Saraswat Brahmin

The Saraswats are a Brahmin sub-caste of India.According to legend, Saraswat Brahmins are Central Asians who lived along the regions of the former Saraswati River that once flowed parallel to theIndus in present day Pakistan, Kashmir and Northern India. The Saraswat Brahmins are the most revered and esteemed amongst all the Brahmin subcastes and form the absolute Apex amongst all the Brahmins subcastes, particularly because they were the original teachers and propagators of the Vedas and they are mentioned in ancient historical texts such as the Bhagwat Gita, Mahabharat, Ramayan & Vedas. They are considered descendants of the revered Brahmin, Sage Saraswat Muni, who lived on the banks of the ancient river Saraswati.[1] Around 1900 BC, the river Saraswati started vanishing under ground and the people on its banks started migrating to other parts of Central Asia and South Asia thus forming sub-communities. There are many sub-communities in Saraswats, including
Rajasthan SaraswatsSaraswats from haryanaSaraswats from Uttar PradeshSaraswats from KonkanKashmiri PanditsDogra Saraswats (Brahmins from Jammu)Punjabi SaraswatsSindhi SaraswatsBengali Saraswats(Vaidyas)[2]Oriya Saraswats

[edit]Communities

As per several renowned historians, the Saraswati-Sindhu river was existent in parts of Kashmir, Punjab and Sindh. Punjabi Saraswat Brahmins are one of the most influential communities in Punjab[citation needed]. Approximately 45% of Punjabi Brahmins belong to the Bharadwaja Gotra, a Saraswat Brahmin group which is the same as the one found in Kashmir.The other prominent Gotra in Punjab is Lakhanpal.In addition to main Saraswat gotras such as Bharadawaja and Vashistha, Punjab is also home to the small 'Mohyal' minority, a sub-community within Punjabi Saraswat Brahmins have traditionally been landlords, Dewans, Shahs, and Kings in Northern areas,being the descendants of Dronacharya and were warriors.The Brahmins of Jammu are known as "Dogra" Saraswats and they too are a sub-category of the larger Saraswat Brahmins. Though ethnically they are similar to the other Saraswats, but culturally and linguistically they are closer to Punjabi Brahmins than to the Kashmiri Brahmins because the Dogra Brahmins speak in Dogri (a language similar to Punjabi) and Kashmiri(Koshur) language and culture is completely different from the Dogra/Punjabi cultures.Saraswat Brahmins form a great proportion of the Vedic followers in Kashmir, called the Kashmiri Pandits. These Kashmiri Brahmins are thought to be the descendants of Rishi Kashyap and have named Kashmir in his honour. The Kashmiri Brahmins are a mixture of various Pre-Islamic Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Saraswat Brahmin communities. Kashmiri Pandits identify their deity with the Goddess Saraswati, who has been mentioned in the Vedas as the Goddess of learning. Their path to Hinduism is known as Kashmir Shaivism, which also been significantly influenced by the Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Sufi faiths. The surname of "Pandit" is invariably a Saraswat Brahmin surname and most of them are the Kashmiri Pandits though some Saraswats with this surname are found in other parts of India as well. There are many Muslims in the Valley of Kashmir with surname of Pandit/Pandith as well, indicating that they are fairly more recent converts to Islam (from Hinduism). Many Kashmiri Muslims have still kept their Brahmin surnames of Bhat, Dhar, Reshi (Kashmiri way of saying Rishi), Mattoo, Pandit/Pandith, Raina, Kaul and Reshi.The Bengali Saraswats (Vaidya-Brahmins) have surnames like Sen Sharma(or Sengupta), Dash Sharma etc. and they are traditional practitioner and teachers of Ayurveda.

[edit]Contribution to Sikhism

In Guru Granth Sahib, there are Hymns of 11 Bards who were all Sarswat Brahmins.