Kannada Brahmin Surnames Who Is Smartha

Narayanamurthy, Infosys

Narayanamurthy, Infosys

There is a misconception about the term Smartha.

The term Smartha is taken to mean Brahmins who worship Siva.

Ramanuja, founder of the Vishishtadvaita philosophy found sanctuary in Karnataka at a time when the Hoysala empire, ruled by Vishnuvardhana, were at their zenith. Adi Shankaracharya, founder of the Advaita philosophy chose Sringeri as the site for the first Matha. Madhvacharya, founder of the Dvaita philosophy, was the son of Karnataka. As such,south Indian Brahmin belongs to any one of three specific sects (schools of philosophy), being:

  • the Smartha sect – adherents of the Advaita philosophy propounded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
  • the Srivaishnava sect – adherents of the Vishishtadvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Ramanujacharya.
  • the Madhwa sect – adherents of the Dvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Madhvacharya.'(wiki)

This is incorrect.

A ‘Smartha’ is one who follows ‘Smriti’, ‘Smriti yeti Smarthaha’.

Those who follow the general code , other than ‘Sruthi’ (Vedas) a or both are called Smarthas,

The systems of Advaita,Visishtadvaita and Dvaita came later, these systems having been  organised by Adi Sankaracharya, Ramanuja and Madvacharya respectively.

All are Smarthas.

Those who follow Sankaracharya ,Siva are Saivites(here I mean those who worship Siva and not those who follow Saiva Siddhanta).

Those who worship Vishnu are Sri Vaishnavas.

And those who follow Madvacharya’s Dvaita are Madhwas.

  • Kandavara/Shivalli Brahmins from coastal Karnataka
  • Babboor Kamme
  • Badaganadu
  • Hoysala Karnataka
  • Kota brahmin – Smartha sect brahmins from the central part of coastal Karnataka
  • Halenadu Karnataka Brahmin also known as Mooguru (Muguru) Karnataka Brahmins
  • Panchagrama Brahmins
  • Sankethi
  • Sthanika
  • Shukla Yajurvedi Smartha Brahmins
  • Sama Vedi Smartha Brahmins
  • Havyaka
  • Vishwabrahmins

Kannada Srivaishnava Iyengar Brahmins

  • Hebbar Iyengars
  • Hemmige Iyengars
  • Mandyam Iyengars
  • Mysore Iyengars

Kannada Madhva Brahmins

  • Madhwa Brahmins
  • Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins
  • Shukla Yajurvedi Madhva Brahmins
  • Deshastha Brahmin Deshastha Brahmins

Common Surnames of Karnataka, Kannada Brahmins:

Rao,-this surname  is used both in Andhra and Karnataka and at times are also used by other communities in Andhra, especially by those belonging to Khamma Community.

Readers may clarify.

Aithal,Bhat,Adiga Deshpande( of these the term Adiga denotes those Brahmins who specialize in Cooking)

Somayaji( got this name because they were/are specialists in performing the Soma Yaga),Sharma and Shastri.

Hebbar, Iyer, Iyengar, Karanth,Bendre.



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