History & Formation
Most of the Audichchya Brahmins are located in Gujarat State. Their history of origin as Audichchya Brahmins can be traced from around the year 950 AD only. It was in the year 942 AD that Mulraj Solanki captured the throne of Anhilpur Patan after murdering his maternal uncle Samant Sinh Chawda, the then ruling king. In the olden days there were two crimes, considered the worst crimes. These crimes were (1) murdering a ruling king & (2) murdering a priest. In India the punishment and atonement for these crimes was self immolation by burning or by drowning.
So naturally Mulraj’s murdering the reigning king, even though it was rightly propagated as inevitable & most necessary, for saving the kingdom, by his supporters, found no takers from the kingdom’s Shrimali Brahmin priests. These priests had come to Gujarat along with the Chawada kings, from Shrimal/Bhinnmal situated in the southern part of present day state of Rajasthan. The Shrimali Brahmins were the official priests of the kingdom. Their function included Dharma & justice. They refused to give blessings to Mulraj and to annunciate him as the king. No amount of persuading, cajoling, coxing or threatening had any effect on those Brahmins. If the priests coroneted him as a king, Mulraj was ready to perform a Rudra Yagna and also to build Rudramahal, a huge temple of Rudra (Shiv) as atonement. But the priests would not budge.
It was also important for Mulraj to be coroneted as a king since, if the throne was left vacant for a long time there would be a chaos. Several Chawdas had already started pressing their claim to the throne. The enemies of the kingdom on the border had started preparations for conquest of Gujarat. An immediate action was needed if the kingdom was to be retained. But the Shrimali priests, even after explaining the circumstances, were practically unanimous in not accepting Mulraj’s reasons and credentials. Mulraj had to find another way to overcome this situation.
Mulraj & his minister Madhav came upon a brilliant idea. Chawda kings had come from Shrimal & their priests were Shrimali Brahmins. Mulraj was from Kanyakubja (Kanoj) located in the fertile lands of Ganga & Yamuna rivers, so if priests from that area could be persuaded to come and enthrone Mulraj as a king, perform Rudra Yagna and stay in Gujarat as the kingdom’s priests, two birds could be killed with a single stone. First Mulraj would now be a legitimate king and secondly the influence of Shrimali Brahmins would be curtailed and even nullified. It was decided to import and lure learned & intelligent Brahmin families in large numbers, offering them land and positions as the official kingdom priests. They immediately set to work. Several ministers under the leadership of Madhav were sent to the various important cities and areas in plains of rivers Ganga & Yamuna where there were educated & prominent Brahmins who could be persuaded to come to Gujarat for permanent settlement. To avoid a conspiracy, they also ensured that Brahmins came from different places and not from a single place.
When this big caravan of 1037 Brahmin families reached Siddhpur Patan, they were royally received by the king and his people. In India in those days, gradually Brahmins had started being known by the place of their stay or origin, and not by the Gotras as in the past. So this big group of Brahmins consisting of various Gotras was officially named Auduchchya Brahmins. In Sanskrit, Audichchya means from the northern direction. The list of Gotras, place of origin and places donated to Brahmin families by King Mulraj Solanki after their arrival at Shri Sthal, subsequently known as Siddhpur Patan, is as under.
Number of families Place of original stay of families Places donated Gotra
- 105 Planes of rivers Ganga & Yamuna From Sihore & Siddhpur areas: Jamdagni, Vatsas, Bhargav(Bhrugu), Droan Dalabhya, Mandavya, Maunash, Gangayan, Shankruti, Paulatsya, Vashstha, Upmanu,
- 100 Chuvan Ashram Total Udvahak, Parashar, Laudhkshi, Kashyap,
- 100 Sarau river planes Two Bhardwaj, Kaudinya,Garg, Vishvamitra,
- 100 Kanyakubja Hundred Kaushik, Indrakaushik, Shantatap, Atri,
- 100 Hardwar area And Audalak, Krushnaatri, Shwetaatri, Chandraatri
- 100 Naimasharanya Seventy Atrikahshik, Gautam, Autathya, Krutsas, Aangirash,
- 200 Kurukshetra Four Shandilya, Gaubhil, Piplad, Agatsya,
- 132 Pushkar area villages (Agatsya,Mahendra) Not in Audichchyas
On arrival at Siddhpur Patan, they were visited by Shrimali Brahmins (Ex Rajya Gurus) who explained their reason for boycotting Mulraj’s coronation. Out of 1037 families, 37 families saw the truth in the reasoning of the Shrimali Brahmins and decided not to participate in the king’s plans. They went in a group and intimated their decision & reason to Mulraj. Since they went about in a Group they were known as Tolakiya Audichchya Brahmins. The rest came to be known as Audichchya Sahasra Brahmins, since they were 1000 in numbers.
It might appear that only greed dominated these 1000 Brahmin families but on the other side i.e. King Mulraj Solanki’s view, explained to Brahmins, and should also not be over looked. A strong kingdom was imperative to maintain & stabilize Dharma and civilization as well as trade & prosperity of the nation. It is a well known fact that under slavery, Dharma, civilization, prosperity decline, making the nation poor and a laughing stock. History proved this to be true as the Solanki kingdom flourished for nearly three hundred years. Gujarat was the last and well fought bastion of Hindu kings, to fall against the Islamic onslaught of India in 1297. With the conquest by Delhi Islamic hordes, the prosperity not only of Solankies & Audichchya Brahmins but of entire Gujarat was lost.
Perhaps it will not be out of place at this juncture to explain the word Gotra which has been predominantly used in the above history of Audichcya Brahmins. Veda is considered to be the oldest known treaty about religion. Hindu religion believes that even though the eternal truth is one, there are many ways in which it can be interpreted. Since time immemorial, Seven Rushis have put up their interpreted version and understanding about Vedas. The name of these Rushis is Jamdagni, Gautam, Atri, Vishvamitra, Vashistha, and Bharadwaj & Kasyap. They are known as Saptrashis. Agatsya the eighth Rushi is also accepted as a Rushi who have contributed in understanding of Vedas. Each Rushi had his version of Vedas, their meaning, rituals about mode of achieving knowledge about the ultimate peace (Nirvan) and God, sholkas (hymns) for praising Supreme Being etc. The groups of followers of each Rushi’s methodology are known by that Gotra which is normally in the name of that Rushi and or his important disciples. This definitely tends to narrow down horizons of knowledge of followers. It also has a tendency to create disruption and disagreements even disturbances among people as each sect starts propagating that theirs is the only correct way to achieve God. In order to avoid such circumstances a simple method was devised. It was forbidden to marry in the same Gotra. The bride & groom had to be from different Gotras. One might wonder how this would help, but it is simplicity and ingenuity at its best. In the Vedic times boys & girls both had to undergo compulsory education. Marriages took place at a ripe age of around 18 for female & 20 for male members. Girls are more adaptive by nature so they along with the education would have known and understood rituals as well as knowledge of parent’s Gotra. Now when she gets married into another Gotra she carries her knowledge and understands the reasoning & learning of both the Gotras. The offspring gets the benefit both, from paternal as well as maternal Gotras, improving his horizon. Normally a house might have two or three brothers married into different Gotras. In such a case all cousins are greatly benefited due to interaction and continuous discussions about Vedas.
Foundation of Audichya Brahma Samaj in Gujarat
Around Vikram Samvat 1353 the army of Allaudin Khilji committed aggression on Gujarat and destroyed Rudramahalaya and the city of patan. The audichya Brahmins of that region migrated to place like kadi chanasma, karnavati li.e. the Dandhavga region. They settled in the kingdom of ashawal thakur.
After the decline and destruction of patan and khambat, the present city of Ahmedabad was founded in vikram samvat 1467 or 1411 A.D. It slowly developed as a trade center.
Being attracted by its glory some audichya Brahmins families left the kingdom of ashawal and settled in Ahmedabad in vikram samvat 1526 or 1470 A. D. Due to their some customs they became to be known as ashapara Brahmins.
Audichya Brahmins belonging to the siddhapur branch also settled in Ahmedabad with the hope of getting means of —. They came from different places like Siddhapur, Unjha, Dethali, Brahmanwada, Varwada, Kanoda, Ambasana, Kukaruada, Bokarwada, Pushpadara, Mandal, Chandubhan, Viramgam, Dholka, Kheda, Mahemadabad. Etc.
Beside, audichya Brahmins belonging to shihor branch also came to and settled in Ahmedabad. They came from places like shihor, Bagasthal, Vala Himdi, Halvad, Dhol, etc
Initialy, all these audichya Brahmins lived in 36-Aubusbs of Ahmedabad, but by the end of the 18th century the audichya Brahmins of the siddhapur branch settled in 27-Aubusbs of the city.
During siddharaj’s time the descendants of the Brahmins of the sihore branch had migrated and settled in ashapur . Present asarwas.
At that time an attempt was made to establish one caste of audichya Brahmins in coopration with the new settlers and the old settlers.
The old settlers believes that they were higher in status than the other audichya Brahmins. So they described themselves, not as audichya Brahmins but as ashapuri Brahmins. Today they are completely obliterated.
In 1803-04 there were about 1700 households of audichya Brahmins in the city. At that time an idea was mooted to establish an organization of all audichya Brahmins living in and around the city Shri Surjibhai and Shri Mavjibhai jani brothers organized an unofficial conference and a committee of jani, dave, shukla, mehta, surname caste member.
First Shri Surjibhai and Shri Mavjibhai gave caste feasts to all the 1700 households. They also gave gifts i.e. lhana of utensils. This was the beginning of the audichya sahasra Brahman in Ahmedabad.
There after , all the remaining 25 members also emulated their love for the caste and every one f them gave caste feast and gifts.
These 27 members were recognized as the leader of the caste and they became to be known as tadavis.
The leadership role of tadvis was exemplified when there was a caste feast. All the caste members of a particular locality or suburb assembled at one place and they are preceded trend his guidance in the light of torch to other place or suburb where the caste feast was arranged.
During the region of gaekwads in the city other 500 audichya families from outside had settled in the city. They settled their tadvi and entered in the caste. In 1810-12 the case households reached to 2200.
The tadvis started the practice of admitting new audichya Brahmins into the caste on payment of Rs. 25 as hansal ( i.e. entry fee ) and a caste feast. They were to vouchsafe the character, virtues and merits of the new entrant member.
This expanded caste of 2200 households acquired good status in other Brahmin caste of the city.