Science of Genetics behind the Hindu Gotra System – The Y Chromosome and the Male Lineage


The Hindu Gotra System – Male Lineage Identification

The Gotra is a system which associates a person with his most ancient or root ancestor in an unbroken male lineage. For instance if a person says that he belongs to the Bharadwaja Gotra then it means that he traces back his male ancestry to the ancient Rishi (Saint or Seer) Bharadwaja. So Gotra refers to the Root Person in a person’s male lineage.


Brahmins identify their male lineage by considering themselves to be the descendants of the 8 great Rishis ie Saptarshis (The Seven Sacred Saints) + Bharadwaja Rishi. So the list of root Brahmin Gotras is as follows

  • Angirasa
  • Atri
  • Gautam
  • Kashyapa
  • Bhrigu
  • Vasistha
  • Kutsa
  • Bharadwaja

These 8 Rishis are called Gotrakarin meaning roots of Gotras. All other Brahmin Gotras evolved from one of the above Gotras. What this means is that the descendants of these Rishis over time started their own Gotras. The total number of established Gotras today is 49. However each of them finally trace back to one of the root Gotrakarin Rishi.
The word Gotra is formed from the two Sanskrit words Gau (meaning Cow) and Trahi (meaning Shed).
Note that the English word Cow is a derived word of the Sanskrit word Gau with the same meaning Gau.
So Gotra means Cowshed, where in the context is that Gotra is like the Cowshed protecting a particular male lineage. Cows are extremely important sacred animals to Hindus and there were a large number of best breeds of Cows that ancient Hindus reared and worshipped, and hence the name Gotra referring to the system of maintaining individual male lineages seems more appropriate.
Importance of Son in the Gotra System

This Gotra system helps one identify his male lineage and is passed down automatically from Father to Son. But the Gotra system does not get automatically passed down from Father to Daughter. Suppose a person with Gotra Angirasa has a Son. Now suppose the Son gets married to a girl whose father belongs to Gotra Kashyapa. The Gotra of the girl automatically is said to become Angirasa after her marriage even though her father belonged to Gotra Kashyapa.
So the rule of the Gotra system is that the Gotra of men remains the same, while the Gotra of the woman becomes the Gotra of their husband after marriage. Now suppose a person has only daughters and no sons. In that case his Gotra will end with him in that lineage because his daughters will belong to the Gotras of their husbands after their marriage!
This was probably the reason why in the ancient vedic or hindu societies it was preferred to have atleast one Son along with any number of daughters, so that the Gotra of the father could continue.
But isn’t this crap? Why should only Sons carry the Gotra of their father, why can’t daughters? How does the Gotra of a daughter change just because she marries a person belonging to a different Gotra? What is the necessity of maintaining only the man’s ancestry, why not maintain that of women too? This was the question that was puzzling me about this Gotra system till recently, until I found out the scientific reasoning behind the Gotra system by chance while studying a puzzle in modern Genetics for which the biologists are trying to find an answer!
But before that..
A Girl and a Boy belonging to the same Gotra cannot marry!

This is the most important and the only rule in the Gotra system is I may say so. Yes, a Bride and a Bridegroom belonging to the same Gotra are considered to be siblings and hence it is prohibited for them to marry even if they belong to distant families. The reason given was since they belonged to the same ancestor, it will be like a brother marrying a sister which is known to cause genetic disorders in their offspring.
As I can see now, probably the prevention of marriages within the same Gotra was the only reason for the Gotra system to be created.
But again I used to think, what a crap, how can a boy and a girl belonging to two different families who haven’t met for centuries be considered as siblings?
Only until I was able to correlate a puzzle in modern Genetics to the Gotra system.
And now to the Science behind the Gotra System, but before that let us just check out one more additional rule related to marriages in the Gotra System.

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Please read more on this from this link
http://www.hitxp.com/articles/veda/science-genetics-vedic-hindu-gotra-y-chromosome-male-lineage-extinction/