Saraswat Brahmins are a sub-group of Hindu Brahmins of India who trace
their ancestry to the banks of the Saraswati River.
The Brahmans in India were divided into two major geographical groups
namely Gowd Brahman who lived to the north of the Vindhyas and Dravid
Brahmans living south of Vindhyas. Each group was further divided into
five (Pancha) Gowda Brahman groups were Saraswats, Kanyakubjas, Gaudas,
Utkals, and Maithilas. The five (pancha) Dravida Brahman groups were
Andhras, Maharashtras, Dravidas or Tamils, Karnataka, and Kerala Brahmans.
origin of Saraswat Brahmans :
exact origin of the Saraswat Brahmans is difficult to ascertain. One
theory puts them as Aryan(indo-iranian) migrants from Central Asia who
came to the Indian sub-continent through the Hindu-Kush Mountains and
the Khyber pass to south in about 4000-1500 B.C.
of them settled along the banks of Saraswati River. They (Saraswats)
settled for an agrarian life. Education was of great importance to the
Saraswats, so they taught their young the Sanskrit language and enlightened
themselves from the Veda(s). Although they spoke Sanskrit in public,
their invented a simplified version of Sanskrit called Brahmani and
spoke only at home. Over the years along the Saraswati, they established
the concept of Kul devta or family gods, and began worshipping them.
Saraswat Brahmins :
Gaur Brahmins (five classes of north Bharat) are :
Saryupareen 2. Kanyakubja 3. Maithil 4. Saraswat and 5. Utkala.
from Uttarapatha (Aryavart) (northern and eastern Bharat) are :
of original stay
||Nasarpuri Sindh Saraswat Brahmin
calamity struck Saraswat Desh and Saraswati began to dry out to become
non-existent by 1000 BC. Saraswats had no choice but to pack up and
move. This period of history saw many civilizations abandoning their
settlements. The migration happened not overnight but spread over centuries.
The Saraswats migrated in three directions - mostly followed the river
routes and migrated to the South-West (Sind), North (Kashmir), East
Migration to South and West :
The migrations to south and west followed the course of the River Saraswati,
went up to Dwaraka and by ship they sailed to Goa. For their stay in
Dwaraka, these settlements have been referred to as Saraswat Tirthas
in Mahabharata. From Goa they spread to entire Konkan, Karnataka and
Migration to North and East.
The second route of migration was from Punjab into Kashmir. They were
haunted by Muslim rulers for centuries until some prominent Kashmiris
appealed to the Sikh Chief Ranjit Singh for help and he succeeded in
getting rid of the Afghans. The Kashmiri Saraswats were Devi worshippers.
Those who migrated to Kashmir called themselves as Kashmiri Pandits,
Sind-Sind Saraswats, Kutch-Kutchi Saraswats, Punjab-Punjab Saraswats,
Rajasthan-Rajasthan Saraswats and Gomantak- Gowda Saraswats.
to Bihar :
The Saraswats who moved South East were
mainly from the Saraswat Desh and they followed the Ganges and reached
Trihotrapura or modern Tirhut in upper Bihar. This was in 400-350 BC.
The major settlements were in Kanyakubja (Kanpur area), Magadha and
of Punjab :
Saraswat is essentially the Brahman of the Punjab, just as the Khatri
is distinctively a Punjabi caste.