[Advaita-l] New member introduction: Venkatesh Murthy (Some questions on Brahmin-sects)

Venkatesh Murthy vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Mon Jun 28 07:46:36 CDT 2010

On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:12 PM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> Deshasthas are Madhwas to my knowledge.  These people are in Coimbatore and
> Kumbhakonam and some parts of Tamil Nadu.
> Nambudiris are Brahmins of Kerala.  They have some peculiar social customs
> that can be known from some articles in Wikipedia.
I thank you for the input.
Are Nambudiris Smarthas? Were they not cursed by Adi Sankaracharya?

Mulukanadu Smarthas who speak Telugu are found in South India.  Sir M
Visveswariah the greatest civil engineer that India has produced was
from this group and some of Sringeri Swamiji s also.

Deshasthas can be Smarthas or Madhvas.  Badaganadu Smarthas are
anopther subsect. they speak kannada. they are spread in central and
northern karnataka such as Bellary, Shimoga, Chickmagalur. Other
groups are Seeranadu and Hoysala Karnataka groups. Kanva Shakha
brahmins are another group. They speak Kannada. Usually marriage
alliances with them was not allowed by other groups. Nowadays these
restrictions may not be there.

> Konkan Brahmins are Gauda Saraswat Brahmins, as I understand.  Kamata,
> Shenoy, etc. are their surnames.
> Then there are the Shivalli Smartha Brahmins too.  Babbur Kamme, and other
> Kamme varieties are there in Karnataka.

In Konkan brahmins you find Chitpavan Many Konkan brahmins have very
fair complexion they look like Europeans.  Some of them have brown
hair and green or blue eyes. Another Smartha sub sect is found in
coastal Karnataka. They are Havyaka brahmins, experts in Vedas. they
are experts in tantric rituals also. they speak some form of old
kannada which other kannada speakers may not fully understand. A
famous Babbur Kamme brahmin is Anil Kumble the cricket player. Kota
sub sect of brahmins is also found in the coastal region.

> Are there no  differences?
> There are a lot of custom based differences.  In the present days there is a
> lot of inter-marriages across various sects of Smarthas and even across
> Smartha-Madhva-Srivaishnavas too.  I have close relatives who are from
> Madhwa and Srivaishnava groups.
> > Nambudiris put their shikha on the top of the head, not back, as shown in
> > the sankaracharya movie. Is this accurate?
> >
> Even the Dikshitars of Chidambaram have their tuft somewhat like the
> Nambudiris.

> Iyers marrying Nair women was and perhaps is a practice called
> 'sambandam'.
Is this not against Manu Dharma Shastra? Are Nairs kshatriyas or some
other caste? Some say they are kshatriya but others say no.
But this is good news to one of my relatives. He is a brahmin but
married a Nair girl whom he had known since school days.

Iyers are a great group. They have produced geniuses who have won Nobel Prizes.

Summary of sub sects of Smarthas in South India-

Iyers, Nambudiris,Mulukanadu,Badagunadu, Deshasthas, Chitpavan,
Havyaka, Kota,Gauda Saraswat, Shivalli, Babbur Kamme, Seeranadu,
Hoysala Karnataka, Kanva Shakha.

Is this complete? request your help in completing the list of sub
sects of Smarthas in South India.


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