The link given at the end of this article, provides the genetic analysis aimed at establishing the roots of Indians, in the light of theories of Aryan invasion (that a 'superior' race of Aryans came to India from Middle Asia / Europe) and also to explore the differences between castes in India.
As with other researches on these issues, this research also has established that Indians were indigenous to the Sub-continent. The Indian Sub-continent had served as an incubator to many ancient lineages.
The interesting findings are that
(1) the Kashmiri and Himachal Brahmins were more ancient – giving rise to the theory that further descendents of India sprang from them - and
(2) the Brahmins were in no way different from the ancient tribes – implying that they both traced their lineage to a common ancestry and that there are no genetic differences between the castes.
This is a great news for those of us convinced of the Sanatana dharma as the one and only Universal Law operating in the world.
One of the basic tenets of this Dharma is that the Creator Brahma facilitated the birth of humans through his Maanasa puthras, the saptha rishis and other rishis who are known as Gothra pravarthakas.
All the human beings have sprung from these Gothra rishis only.
Even today the Gothra identification continues in our country, across all the sections of people. A person of one gothra does not marry the person of the same gothra. The reason is precisely, what the genetic research is going after – the Y-chromosome.
Persons born in the same Y chromosome family (as identified by a gothra) become Sa-gothirs (siblings) and marriage within them can not result in genetic variations (variations are needed for further growth of Human race). Such sa-gothris exist in India cutting across the barriers of place, language and habits.
It will give rise to better insights if the genetic research is done gothra-wise and to find out variations between different gothras.
The antiquity of Kashmiri and Himachal Brahmins can be understood in the light of the ancient notion on Manu as the progenitor. The Himachal connection strengthens my opinion that the people of Manaali in Himachal Pradesh, (Manaali was originally known as Manu-aalay – the house of Manu) may be the oldest of all people and may even bear signs as ancestors to all the other people of India.
A gothra indicates patrilineal sibship. In a literal sense, gothra means 'cow-shed'. In Atharvana veda it is referred to a clan.
This perhaps indicates a group of persons who have sprung in a common place. Further descendants have sprung up from them.
The descendants were identified based on their 'varna' or attitude or nature, though they all sprang from a same Gothra.
The varna has now become the mis-understood and maligned concept.
In contrast to 'varna', 'Jathi' was identified as a simplistic concept of having just two distinct types. They are male and female.
The term Jathi is derived from "jatha:" – the one who is formed. Only two such formations are there - male or female. So the Jathis were only two.
Only these three concepts (gothra, varna and jathi) were there in ancient Bharath.
What we have bequeathed now are distortions and deterioration of these concepts with the passage of Time.
There are 49 established gothras. Here is given the list of 20 gothras with respective pravaras. The pravaras are further sub-division of Gothra rishi. As they have sprung from the same rishi, marriage within the pravaras also is not advised.
Gothra – rishi / Pravaram
1. BARADWAJA / ANGIRASA-BARHASPATYA-BARADWAJA
2. SHADAMARSHANA / ANGIRASA-BOWRUKUTSA-TRASTASYA
3. ATREYA / AATREYA -AARCHANANASA-SYAAVASASVA
4. VADOOLA / BARGAVA-VAITHAHAVYA-SAAVEDASA
5. SRIVATSA / BARGAVA-SYAAVANA-AAPNAVANA-OURVA-JAAMADAGNYA
6. KOUSIKA / VISVAMITRA-AGAMARSHANA-KOUSIKA
7. VISVAMITRA / VISVAMITRA-DEVARATHA - OUTHALA
8. KOUNDINYA / VAASISHTA-MAITRAAVARUNA-KOUNDINYA
9. HARITHA / AANGIRASA-AMBARISHA-YUVANASAVA
10.MOUDGALYA / AANGIRSA-PARMYASVA-MOUDGALYA (OR)DAARKSHYA-
BARMYASVA-MOUDGALA (OR)ANGIRASA-DHAAVYA MOUDGALAYA
11. CHANDILYA / KASYAPA-AAVATSARA-CHANDILYA (OR)KASYAPA-AAVATSARA – DAIVALA
12. NAITRUVAKAASYAPA / KASYAPA-AAVATSARA-NAITRUVA
13. KUTSA / AANGIRASA-MAANDATRA-KAUTSA
14. KANVA / AANGIRASA-AJAMIDA-KAANVA (OR)AANGIRASA-KAURA-KAANVA
15. PARASARA / VASISHTA-SAAKTYA-PAARASARYA
16. AGASTYA / AGASTYA-DARTYACHYUTA-SOUMAVAHA
17. GARGI / ANGIRASA-BARHASPATYA-BARADWAIA- ORAANGIRASA
18. KAASYAPA / KAASYAPA-AAVATSARA-DAIVALA
19. BADARAYANA / AANGIRASA-PARSHADASVA-RATHEETARA
20. SANKRITI / AANGIRASA-GOWRAVITA-SAANKRUTYA (OR)SAADHYA- GOWRAVITA- SAANKRUTYA
If one does not know the gothra, it is said that one can adopt either the gothra of Jamadagni or Kaasyapa.
SvagOtra pravara ajgjnaanE Jamadagnim UpaasrayEt / NirNayasindu
Gotra naase Tu kasyapa:?. Kasyapa gOtrasya Sarva saadhaaraNatvaat /
It is because these two maharishis are said to be universal progenitors of human race.
They have been eulogized in the yajur hymns of Sun (AruNam).
They may not be human beings in the exact meaning of the term.
According to the metaphorical meaning of the hymn,
they seem to signify some energy level from which creation proceeded.
It is possible that in accordance with uninanimity of name, shape and works theory,
the rishis of that name were possessed of such energies.
There is another method to know one's gothra, if one does not know what his gothra is.
This is as per astrology that one can adopt the gothra indicated by the star in which one is born.
In Jyothisha, Gothras are recognized on the basis of Saptha rishis who are said to rule 28 stars
(including Abhijit) of the zodiac.
The Saptha rishi gothra stars are as follows:
(1) Marichi: Aswini, Pushya, Svati, Abhijit.
(2) Vasishta: Bharani, Ashlesha, Vishakha, Shravan.
(3) Angiras: Krittika, Magha, Anuradha, Dhanistha.
(4) Atri: Rohini, Purvaphalguni, Jyestha, Shatabhishakam.
(5) Pulastya: Mrgashirsha, Uttaraphalguni, Mula, Purva Bhadrapad.
(6) Pulaha: Ardra, Hasta, Purvashadha, Uttarabhadrapad.
(7) Kratu: Punarvasu, Chitra, Uttarashadha, Revati.
Persons born in the stars of the same Rishi are prohibited to marry within themselves.
The rationale of this must be explored to find out the common thread among them.
Astrologically, it appears that the distance between the stars is inimical to compatibility and friendship.
In Vaastu sastra, this arrangement of stars (in gothra varga) is 8th from the other.
The 8th varga siugnifies death and destruction.
In other words, the 1st and 8th in a group of 8-vargas don't go well each other.
Like this, we can pin point few other issues of non-match within the stars
that come under the same rishi.
The commonly accpeted rationale for prohibition of marriage within same gothra
is that the progeny will not be hale and healthy.
The links to genetic research:-
by Swarkar Sharma et al., Journal of Human Genetics (2009) 54, 47-55