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Durable Link to this BlogSaturday, July 14, 2007

Early Saraswats in Hubli (11th Century)

Early Saraswats in Hubli (11th Century)

A chance discovery of an old and broken Kannada inscription in Karnataka has revealed the genealogy of an ancient Gowdsaraswat family in Hubli or Eleyapurvalli of bygone era. While some renovation work of the old Anantanath Basadi was undertaken, a broken inscription of the time of Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI (1076-1126 CE) was found in the dark corner of the basadi, almost built in the wall.

Dedicated to Shiva, its presence was thought to be unbecoming in a Jaina sacred place, and kept away from public gaze.

After thorough cleaning, the slab brought to light 23 lines in pure old Kannada letters, names of five members of a Saraswat family belonging to Kashyapa Gotra. These were Madhava, Janaka, Bhima, Mishra Damodara and Budhadipa. They were proficient in Mahabhasya (of patanjali), philosophy, logic, medicine and all Shaiva texts. Perhaps the recipient was given a land grant, details of which are broken and lost.

The family of learned scholars are mentioned as hailing form Goudamadhvalika village which is identified with Madgaon of Goa by late Prof. H.R. Raghunath Bhat who edited and published the inscription. The inscription refers to Madhava as Saraswat who performed Yajna. Goa was a stronghold of Goudsaraswats and Goudapada matha at Kavale, (Kaivalyapura) is the earliest Saraswat institution established at the end of the 8th century. The pontiffs call themselves Gowdapadacharyas in memory of their first preceptor Gowdapadacharya who was Guru of Govinda Bhagavatpada, the esteemed Guru of Shankaracharya.

Early Saraswats were all Smartas and followers of Goudapadacharya who was the first exponent of Advaita monism. This has been established by Rashtrakavi M. Govind Pai. There is every possibility that the learned family who settled in ancient Hubli originally belonged to Gowdamadhvalika village round about Madgaon (ancient Mathagrama) a strong hold of Goudasaraswats.

See Also:
• Saga of Saraswats

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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