The difference between theOIdisha Bengali Brahmins is very thin.
However, Odisha Brahmins have a distinct identity and Rituals.
But the original Character of the Brahmins throughout the World remains the same.
he Utkala Kingdom was located in the eastern portion of the modern-day Indian state of Orissa. This kingdom was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, with the names Utkala , Utpala , Odra Desha, Oddyana and Okkali. The name of Utkal is mentioned in the Puranas, Epics and different religious text book. According to Skanda Purana, the land of Utkala is the holy land in Bharata Varsha where Purusottama Kshetra is situated. It is mentioned in India’s national anthem, Jana Gana Mana. The Utkala Kingdom was also known as Kalinga, Kangoda, Odra Desha, Odra Vishaya, Oddiyana, Mahakantara, Attabhika, Matsa Desa, Dakhina Koshala, Dandabhukti, Odabadi, Yajanagar, Uddisa Subah etc. in different time period of. The boundary of Utkala region was from mouth of river Ganges in the north to river Godavari in the south and Amarkantak hills in the west to Bay of Bengal in the east. Suryavanshi emperor of Orissa Gajapti Kapilendra Dev renamed his kingdom from Utkala to Orissa Rastra.
Utkala Brahmins, branch of Pancha-Gauda Brahmins are the farthest branch of the Panch-Gauda in the east, south of Maithils. Panch-Gauda and Panch-Dravida are two chief divisions of Brahmins, as per the śloka from Rājatarangini of Kalhaṇa / Kalhana:
- कर्णाटकाश्च तैलङ्गा द्राविडा महाराष्ट्रकाः ।
- गुर्जराश्चेति पञ्चैव द्राविडा विन्ध्यदक्षिणे ॥
- सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौडा उत्कलमैथिलाः ।
- पञ्चगौडा इति ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवासिनः ॥
Translation: The Karnātakas, Tailangas, Dravidas, Mahārāshtrakās and Gurjaras; these five types who live south of Vindhya mountains are called “five Dravidas” Brahmins.
- वर्षाणां भारत श्रेष्ठ देशानां उत्कल स्मृतः
- उत्कलस्य समदेशोः देशोः नास्ति महीतले ॥
- -कपिल पुराण
- Keshari dynasty established massive Brahmin Bhatta-Agrahara and Bhatta-Grama around Jajpur and Vaitarani River tributary. Huen Tsang also wrote about massive Yajnas and the holy smoke coming from villages nearby Vaitarani River, when he visited the monasteries in Kalinga. Following 8th century many Brahmins ( Dikshit (Dixit), , Mishra, , Chaturvedi, Tripathy, , Dwivedi, Trivedi, Upadhyaya, , sharma, along with some Mahant now mahanty. (belonging to Kashyapa: gotra), )from Hastigrama, Takari of Magadha and upper gangetic plain also migrated to coastal districts. Finally the Eastern Ganga dynasty brought more number of Brahmins from all over North India, esp Kannauj, Ujjain and Ahichatra. As Orissa or then Utkala grew to a effluent kingdom, many Brahmins of Godavari delta region also migrated to settle in Mahanadi basin. Still the Paippalada shakhins of Atharvaveda claim to belong to upper Mahanadi and Narmada basin, and migrated to Orissa during late 11th century.
Origin of Utkala Brahmins
The Sanskrit textBrāhmaṇotpatti-Mārtaṇḍa by Pt. Harikrishna Śāstri mentions according to which a king named Utkala invited Brahmins from Gangetic Valley for performing a yajna in Jagannath-Puri; when the yajna ended the invited Brahmins laid the foundation of the Lord Jagannath there and settled there for serving the Lord.
Another Sanskrit text mentions ślokas which say a king named Sudyumna was born of King Ila in the Ikṣvāku dynasty ; Sudyumna had three sons who founded independent kingdoms : one son Utkala founded the state Utkala with capital at Puri, another son Gaya founded Gayā in Bihar and third son Haritāśca went to south. The King Utkala Deva invited Brahmins from Gangetic velly and settlled them in his kingdom.
Brahminism seems to have flourished in Orissa under the Mathara rulers between the 4th and 5th century AD. The Sailodbhava rulers made arrangements for the study of Vedic wisdom and anAshwamedha sacrifice was performed by King Madhav Varman in 7th century. In the time of Keshari rulers, Shaivism gained importance. In 9th century Utkalaadhipati Yajati Keshari, to preserve the sancity & purity of Brahminism, brought 10,000 Brahmins from gangetic valley and Kannauj and settled them in his capital Yajati Nagar or Yajna pura(modern day Jajpur). The Jajpur area was once famous for organising Somayajna, Shrauta karma. Its a famous site for the performance of ancestral rites, known as Nabhi Gaya.
Utkala Brahmins are responsible for priestly and related functions at the Jagannath Temple in Puri (also known as Jagannath Puri) and other temples in earstwhile Orissa rulers and their feudatories. Puri where famous Jagannath deity is installed and one of the four holiest religious place of Hindus. They are responsible for priestly functions of other religious places of the state of Orissa and of neighbouring states.
In 11th century AD Ganga Vamsi King Chodaganga Dev renovated the existing Jagannath temple at Puri. He established Brahmin villages around Puri which are known as “Sashan” and bestowed them with land and other endowments for living a dignified life and dedicated to ritualistic responsibility. Six categories of duties were assigned to them—study, teaching, performing, Yagna and help in organizing Yagna, donate and to receive the donation (Adhyayana, Adhyapana, Yajna, Yaajana, Dana and Pratigraha).
Several Brahmin villages established by the Surya Vamsi king of Orissa, Gajapapati Kapilendra, in the 15th century A. D.. Each village devoted to a hundred Brahmin families with adequate tax free land.
The Utkala Brahmins are of three classes
- Shrauta/Vaidika (Danua)(:ଶ୍ରୌତ/ବୈଦିକ/ଦାନୁଆ।)(श्रौत/वैदिक/दानुआ)
- Sevayata/Purohita Brahmin or Sarua(:ସେବାୟତ/ସାରୁଆ।)(सेवायत/सारुआ)
- Halua Brahmin.(:ହଳୁଆ।)(हळुआ)
Again there are sub-classes in these three classes:
1.“Shrotriya Brahmins”:The Brahmins following Shrauta tradition, have right to read and teach Vedas and hence are known as Vedic Brahmins or Namaskaraniya. They do Yajna, Yaajana, Adhyayana, Adhyapana, Daana, Pratigraha. They are also known as Kulina, Vaidika, Danua etc. They give more importance to Veda, daily upasana and agnihotra. Only These group of brahmins have right to conduct Yaagas and teach Vedas along with Daana, Pratigraha.
a)Kalinga Shrauta Brahmins:The Brahmins who have come from undivided regions of previous Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Puri and Ganjam. They follow the samanta panjika or SriJagannath panjika. They stay south of Brahmani River, hence their name.They marry among themselves or to there relatives.Others brahmins avoid to marry them.They generally do Bhikhya(Begging) to maintain there livelyhood.
b)Jajpuria Shrauta Brahmins:the sub-class which has come from Jajpur and north Orissa area. They follow Sri Viraja panjika. They stay north of Brahmani River. First settled in areas aroundBaitarani River.
These above two sub-classes are eligible to perform Shrauta rites, they abstain from doing temple services and they seldom intermarry with other brahmins.
2.“Sevayata Brahmins” or Saruaa:They are also known as Sevaka, Sarua, Purohita or Pushpalaka Brahmins, they follow the Karmakanda and sometimes act as priests for social as well for some temple functions. They give more importance to temple worship, and priesthood. They don’t have right to organise Yaaga, or take Daana(alms). They can read Veda and teach it. Some of them follow Agama also. The Sevayata(Ashrauta) section of Brahmins are divided into three sub-classes as follows:
a)Devalaka(Deyulia)Brahmins: Surnames Badapanda, Pujapanda etc. Their chief occupation is the service of the temple Gods and Goddesses. Many of them expertise in VedicKarmakanda(rites for marriage, upanayan etc) as well as Agama(temple worship). Most of the Daitapati sevayatas of Jagannath Temple, Puri and Lingaraj Temple belong to this sub class. Most of the temple in Orissa have this sub class of Brahmins as chief priests..They marry among themselves or to there relatives.Others brahmins avoid to marry them.They generally do Bhikhya(Begging) to maintain there livelyhood.
b)Paniyari(Panda)Brahmins: Surnames majorly Panda. They also form the priestly section, for some rites and some do temple services. some of them are cooks in temples and even in private houses , and travel all around India for pilgrims to visit the temples of Jagannāth. Some of them are engaged in business and trade of Agricultural products. They have high percentage of population among all Oriya Brahmins.They populate very fast and spread everywhere.They have right to bhikhya and dana.
c)Aranyaka(Jhadua)Brahmins:Also known as Panchadesi and Jhadua.They constitute good population of brahmins in odisha.They are migrants of north india and calcutta.
3.“Halua Brahmins”:These are similar to Bhumihar in north India and Niyogis of Andhra Pradesh. They are also known as Balaramgotri or Mahasthana Brahmins. History says, These are the village leaders, administrators of brahmin ancestry so they were included themselves as a brahmin but they have not the brahmin characteristics. Generally with surname ‘Thakur’,’Naik’,’Grampradhan’,’Choudhury’,’Sahu’,’Samantray’,’Sabat’, ‘Dalbehera’. Once they enjoyed same status as above brahmins but later they accepted vocational jobs for livelihood and gave up their sacred duty of Shrauta and Smriti. These are engaged in agriculture or agriculture related business. Some of them are allowed to do Shraadh and associate in temples and religious functions. They are never allowed for any Vedic rites or Yajna. Most of them are business- oriented, also do cultivation of lands granted during Eastern Ganga dynasty but have entirely lost their sacerdital rites and living in and around South Orissa. For the purchase of the land many of them migrated to other country. There is also a significant migrant population of Haluas in Mauritius, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and others.
Russel noted one exceptional feature at Jagannātha Temple of Puri : “All castes now eat the rice cooked at the temple of Jagannath together without defilement, and friendships are cemented by eating of little of this rice together as sacred bond.”.
Shakha of Utkala Brahmins
The vaidika shakha may vary family to family in all of the above Shrotriyas and Sevayatas. Majority of them follow Kaanva Shakha(କାଣ୍ବ ଶାଖା) of Shukla Yajurveda or Kauthuma(କୌଥୁମ ଶାଖା) shakha of Samaveda. Whereas Brahmins belonging Shakala shakha of Rigveda and Paippalada shakha of Atharvaveda are less. It is thought that Rigveda Brahmins exist due to Govardhana matha of Adi Shankara.
The Paippalada Shakha of Atharvaveda in Orissa should be noted for its existence till now, although by few scholars. They trace their origin from Narmada basin, supposed that they migrated during Eastern Ganga Dynasty. Many Brahmins having surname Upadhyaya and Acharya have Paippalada shaakha as their family Shakha.
The sutra of different shakha people are
- Rigveda:Ashwalayana Shrauta and Grihya Sutra(Shakal Shakha)
- Shukla Yajurveda:Katyayana Shrauta and Paraskara Grihya(Kaanva Shakha)
- Samaveda:Drahyayana Shrauta and Gobhilya grihya (Kauthuma Shakha)
- Atharvaveda: Vaitana Shrauta and Kaushika grihya(Paippalada Shakha)
- he Utkala or Oriya Brahmin Surnames are Acharya, chaulia, Dikshit (Dixit), Debta or Devata, Dash or Dash sharma, Mishra, Dhar, Sharma, Chaturvedi, Nath, Kar, Tripathy, Bhatt-Mishra, Nanda,Guru, Rajguru, Rayguru, Mahapatra, Bishi, Patra, Panigrahi, Mohapatra(some of them), Rath & Rath Sharma (belonging to Atreya gotra), Patri, Satapathy, Sadangi or Sarangi, Bahinipati, Bastia, Thakur, Chaini (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Pati, Vedi, Dwivedi, Trivedi, Upadhyaya, Palo (Pala or Pal in OrissaOrissa), Pattajoshi, Joshi, Nayak, Panda, BadaPanda,Mallia, Barpanda, Muni, PujaPanda, Praharaj, Padhi, Pani, Paathi, Purohit, Pujari, Behera (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Sar, Sabat, Gantayat, Suara, Mahasuara, Garabadu, Sabata, Choudhury, Sahu, Samantray, Boxi, Boxi-patra, Bakshi, Nepak, Khadanga, Devasharma, Udgata, Hota, Otta, Bebarta.According to Pundit Narayana Shiromani,(late 18th century) the gotra decides the surname. He mentions that Gautama gotra have surname DharaSharma, Bharadwaja gotra have KaraSharma,Kashyapa gotra people should keep Nanda or AnandaSharma, Atreya gotra people should keep RathSharma, Kaushika and Vatsa gotra have DashShrama. These above gotra Brahmins are considered as topmost among Utkal Brahmins. Rest all are Sharma or Devasharmas.
In certain areas Utkal Brahmin surnames are unique and are similar to the surnames of Vaishya, Kshatriya and Shudras. These surnames were given to the Brahmins either by Gajapati King or by his fuedotory kings as punishment or reward. In course of time this title became the surname, and the subsequent generations inherited it. E. g. Behera (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur, their surnames were changed ) from Mishra or Dash to Behera, Bahinipati, Senapati, Pradhan, Swain, jena, Mohapatra, Mohanty etc. Some people with ‘Mohapatra’ title are Brahmins and others are Karanas or belong to lower castes.
UTKAL BRAHMIN IN BENGAL During the reign of Gajapati empire the Utkal Brahmins were migrated to Bankura Purulia, Midnapore, & Hoogly districts of West Bengal as representative of the Gajapati King under leadership of Nakurtanga and Sripati Mahapatra, since then those areas were under the monarch of Orissa. Their surnames are Singhababu, Singhamahapatra or Sinhamahapatra, Mahanty, Pathak, Panda, Pati, Patra, Padhi, Kar, Das, Dandapath Satapathi, Sannigrahi Hota, Mishra, Goswami Praharaj, Pyne, Tewary, Pani, Nayek, Layek,Tripathi etc.
- Please read this in conjunction with my post of Bengali Brahmins.
The Utkala Brahmins are of two classes 1) Shrotriya (vaidika) and 2) Sevaka (doing accessory rites) Brahmin. Again, there are many sub-classes in these two classes.
1) Shrotriyas are mainly adherents of Vedas, especially:
2) Sevakas generally belong to brahmins doing accessory rites like cooking in temples, helping in procession of temple deity. They generally follow any of the Veda of their choice for family rites but they cannot perform Vedic sacrifices.
Utkala or Oriya Brahmin surnames include: Acharya, Mishra, BhattaMishra, Tripathi, Dash, DashSharma, Dwivedi, Udgata or udgātṛ, Hota or Hotṛ, Dikshit, Satapathy, Chaturvedi, Debata (Devta), Kar, Bishi, Suara, Mahasuara, Garabadu, Sharma, Nath, Choudhury, Sahu, Dyansamantray, Panigrahi, Guru, Rajguru, Rayguru, Mahapatra, Pani, Mohapatra (some of them), Rath, RathSharma, Sharma, Patra, Sadangi, Pani, Thakur (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Pati, Bahinipati, Vedi, Trivedi, Sarangi, Pattajoshi, Joshi, Gantayat, Behera (found mostly in Kalahandi and Sambalpur), Sar (Found mostly in Hindol, Dhenkanal), Sabat, Swain (some of them), Shukla, Pandaor Pandit, BadaPanda, PujaPanda, Sabata, Nanda, Purohit, Pujari, Padhiary, Pathi, Nepak, Devasharma, Praharaj, Padhi, Otta, Khadenga, and Pradhan (some of them)senapati.
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