In the proto- and pre-historic times, the Tandala form was preeminent. The idol forms of Gods and Goddesses were a subsequent development. This shows that the Vindhyachal UP goddess is prehistoric and the one at Chiploon is a more recent one. Hence it must have been their original Kuladevata. These aspects of the Kuladevata Vindhyavasini also help clinch the fact that Ujjain was not the one Ahichhatra from where the Chitpavans came before settling down at Chiploon in Konkan, as the said in the book by Sri Niwas Rao of Karnataka.
The Chitale families and also some others like Avalaskar etc. This implies that, for a long period in the forgotten past, their ancestors, along with others of their community, were in the Vindhyachal near Ahichhatra. They would not be alone to practise this deity worship. May be their other Chitpavan community brethren worshipped the Vindhyavasini also alike them but lost her memory in subsequent migrations to the South, as it so often happens in the case of the Kuladevatas. People tend to adopt the local deities first as Gramadevatas deities presiding locally over a village and on staying for many a generation in the settlement, slowly tend to forget the original Kuladevata and substitute it by the local Gramadevatas.
This does not happen if the older Kuladevata has etched a strong memory bond upon their psyches. This occurred in the case of the Chitales, Avalaskar and others for the Vindhyavasini and they have not forgotten her and continue to worship her till today. In the same way, most of the other Chitpavans, in general, worship the Yogeshwari Devi of Ambejogai as their Kuladevata as they must have been for long near Ambejogai, Beed district, Marathwada region, in eastern Maharashtra.
It is also mentioned in local folk memoirs of the Devi Page12 Yogeshwari of Ambejogai that Parashurama had visited Ambejogai to gather 60 Kulas of in all 14 Gotra Brahmins from there to get them settled in the Konkan area. This is much more primitive form than the Murti idol forms at other Peethas of goddesses e.
Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur. The Tandala form is regarded to have been current in the proto-historic times. Still today, one finds many ancient communities practising the Tandala worship in India. It goes to indicate that the Chitpavans might have come to Ambejogai much earlier than the times when the idols Moortis of Gods came in vogue for worship.
Otherwise they would not have taken to the worship of a Tandala which is so much more synonymous with folk worship even today amongst the primitive tribes in India and particularly in Maharashtra. There is a myth of sage Agasti having been the first from the Vedic culture of the North India to move down over the Vindhyas Mountains to the Dandakaranya and southern regions of India. It is supposed to have been in the pre- Ramayana times. Discounting the preposterously antedated chronology of the Puranas, some scholars estimate Ramayana times to about years BC.
The Brahmins and others are supposed to have migrated down to South with Agasti and continued even after his times.
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The Veda divisions arose around years BC. They combine the practice of different branches of the Vedas viz. The Veda branches like Rigveda and Yajurveda are still current amongst Chitpavans, as they are Dwivedis and not Moola-Veda followers in toto.
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They are still conforming partially to their ancestral practice of combined four Vedas. They are not like the single-Veda-practising Brahmins of the North who moved down south in relatively recent times in the past few centuries. Since when they assumed this ID of Shashtikas is not certain. However, even before moving away from the Gangetic belt, they could have been known as the Shashtikas or by some other names. Its founder was Mayoorasharma. His period was from AD to Mukanna Kadamba was his ancestor who had relocated 32 Brahmin families from Ahichhatra to Sthanagundur earlier name of Talgunda , as per inscription found at Talgunda.
His name could be Trinetrasharma also. Another Mukanna Kadamba was probably the last ruler of Kadambas of Bankapur. He is placed by some at around AD Talgunda appears to have been one of the great Vedic learning centres down South in those times. This must have been so because many of Chitpavans still continue to worship Yogeshwari Devi of Ambejogai. The old time migrants used to settle mainly along the river basins owing to fertile lands. Going by the details furnished in researched records in books, especially by Mr.
Ajit Patwardhan, it looks like it is the Kuladevata of about 90 percent of Chitpavan families, despite some claims to the contrary. This Devi from the distant land of Marathwada, almost km from Konkan, still continues to be the Kuladevata of the majority of Chitpavans who are now located in Ratnagiri-Chiploon belt in the Konkan. There is no known place of this goddess commanding as much reverence and as old as that of Ambejogai in Chiploon- Ratnagiri in Konkan.
This indicates that their forebears were in direct proximal vicinity of this Devi at Ambejogai for a very long time indeed! Having forgotten their roots and migratory details, they had no plausible answers on the question as to how they worship a deity from distant lands of Marathwada. Some of the Page16 Chitpavans explained this away by mythical tales. Later on, such stories must have been taken up wholesale to explain the anomaly why this Devi of distant land is their deity. Acceptance of such mythical folklores was very common amongst the people of those times.
Even today, one finds many takers of such tales. However, scientifically such stories cannot stand scrutiny.
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One has, therefore, to separate the grain from the chaff from such myths. According to Proto-historians, the worship of a female deity is rooted pretty old in the Indian subcontinent. The instances of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, at least years old, if not still older, had it amongst them. Scholars find in the Vedas references to female goddesses.
There are hymns in praise of goddesses. The Devi-sukta and the Usha-sukta are most famous. According to the presentation in the book by Ms Pushpa Trilokekar,3 the practice of Devi worship is as old as B. As is the case today, one has to discount: 1. The other many misconceptions formed under the influence of Western Historians about the chronologies of Indian history, under sway of the supposed originality and the pre- eminence of the Egyptian and the Greko-Roman civilizations to rule out the pre-existence of any earlier greater culture, except, somehow, the Chinese.
In that case, majority of Indian historical chronology will have Page17 to be predated by some millennia. They used to worship the Vedic deities by mantras of the Vedas and by fire. In fact even until now, the Poorva-mimamsa school of the Vedas was predominant. According to Poorva-mimamsa, recitation of the Vedas and offering of sacrifices into the Yajnas are the only ways of worship. Idol worship is strictly forbidden. However, many Vedics in subsequent times accepted the idol worship.
Hence, Shankaracharya had to reconcile with the tradition of idol worship along with the strict Vedic practices. The famous Panchayatana4 worship stipulated by him was one of such reconciliations between the worship of different deities. However, even the Vedas have certain references to the Idol of Indra. Since when the Vedics started including idol and deity worship is not known. In view of certain current thinking amongst the historians, its starting might have to be predated to say at least BC.
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The South-bound Vedic Brahmins like the Shashtikas and other ancestors of Chitpavans from Ahichhatra must have had the Tandala of the deity Vindhyavasini of Vindhyachal in their worship as a Kuladevata. Therefore, it might have been natural for them to accept and adopt the reigning deity of Ambejogai- the Yogeshwari as their Kuladevata in the course of time thereafter.
They certainly have carried forward her Page18 worship to newer habitats, like Konkan. Shastra rules govern their placement. The deity which is the main to the worshiper is placed at the centre. They might as well have settled there anytime long ago, even say BC, in the footsteps of sage Agasti. It is to be noted that the time of establishing the Kadamba dynasty at Vanavasi in Karnataka is not certain. Popularly, historians take it to be around AD.
However, there are deviant views. The Indian historical chronology is derived with reference to the Puranika chronology. Many take it from the Bhagavata Mahapurana.
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The Puranic chronologies are no certain way to find the actual historic time of many kings. Hence this author has difficulty in stating the correct time of Mayoorasharma and Trinetrasharma. According to him, it can be somewhere between BC to AD as an approximate estimate. However, he takes it for the present work as AD for further discussion. They were given Agraharas there. Even today, there are many Chitpavans residing there since very long times near Jog falls - Gokarna- Darbhe Tarf - Mundaje - Belthangadi etc.
Some of them do not know for sure about their antecedents. It was thought that they might have continued in and around this place of Vanavasi since the times of Mayoorasharma-Trinetrasharma. However, some of them claim to have come from the Konkan around seventeenth century AD to escape from the persecution by the Mohammedan rulers of Konkan under the reign of Adilashaha of Bijapur, Karnataka, and the Siddis ruling the Konkan coast from Janjira - Murud in the present Raigad district.
It is now established that this indeed is the case since they do trace their Kulaswamis to places in Konkan - mainly in the Ratnagiri District with Yogeshwari Devi of Ambejogai as their Kuladevata. Thus it emerges that the ancestors of Chitpavan Brahmins came definitely from the following places: 1.
Ahichhatra, near Bareilly, UP, around AD, on the basis of the historical record of Trinetrasharma and Mayoorasharma of Kadamba dynasty and also around AD on the basis of the historical record of Mukanna Kadamba of Bankapur minor Kadamba dynasty. These Kadamba kings had resettled them at 1. Talgunda, Karnataka and 2. Page20 2. As gathered from Dr. Still later on, they came to be known as Chitpavans, presumably in Konkan. This etymology is not understood by others jealous of Chitpavans.