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Hiriangalas. But they, and another sub-class called
Patnagere Sanketis, do not in all exceed twenty families.
The Sanketis are proverbially a hardy, intensely con-
servative and industrious Brahman community. They
are referred to as models for simultaneously securing
the twofold object of preserving the study of the
Vedas, while securing a worldly competence by cultivat-
ing their gardens ; and, short of actually ploughing the
land, they are pre-eminently the only fraction of the
Brahman brotherhood who turn their hands to the best

(/) Prathamasaki^ These follow the white Yajur
Veda, and are hence called Sukla Yejur Vedis. The
white Yajus forms the first fifteen sakas of the Yejur
Veda, and this is in consequence sometimes called
Prathamasaka. The Prathamasakis are sometimes
called Katyayana (followers of Katyayana Sutram),
Vajusaneya, and Madyandanas. The two last names
occur among their Pravara and Gotra Rishis. The
Prathamasakis are found among all the linguistic sec-
tions. Among Smarthas, Andhras, and Vaishnavas, they
are regarded as inferior. Carnataka Prathamasakis are,
on the other hand, not considered inferior by the other
sections of Carnatakas. In the Tanjore district, the
Prathamasakis are said to be known as Madyana Parai-
yans. The following quaint legend is recorded in the
Gazetteer of that district : " The god of the Tiruvalur


temple was entreated by a pujari of this place (Koil-
tirumulam) to be present in the village at a sacrifice in
his (the god's) honour. The deity consented at length,
but gave warning that he would come in a very unwel-
come shape. He appeared as a Paraiyan (Pariah) with
beef on his back, and followed by the four Vedas in the
form of dogs, and took his part in the sacrifice thus
accoutred and attended. All the Brahmans who were
present ran away, and the god was so incensed that he
condemned them to be Paraiyans for one hour in the day,
from noon till i P.M., ever afterwards. There is a class
of Brahmans called mid-day Paraiyans, who are found in
several districts, and a colony of whom reside at Sedani-
puram five miles from Nannilam. It is believed
throughout the Tanjore district that the mid-day Parai-
yans are the descendants of the Brahmans thus cursed
by the god. They are supposed to expiate their defile-
ment by staying outside their houses for an hour and
a half every day at mid-day, and to bathe afterwards ;
and, if they do this, they are much respected. Few of
them, however, observe this rule, and orthodox persons
will not eat with them, because of their omission to
remove the defilement. They call themselves the
Prathamasaka." Several versions of stories accounting
for their pollution are extant, and the following is a
version given by Mr. Ramachendrier. " Yagnavalkiar,
who was the chief disciple of Vysampayanar, having
returned with his students from pilgrimage, represented
to his priest that Yajur Veda was unrivalled, and that he
and his students alone were qualified for its propagation.
Vysampayanar, feeling provoked by this assertion, which,
he remarked, implied insult to Brahmans, proposed
certain penance for the offence. Yagnavalkiar replied
that he and his students had done many good deeds and


performed many religious rites, and that they were still
to do such, and that the insult imputed to them was
worthy of little notice. Vysampayanar required Yagna-
valkiar to give back the Vedas which he had taught him,
which he threw out at once. The matter thrown out
having been like cinders, Vysampayanar's disciples then
present, assuming the shape of thithiri birds (fire-eating
birds), swallowed them, and hence the Veda is called
Thithiriya Saka and Ktishna Yajus. Soon after, Yagna-
valkiar, without his priest's knowledge, went to the Sun,
and, offering prayers, entreated him to teach him Vedas.
The Sun, thereupon taking the shape of a horse, taught
him the Yajur Veda, which now forms the first fifteen
sakas, and he in turn taught it to his disciples Kanvar,
Madhyandanar, Katyayanar, and Vajasaneyar. It is to
be gathered from Varaha Puranam that Vysampayanar
pronounced a curse that the Rig Veda taught by the
Sun should be considered degraded, and that the Brah-
mans reading it should become Chandalas (outcastes)."
Another version of the legend runs as follows. Vaisam-
payanar used to visit the king almost every day, and
bless him by giving akshatha or sacred rice. One day,
as Vaisampayanar could not go, he gave the rice grains to
his disciple Yagnavalkiar, and told him to take them to
the king. Accordingly, Yagnavalkiar went to the king's
palace, and found the throne empty. Being impatient
by nature, he left the rice grains on the throne, and
returned to his priest. The king, when he returned
home, found his throne changed into gold, and certain
plants were growing round his seat. On enquiry, he
discovered that this marvellous effect was due to the
sacred akshatha. He sent word to Vaisampayanar to
send the rice grains by his disciple who had brought
them. Yagnavalkiar refused, and was told to vomit


the Vedas. Readily he vomited, and, going to the Sun,
learnt the Veda from him. As the Sun is always in
motion sitting in his car, the Vedas could not be learnt
without mistakes and peculiar sounds. When he came
to his Guru Vaisampayanar, Yagnavalkiar was cursed to
become a Chandala. The curse was subsequently modi-
fied, as the Sun interceded on behalf of Yagnavalkiar.

(/) Gurukkal. The Gurukkals are all followers
of the Bodhayana Sutras. They are temple priests,
and other Brahmans regard them as inferior, and will
not eat with them. Even in temples, the Gurukkals
sprinkle water over the food when it is offered to the
god, but do not touch the food. They may not live
in the same quarters with other Brahmans. No agra-
haram (Brahman quarter) will ever contain a Gurukkal's
house. There should, strictly speaking, be at least a
lane separating the houses of the Gurukkals from those
of other Brahmans. This is, however, not rigidly
observed at the present day. For example, at Shiyali,
Gurukkals and other Brahmans live in the same street.
There are among the Gurukkals the following sub-
divisions :

1. Tiruvalangad.

2. Conjeeveram.

3. Tirukkazhukunram.

The Tiruvalangad Gurukkals mark their bodies with
vibhuti (sacred ashes) in sixteen places, viz., head, face,
neck, chest, navel, knees, two sides of the abdomen, back
and hands (three places on each hand). The other two
sub-divisions mark themselves in eight places, viz.,
head, face, neck, chest, knees and hands. Gurukkals
who wish to become priests have to go through several
stages of initiation called Dikshai (sec Pandaram).
Gurukkals are Saivites to a greater extent than the


Smarthas, and do not regard themselves as disciples
of Sankaracharya. Those who are orthodox, and are
temple priests, should not see the corpses of Pandarams
and other non- Brahman castes. The sight of such a
corpse is supposed to heap sin on them, and pollute them,
so that they are unfit for temple worship.

//. Vaishnava. The Vaishnavas, or Sri Vaishnavas,
as they are sometimes called to distinguish them from the
Madhvas, who are also called Vaishnavas, are all converts
from Smarthas, though they profess to constitute a
distinct section. Some are converts from Telugu
Smarthas, and are called Andhra Vaishnavas. These do
not mix with other Tamil-speaking Vaishnavas, and retain
some of the Telugu customs. There are two distinct
groups of Sri Vaishnavas the Vadagalais (northerners)
and Thengalais (southerners), who are easily distin-
guished by the marks on their foreheads. The Vadagalais
put on a U-shaped mark, and the Thengalais a Y-shaped
mark. The white mark is made with a kind of kaolin
called tiruman, and turmeric rendered red by means of
alkali is used for the central streak. The turmeric, as
applied by the more orthodox, is of a yellow instead of
red colour. Orthodox Sri Vaishnavas are very exclusive,
and hold that they co-existed as a separate caste of
Brahmans with the Smarthas. But it was only after
Ramanuja's teaching that the Vaishnavas seceded from
the Smarthas, and the ranks were swollen by frequent
additions from amongst the Vadamas. There are some
families of Vaishnavas which observe pollution when
there is a death in certain Smartha families, which belong
to the same gotra. Vaishnavas of some places, e.g.,
Valavanur, Savalai, and Perangiyur, in the South Arcot
district, are considered low by the orthodox sections
of Vaishnavas, because they are recent converts to


Vaishnavism. A good example of Smarthas becoming
Vaishnavas is afforded by the Thummagunta Dravidas,
some of whom have become Vaishnavas, but still take
girls in marriage from Smartha families, but do not
give their daughters in marriage to Smarthas. All
Vaishnavas are expected to undergo a ceremony of
initiation into Vaishnavism after the Upanayanam cere-
mony. At the time of initiation, they are branded with
the marks of the chakram and sankha (chank) on the
right and left shoulders respectively. The Vaikha-
nasas and Pancharatras regard the branding as unneces-
sary. The ceremony of initiation (samasrayanam) is
usually performed by the head of a mutt. Sometimes,
however, it is carried out by an elderly member of the
family of the candidate. Such families go by the name
of Swayam Acharya Purushas (those who have their
own men as Acharyas).

For Vadagalais there are two mutts. Of these,
the Ahobila mutt was formerly at Tiruvallur, but its
head-quarters has been transferred to Narasimhapuram
near Kumbakonam. The Parakalaswami mutt is in
the Mysore Province. For Thengalais there are three
mutts, at Vanamamalai and Sriperumbudur in Chingle-
put, and Tirukoilur in South Arcot. These are called
respectively theTothadri, Ethirajajhir, and Emberumanar
mutts. There are various points of difference between
Vadagalais and Thengalais, which sometimes lead to bitter
quarrels in connection with temple worship. During
the procession of the god at temple festivals, both
Vadagalais and Thengalais go before and after the god,
repeating Sanskrit Vedas and Tamil Prapandhams
respectively. Before commencing these, certain slokas
are recited, in one of which the Vadagalais use the
expression Ramanuja daya patram, and the Thengalais


the expression Srisailesa daya patram, and a quarrel
ensues in consequence. The main differences between
the two sections are summarised as follows in the
Mysore Census Report, 1891: "The tenets which form
the bone of contention between the Tengales and
Vadagales are stated to number 18, and seem to cluster
round a few cardinal items of controversy :

1. Whether Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, is
(Vibhu) co-omnipresent and co-illimitable with Vishnu ;

2. Whether Lakshmi is only the mediatrix for, or
the co-bestower of moksham or final beatitude ;

3. Whether there is any graduated moksham attain-
able by the good and blessed, according to their multi-
farious merits ;

4. Whether prapatti, or unconditional surrender of
the soul to god, should be performed once for all, or
after every act of spiritual rebellion ;

5. Whether it (prapatti) is open to all, or is pre-
scribed only for those specially prepared and apprenticed ;

6. Whether the indivisibly atomic human soul is
entered into, and permeated or not by the omnipresent
creator ;

7. Whether god's mercy is exerted with or without
cause ;

8. Whether the same (the divine mercy) means the
overlooking (dhosha darsanam) or enjoyment (dhosha
bogyatvam) of the soul's delinquencies ;

9. Whether works (karma) and knowledge (jnana)
are in themselves salvation giving, or only lead to
faith (bhakthi) by which final emancipation is attained ;

10. Whether the good of other (unregenerate)
castes should be tolerated according to their graduated
social statuses, or should be venerated without reference
to caste inequalities^;


ii. Whether karma (works, rituals, etc.) should or
not be bodily and wholly abandoned by those who have
adopted prapatti."

The points of difference between Vadagalais and
Thengalais are thus described by Mr. V. N. Nara-
simmiyengar * : " The Tengale schismatists deny to
Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, any participation in
creation, and reduce her to the position of a creature ;
omit to ring the bell when worshipping their idols ;
salute each other and their gods only once ; make use
of highly abstruse Tamil verses in room of Sanskrit
mantras and prayers ; modify the sraddha ceremony mate-
rially, and do not shave their widows. The principal
texts cited by the Tengale Sri Vaishnavas in support
of the immunity of their widows from the rite of tonsure
are the following :

Widows should avoid, even when in affliction and
danger, shaving, eating of sweets, betel nut, flowers,
sexual intercourse, conversation with men, and jewels

A woman, whether unmarried or widowed, who
shaves her hair, will go to the hell called Rauravam.
When the husband dies, the widow should perform his due
obsequies without shaving. She should never shave on
any occasion, or for any purpose whatever (Sambhuh).

If any woman, whether unmarried or widowed, shave
(her head), she will dwell in the hell called Rauravam for
one thousand karor s of kalpas. I f a widow shave (her head)
by ignorance, she will cause hair to grow in the mouths of
her ancestors' ghosts on both sides. If she perform any
ceremonies inculcated by the Srutis and Smritis with her
head shaved, she will be born a Chandall (Manuh).

* Incl. Ant. Ill, 1874.


There is no sin in a devout widow, whose object is
eternal salvation, wearing her hair. If she should shave,
she will assuredly go to hell. A Vaishnava widow
should never shave her head. If she do so through
ignorance, her face should not be looked at (Vridd'ha
Manuh in Khagesvara Samhita). ,\

If any one observe a Brahmachari beggar with his
kachche (cloth passed between the legs, and tucked
in behind), a householder without it, and a widow
without hair on her head, he should at once plunge into
water with his clothes (Ananta Samhita).

It is considered highly meritorious for Vaishnava
widows to wear their hair, as long as they remain in
this world (Hayagrlva Samhita)."

In a note on the two sects of the Vaishnavas in the
Madras Presidency, the Rev. C. E. Kennet writes as
follows * : " While both the sects acknowledge the
Sanskrit books to be authoritative, the Vadagalai uses
them to a greater extent than the Thengalai. The former
also recognises and acknowledges the female energy
as well as the male, though not in the gross and sensual
form in which it is worshipped among the Saivas, but as
being the feminine aspect of deity, and representing
the grace and merciful care of Providence ; while the
Tenkalai excludes its agency in general, and, incon-
sistently enough, allows it co-operation in the final
salvation of a human soul. But the most curious differ-
ence between the two schools is that relating to human
salvation itself, and is a reproduction in Indian minds
of the European controversy between Calvinists and
Arminians. For the adherents of the Vadakalais
strongly insist on the concomitancy of the human will

* Ind. Ant. Ill, 1874.


for securing salvation, whereas those of the Tenkalai
maintain the irresistability of divine grace in human
salvation. The arguments from analogy used by the
two parties respectively are, however, peculiarly Indian
in character. The former adopt what is called the
monkey argument, the Markata Nyaya, for the young
monkey holds on to or grasps its mother to be conveyed
to safety, and represents the hold of the soul on God.
The latter use the cat argument, the Marjala Nyaya,
which is expressive of the hold of God on the soul ;
for the kitten is helpless until the mother-cat seizes
it nolens volens, and secures it from danger. The late
Major M. W. Carr inserts in his large collection of
Telugu and Sanskrit proverbs the following :

" The monkey and its cub. As the cub clings to
its mother, so man seeks divine aid, and clings to his
God. The doctrine of the Vadakalais.

" Like the cat and her kitten. The stronger carry-
ing and protecting the weaker ; used to illustrate the
free grace of God. The doctrine of the Tenkalais.

" Leaving the speculative differences between these
two sects, I have now to mention the practical one which
divides them, and which has been, and continues to
be, the principal cause of the fierce contentions and
long-drawn law suits between them. And this relates
to the exact mode of making the sectarian mark on the
forehead. While both sects wear a representation of
Vishnu's trident, composed of red or yellow for the
middle line or prong of the trident, and of white earth
for those on each side, the followers of the Vadakalai
draw the middle line only down to the bridge of the
nose, but those of the Tenkalai draw it over the bridge


a little way down the nose itself. Each party maintain
that their mode of making the mark is the right one,


and the only means of effecting a settlement of the
dispute is to ascertain how the idol itself is marked,
whether as favouring the Vadakalai or Tenkalai. But
this has been found hitherto impossible, I am told, for
instance at Conjeveram itself, the head-quarters of these
disputes, owing to the unreliable and contradictory
character of the evidence produced in the Courts."

The Hebbar and Mandya sections belong to the
Mysore Province, in which the former are very numer-
ous. The latter are few in number, and confined to
Mandya and Melkote, Some families have settled
in the city of Madras, where they are employed as
merchants, bank clerks, attorneys, etc.

The Mandyas say that they migrated to Mysore
from some place near Tirupati. Though both the
Hebbar and Mandya Brahmans speak Tamil, some
details peculiar to Carnatakas are included in the
marriage ceremonial.

The Vaishnava Sholiars are considered somewhat
low in the social scale. Intermarriage takes place
between Smartha and Vaishnavite Sholiars. The
Vaikhanasas and Pancharatras are temple priests
(archakas). Both use as their title Dikshitar. Some-
times they are called Nambi, but this term is more
used to denote Satani temple servants.

Reference may here be made to the Pattar Brahmans,
who are Tamil Brahmans, who have settled in Malabar.
The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit
bhatta. It is noted, in the Gazetteer of Malabar, that
" the Pattars present no peculiarities distinguishing them
from the ordinary East Coast Brahmans. Like the latter,
they engage in trade and business, and form a large
proportion of the official, legal, and scholastic classes.
With the exception of one class known as Chozhiya


or Arya Pattars, they wear their kudumi (top-knot) on
the back of the head in the east coast fashion, and not on
the top and hanging over the forehead, as is done by the
genuine Malayali castes. They also live as a general
rule in regular streets or gramams on the east coast
plan. Few Pattars, except in the Palghat taluk, are
large land-owners. As a class, they have embraced
modern educational facilities eagerly, so far as they
subserve their material prospects. Both Pattars and
Embrandiris, but especially the latter, have adopted
the custom of contracting sambandham (alliance) with
Nayar women, but sambandham with the foreign Brah-
mans is not considered to be so respectable as with
Nambudiris, and, except in the Palghat taluk (where
the Nambudiri is rare), they are not allowed to consort
with the women of aristocratic families."

In connection with the Arya Pattars, it is recorded,
in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, that "the term
Aryapattar means superior Brahmins. But the actual
position in society is not quite that. At Ramesvaram,
which may be considered the seat of Aryapattars, their
present status seems to be actually inferior, due proba-
bly, it is believed, to their unhesitating acceptance of
gifts from Sudras, and to their open assumption of
their priestly charge. Though at present a small body
in Malabar, they seem to have once flourished in con-
siderable numbers. In the case of large exogamous but
high-caste communities like the Kshatriyas of Malabar,
Brahmin husbands were naturally in great requisition,
and when, owing to their high spiritual ideals, the
Brahmins of Malabar were either Grihasthas or Snatakas
(bachelor Sanyasins dedicating their life to study, and
to the performance of orthodox rites), the supply was
probably unequal to the demand. The scarcity was


presumably added to when the differences between the
Kolattunat Royal Family and the Brahmins of the
Perinchellur gramam became so pronounced as to neces-
sitate the importing of Canarese and Tulu Brahmins
for priestly services at their homes and temples.
The first immigration of Brahmins from the east
coast, called Aryapattars, into Malabar appears to
have been under the circumstances above detailed, and
at the instance of the Rajas of Cranganore. With the
gradual lowering of the Brahminical ideal throughout
the Indian Peninsula, and with the increasing struggle
for physical existence, the Nambutiris entered or re-
entered the field, and ousted the Aryapattars first from
consortship, and latterly even from the ceremony of
tali-tying in families that could pay a Nambutiri. The
Aryapattar has, in his turn, trespassed into the ranks
of the Nayars, and has begun to undertake the religious
rite of marriage, i.e., tali-tying, in aristocratic families
among them. There are only two families now in all
Travancore, and they live in the Karunagapalli taluk.
Malayalam is their household tongue ; in dress and
personal habits, they are indistinguishable from Mala-
yala Brahmins. The males marry into as high a class
of Brahmins as they could get in Malabar, which is
not generally higher than that of the Potti. The Potti
woman thus married gets rather low in rank on account
of this alliance. The daughter of an Aryapattar cannot
be disposed of to a Brahminical caste in Malabar. She
is taken to the Tinnevelly or Madura district, and
married into the regular Aryapattar family according to
the rites of the latter. The girl's dress is changed into
the Tamil form on the eve of her marriage."

///. Andhra. The Telugu-speaking Brahmans are
all Andhras, who differ from Tamil Brahmans in some


of their marriage and death ceremonies, female attire,
and sectarian marks. Telugu Brahman women wear
their cloth without passing it between the legs, and the
free end of the skirt is brought over the left shoulder.
The sect mark consists of three horizontal streaks of
sacred ashes on the forehead, or a single streak of
sandal paste (gandham). In the middle of the streak
is a circular black spot (akshintalu or akshintalu bottu).
The marriage badge is a circular plate of gold, called
bottu, attached to a thread, on which black glass beads
are frequently strung. A second bottu, called nagavali
bottu, is tied on the bride's neck on the nagavali day.
During the time when the bridegroom is performing the
vrata ceremony, the bride is engaged in the worship
of Gauri. She sits in a new basket filled with paddy
(unhusked rice) or cholam (Andropogon Sorghum]. On
the return from the mock pilgrimage (kasiyatra), the
bride and bridegroom sit facing each other on the dais,
with a screen interposed between them. Just before
the bottu is tied on the bride's neck by the bridegroom,
the screen is lowered. During the marriage ceremony,
both the bride and bridegroom wear clothes dyed with
turmeric, until the nagavali day. Among Tamil Brah-
mans, the bridegroom wears a turmeric-dyed cloth, and
the bride may wear a silk cloth. Immediately after the
tying of the bottu, the contracting couple throw rice
over each other, and those assembled pour rice over their
heads. This is called Talambralu.

Taken as a class, the Telugu Brahmans are very
superstitious, and the females perform a very large
number of vratams. Of the vratams performed by
Telugu and Canarese females, both Brahman and
non- Brahman, the following account is given in the
Manual of the Nellore district. A very favourite deity


is Gauri, in honour of whom many of the rites hereafter
noticed are performed. These ceremonies give a vivid
idea of the hopes and fears, the aspirations, and the
forebodings of Hindu womanhood. The following
ceremonies are practised by girls after betrothal, and

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