Tyagi Braahmans

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 15 08:40:28 CDT 2002

On Sun, 14 Apr 2002 21:03:58 -0700, ravi chandrasekhara <vadhula at YAHOO.COM>

>This is in response to Ashish's question on svadharma
>based on his jati (subcaste):
>Tyagi Braahmans (according to People of India Series:
>Haryana) left puja-path and took to agriculture after
>Bhagawan Parashurama destroyed many evil Kshatriyas
>and distributed land to the Braahmans, Tyagis left
>their traditional occupation to take care of that
>land.  But also according to this book, they obviously
>have the same gotras as all Braahmans and still wear
>the yagnopaveeta (janeu or janoi); hence I would think
>they are eligible to perform sandhya-vandana and learn
>their saka, even though they may not be vaidiki
>Braahmans as far as occupation is concerned.  They are
>also traditionally vegetarian.

Dear Dr. Ravi,

Thanks for taking up the time and effort to look into this matter for me.
However, not many people of my jati, who have written on our jati's history
etc., have put much stock in the Parashuram story. The story of Parashuram
granting land to brahamanas is also told by brahamanas elsewhere in India,
such as the Mohyals of Punjab and Chitpawans of Maharashtra. The only
authoritative story, which, many say, corroborates other records, such as
those of the bhats (bards) in Hardwar, is the story of Janmajeya's Nag
Yajna and the grant of 2444 villages to our ancestors. This story also
appears in Brahamanotpattimartand, which many consider as an authoritative
work on the genealogy and history of Brahamanas. My own little research
tells me that our village in Western UP was founded not long ago - maybe
about 600-700 years ago, and my ancestors came from Karnal, Haryana. But
this is all I know and it doesn't tell me much. All these regions fall in
what is known as Gaud Desh and that is about all I know.

>So when did they give up puja-path ?  Well according
>to Hindu Dharma by the former Shanakaracharya of
>Kanchi and also by many traditionalists, a mahayuga
>(cycle of 4 yugas) is approximately 4.2 million years.
> Bhagawan Parashurama appeared on the 19th Treata Yuga
>of this manvantara, hence approx 39 million years ago
>by this method of calculation. Well it is probably
>best to conclude that Tyagi Brahmins have given up
>priesthood for many generations before the advent of
>the Mughals.

And I do intend to go as far back as I possibly can. I will try and look at
some of our records, or at least have someone interpret them for me. What
our jati says about itself is that we were scholars and had given up
recieving daan even before Janmajeya's yajna. We shared the same names as
other brahamanas but after a period of time, our jati felt that something
must be done to separate us from the brahamanas who do accept daan. So the
suffix tyagi (sacrificer, giver-up) was adopted. I am not sure when the
study of scriptures was given up (well, even now the scriptures are studied
but no one studies the shakha anymore, and not in the traditional style
anyway) but I will see what I can find out.

>Now Ashish if your immediate forefathers have given up
>the janeu, probably some acharyas could describe
>atonements, etc for this lapse based on the
>dharmashastras.  But if you have undergone your
>upanayana, as per shastras, you should be able to
>study your saka.

Well, I don't think the janeu was given up because even if one did not
undergo upanayana in one's childhood, one would certainly undergo upanayana
at the time of marriage. So everyone has been initiated but not many
actually wear the janeu (I do but my father does not).

>Some people who be of help include
>the elders of your jati, the 4(5) Shankaracharya
>peethas in India, or your family prohit. Also there is
>an association known as the Brahman Samaj of North
>America (www.bsna.org) that has Tyagi Braahmans as


Again, I thank you Dr. Ravi for taking the interest and providing me with
this information. I have heard of BSNA and have even visited their website.
But I think this seems to be a full fledged project that I will have to
work on over the years - something that requires inputs from India and
others involved in the research of Brahamanic genealogy.

thanks again.


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