the Government of India and the grant-in-aid sanctioned by the State Government, the institution has become selfsupporting, and the Saraswat Trust is wideawake to the needs of the institution and is making it financially viable.

Saraswat Unani Let me now talk of another activity in the realm of social service, rather of service to humanity. I mean the private health centres established by Saraswats. We have two hospitals in the city of Srinagar, one at Karan Nagar and another at Barbarshah. For the former, Dr. S. N. Peshin, F. R. C. S., deserves credit and for the latter. Dr. Onkar Nath Thussoo. The Karan Nagar Hospital is called the National Hospital, the Barbarshah one is known as Rattan Rani Hospital founded by Dr. Thussoo in the name of his first wife. In this hospital Dr. Thussoo and his wife Dr. Jagat Mohini work and run it as a private social service institution. Both the hospitals serve Saraswats and non-Saraswats alike and render as much free service as possible. Dr. Peshin was for some time the Director of Health Services in the State Government. He has built another hospital at Dehra Dun in Uttar Pradesh, which is solely his personal concern, and he has put his son who is also a qualified, foreign-trained doctor in charge of this hospital. The Government has its hospitals and dispensaries in Kashmir, but all the same such private Saraswat institutions have proved to be very helpful to Saraswats in times of need. There is a Unani dispensary which is the sole enterprise of a well-known Saraswat Hakeem (physician). Originally a sort of clinic during the time of his father, the present physician in charge. Pandit Shamlal Hakeem, is an expert in his profession, and his consultations and advice are free, and in many cases he treats poor and needy patients free of all charges, including medicines. His father, Sahaj Bhat, was a physician of repute. Shamlal claims his descent from


the renowned Shri Bhat, who is credited with having treated and cured the tolerant, unbiassed and secular king, Sultan Rainulabidin, of a “septic carbuncle” in the fifteenth century; and the king in token of his gratitude wanted to remunerate the physician by grant of land as jagir and other presents in cash and kind, but the great Saraswat declined, and instead asked for an order whereby the Kashmiris who had come out of hiding and had been interdicted to put on the holy mark on their forehead, or perform their sacred thread (Mekhala or Upanayana), wedding and other ceremonies openly, or had to pay polltax, would be treated as free citizens. The king granted his request, but instead of remitting the jazia reduced it, and henceforth the Saraswats once again performed their sacred ceremonies, Hawans, yajnas, etc. But they were required to have a non-Hindu “milk-father” or “milkmother” accompany the bride to the bridegroom's house, and remain with her until such time as the bride came of age and put off the ringing anklets to become a full-grown housewife and change her ornament-studded cap for the round headgear superimposed by a long piece of muslin hanging behind from head to foot. The king appointed Shri Bhat as his personal physician, and then raised him to the post of Afsar-aulAtaba (the Minister for Health). And even now after over five centuries, every Saraswat remembers him with deep admiration and respect for his altruism and keen sense of duty towards his brother Saraswats who had somehow survived the sword of Sikandar the Iconoclast and his son who had out-done him.

Refugee Relief When under the overall command of the Pakistan Army, the tribesmen of the North-West Frontier Province invaded the State in 1947, thosands of Saraswats living in the villages of Kashmir, who had become helpless victims of massacre, arson, rape and plunder, were displaced and they fled to the city of Srinagar for refuge. I have seen with my own eyes how miserable their plight was, and what gruesome tales they had to tell me and my friends. Their suffering knew no bounds. Friends like Gopalkrishen and his band of workers joined hands to look after these refugees. The Samaj Sudhar Samiti which had been brought into being as a social reform body was made to organise relief on a large scale, and the Samaj made Herculean efforts to lodge and cater to the needs of these displaced men, women and children, who had been reduced to destitution and


whose homes and hearths had been destroyed. This Samiti has been converted into a trust and is rendering good socio-cultural service. Gopikrishen is now a Kundalini Yoga adept (though not following the orthodox line); and 1 wish that he gives up the trust and devotes himself solely to this religio-spiritual service and sets an example in complete detachment. The Vidhawa Rakshini Sadan, and one or two similar bodies are the institutions of practical social service, which look after, provide work and other employment to dozens of Saraswat widows, indigent families, orphan girls, and such other poor women as stand in need of help and assistance. These Saraswat institutions deserve encouragement and financial subsidies to enlarge their scope of work as the number attended to by them at present is very limited. This sort of relief is much needed for the protection of Saraswat families who do not always find a ready welcome at Government welfare centres.

Culture Let us now come to institutions that render socio-cultural service to the Saraswats of Kashmir. The great Saraswat, Swami Shivramanand Saraswati, who had his nirvana forty years ago, was an institution by himself. 1 cannot think of him without deep respect and reverence. At the feet of the Gopadri Hill, better known as Shankaracharya Hill, a name given to the hill in honour of Adi Shankaracharya's visit to Kashmir, is a sacred spring of Bhagvati Durga. Here he built a Matha where he had not only instituted a free kitchen for the public but also for Sadhus who came from outside, stayed at Durganag, and instructed people through spiritual discourses, kirtans, bhajans and otherwise. It was not a religious Matha only. It was a secular social institution which, as far as I remember, helped many a needy and indigent person. After his nirvana, the Trust set up by him failed to implement his wishes. Now it has become a prize for political exploitation. I wish the present trustees (the original trustees. I am told, have all died) make the Durganag institution a social service institution in its true sense, so that it serves the public faithfully, especially the Saraswats who come from outside during summer or at the time of the Swami Amarnath pilgrimage in August every year With the funds already in reserve and the rents accruing mostly from lodgings, shops, sites, etc., and with possibilities of extension, the Durganag Trust can become a very useful social service institution, that would


on the one hand render socio-cultural service to the public and, on the other, maintain the Saraswat traditions so as to become a spiritual centre for the uplift of mankind, in a larger sense. A friend of mine. Dr. Radhakrishna Kaw, has established a socio-cultural institute called the Sharada Peetha Research Centre at Karan Nagar. It was started in 1958 and is since then being maintained by Dr. Kaw with his own money. He has now constituted a trust for it and 1 am the Chairman of its Governing Council. Dr. Kaw wants to convert it into an International Indological University. The Institute is at present rendering culturo-educational service and running Indological classes with the help of the staff who work without any honorarium even. The Institute holds weekly forums, issues the Sharada Peetha Research Series containing contributions on cultural, historical, educational, religious and other subjects for the benefit of scholars and savants in the State and outside as also in foreign countries. Foreign scholars visit this institute from time to time. Apart from Indological studies, the Institute propagates the doctrine of Recognition, the Pratibhijna Branch of Kashmir Shaivism. This Institute richly deserves encouragement as a Saraswat social service institution. Another great Saraswat saint, Swami Lakshman Joo, who is reputed as a Shaiva Yogi and Shaiva scholar and is well known in foreign countries also, is running a Shaiva Institute where he delivers discourses on Shaivism for the benefit of scholars and aspirants. Scholars from foreign lands come and are initiated into it. His institute is located at Ishbar village, P. O. Nishatbagh, Srinagar. There are two other Shaiva institutes. One at Fateh Kadal named after Swami Ramji, and another at Karan Nagar, run by the disciples of Swami Vidyadharji. These institutions are doing very useful work in maintaining the Saraswat traditions of Kashmir. Shaivism as known and taught in Kashmir is what I call the “Philosophy of Positivism”, in contradistinction to the Vadantic philosophy of “Neti, Ned”, and js based on the Shaiva Sutras as revealed to the Saraswat Shaivist, Vasugupta, which begin with and end with the 77th Sutra

This forms the basic Trika (Shaiva) philosophy which is prevalent in Kashmir since the ninth century. In addition to the above, we have some religio-cultural bodies doing much useful work in


preserving the Saraswat cultural traditions, for example, the Ganesh Prabandhak Samiti., the Brahman Mahamandal (which as an affiliated body of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan of Bombay is promoting the learning of Sanskrit among Saraswats and others). The Brahman Parishad, the Alakeshwari Trust (disseminating the teachings of Devi Rupa Bhawani through her Vakyas), the Chakreshwar Sanstha of Hariparvata, the Bhawani Ashram of Pukhribal, the Nagabal Committee of Ananthas, the Kotitirtha Samiti of Baramulla, etc. Several other temple and shrine committees of Saraswats in different parts of the Valley are also contributing their mite in this behalf, by seasonal performance of Hawans, celebration of religio-cultural functions and days of great saints, religious discourses, Vyakhyanas and the like.

Social Reform When the first rumblings of a revolt by the Muslims of Kashmir (and then of Jammu) against the then ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, shook the state in 1931, and some of the old inhibitions and social restrictions began to crumble under the weight of cracking feudalism, the first venture of our Saraswat young men was the formation of a Sanatan Dharma Young Men‟s Association, This Association, apart from its socio-cultural work, was required to render help and relief to the victims of the communal excesses. As a result of the social awakening in the community, the much-needed reform in our social customs, dress and attire of our womenfolk, way of living, celebration of marriages, Mekhalas (Upanayans) and other religious ceremonies, etc., was taken up by the young men in right earnest and given a start. To keep up the tempo, a daily paper, “The Martand”, was run which rendered wonderful service socially, culturally, educationally and politically too in awakening the community. The paper has of late become defunct because of the short-sightedness of a friend of ours, and in its place we had to commission The Navjivan”. This association (now known as the Sanatan Dharma Yuvak Sabha, of which I happen to be the President at present) with its socio-cultural paper is by itself a social service institution inasmuch as it is instrumental in helping coordination, cohesion ana co-operation within the community in and outside Kashmir, and maintaining even under not wholly healthy and wholesome circumstances traditional individuality intact dyked by the will to live and exist as a Saraswat entity. I


should have wished that “The Martand‟‟ which was bom in my house 39 years ago had been revived. But now that “The Navjivan” is assiduously exerting itself to render necessary social service to the community in and outside Kashmir, it has to be maintained in proper form. It is an Urdu daily, because the official language of the State is Urdu. I am now thinking of starting an English weekly, because a local English daily cannot successfully compete with the dailies of Delhi and the Punjab, which flood the stalls in Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir. In Jammu, the city of temples, as it is generally called, a Saraswat temple, which owes its birth to my revered mother, Svargiya Shrimati Devamali, was constructed in the fifties, at a time when the Hon‟ble President of this session, Shri Shiva Nath Katju, was building his MahaKajna Temple at a place a few miles from Allahabad. Therefore, I called my temple at Jammu Sharika Mandir in the name of the presiding deity of Kashmir, Bhagvati Sharika, the eighteen-armed form of Goddess Uma, the divine Consort of Lord Shiva, who was responsible for the desiccation of the Satisar Lake and the emergence of the Valley of Kashmir from under the water. It was, therefore, that the Nilamalpurana has s a i d ( S h e who is

added some money also. But this had to be given up later. In the city of Jammu, there is a home for the destitute at Ved Mandir, which I believe is a Saraswat social service institution. About other institutions I have no authentic information.

Benediction Before I close I would like to tell you that as a Kalavadin, with a new interpretation of Time, I have started a centre at Srinagar, and call it Kala-Kendra which in course of time is expected to develop into a real social service institution. It will be a socio-cultural centre where, apart from explaining the new concept of Time, other cultural activities will not be taboo. Only the grace of the Great Kala is needed, and I am sure He will be pleased to bestow it. Friends, I have taken much of your time. I thank you for your patience and the attention that you have been good enough to give to what I have said. How to repay you ? Only by this prayer Let all be happy! Let all be free of all pain ! Let all see good things ! I mean all Saraswat brothers and sisters.

Uma is Kashmira).

May we all hear good things by our ears, O gods ! May we all see good things with our This Sharika Mandir is a socio-cultural centre, eyes, O sacrificers ! May we with our strong and where the Saraswats of Kashmir celebrate their healthy limbs please you, and live and enjoy life social, religious and cultural functions, and hold that has been ordained by the Lord ! weekly and kirtan meetings to keep their Saraswat traditions alive. It will interest you to know that the Navreh (the New Year‟s Day of the Kashmiri Saraswats), which is celebrated on the first May we live together ! May we eat and enjoy Navaratra of Chaitra Shukla, is a special social together ! May we do such healthy acts as will and religious function. It is followed by Zangatrai on the third day of Chaitra which is make us strong and bold ! May all that we read observed as a Women‟s Day. In Kashmir, women and study enlighten us to know the Real Truth ' invariably visit their father s house on this day May we all learn not to hate one another ! Peace. Peace ! and collect Zang, (mangalam) in the form of Peace. salt, loaves, sweets and money (as alagat). Since 1927, when I happened to be the President of the Kashmiri Pandit Sabha at Jammu, these and other functions are being celebrated regularly, in order to maintain the historicity of the rites and customs as laid down in the Nilamatpurana and other Shastras. At Jammu, our Sabha invites the womenfolk on Zangatrai and entertains them to tea and sweets, and when they leave give to each married woman a packet of salt as “Zang” (good omen). Once we had gone a step farther and



May the great and lucky Saraswats grow by 18. Shri Bhawani Ashram, Pukhribal, Hariparvat, the grace of the Great Kala united by love and Srinagar. affection, bound to one another by bonds of 19, Shri Sharika Chakreshwar Sanstha, Harimutualism ! Kaloham !! parvat, Srinagar. 20. Samaj Sudhar Samiti, Chota Bazar, Srinagar. 21. The Sanatan Dharma Yubak Sabha, Shitalnath, Srinagar. 22. The Rattan Rani Hospital, Barbarshah, Srinagar. 23. The Rupadevi Sharada Peetha, Raghunath Mandir, Srinagar.

List of Social Service Institutions of

24. The Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Udhampur. Jammu.

Saraswats of Jammu & Kashmir State 1. Brahman Mahamandal. Ganesh Ghat,


Kotitirtha. 25.Baramulla, Kashmir. 26. Unani Dispensary, Chinkral Mohalla. Srinagar.

2. Gandhi Memorial College, Namchabal, Srinagar 27. Shaiva Institute, Ishbar village, P.O. 3. Ganah Prabandhak Samiti, Ganpatyar, Nishatbagh, Kashmir. Srinagar. 28. The Swami Ram Shaiva Ashram. Fateh 4. Geeta Sanstha, Somyar, Habbakadai, Kadal, Srinagar. Srinagar. Swami Vidyadhar Shaiva Ashram, 5. Hindu Dharma Sabha, Jawaharnagar, Karan Nagar, Srinagar. Srinagar. 30. The Seva Sadan, KraIkhud, Habbakadai, 6. Hindu High School, Shitalnath, Suthoo, Srinagar. Srinagar. The Mahatma Prasadji Trust, Jalali Nivas, 7. Kala-Kendra, Jalali Nivas, Karan Nagar , Srinagar-10. 32- The Bhagwan Gopinath Trust, Kharyar, 8. Lalded Memorial Higher Secondary School 33 Srinagar. Badiyar, Srinagar. Bhairava Nath Trust, Chhattabal, 9. Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Barbarshah, Suthoo. Srinagar. Srinagar. Umadevi S. D. Sabha, Uma Nagri, 10. National High School, Karan Nagar, Achhabal P.O., Kashmir. Srinagar-10. 35. Vidhwa Rakshini Sabha, Habbakadai, 11. National Hospital, Chota Bazar, Karan Srinagar. Nagar Road, Srinagar. Women Welfare Trust, Kralkhud, Srinagar. 12. Sanatan Dharma Sabha, P.O. Handwara, Vishwa Bharati Womenâ€&#x;s College, Kralyar, Kashmir. Rainawari, Srinagar. 13 Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Nagabal, Anantnag, Kashmiri Pandit Sahayak Trust, Chota Kashmir. Bazar, Srinagar. 14. Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Hanad-Chawalgam Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Sharika Mandir, P.O. Kulgam, Kashmir. Jammu. 15. Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Sopore, Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandit Sahayak Sabha, . Batkhuh, Amritsar. 16. Sanatan Dharma Purohit Sabha, Bawan 41 (Mattan), Anantnag, Kashmir. The Kashmiri Sabha, Kashmiri Bhavan, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. 17. Sharada Peetha Research Centre, 200 Karan 42. The Kashmiri

Nagar. Srinagar-10



Association, New


Saraswats „„are eminently suited to play a major role in shaping the history of this land", says Shri A. N. Bhat, voicing the universal response of Saraswat intelligentsia to the formation and

the aims of the AISCO. Shri Bhat‟s brief and eloquent paper, reproduced below, was prepared for the symposium on AISCO organisation, as part of the Inaugural Function of the AISCO.

FOR SARASWATS, A CHALLENGING FUTURE By Shri A. N. BHAT, Bombay When a man is hurled through time and fate plays an undefinable game on him, rarely does he remain unaffected. The human entity called the Saraswat is an exception. He is such a rare specimen of Indian invincibility. The Saraswat '„voyage” through the length and breadth of this land seems to be over. His tribe has moved across India for long. He stands today face to face with his long-lost brother from east, west, north and south. Perhaps, Saraswats will be the last of the Indian communities to stand up and reaffirm their identity.

made no demands and founded no empires in the past. They have carved no niches for themselves. Nor do the Saraswats today lay claim to river waters or village boundaries. They are not going to agitate for steel plants or fertiliser factories, for special privileges or reserved seats or cabinet posts. They have accepted life as it has come to them. They do so even now. Here, then, is an example for all other communities to emulate. It is more blessed to GIVE than to take, to SERVE than be served. This precept is lived by the Saraswats through the millennia. The mantle of Brahminism settles lightly on the Saraswats. In this they differ a great deal from others. Their migratory habits have given them a liberal outlook. Their culture has co-mingled with numerous other patterns of life in the country. The Saraswat heritage is an amalgam of the cultural spectrum of India. They are distinguished by their total culture of Indian inheritance. Their outlook is alien to the crass cussedness of caste hegemony.

In an age when space is annihilated, when identification through communities and castes is getting ready to evaporate, the cult of nationalism is getting out-dated, and even when the world itself is shrinking, the idea of regrouping in terms of clannish identity is held up to ridicule. But there in man is his psyche, based on a sense of belonging, founded on the principle of the herd instinct, built on his tribal existence of yore. If he is divorced from one group, he relates himself to another. It is a necessary corollary At a time when caste is anathema, why to successful and normal social existence. should there be another attempt to reorgaThe Saraswats are not regrouping them- nise one more group? This objection is selves for chauvinistic or aggressive purposes. superficial. Man cannot live except in a Throughout their history, they have never group. Let it be noted that the muchimposed themselves on others and they have maligned caste still flourishes in countries never been a thorn in the flesh of their neigh- far removed from the shores of India. Caste bours. They have never trodden on others‟ is but a classification of labour, a division toes. They have carried across the country of duties and responsibilities and an acceptthe message of Indian culture more by example of their community-living than has been, done by any other group. They have



and of social commitments, although in its degenerated form it can never be approved. Surprisingly, such a pattern is practised in the so-called classless societies. In the communist society the party boss, the army brass, the power-wielding bureaucrats form the higher echelons of the social structure. The proletariat remains the proletariat—the shudra of the communist societies. The caste IS more entrenched in capitadist societies where the aristocratic gentry holds the holier-than thou and touch-me-not attitudes. This does not mean that our caste system is justified in its present day corrupt form. There is already much-needed rethinking on the subject. The Saraswats by their liberal outlook can choose to play an important role in modern India. They can act as a cohesive and linking force between the Brahmin and nonBrahmin sections. Their regrouping must become a decisive force for national unity and integration. Nature has endowed the

Saraswats with an abundance of talent. Their charisma covers a lough and hard core. These qualities are invaluable in assuming a pivotal role for rebuilding our nation. That the Saraswats have survived the vicissitudes of their kaleidoscopic history is no doubt a point of merit to concede. But, this point alone cannot be made a matter for acclaim. The aboriginal too has survived and he too can flourish his identity. The Saraswats have carried on their shoulders, throughout their sojourn, our ancient heritage. Added to this, they have refinement in their character and talent up their sleeves. They are therefore, eminently suited to play a major role in shaping the history of this land. Let the Saraswats hitch their wagon to a star. Let there be an aim in their crowded life. Let this be the burden of their future song.

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Trade and Temples have been the twin passions of the Saraswats of that part of India's western coast which is now known as Kerala. Wherever they settled, a temple came up for the people's use, and the local harbour flourished or a new harbour was built. Saraswats had settled in Kerala long before their exodus from Goa in the fifteenth century because of Muslim persecution and in the sixteenth century because of Portuguese repression. They specialised in local trade and in interregional commerce, often to the point of monopoly, and they were leaders in overseas trade. It was natural that they should be trade agents, treasurers and financial advisers to local kings. it was natural, too, that they should hold impor-

tant administrative positions. In a paper prepared for the Inaugural Session of the AISCO, the story of the Saraswats of Kerala has been succinctly told with ample authentication by Shri N. Purushothama Mallaya, scholar, educationist and acknowledged leader of Kerala Saraswats. Starting with legendary history, the narrative ends with an appeal to Saraswats of all India to give the Kerala Saraswats a helping hand in their struggle to retain their cultural links with their linguistic identity. Shri Mallaya‟s paper is reproduced here as a valuable contribution in the Search for Saraswat Identity referred to at page 7 of this issue.

KERALA SARASWATS : Their contribution in the economic, cultural, religious, political, admini strative, educational and literary fields in Kerala History By N. Purushothama Mallava

Early History Gowd Saraswat Brahmins or Konkanis, as they are called by Keralites, are Aryans in origin who lived on the banks of the now extinct river Saraswati of the Punjab. As they lived to the north of the Vindhyas, they were distinguished by the appellation of “Gowd”, meaning those belonging to the Northern sect of Brahmins. Being eminent scholars well-versed in Vedic lore, their services were often requisitioned for performing Yajnas by famous kings of yore. They had established Gurukulas in Aryavarta to teach and train the young. The Brahmins of Bharat were divided into two groups those to the North of the Vindhyas being known as “Pancha Gowdas”, while those to the South as “Pancha Dravidas”. Saraswats, therefore, belong to the Pancha Gowd group. Hence the name Gowd Saraswats. Migration The spread of the cults of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha in the sixth century B.C.,


and the terrible famine that prevailed in about 297 B. C. for 12 years in Northern India, brought about the piecemeal migration of Saraswats from the banks of the Saraswati to other parts of India. Of course, there is an account in the Shatapatha Brahmana to say that the Saraswats left their homes on the banks of the Saraswati and migrated to the east and settled there. Historians have recorded their migration to Trihotrapur. the modern Tirhut division of Bihar, where they spread Aryan culture amongst the common people. Further, references to this community are to be found in the Bhagavata Puranu, the Bhavishyottara Purna and in the Shalya Parva in Mahatharata. They inhabited many parts of


Punjab, Kashmir, Sind, Rajputana and also back to the great savapt of Sanskrit learning and philosophy, Shrimad BhagawadSaurashtra. Pujyapada Gowdapadacharya, author of the Their further migration from Bihar to celebrated Karika based on the mystical Gomantak is recorded in the „‟Sahyadri lore of Mandukyopanishad. It will be reKhand" of Skanda Purana (Uttaradha membered that Shrimad Adi Shankara1-47/48). charya took discipleship under Shree Legend Govinda Bhagawat-Pujyapada who had According to this, Sri Parashurama come to Goudadesha and who in turn was brought the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins be- a disciple of Shree Gowdapadacharya. The longing to ten gotras from Trihotrapur and other disciple of Shree Govinda Padacharya, established them in a place called Kushas- Srimat Vivarananda Saraswati, was the first thali in Goa which formed a portion of Swamiji to consecrate the institution of the land created by him. According to tradition, Shree Gowdapadacharya Math at KeloshiKonkan, Tuluva and Kerala are the crea- gram in Goa. It was consecrated in or about tions of Parashurama. It has been stated the year 810 A.D. that after the annihilation of the Kshatriyas and in expiation of this sin as well as that Gods of matricide committed by Him at the bidFrom the nature of Kuladevatas worshipding of His father, Sri Parashurama went ped by Gowd Saraswats on their arrival in on a pilgrimage to all tirtha kshetras and Goa, it appears that they made no diffegot absolved of it. He summoned all the rence between Vishnu and Shiva. The comgreat Rishis to perform Yajna. Saraswats munity at present consists of two sects, also participated in this Yajna. The Saras- Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The former are wats settled themselves in two western pro- under the spiritual jurisdiction of their Guru vinces of Goa, 66 settlements of 10 Gothras, whose chief monastery is at Kaivalya Math called „Sasasti‟ (the present Salcete) and or the Gowdapadacharya Math at Kavale 30 settlements called „Tiswadi‟, now known in Goa. The Shaivites are mostly found in as the de Goa. As a result they came to Bombay, Ratnagiri, Savantwadi, North be known later as Shannavikars or settlers Kanara, Baroda, Indore, Gwalior. They in 96 villages which name, in common follow the adwalta school of Vedanta philoparlance, became Shannavaits and ultimatesophy. ly Shenvis as they are still called in Maharashtra. The Gowd Saraswats of South Kanara and Derivation Konkani Kerala follow the “Dwaita” philosophy As Goa formed part of Konkan Desh, the expounded by Shree Madhvacharya and name “Konkani” was applied to their look upon Vishnu as the highest deity. language and also to the people who settled There are two Maths for Vaishnavites, there. It is a fusion of two varieties of known as Gokarna Math with headquarters Prakrits, the Paisachi Prakrit of Punjab and at Partakali in Goa, and Kashi Math Kashmir, and the Magadhi Prakrit of the Samsthan with headquarters at Banaras. Aryans of North Bihar. All questions social, religious and spiritual Origin of the Math affecting the Gowd Saraswats are settled by The Shree Gowdapadacharya Math at their respective Gurus whose decisions are Keloshigram (Goa) is the seat of one of the final. The Vaishnava Saraswats of South religious heads of the Saraswat Brahmin community. Its beginning can be traced



Kanara and Kerala belong to Kashi Math Samsthan.

Origin of Kashi Math “The Kashi Math Samsthan was established before the month of Magha of Plava in the Shaka era 1463, i.e., before the month of January 1542 A.D. From the available records in the Kashi Math it is possible to trace the direct successors to the gadi of the Kashi Math to Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Shripada Vader. He hailed from Cochin and was a Gowd Saraswat Brahmin by birth. There is a copper plate record given by Shrimad Surendra Tirtha Swamier of Kumbakonam Math to Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Shripad Vader of the Samsthan and that was in the month of Magha in the Shaka era 1463. There is also a rayasam relating to the matter of the copper plate given by the same Swamier to his lay disciples.” (Desksha Smritimalika, Venkateswara Temple, Mulki, South Kanara, English section, p. 2). The discovery of copper plate No. 8, (one plate broken into two parts written in Kannada language in Devanagari script) preserved in the State Archives, Emakulam, shows that the Swamiji of Kashi Math Samsthan was recognised by Shrimad Satyadisha Tirtha of Uttarradi Math as equal in rank to that of the Uttaradi Math and given permission to use all the paraphernalia used in that Math. The plate refers to Kashi Math Swamiji as “Moola Samsthanadhipati” of the Madhvacharya lineage. The copper plate bears the saka era of 1603 (1681 A.D.). It was issued to Shrimad Raghavendra Tirtha, the disciple of Shrimad Upendra Tirtha of Kashi Math.

themselves with the local population, developed trade, took active part in the administration of the estates of the rulers of adjacent states and principalities. Though strictly this was forbidden to Brahmins, Manu has permitted them to take to trade and other avocations if necessity of livelihood compelled them to do so without being deprived of their Brahminhood. But wherever they were, they built temples and maths to serve small groups of their community. Such groups came to be known as Daijtm or group of ten. Such temples gradually developed into socio-religious institutions of the community which had the admiration of the rulers of the various States who contributed land and other facilities to the community to conduct their peaceful avocation which not only helped the settlers with much needed relief but also enabled the original inhabitants lo benefit from new and adaptable neighbours. Surnames In the early days all men were called „Pai‟ for father, and women „Mai‟ for mother, out of respect. The name of Shenoi {Shano means learned) came to be associated with Saraswats of Kushasthali and Kelosi who were mostly accountants, teachers or Government employees. Kamaths were agriculturists, landholders; Kuduvas grain collectors; Nayaks military officers; Bhandary, a guardian of treasury; Keni or Kim a person in charge of treasury; Mahale or Mallaya a person in charge of a Mahal or subtaluk; Prabhu the chieftain of a village. Bhats were those who performed the duties of priests from among the Daijans previously referred to. But whatever the surnames, all Saraswat Brahmins were "sharmas" while declaring their names in religious rites, ablutions, etc.

Occupations It has to be mentioned that the Gowd Saraswats were not merely of the priestly class. Although religion was the touchstone of their character and culture, they had embarked upon other ventures for their livelihood as they were new settlers in changing environments. They identified



Subsequent History The Saraswats had, of course, their share of travails of history over the centuries. In 1294 A.D. in the wake of Allaudin‟s conquest of the Deccan, temples and houses were pillaged and plundered. It was a century later that the stout-hearted Saraswat Brahmin, Madhav Mantri, joined hands with the Vijayanagar Ruler, Sri Hari Hara II, and ousted the Muslims from Goa. The presiding deity of Vijayanagar kings was Shri Venkateshwara. So the worship of Shree Venkatachalapathy found itself current among the Saraswats of Kerala and South Kanara. In 1470 A.D., Bhamini Sultan, Mohamed Shah III, carried plunder and destruction into Goa, Forty years later, the Portuguese supplanted the Sultan of Bijapur who was then holding sway, and they, in their turn, lost no time in calling upon the Saraswat Brahmins to embrace Christianity. A letter of the King of Portugal Joao III to the Viceroy Joao de Castro says: “We command you to discover by diligent officers all the idols and to demolish and break them up in pieces where they are found, proclaiming severe punishments against anyone who shall dare to work, cast, make in sculpture, engrave, paint or bring to light any figure of an idol in metal, brass, wood, plaster or any other material, or bring them from other places; and against those who publicly or privately celebrate any of their sports, keep by them any heathenish frankincense or assist and hide the Brahmins, the sworn enemies of the Christian profession. It is our pleasure that you punish them with that severity of the law without admitting any appeal or dispensation in the least.” (Sardar K. M. Panikkar Malabar and the Portuguese, pp. 186-87). The official figures show that in all 280 temples of Bardez and 300 temples of Salcette were destroyed. Of course, the Portuguese built churches in many places where the temples stood.


As a result of a decree issued in 1559 A.D. by King Joao III of Portugal threatening expulsion of non-believers in Christianity, especially Brahmins from Sasashti (Goa), 12,000 Saraswat families fled from the Salcette District of Goa. About 4,000 went north-east to settle down in Maharashtra and Indore, and others went south to settle in Karwar and South Kanara. (Rayasapatra of H. H, Upendra Tirtha Swami of Kashi Math. 1657 A.D. Record kept in Thirumala Devaswom Temple at Cochin). The Saraswat Brahmins who settled down in Lotli, Bardes and Pedne in Goa (these villages also later came under Portuguese rule) and those who settled down in Bhalavali in a village at Rajapur in the district of Ratnagiri and Kudal in Savantwadi in Maharashtra and also those who settled down in Mangalore and Cochin forgot one another. They even ceased to interdine and intermarry. This state of things gave rise to many sub-sect among Saraswats, namely, Pednekars, Kudaldeshkars and Shanaipaikis, but in fact the members of these sub-sect are all one.

Settlement in Kerala The last of those who were expelled by the Portuguese from Goa landed in Calicut but were promptly driven out by the Zamorin. And so they went to Cochin and Travancore. This happened some time in 1560 A.D. Fortunately, the Raja of Cochin at that time, Keshava Rama Varma (1565-1601), was the most celebrated King of Cochin in Portuguese period. He gave the Konkanies (Gowda Saraswat Brahmins) a rent-free site in Mattancherry to build (1599) the now famous Thirumala Devaswom Temple (A. Sreedhara Menon: A Survey of Kerala History, p. 290). But it was Vira Kerala Varma (1624-1637) who gave the Konkanies certain rights and privileges to be


enjoyed by them. The Thitooram which was issued to this effect by the Raja inscribed in a copper plate was issued in the year 286 of the Puduvaippu era i.e. 1627 A.D. (Copper Plate Numbered 6, State Archives, Emakulam.) There are pieces of evidence to prove that stray members of the community had their settlement in Cochin since the early part of 13th century A.D. The Diwan of Cochin in his letter addressed to W. Cullen, British Resident of the then States of Travancore and Cochin, states : “The traditions that exist regarding the first immigration of the Conkanis into Cochin state that owing to certain religious disputes they were obliged to leave their native country Conkan with their idols in 1294 A.D'.and Travelling southward they came to the territory of His Highness the Raja of Cochin. having obtained grants of land and assured promises of protection from His Highness, they settled in Cochin and formed themselves—into a community which they named "the Conkanastha Mahajanam” (Diwan's Diary, Vol. 144;/1858 dated 6-3State Archives, Ernakulam). The them the KudumbSaraswats ies (field labourers by profession). 'Konkanisonar‟ or Daivajna Brahmans (goldsmiths), „Vaniks‟ (mercantile community) and so on.

ihains a plot of land in Cochin called '"Sastiparamba” to commemorate the fact that the Saraswats of Cochin belonged originally "to Sasashti (Salcette). In „Sastiparamba‟ there is an old temple of Damo dari, a „Kuladevata‟. After their settlement in Cochin the Saraswats became supreme fn trade and commerce. Sardar K. M.' Panikkar writes in his Malabar and the Dutch (p. 7): “The Moorish trading community was practically non-existent ia Cochin and in its stead there had grown up the “Canarenes”, a Hindu community from Konkan Districts who worked as-the, agents of the Portuguese. The Canarenes — or as "we now call them the Konkanies—were wholly dependent on their European masters, so that when the Portuguese went away from Cochin they became equally serviceable to the Dutch.” No doubt, their influence during the Dutch period and the early period of the British is evident from the letter of Mr. W. Cullen, the British Resident, to Mr. T. Pycroft, Chief Secretary to Government, Fort St. George, Madras, wherein it is stated “Every European house of business, .in the Company‟s town of Cochin has these Conkanies in their employment and they are their Chief Managers and they have therefore great influence.” Report submitted by W. Cullen, M. General Resident to the Chief Secretary Again in the year 307 of the Pudu- to Government. Fort St. George, dated vaippu era, i.e. in 1648 A.D.. the Raja of 20th Oct. 1856). Cochin, Vira Kerala Varma, the Palluruthy adoptee (1646-55), gave the community The Dutch had settled at the full tide of under a “Thitooram” the civil and crimi- Konkani predominance. They had ceded nal powers to be exercised by (hem withm to them the right of collecting income from a well-defined boundary called „ Sanketam” Mattancherry and Chellayi. to collect they called their place of setdemant farms and customs of Amaravati and to “Gosripuram”, which is the derivation of conduct the affairs of Matlancherry and the word Goapuri. The then ruler of Chellayi and of Konkani temples. It was Cochin Incorporated the word „Gosripura‟ also stipulated that the Raja shall impose in the third stanza of the Old Cochin no new demand on the Konkanies. that National Anthem „Gosriparipavana Bhoo- they shall have full liberty to complain to vithu”.. But the community, as per Royal the Dutch Governor, if aggrieved, and Writ (Thitooram), enjoyed special rights and privileges over other communities within the “Sankelam”. Again, there still re-



that the Raja shall not inteifere in any matters of the temple without the knowledge and consent of the Company. Again, an extract from „Travancore Archaeological Series" No. IV & V. 1910 Edition, mentions the following facts regarding Konkanies made out of Paliyam plates of the 322nd year of the Pudu-Vaipu Era (22-31663) in connection with the treaty made with the Dutch East India Company by the Raja of Cochin: “The representatives of the Konkani Mahajanam requested the ancestors of the Raja of Cochin to take them (Konkanis) under their protection and also build for them a temple. Thereupon, a plot of land was given to them for the latter purpose and also arrangements made for the conduct of the festivals in the temple built by them. The Raja now binds himself to protect these subjects as in old times. As in times of his misfortunes these subjects amply helped him with money, he promises further that in the matter of protection and punishment the Konkanis shall be treated just in the same manner as the other Brahmanas. “When the Konkanis first came to the Cochin territory, they requested that they should be protected by the kings of Cochin just as they were by the kings of Kadamalayalam. In compliance with this request, they were then exempted from the succession fee. But then it was the custom that when a Konkani died without heirs, his property was taken charge of jointly by the Raja's officers and the representatives of the Konkanis and divided into two equal parts, one of which went into the royal treasury and the other to the temple of Tirumaladeva. This custom shall be observed in future also." (Travancore Archaeological Series, No. IV & V (1910'ed.) T. A. Gopinath Rao.)

In Commerce The role of the Saraswats in the commercial field of Kerala deserves mention. It is to be noted that most of the business of Cochin and Travancore (Purakad) passed through their hands. Cannanore the commercial town of North Malabar owed much to the Saraswats for its commercial development. The



actions of Muslim pirates inhabiting the Cannanore coast brought about a situation wherein the people had to die of starvation. The people of Arakkal Raja earnestly requested Babani Shenoy who happened to ply his rice-loaded country craft in the seas of Cannanore to sell their rice to Arakkal Raja. He (Shenoy) did so and made friends with the Raja who persuaded and helped Shenoy to open „Pandikasalas‟ in Cannanore. The Raja gave 5 acres of freehold land as a gift with a condition that he should distribute it amongst his business friends and community as a residential colony. The trade between Konkanis and European powers figured prominently in the papers of the Malabar Council. Prof. A. Das Gupta in his Malabar in Asian Trade writes: “Baba Prabhu-the.-foremost among the merchants. _had— almost monopolised the company‟s commodities. The commanders of Malabar had treated him gently, even when his payments were not prompt. He was believed to have enough political influence to bring about a war between the Zamorin and the Dutch.” Along with the Konkanis, the Jews, long settled in Malabar, had quietly followed their trade. The Rahabi family established close business links with the dominating family of the Prabhus. It was in 1695 that David Rahabi, father of Ezechiel Rahabi, first appeared before the Malabar Council as the attorney of the great Baba Prabhu to settle Baba‟s outstanding accounts with the Dutch. A letter written to Baba by the Malabar Council on 22nd March 1694 begins “Your Honour‟s esteemed letter...,” This quite typical of the letters written to Baba Prabhu. Ezechiel‟s father David Rahabi who had been a very good friend of the Prabhus had left young Ezechiel in charge of the Prabhus who had initiated the young Jew to the “mysteries of busi-


ness”. It was found that there had been whole of the retail trade down to that in partnership between Calaga Prabhu and the smallest articles was in their (KonkaEzechid Rahabi which started in 1752 and nis‟) hands” (A Survey of the Rise of for several years they appeared to have Dutch Power in Malabar, by T. I, Poonen, undertaken several ventures together. But p. 259). In the preface to the translation of Grandhavari of Cochin published in unfortunately for Prabhu he was indebted 1916 mention is made of the Konkanis. It to Ezechiel and at the close of the year says, “The Konkanis were for one thing 1770 Ezechiel took over a warehouse of rich, and possessed so remarkable an aptiPrabhu as part payment of the debt with- tude for mercantile business that they out consulting Prabhu about it. But the almost enjoyed the monopoly of all retail Governor requested Rahabi to return the trade in Cochin. They also rendered subkeys of the warehouse to Calaga Prabhu. stantial services to the Dutch in furthering On his refusal, the Governor became furi- their commercial activities and were often ous and turning to Ezechiel said “You give employed as their chief agents or brokers. these keys to Prabhu this day as T ordered For this reason their interests were jealousor I shall know what to do with you” ly watched and safeguarded by the Dutch it bid, p. 117). The keys were returned who exercised civil and criminal jurisdicand the Rahabis kept away from the dis- tion over the Konkani subjects” The Batavian Diary of 1678 contains excerpts from puted warehouse till the Governor was gone the long correspondence between two and Ezechiel was dead. But on 11th Novemgroups of Saraswat merchants; of the two ber, 1771 a sensational law suit began bet- groups of merchants one was headed by ween the three sons and heirs of Ezechiel Poilcar Naik and Baba Pattar, and the Rahabi and Calaga Prabhu‟ Mention was other by Parimbala Naik and Waman Naik. there in the law suit of the names of the These two groups between them monoKonkanis who were described as prominent polised the entire trade on the west coast. merchants of Cochin and who were exami- The „Mamorie‟ underlines the ascendancy ned as witnesses on the Rahabi‟s side and of the Konkanis in the trade of Malabar. they are, Baba Saraf, Aloe Saraf, Bikoe (Memorie of the "Secunde" Vosburge, Kienie and Rama Sinaij. Calaga then dated 11th April 1680, of Hauge Record entered into correspondence with the gene- 719.) The names of the various merchants rals of Hyder Ali with the aim of humilia- he mentions are almost all Konkanis. In the supply of pepper to the Dutch merting the King of Cochin and the Jewish chants, there was mention of a Konkani people of the town. The correspondence Merchant Derwa Naik of Cochin besides was detected in the nick of time. “Had I Fzechiel Rahabi. Also in an old given by been late by a couple of hours”, wrote the Raja of Cochin to the Dutch CommanAdriaan Moens to Batavia, “he would have deur on May 18th, 1666 there was reference fled and joined Hyder‟s generals” In the to one Wittula Naik who was controlling end, says Prof. A. Das Gupta, “Calaga the daily expenses of the Raja on behalf of Prabhu-along with his eldest son Chorda the Dutch. The vessels from Cutch and Prabhu was exiled to the Cape of Good Porbandar employed the Konkani merchant Hope. Thus the last known man of this Naga Prabhu as their agent at Cochin. great Konkani family. whom Meons had Of course, the Konkani merchants monooccasion to call a “restless spirit”, was one polized trade in cloth too, and they had first Indians to settle in _____________ South consistently cornered all available “fanams” Africa (I bid, p. 119). Again Mr. T I. Poonen writes the



—coins. “Anyone who wished to buy from the company lost 6.30 percent in dealing with Konkani Shroff”. At the progress of the season only grey-haired Konkanis or 'Banias' were considered as persons “who could tell which way the demand was likely to jump”. The dyeing industry in Kerala was also brought by Baba Prabhu. The dyers were first brought from Tuticorin. In 1766, Govinda Pai appeared as the envoy of Hyder Ali to search for the treasures of the fugitive Zamorin in the Kingdom of Cochin. Naranna Prabhu served as an envoy from the Malabar Council to Calicut in 1784 and it was he who saw on his way the pepper vines and sandal trees being cut down by Tippu Sultan as the latter thought that it was these commodities that made the Europeans to wage war on him. The role played by the Saraswats in Purakad (Porka) calls for special mention. Perumbala Naik became the foremost of the businessmen at that port. He had to leave Porka for Trivandrum owing to some ill-treatment received by him from the King of Porka. But the King regretted his actions and Perumbala Naik returned to Porka after 4 years and plunged into big business. His plan to construct a big harbour in 1732 at Porka alarmed the Dutch. Another merchant who deserves mention is Govinda Pai who had extensive international trade before the fall of Porka. He succeeded Poko Moessa as the local ragiadore and greatly annoyed Commandeur de Jang with his intrigues. Further, it was the Thirumala Devaswom that helped the Raja of Cochin by granting him a loan for the restoration of the Cochin territory devastated by Tippu Sultan in the year 1790 A.D. The abstract of the letter, I series No. 377/1, State Archives, Ernakulam, reads “His Highness (Raja of Cochin) requests Dutch Gover-

Thirumala Devaswom for the restoration of the country devastated by Tippu.” Persecution The year 1791 was marked by the terrible persecution of the Konkanis at the hands of Raja Rama Varma, known in Cochin History as Saktan Thampuran. Shortly after ascending the gadi the Raja demanded a contribution of jaggery from the Konkanis. On refusal, the Raja arrested a number of Konkani merchants and ordered them to pay customs to the King thereby violating the agreement which the Dutch had made in the year 1772. Letters were exchanged between the Raja of Cochin and the Dutch Governor, an abstract from which reads thus. “Owing to H. H.‟s oppression of the Konkanis and imprisonment of the T.D. authorities, the Dutch have determined to station a military detachment at Chellayi to protect them, and insists on recall of H.H.‟s guard stationed there and warns of the serious consequences of the conduct of H.H. (No. LXVI/1 State Archives, Ernakulam dated 17-7-1771.) I series No. 379/5, State Archives, Ernakulam, dated 26-7-1771 is a reply communicating the conditions proposed in negotiation with the Valiah Sarvadhi Kariakar and two Sarvadhi Kariakars deputed by H. H., namely that the Dutch will recall their detachment leaving only a small guard near the temple site, provided H. H. will not subject the Konkanis for any new demand and summon them to palace. I series No. 379/14—14-9-1771 is a reply to H.H.‟s letter. The Dutch Council informs the Raja that the Council will not order the recall of Dutch detachments unless H. H. gives a written assurance that the Konkanis will not be molested by new demands. I series No. 379/15 dated 16-9-1771 is a letter of warning given by the Dutch to the Raja of Cochin. It states.

nor‟s sanction for the issue of a loan from THE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973



“H. H. will be held responsible for the loss of Thirumala Devaswom by H.H.‟s injunction not to allow gathering of crops on Devaswom Kanam fields, the Trustees being unable to appear before H. H. in the present time”. But in disregard of the warning, on 12th October 1791 the leading merchants of the Konkani community were massacred including Deweresa Kini Again, the Raja caused three of the overseers of Temple Thirumala Devaswom to be put to death because they would not surrender to him any part of the treasure belonging to it, and also plundered the shops and carried away the merchants‟ property. The Dutch on seeing the Raja‟s atrocities sent an army and attacked the King‟s Palace at Mattancherry but were repulsed. Letter I, Series No. 379/19, of the Dutch dated 15-10-1791 (State Archives, Emakulam) “explains why guns were discharged against Cochin Palace, viz, protection of the Konkani subjects who, frightened by devastation in Devaswom shops by H. H.‟s men, left the country in ships for personal security, some of these having been persuaded and given shelter in Cochin Fort.” The Raja plundered the temple of Thirumala belonging to the community. Prof. Das Gupta writes, “The loot was calculated at over Rs. 1,60,000 from the temple alone.” (Malabar in Asian Trade, p. 121). The story that Sakthan Thampuran, Raja of Cochin, demanded the head of Devaresa Kini to be shown as “Kani” to him is related by Saastri Poy in his account given later. He says that on that day the Sambradi Menon (Secretary) of King of Cochin came to the Pandyasala of Devaresa Kini and said that for the money due to him, pepper could be given in payment. He then, apparently to speak very privately to him. took him to a room in the Pandyasala. "When engaged in conversation two or three country boats sailed up and stopped to the north of the godown. First stepped out “Balia Gammaan” or captain of the infantry, and a number of men with swords


drawn. The former entered the room where Deveresa was talking with the Menon. Menon pinned Devaresa down while two men murdered him. The rest of the men who were in the main hall murdered the Konkanis whom they could catch hold of. The head of Devaresa Kini was severed and that severed head of Kini was exhibited to the Raja as a first thing (Kani) the next morning. “Among the murdered included Krishen, Goga Kamath, Manuku Shenov and the son of Ranga Pai. Of the remainmg, Saastra Pai, Morthu Patter were wounded but Baboden fortunately escaped.” (Ibid). The Thirumal Deity Prof. Das Gupta further adds: “The King of Travancore was exceedingly angry to hear of the massacre. Both Dewersa and Nagendra the son of Ranga Rov. were his agents and between them took care of a great deal of his money. He urged the Dutch to take vengeance and, then, to pay him a proper compensation. In fact he went so far as to offer assistance. But the English (Mr. Powney the English Company‟s agent) intervened, and the King of Travancore had to withdraw from the dispute. A face-saving compromise for the Dutch was reached but the sense of older security did not return.” It was not till the English power was firmly established in Cochin, says the Grandavari of Cochin, “that the Konkanis and Christians became finally free from molestations” The persecuted Konkanis then fled.—to Thuravoor and Alleppey in Travancore and printed their grievances to the Raja through Dewan Kesava Das who assured them that he would bring about their return to and stay at Cochin as before and in the interim allowed them to stay at Alleppey. At Alleppey they installed their God‟s im-


age, Thirumala Devar, which they took was found that the Cochin Royal family had care to preserve on the banks of the Allep- incurred the severest displeasure of the Cochin Thirumala Deity. pey canal. After the death of Sakthan Thampuran. Sakthan Thampuran then made vain at- Raja Kerala Varma who succeeded him tempts to bring back Thirumala Deity took keen interest in the image and wished from Alleppey to Cochin. In reply to The- to get it back to Cochin. He even addresstooram from the Raja of Cochin (16-7-1968 ed a letter to Col. Munro 991 ME (1816 A. M.E./1792, State Archives, Ernakulam) D.) wherein he stated that “As the rheuDewan Chembaga Raman Kesavan of matic and Hermein disease which we have Travancore states, “I dare say their (Sarasbeen suffering from, has grown more serious wats‟) fears will be removed if your Highnow and since no visible cure has been ness, as I advised your Highness whilst at effected notwithstanding that several phyCochin, would send a Teetooram on the sicians have treated the disease and as, on subject to the Adhikaries, Mahajanams and Sanyasi of the Therumala Devaru. The consulting astrologers, it turns out that we Thetooram which your Highness may be have incurred the severest displeasure of the pleased to send them should be so written Cochin Thirumala Deity and that the as to assure them of your Highness‟s pro- disease will be cured if the Thirumala Deity tection and dispel all further doubts from is returned to Cochin, consecration effected their minds.” In reply to another Thetooram and the poojas commenced. ” (State from the Raja of Cochin, the Dewan of Tra- Achives, Ernakulam). The Raja therefore requested Col. Munro to use his good offices vancore further writes (dated 13-8-968 M.E. for restoration of the image in question to 1792), “ ____ I will send for the Konkanies and inform them of the contents of your Cochin; but the request was turned down Highness‟s Thetooram and will endeavour to by the then Resident as a result of the persuade them to appear before your High- urgent representation of the Travancore officers that the “presence of the Image was ness” considered to be intimately connected with The Raja also made attempts to get back the prosperity of the Port of Alleppey,” the Thirumala Deity through the Dutch (Minutes of Consultation, dated 19-8-1858 Government functioning at Cochin. In his (Political Department) by T, Pycroft, letter (No, 378/74, I series, dated 26-11- Chief Secretary, Madras.) 970/1794 A.D., State Archives, Ernakulam), It was only after the settlement of the the Raja of Cochin “requests the Commo- Cochin Konkanies at Alleppey that the dore to order that the Thirumala Devaswom place began to develop into a centre of comFund kept as a deposit in the Secretariat merce. The Konkanies built „Pandikasalas‟ should be made over to Palliat Menon and started doing extensive business. It was (Prime Minister of Cochin) who will re- during the Prime Ministership of Dewan ceive on behalf of Devaswom to make Kesava Das who recommended the case of arrangements for the proper conducting of Konkanies to the Raja of Travancore for the temple ceremonies before the celebra- their stay at Alleppey, that the new Port tion of „Choroonoo‟ (ceremony of giving of Alleppey came into being with better the new-born child prince of Cochin to eat harbour facilities. The desperate Konkanies for the first time with preliminary oblations of Cochin planned the recovery of the image to fire”). The Raja further stated in his by hook or by crook. Ultimately, the image letter that on consulting astrologers it




was clandestinely brought back to Cochin on the midnight of 8th February 1853. The object was laudable, and it being 1853 there was no risk of a head being lost. Since it was found that the Raja of Cochin had his hand in the robbery, the Maharaja of Travancore put in a lengthy complaint with the Governor of Fort. St. George through the Resident, Trivandrum, for the restitution of the image in question, and the whole matter was referred to the Hon. Court of Directors, Madras, and a long-drawn-out suit ensued between the two States of Cochin and Travancore. The Konkanis of Cochin got through all ordeals and finally the idol was duly reinstated in the Cochin temple itself. The Raja of Cochin then gave them back all the properties and most of the jewellery confiscated by his predecessor, and the Konkanis started to re-build a magnificent temple for the Thirumala Deity in its present place in 1853 and completed the work by 1881 A. D. This historical image of Shri Venkateswara, according to tradition belonged to the ruler of Vijayanagar during the prosperous days of that kingdom in the 15th and 16th centuries. The temple today has one of the biggest bells in India.

Role in Local Administration The Saraswats also played an important role in the administration of many local selfGovernment bodies in Kerala. The chairmanship of many Municipal Councils in Kerala, namely, Tellicherry, erstwhile Mattancherry Municipal Council, Alwaye, Shertallai, Vaikom, etc., were held by Saraswats. The first Mayorship of the Calicut Corporation and the Deputy Mayorship of Cochin Corporation were held by Saraswats. Presidentship of Tripunittura and Eloor Panchayats are even today held by Saraswats. The first woman Chairman of the Municipal Council in India was a Saraswat lady. Smt. Lalitha Prabhu. She was Chairman of the Tellicherry Municipal Council.


Adherence to Religion One of the most important features of. the community is their adherence to their religion and the preservation of their religious worship by building not only chapels for the Kuladevatas but also by the establishment of big temples to cater to the needs Of the larger community in important towns "where they settled. The temples at Cochin, Tripunitura, Alleppey, Purakad, Kayamkulam, Quilon, Turavoor, Kottayam, Sherthalai, Emakulam, Kamakodam, Cranganore, Cherai, Chenamangalam, North Pravur, Tellicherry, Cannanore, Kasaragod, Manjeshwar, Kumbala and Ullal and many other belong to the Saraswat community. Mention has to be made of the Ananteswar temple at Manjeshwar dating from the time of Madhvacharya who is known to have visited it in or about 1293 A D The present temple car was rebuilt in 1834 A. D. it rises to a height of 71 ft. A shrine of more than ordinary interest which deserves mention is that of Udyaneswara which enshrines a Shiva Linga. Originally it belonged to the famous Namboodiri temple in Mathilagam. It was destroyed by the Dutch, The huge Linga was transported by the Dutch to Cochin as they found it convenient to moor their ships in the outer seas. At a later date the local Gowd Saraswats, who recognised it as a Siva Linga, acquired it from the British East India Company and installed it with due solemnity and piety in the vicinity of Cochin Thimmala Devaswom. Another temple which is worth mentioning is the Sree Venkatachalapathi Devaswom at Parur which was destroyed by Tippu Sultan in 1790. It was renovated in 1888 A.D. by the community with the help of Sri Mulam Thirunal, the Maharaja of T ravancore. The Saraswats of Kerala have not discarded their faith in their original deities. Shiva and Shakti. whose shrines abound in many places near their homes. Such temples con-


tain the images of Shanta-Durga, Damodar. Nagesh, Mahalakshmi, Mhalasa, Santeri, Kamakshi, Ramanath. according to the respective gotms to which the Saraswats belong. Other famous temples contain the idols of Veougopala, Varaha, Vithoba, Narasimha, vShree Rama, Dhanwantari, Narayana Dever, Hanuman, Ganapati, etc.

Politics and Administration It would appear from an agreement between the Raja of Cochin and the Dutch on 3rd May 1681 that a Saraswat was the Raja‟s Treasurer, Again, the Zamorin of Calicut, Bharani Thirunal had a minister called Bavan Pattar, The role of one Babha in the political affairs of Kerala also calls for notice, Perimbala, a Saraswat Brahmin of Cochin, in his letters to the GovernorGeneral Rijckl of Van Goems of Dutch India, says inter alia “ Your Excellency ought to know that Babha and the King of Calicoilam are both at war with seven Kings, namely, the Queen of Travancore, the King of Martinga, the King of Betimmeny, the King of Porca, the King of Tekkankur, the King of Berkenkur ‟ It was during the reign of Marthanda Varma, the King of Tranvancore, that the settlement of lands, both wet and dry, was effected. The classification of lands under the main heads of Devaswom, Brahmaswom, Danas, and Pandaravaka was introduced by Mallan Sankaran, (A. Sreedhara Menon, A Survey of Kerala History. p. 282). Some Personalities to Remember Two groups of merchants, one under Policar Naik and Bava Pattar and the other under Pariintrala Naik and Waman Naik, between them monopolised the entire retail trade on the West Coast. They also built Panikasalas in Cochin and Purakad. Janardana Pai owned a fleet of seven merchantships and carried on extensive export trade from the port of Purakad. The late Sri R. S, Hari Shenov traded in timber, silk, diamonds. opium, etc., and earned for himself fortune and fame throughout Cochin, TraTHE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973


vancore and Malabar. He was a journalist as well, and established Gosri Vilasom Press” and edited a Malayalam paper called “Kerala Nandini”. He also started industrial and agricultural concerns by founding the “Kerala Karakousala Company” to coordinate the production for export of coir. He also floated the Mundathumkara Krishi Vanibha Company which helped many unemployed to earn a livelihood. He also raised farms to improve the cattle wealth of Cochin by importing Karachi and Nellore breeds of cattle. Shri Manjeshwar Govinda Pai, on whom the former Government of Madras conferred the title of Poet Laureate along with Shri Vallathol Narayana Menon, has contributed substantially to Kannada literature. As an astronomer, mathematician, scholar, poet, philosopher, dramatist, linguist and writer, the services of Shri Govinda Pai are inestimable. He has been acclaimed by the entire Kannada country as the patriarch of Kannada literature, Sahitya Kushala Seshagiri Prabhu of revered memory earned undying fame as a Malayalam grammarian and a renowned Sanskrit scholar. Dr, N. V. Mallaya earned a name as a research scholar for writing a thesis on Temple Architecture with special reference to Tantrasamuchchaya and Hindu Iconography. Shri A. D. Hari Sarma is almost a household name in Kerala for his works in Malayalam. He has been acclaimed by the Keralites as the Father of the Samasta Kerala Sahitya Parishad a literary organisation founded in Kerala for the promotion of the Malayalam language, Thuravoor Shri Madhava Pai earned fame in Kerala as one of the foremost among those who brought the Library Movement to Kerala, Smt, Ammulakka Shenoi and Shri Narasimha Pai contributed mudi to Konkani literature while Kamalambal of Ambalapuzha composed the Ramayana in Konkani in the „Ovi‟ style.


'This is what Mr. John Leyden (1775 — 1811), a British traveller, who travelled in Kerala immediately after the fall of Tippu Sultan, says with regard to Konkanis and their language in Kerala; “The Konpani Brahmins are considered as a distinct class from the proper Maharashtra Brahmins and these two classes affect to treat each other mutually with contempt. The Kongani character diflEers considerably from the Maharathi; and Bhagavadam, Linga Purana, Ramayana, Bharatha and other works are translated into this language and written in its appropriate character and the Brahmins of this class profess to be in possession of many other translations from Sanskrit as well as of various original works among which are the Vira-Bhadra-Charita and Fafasu-Rama-Charita.” (John Leyden, Plan for Investigating the languages, literatures. Antiquities and History of the Deccan, 1807 - MS in British Museum). Of Ayurvedic physicians the more prominent were Ranga Bhat, Appu Bhat and Vinayak Pandit. They gave testimonials of efficiency in Konkani in Nagari script to no less a man than the famous Commandeur Henrick Van Rheeds, who published Hortus Indicus Malabaricus in Amsterdam in 1678 in twelve volumes with profuse illustrations. This is what Van Rheede in his passage on „A discussion among Konkani Brahmins in Kerala” (Between 1671 — 1674) says (Tr. by Jose Pereira, Research Associate American Academy, Banaras from the original Latin of Henricus Van Rheede Van Diakenstein Johannes Caserius and Amoldus Syen, Hortus Indicus Malabaricus, Amsterdam, (1679-1703) 12 vols):

argue, and each of them would defend his own views most strongly, but with incredible modesty -- of a sort one would wish to find in the most cultivated of pagan philosophers — without any bitterness, mental excitement and wi.hout the neglect of the mutual respect due among those holding divergent opinions. They follow their ancient tradition and the first creators of the arts with the miOst devout reverence, referring to the latter their own opinions and received experiences, v/hich they subject to do their authority. And in what concerns medicine and botany, their teaching is contained in verses, any first verse of which begins with the proper name of a plant, and then goes on most accurately to set forth its species, properties, accidents, forms, paris, place, time, medicinal qualities, use and other things of the kind. All this is done with such skill that if anyone mentions the name of a plant, a Brahmin can tell you offhand all it has or can be said of it. And though this method of teaching, which requires a firm memory, seems to be the more difficult one, yet they impress these verses on the memories of their young children, in between their play and toys — as they say the memory has greater vigour then; these verses are afterwards most faithfully retained in the memories of docile youth and of mature age. The invention ol the first of these arts — say medicine or botany — is held to be so ancient, as the authors of (he books affirm, that with the most constant asserveration they assert that it was in existence before the past four thousand years.

Education Around the Saraswat temples grew Veda Pathasalas and Sanskrit schools, Primary and High Schools. There is a medical college too at Alleppey founded by the Alleppey T, D. Temple.

The Veda Pathasala maintained by the Cochin Thirumala Devaswom is the oldest standing Pathasala in Kerala. It was established in 1877 A.D. Rigveda and its Shakhala Shakha are specialised in at this “I often attended the most delightful entertainment, which was of Brahmins (Pagan philoso- institution. phers) disputing among themselves and arguing on the basis of arguments they had drawn from the opinions, rules and harmonies of their tradition, and from the books of those of their ancestors who had excelled in learning. They would


Kerala is the southernmost reach of the Saraswat exodus in India. It is their mother tongue. Konkani. that makes them feel that they are one with iheir brethren in the


north. Their mother tongue helped them to preserve their identity and culture. They have played an important role in the emotional integration of India. According to Mr. Frank F. Conlon. Research Associate, Department of History. University of Minnessota, U.S.A., “They have traditionally been practitioners of the art of „coming-to terms ; of being able to assess the opportunities of their changing environment, and then make proper adjustments. They are one of those communities in India that have served as a „hinge‟ between West and East, North and South, old and new. And it is that tradition of „coming-to terms‟ which seems still worthy of emulation these days, in a world where the only thing that seems to be constant, is the change.”

The Mother Tongue In view of the changed circumstances of the country, the community residing in Kerala thought it fit to form an organisation for the promotion and development of their mother longue, Konkani, which binds them together with that of the Saraswats of Mysore and Maharashtra; else it was feared that their identity would be lost for posterity, as a result of the continuous infiltration of Malayalam, the regional language of the State, into the body of the Konkani language, resulting in gradually adopting Malayalam as their mother tongue. The persistent efforts of the Konkani Bhasha Prachar Sabha resulted in the Kerala Government introducing Konkani as on additionai langu-

age in the primary schools. The community has been recognised in Kerala as a linguistic minority, and the State issued circulars to all departments of the Secretariat to give due representation to Konkani-speaking people in the various District and high level. Advisory Committees formed in the State. The Centre has also agreed to give financial assistance for the promotion of Konkani. The Corporation of Cochin gave the Konkani Bhasha Prachar Sabha 11 cents of land in the heart of the City of Cochin for building a “Bhavan” for the Konkani language. The Sabha will soon be constructing a three-storeyed building costing Rs. 450,000. It will become a meeting place for all irrespective of regions. It is therefore the duty of each and every Saraswat to contribute liberally towards the Building Fund, The consecration of the site, Bhoomipooja, was performed by H, H, Srimad Sudheendra Tirtha Swami of Kasi Math Samsthan, on the 4th April, 1971. It is thus to be noted that the Saraswats, a miscroscopic community in Kerala, after passing through several vicissitudes, have been able to live with honour and credit for several centuries, serving as a model to others in various fields of activity, building and maintaining, at great sacrifice, shrines in many places in Kerala which gave them shelter from Portuguese barbarism. They have become a community that counts.

With Best Compliments from




Inauguration implies active functioning thereafter. There is no more preparation period for the AISCO. Activity must spread in two directions simultaneously: towards achivement of the aims, and towards completion of the constitutional structure. The two are parallel directions. The AISCO constitution provides for a grass-root organisation intended to stimulate communication between the Managing Committee and the Saraswat population. No one is more keenly alive to the problems involved in this dual development than Shri J. S. Rao, the dedicated and indefatigable Secretary

of the AISCO, who has been at the heart of the whole movement since its inception. It is therefore natural that his should be the principal paper on the subject for presentation at the Inaugural Function. From that paper, which deals compiehensively with the origin, development and prospects of the AISCO concept, only extracts concerning the constitutional structure and future development are reproduced here. It is to be hoped that the subject will attract wide attention, and that suggestions as well as offers of participation will come up in generous measure.


Organisational Set-up The organisational set-up of the AISCO is discussed under the heads of Membership, President, Managing Committee, and Governing Council below. Membership (Articles 6, 7, 8). (i) The membership is open to every Saraswat Brahmin without distinction of sect or region. It is also open to Saraswat institutions. An institution for eligibility is defined to include a firm, society or other organisation whose membership consists wholly or mainly of Saraswat Brahmins or any of their sects or sub-sects. An institutional member shall have the right to nominate one representative who shall be a

Saraswat to act for it and participate in the activities of the Organisation, and will have the right to change the nominee from time to time if necessary. Hie institutional membership is essentially envisaged as a scheme for co-operation and co-ordination of activities of all Saraswat institutions in the country by promoting a sort of federation of such institutions. Members of the AISCO are entitled to receive free a copy of its official journal as also the privilege to attend All India Saraswat Cultural Conventions or conferences convened by it.

Following categories of membershipare provided for in the constitution Fee for Fee for individiuals Founder-Member



5000/- in lump





Rs. 5000



Life Member




Ordinary Member

Rs. 2000



Rs. 1000





Rs —



President : (Article 9) The President of AISCO will be elected by the members for a term of three years. His dection will be governed by rules framed by the Managing Committee in this behalf. A vacancy in the post of President shall be filled by nomination by the Managing Committee from amongst the VicePresidents. The President shall have wide powers including that of nominating 18 members to the Governing Council and six members to the Managing Committee.; to fill any casual vacancy in the Governing Council or in the Managing Committee; to preside at meetings of the Governing Council and of the Managing Committee; to decide all election disputes and to exercise in any emergency any or all of the powers of the Managing Committee, and to report such action to the Managing Committee or the Governing Council within thirty days. The President may also direct in his discretion the Secretaries to convene a meeting of the Managing Committee or of the Governing Council at any time.

Managing Committee (Articles 11, 12, 13) The Management of the affairs of the AISCO shall vest in the Managing Committee, which will hold office for three years. The Managing Committee shall consist of thirty members, namely, the President, twenty-three members elected by the Governing Council and six members nominated by the newly-elected President. Members of the Governing Council shall alone be eligible for election or nomination the President. But failure of the President to fill any such vacancies, however, shall not affect the status, decisions or actions of the Conmiittee. It shall elect from its own members eight Vice-Presidents, three Secretaries and two Treasurers. Its meetings shall be called by the Secretaries on their own initiative or when so asked by the President. Ten daysâ€&#x; clear notice shall be given of a meeting of THE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973


the Managing Committee. The President, however, may ask for an urgent meeting to be convened at shorter notice. The quorum for a meeting of the Managing Committee shall be twelve. In the absence of a quorum, the meeting will be adjourned to a later date when business shall proceed without the need for a quorum. The Managing Committee shall meet at least once in two calendar months. The President shall preside at ali meetings of the Managing Committee. In his absence, any one of the Vice-Presidents elected by the members present shall preside. In their absence, the members present shall elect one of them to preside. FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES The functions, powers and duties of the Managing Committee will be to take all due steps and measures as may be conducive to or authorised by or necessary for the implementation of the aims and objects of the AISCO as set out or implied in Article 5, to prepare on the dose each year a Report on all policies and activities along with audited statements of accounts relating to that year, to submit the to the Governing Council and to present them to all members; to frame Rules governing the triennial election of the President as laid down in clause (b) of Article 9; to map out zones and organise zonal committees of members for the for the propagation and pursuit of the aims and objects and for elections to the Governing Council as laid down in Clause (d) of Article 10, and to frame appropriate Rules for these purposes; to make all rules framed by it and any amendment of them known to all members; to fill any casual vacancy of the post of President as provided for in Clause (c) of Article 9; to maintain a Roll of Members; to appoint sub-committees or Special Committees for study and advice on any subject or subjects or for the implementation of any decisions; to conduct or cause to be conducted by a suitable agency a perio-


dical publication as the official journal of the AISCO, as provided for in Clause (k) of Article 5 and to furnish a copy of each issue to every member free of cost; to fulfil all statutory obligations, including the filing of returns with appropriate authorities; to bank, invest, spend and/or donate moneys in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and generally to conduct the management of the AISCO with due care and efficiency.

The election of one hundred and thirtyone members to the Governing Council shall be governed by rules made in that behalf by the Managing Committee on the basis of zones mapped out for the purpose. Any member may, however, stand for election from any zone. Casual vacancies in the Governing Council shall be filled by the President by nomination. The Presidentâ€&#x;s failure to fill any such vacancies shall not, however, affect the competence or vitiate the decisions of the Council.

However, notwithstanding anything contained in the above provisions of the constitution, the first Managing Committee was constituted by nomination which shall hold office until relieved by a Managing Committee formed under the relevant provisions of Articles 9, 10 and 11. The first Managing Committee shall take expeditious steps including the framing of the relevant Rules for the election of the President and for the formation of the Governing Council of the Managing Committee as provided for in Articles 9, 11, 12, and 20; and it shall see to it that these steps are completed within thirty-six months from the date of the adoption of this constitution. The first Managing Committee shall appoint auditors annually for the first three years of the AISCO. The provisions of Clause (c) of Article 11 shall not apply to the Presidentâ€&#x;s nomination to fill any casual vacancy in the first Managing Committee.

The Governing Council shall meet at least once in every official year, and at any other times that the Managing Committee or the President may decide. The meetings of the Council shall generally be held in Bombay, but the Managing Committee may choose any other venue for any meeting of the (Council. Thirty clear daysâ€&#x; notice of a meeting of the Governing Council shall be given to its members specifying the place, date, time and agenda of the meeting. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Governing Council. In his absence the members present shall elect a Chairman for the meeting from amongst the Vice-Presidents. Thirty-five members shall form a quorum for a meeting of the Governing Council. In the absence of a quorum the meeting shall be adjourned to a later date when business shall be conductted without the need for a quorum. The Secretaries of the Managing Committee shall be the Secretaries of the Governing Council. It shall be the function and duty of the Governing Council to receive and consider the Annual Report and audited statements of accounts presented by the Managing Committee; to consider the policies and activities of the Managing Committee, and to make recommendations, to appoint auditors; and to decide on such other matters as may be placed before it by the Managing Committee or the President, or by a member of the Council.

Governing Council (Article 10). Subject to the specific provisions of the articles of the Constitution all general and residuary powers of the AISCO shall vest in the Governing Council. The Governing Council shall hold office for three years and shall consist of one hundred and fifty members, consisting of the President, elected under Article 9, one hundred and thirtyone members elected by members of the AISCO and eighteen members nominated by the newly-elected President.



MAJOR ISSUES — FUTURE SET-UP Membership Should our organisation confine its activities to the membership of the AISCO or should it be an organisation in the service of the entire community ? Even if all social service institutions, temples and business firms and the members of the community may not join as active members on its rolls, it is in the fitness of things to allow and provide for some participation and feeling of involvement in its activities to the entire community. If our organisation is in earnest in solving the various problems facing the community, it ought to co-operate and coordinate its activities with all the existing organisations and institutions of the community, including these which may not be on its rolls.

wat institutions and temple representatives should have representation even on the Executive Committees of the District Units of the AISCO. This may be ensured by amendments to the constitution of AISCO or alternatively, by incorporating appropriate provisions in the rules and regulations of the district units which are to be drawn up by the Managing Committee of the AISCO. This will lay the foundations of the AISCO at the grass-root level, give a sense of belonging and participation to the Primary Members who will form its backbone and source of strength. It is possible to convene periodically open sessions of the AISCO which they can attend and where they may deliberate on matters of common interest. They will thus represent the democratic element in our organisation in the broadest terminology. Should non-Saraswats, who are interested in our cause, including institutions, be permitted to have some sort of participation in our activities ? Already, the definition of the membership clause has clarified that a person married to a Saraswat is a Saraswat as also a person one of whose parents is a Saraswat. Suppose there are outsiders who would like to be associated with our cause and take part in our activities. Should we have a constitutional bar against their entry or should we permit them to come in freely? I think it is possible to devise a scheme more or less akin to the Primary Membership as a worthwhile proposition.

This may be done by having a new category of membership, i.e.. Primary Membership, which does not involve any big financial contribution, but prescribes only a nominal fee of Rs. 1/- per annum. These primary members may not enjoy all the benefits, such as the right to have a free copy of the official journal and of participation in the election of the members to the Governing Council and other related matters. But they will have a say in the determination of the policies and programmes of the AISCO. Their participation can be ensured at the all India level by convening All-India Saraswat Cultural Conventions The Managing Committee periodically, say once in every three years, The Managing Committee to be effective wherein open sessions can be organised as should normally consist of up to 13 active a forum for all Primary Members. The remembers including the President. solutions and decisions of these sessions would be implemented by the AISCO. However, a larger Committee may be necessary, consisting of, say, up to 30 memThe participation of the Primary Mem- bers, to ensure proper representation to bers will also be ensured to a greater extent every region and sect. It may be advisable and in a more active manner at the district and local levels by permitting them to participate in these meetings. In fact, all SarasTHE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT, JANUARY 1973


to nominate a Vice-President and a member from the four Regional Committees on the Managing Committee who would be very active in organisational work in their region. However, in this set-up, it may be necessary to form a compact Steering Committee consisting of not more than 7 active members, who are based at the HQ to carry out the decisions of the Managing Committee on a day-to-day basis and to take quick decisions during the intervening period between meetings of the Managing Committee. The President and a few other active members of the Managing Committee at the HQ alone should be included in the Steering Committee, Necessary rules and regulations may be framed regarding the scope and functions of the Steering Committee,

sary since the activities of the AISCO are to be organised on an all India basis and the volume of work at the HQ for co-ordination and integration is likely to be enormous. Centralisation vs Decentralisation As a first alternative, we may consider a decentralised set-up, with the four Regional Committees functioning autonomously in the North, East, South and West, together with their respective district units under them. The second is to have a centralised set-up, with the four Regional Committees operating at the headquarters exercising supervision through the Managing Committee and co-ordinating their work. The aim will be to progressively delegate powers and functions at the district level as this becomes feasible as they gain in experience. 5, Unitary Vs. Federal Structure At least in the initial stages, a unitary set-up appears desirable until a new philosophy of governance and consolidation gains acceptance. The endeavour will be to assist the various smaller organisations to develop competence to tackle their financial and organisational problems at their own level. As and when a system of proper central control and performance evaluation norms are developed, delegation of powers to the Regional Committees may be considered.

Regional Committees / Local Units In order to make the AISCO a truly representative, democratic body in every sense of the term, it has been proposed to set up district units wherein all areas having concentrations of Saraswats will be represented. There will be four regions corresponding to the four directions. Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western, The units of each region will together form a Regional Committee, These four Regional Committees will form part of the Central Governing Council by having proportional representa- District Units and Central Headquarters tion on it. These points have been included The sine qua non of any efficient organisain the constitution of the AISCO, tion is to ensure that its aims and ideals The various questions, that may arise permeate to the lower levels and win accepconcerning the relationship between the tance among the mass of the community units, the Regional Committees and the from the village level upwards. This will also Governing Council at the apex are sought help to analyse the problems facing them and to pass them on to the Headquarters for to be tackled as and when they crop up. advice and guidance as a first step in their Likewise, the limits of operation of each solution. Depending on the degree of popuunit of the Regional Committee will have lation concentration, an AISCO district to be decided on the principle of organisa- need not necessarily correspond to the geotional convenience and need not correspond graphical or political boundaries. necessarily to the geographical, political or linguistic boundaries. All this will be neces-



The sole criterion will be facility of communication. Care may have to be taken to sec that homogeneous units are constituted, having due regard, as far as may be, to their language, customs, etc., so that their functioning may be effective. One of ihe important responsibilities of the Central Committee will be to promote active participation and cooperation among the various sects and sub-sects in a given area, so that the pyramidal system functions satisfactorily. Thus, for example, the cooperation of the Kashmiri Pandits Association and its members may be more readily forthcoming, if sought through the Association‟s good offices. The AISCO‟s work can thus be better coordinated and integrated at the national level if the Association is granted full autonomy rather than the heterogeneous district units. Similarly, the cooperation of the Chitrapur Saraswats will be more fruitful if enlisted through their local sabhas and other organisations. 7. District Units — Some Suggestions (a) All social service institutions, temples, cultural organisations or groups should be enrolled as members of the district unit. (b) Every district unit should organise periodical meetings, conferences, seminars and symposia to sustain a close bond with these institutions and promote understanding, collaboration and coordination among them. To make these functions more meaningful and practically useful, the Regional Committee members should try and attend them.

sentative should submit a monthly report of the work and activities of the residents in his area to the district unit, which in turn should send a consolidated report to its Regional Committee. The latter should forward a general report on the work in its region every month (in duplicate). The Central Committee will then compile a monthly or quarterly newsletter for publication in the AISCO Supplement to “The Samyukta Saraswat”, the quarterly journal published by the All-India Saraswat Foundation in January, April, July and October every year. Until a proper set of rules is drawn up to regulate the work and duties of district units, the AISCO should go ahead with the formation of ad hoc district committees some of which may later constitute the district units, depending on their record of work. (e) Members should be enrolled at the district unit. Proper accounts should be maintained and monies should be remitted to the AISCO. Bank accounts may be opened by each district unit. Also a proper record should be kept of all expenses incurled in connection with promotional and such other activities. The AISCO may in the initial stages sanction certain funds to the district units, later on these latter will be expected to run their activities on a certain percentage of funds raised by them in the form of membership fees, donations, contributions, etc. This may be done by holding periodically cultural gatherings, annual day functions, etc.

(c) A district unit will be free to adopt as official language the language spoken in ORGANISATIONAL MATTERS their area or English for purposes corres(f) As far as possible, major correspondpondence, etc., with the HQ. ence and queries regarding organisational matters such as issue of receipts for payPERIODIC REPORTS ments made, enrolment of membership, pre(d) A district unit should, as far as possi- paration of various lists and other routine ble, bring all members of the Saraswat com- queries about the people and requirements, munity within its fold and permit each vil- and other activities involving purely local lege or group of villages to elect one representative on the district unit. This repre72


issues where their solution is within the capacity and purview of the district units should be entrusted entirely to the district units only. It is sufficient if the H.Q. calls for periodic summary reports from district units in this respect. Even the queries coming directly to the Central agency should be forwarded to the district unit for follow up action. Such a delegation of the work to the district units will leave greater scope for the H.Q. to deal with more important work such as issue of proper directions, evaluation of the work of district units, and their coordination and integration, as also provision of certain activities and expert inforniajtion and the studies necessary for the proper functioning of such district units. This will also give greater incentive to the district units to work harder, (g) Copies of “The Samyukta Saraswat” and circulars may be distributed with advantage by the district units. Aptive association of members with the official journal will turn the latter into a forum where all problems and ideas may be posed and discussed fruitfully. That will make for a sense of participation. This will be sought to be promoted at the proper time by having language supplements to the journal with the eventual possibility of a journal in a regional language. Alternatively, we may have special issue of the journal, focussing attention on certain problems or regions. NEED FOR MASS CONTACT (h) The distribution agency can be turn-


ed into a first-rate means of personal or mass contact, if copies of the journal and other literature are distributed in person by going from door to door, as is the case with “The Chitrapur Sunbeam”, the official organ of the Chitrapur Math, through their local sabhas. Incidentally, a lot of money will be saved on postage and stationery. It will make the district unit feel more useful and responsible and will infuse more life in its members and eventually lead to the establishment of an intimate rapport between the units and members of the community. Each district unit will have a representative on the Governing Council besides being represented on the Regional Committee. The Governing Council should have also representatives of social service, cultural and literary organisations. The President has, accordingly, been vested with powers to nominate 18 members on the Governing Council to represent these interests. Social service institutions, including temples and dharmic bodies which form a separate category, are also entitled to become institutional members. As these are responsible for a major portion of the community‟s cultural activities and represent the best traditions of the community, a sizeable number of elected seats should be reserved for them, say 25 to 50 per cent. This will ensure greater cooperation from these bodies whom the AISCO too will be able to assist in every way. Even here the accent will be on the democratic element of delegaton of functions and powers.


SARASWATS ; Unite to Serve Humanity By

Smt. SITA KAIKINI, Bombay. A lot is heard these days of Saraswats and the philosophy of Saraswatism. The Saraswats are an ancient clan spread far and wide whose origins are lost in the mists of antiquity. It is well known that they are descended from a sage Saraswat by name, who lived on the banks of the Saraswati liver which flowed through Kashmir. The sage was a reputed repository of Vedic lore and of all that was worthy of preservation for posterity. The way he preserved this lore and saved the race of Saraswats is too well known to need repetition. The world of today is a strange conglomeration of diverse elements. Look where you will and you will see racial arrogance, economic power, material affluence, everincreasing greed, military might and atomic means of wholesale decimation. The things that truly matter, the articles we value, the things of the spirit — nobility, charily, kindness, truth, beauty, goodness, rennement — that constitute true culture are no longer valued or cared for, the things that endure when all is said and done. It is Mammon that rules the roost. At such a historic moment of universal crisis of the human spirit, the men behind the AISCO have done well to decide to revive the spirit of Saraswatism that has stood for the very best in human thought, word and action in times bygone, in the belief and hope that they can make some contribution to the task of ultimately saving humanity from fortuitcus, avoidable selfdestruction and save man from himself. We Saraswats have great things to our credit. In the Rajasthan region, there was even a royal dynasty that ruled a modest kingdom, well and wisely. In Kashmir, the quiet heroism of a Saraswat prime minister who made the supreme sacrifice of his life to rescue his liege and monarch from captipeace and in war. The whole world has


vity illumines the annals of our history and shows the stuff of which we are made. Coming to the present times, the first All India Saraswat Conference was held at Santa Cruz, a Bombay suburb, way back in 1926, and the late Pt. Motilal Nehru presided. My husband, then a mere lad of 14, was one of the volunteers. Other names in the Saraswat galaxy are too numerous to recount, but I may list only such luminaries as Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru and Kailash Nath Katju. Today we have Smt. Indira Gandhi at the helm of national affairs. She has shown once again the stuff of which we Saraswats are made — both in

applauded her genius, her imagination, her grit, her indomitable courage and resourcefulness. In her cabinet and inner circle there arc a number of notable Saraswats who are serving the country loyally and wholeheartedly. Our movement is intended to arrest the current drift towards purposelessness and canalise the energies of all Saraswats along the fruitful channels of national regeneration, so that our country may once again gain her supreme position in culture and civilization, as once she did when people in the West moved about in skins and barks of trees, I have confidence in the Saraswat genius that it can “set the Thames on fire” only if it organises itself better and applies the shoulder to the wheel. Let all Saraswats, wherever they live, in India or abroad, rally round the banner of the AISCO and march hand in hand for the greater glory of man, thereby realising Mahatma Gandhi‟s dream of all men being brothers and Wendell Wilkies dream of One World.


Shri S. V. Pikale counts among those who have made an outstanding and distinctive contribution to the promotion of the AISCO and the organisation of its activities. Despite the exacting demands of a successful practice as tax counsellor, he is actively connected with numerous institutions of public benefit — temples. Maths, school. colleges, charitable trusts, the Servants of India Society, and now the AISCO and the All India Saraswat foundation. No good cause, no public institution in difficulty, looks to him in vain. Neither are there half-measures in his cooperation. Even before the AISCO was formed, he solved the Preparatory

Committee‟s primary difficulty by giving it a furnished office without cost or rent. It still remains the AISCO‟s as well as the Foundation‟s office, and is free of rent. The AISCO has free' access to the services of his office staff. He conducted an intensive tour of Goa and the Kanara Districts at his own expense, to propagate the cause of the AISCO. What is the urge, what is the secret, of this way of life, a life of continuous strain and sacrifice? Shri Pikale provides the answer, characteristically without an evident trace of autobiographical reflection.

THE GITA TO OUR RESCUE By S. V. PIKALE, Bombay. Man is not a mere creature thrown up by nature in the process of an evolutionary gamble. He has a special purpose, a special mission and a unique role to play in this world. Man is essentially divine. The aim of all human life is to achieve perfection and this perfection is the outward manifestation of his inner goodness and strength. The Bhagavadgita is a spiritual storehouse for all mankind. With repetitive reading and thinking, it altogether gives a new dimension to life and existence. The Gita gives us not only profound insights that are valid for all time and for all religious life, but it contains the classical presentation of the real values of life and one‟s duties towards the world. The Gita does not call upon us to solve the meaning of life but to find out the DEED demanded of us and to work, and so, by action, to master the riddle of life. The Gita bases its message of action on a philosophy of life. It does not advocate a fanatical devotion to the practical to the abandonment of the dignity of thought. Its philosophy of the practical is derived from its philosophy of the spirit. Ethical action is derived from metaphysical realisation. The


essential purpose of the Gita is to show us a way out of bondage. Kurukshetra was the Dharmakshetra — the place where the ideals of real Dharma were propounded. It is stated that the entire Gita, i.e., all the 700 verses may not have been propounded on the battlefield. Lord Krishna only narrated to Arjuna the necessity of doing one‟s duty and forget the consequences. The real author of the Bhagvadgita is Lord Vyas. Lord Krishna uttered it in a trance. It is stated that after the Kurukshetra war Arjuna requested Shree Krishna to repeat the Gita, as he had forgotten the same. Shree Krishna replied that He could not do so because at Kurukshetra He had a particular Yogasamadhi which prompted Him to declare the true faith for all mankind. The Gita is the embodiment of all the Vedas and the Upanishads. The vedic science of spiritual self-discovery is the life-saver for humanity sliding down to destruction. Man has today lost his hold on truth, morality, peace and love. The Gita is the message of love. It is the message of the rightful path of existence. It is the path that leads man to calmness.


composure, humility, purity, virtue, courage, conviction and on abandonment of the self and selfishness. The teachings of the Gita are not presented as a metaphysical system thought out by an individual thinker or a school of thinkers, It is set forth as a tradition which has emerged from the religious life of mankind. Swami Vivekananda has said that the Hindu Dharma has the power of assimilation, the power to appreciate and adopt what is good in other religions. The Swami by his forthright expositions proved to the world that the Dharma was the most ancient and that the essential healthy features of all the other religions of the world were found in the Gita and the Upanishads. The Gita and the Upanishads were not Brahmanical cannons aimed at Vamashram but the basic factors governing life and existence. The Gita does not at any place preach any distinction between man and man. Nobody is superior and nobody is inferior; everybody goes according to the Karma he does in this world. The Gita is both Bramhavidya and Yogashastra. It is a science of reality and the art of union with reality. Purity of mind and purity of heart is the cleansing of mind of all distractions and the purging of the heart from all corruption. The period of Kurukshetra war was a confusing period in the annals of Hindu Religion. The cultural conflicts between the Aryas and the Non-Aryas were raising their heads. It was necessary to bring a synthesis of the conflicting and confusing elements and mtegrate the same into a comprehensive unity free and large, subtle and „profound, TheGita has integrated the vedic cult of sacrifice, the Upanishad teachings of transcendent Brahman, the Bhagavata theism. samkhya dualism, yoga meditation and love


and tender piety. These are the essential features of Hindu life and thought and the Bhagvadgita is the organic unity of the same. The method adopted is not of denial of self but penetration into the self. The eighteen chapters of Gita show that all diverse paths of worship and prayers are towards the same end. The Gita is a part of the Bhismaparva of the Mahabharata. Historically it dates back to the Fifth Century B.C. The Gita has been recognised for centuries as an orthodox scripture of the Hindu religion possessing equal authority with the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra. The Upanishads contain different interpretations about the nature of the Absolute. The Brahma Sutra is stated to be terse and obscure. The Gita gives a rational and consistent view, The Gita has also been stated to be the basis of the Budhist religion. The Bhagvdagita is a way of life and therefore it contains practically all the values of piety, charity, duty and one‟s dharma. The Avatar of Lord Krishna was a full incarnation with all the 16 facets of glory. In the Avtar of Rama, out of 16, the three brothers had one each; and Parashurama the contemporary of Shri Rama had one, until Shri Rama met him at his Swayamvara at Janaka‟s palace and overpowered him and drew within himself the fraction of the divine power that he had. The other incarnations were for the suppression of evil. The Avtars of Rama and Krishna were for the restoration of Dharma and fostering virtuous living. Man is an amalgam of humanity, animality and divinity. It is a tragedy that he cannot get rid of animality. In Ramayana we have the Yoga Vashistha; in Krishnayana we have the There are many commentaries on the Gita, the famous among them being Lord


Shankaracharya in the 8th Century. By far the most important commentary on the Gita is that of Lord Jnaneshwar of Alandi in Maharashtra. Lord Jnaneshwar at the age of 16, in coloquial Marathi or Konkani as understood by the general masses at the time, described the stages for the progress of man from a mere animal to a supreme being, including the incarnated Avatar. Lord Jnaneshwar took Samadhi at the age of 21. His famous words were that if one has accomplished what is to be accomplished, there is no purpose in living further in this world. Jnaneshwar stated that the Oita gave him the full meaning of life. All the impurities of mind and heart were cleaned and Jnaneshwar found perfection and oneness with God, When he found this perfection his bliss was unbounded and it is at the moment of this bliss that he took his Samadhi at Alandi near Poona. God is never born in the ordinary sense. The processes of birth and incarnation which imply limitation do not apply to him. When the Lord is said to manifest Himself at a proper time at a particular occasion, it only means that it takes place with reference to the finite being. The subjective and objective processes of the world are only the expressions of the higher and lower natures of the supreme. Yet, in whatever is glorious, beautiful and strong, God‟s presence becomes more manifest. The author of the Gita mentions Lord Krishna of history as one of many forms along with his disciple Arjuna. The Avatar is the demonstration of man‟s spiritual resources and latent divinity, it is not so much a fraction of divine majesty in the limits of human frame as the exaltation of human nature to the level of God by its union with the divine. The theory of Avatar is an eloquent expression of the spiritual world. As God is looked upon as saviour of man. He must manifest Himself whenever the forces of evil threaten to destroy human values.


Today we find ourselves surrounded by the destructive forces of viciousness and vice on all sides. The materialistic cult and a belief in one‟s own superiority have reduced us to a state of despair, and today man is groping in the dark with no light to illumine the future. It is in such moments of such despair that the Bhagvadgita comes to our rescue and restores in us the confidence and strength required. Volumes after volumes have been written on the interpretations of the Bhagvadgita. Lokmanya Tilak wrote a treatise of 1400 pages only on Karmayoga Sastra. Acharya Vinoba Bhave considers the Gita as a mother and his Gita is a famous poem dealing with the glories of the teachings of the Bhagavadgita. Mahatma Gandhi stated that by religion he did not mean a formal religion. According to Gandhiji, religion is that religion which underlies all religions and brings us face to face with our Maker. The Bhagvadgita does bring us face to face with God,

"God is truth and life; God is morality: God is fearlessness. God is the source of light and life, yet He is out and beyond all these. God is consciousness. He is even the atheism of the atheist. He transcends speech and reason. He is personal God to those who need His personal presence. He is almighty to those who need His touch. He is simple to those who have faith. He is all things to ail men. He is in us and yet above and beyond us.” I would like to end this article with a famous quotation from the Gita:

"God‟s light dwells in the self and nowhere else. It shines alike in every living being and one can see it with one s mind steadied.‟


THE SAMYUKTA SARASWAT Editor—in—Chief : Prof. B. P. Adarkar


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Dale ------------------------ (Signature) CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP SI. Fees for No. Category

Fees for Institutions

1. FOUNDER Rs. 5,000/- in lump MEMBER (OPEN UPTO NOVEMBER 1972 ONLY) 2. Patron Rs. 1,000/- in lump 3. Fellow Rs. 500/- in lump 4. Life Member Rs. 200/- in lump 5. Ordinary Member Rs. 20/- per annum


Rs. 5,000/- in lump

Rs. 2,000,- in lump Rs. 1,000/- in lump Rs. 500 in lump

Profile for Saraswatha Veda Vijnana

The samyukta saraswat vol 1no 1january 1973  

The SAMYUKTA SARASWAT is the official mouthpiece of the All-India Saraswat Foundation and its parent body, the All-India Saraswat Cultural O...

The samyukta saraswat vol 1no 1january 1973  

The SAMYUKTA SARASWAT is the official mouthpiece of the All-India Saraswat Foundation and its parent body, the All-India Saraswat Cultural O...