Gotra; 12 Definition(s)


Gotra means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

[Gotra in Vyakarana glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र).—lit. family. The word is used by Panini in the technical sense of a descendant except the son or a daughter; cf. अपत्यं पौत्रप्रभृति गोत्रम् (apatyaṃ pautraprabhṛti gotram) P. IV. 1.162. The word गोत्रापत्य (gotrāpatya) is also used in the same sense. The affix, which is found many times in the sense of gotra, barring the usual अण् (aṇ), is यञ् (yañ) ; cf. गर्गादिभ्यो यञ् (gargādibhyo yañ) P. IV. 1.105.

(Source): Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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[Gotra in Purana glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र).—A son of Vasiṣṭha. Vasiṣṭha had of his wife Ūrjjā seven sons named Rajas, Gotra, Ūrddhvabāhu, Savana, Anagha, Sutapas and Śukra. These holy men were saptarṣis in the third Manvantara. (Chapter 1, Viṣṇu Purāṇa).

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

Gotra (गोत्र).—A son of Ūrjā and Vasiṣṭha.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 10. 13.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

[Gotra in Jyotisha glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र).—Among Brāhmaṇas, a lineage tracing its descent to one of the legendary sages of Hinduism. Note: Gotra is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[Gotra in Hinduism glossaries]

In Hindu society, the term gotra means clan. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patriline. Gotra can be used as surname but it is different from surname and is strictly maintained because of its importance in marriages among Hindus and especially among high Hindu-castes.

Pāṇini defines gotra for grammatical purposes as apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram (IV. 1. 162), which means "the word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son." When a person says "I am Kashyapa-gotra," he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent.

According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6, Gautama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vashishtha and Kaśhyapa, and Atri are seven sages (also known as Saptarishi); the progeny of these eight sages is declared to be gotras. This enumeration of eight primary gotras seems to have been known to Pāṇini. The offspring (apatya) of these eight are gotras and others than these are called gotrâvayava.

As a Rigvedic term, gotra simply means "cow shelter" and more generally "stable, enclosure". The narrowed meaning "family, lineage kin" (as it were "herd within an enclosure") is younger, first recorded around the mid 1st millennium BCE (e.g., Chandogya Upanishad). These "lineages" as they developed during that time meant patri-lineal descent among Brahmins (the Brahmin gotra system), warriors and administrators in Kshatriyas and ancestral tradesmen in Vaisyas.

There exists another theory about gotra: sons of rishi and disciples of the gurukul would have same gotra. It is believed that they possess similar thought and philosophy. People of same gotra can be found in different castes.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[Gotra in Mahayana glossaries]

Gotra-bhūmi (गोत्र):—One of the ten grounds shared by adepts of the three Vehicles (sādhāraṇabhūmi). The śrāvaka [conquers the four nirvedhabhāgīya kuśalamūla, roots of good leading to penetration of the noble truths], from heat (uṣmagata) up to the supreme worldly dharmas (laukikāgradharma). The bodhisattva, however, obtains the preparatory conviction (anulomikī kṣānti) [during the shared ground no. 6, Abhimukhī]; he is attached to the true nature of dharmas (dharmāṇāṃ dharmatā), no longer produces any wrong views (mithyādṛṣṭi) and obtains the water of the dhyāna-samāpattis.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Gotra in Jainism glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र, “status”) or Gotrakarma refers to one of the eight types of karma, according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 2.1.—What is the meaning of status-determining (gotra) karma? The karmas which determine the status of a living being compared to other living beings in the same realm.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 2: the Category of the living

Gotra (गोत्र) or Gotrakarma refers to “status-determining” and represents one of the eight types of Prakṛti-bandha (species bondage): one of the four kinds of bondage (bandha) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra chapter 8.—Accordingly, “what is meant by status determining karma (gotra)? The karmas which determine the high or low status family of the living beings in the same realm is called status determining karma... The karmas rise of which determine’s the birth in a particular family (heredity attribute) in the same realm is called status determining karma”.

There are two types of status determining karmas (gotra):

  1. high status (ucca-gotra),
  2. low status (nīca-gotra).

Who can have both high and low status? The human beings of the region of labour (Karmabhūmi) can have both high and low status.

(Source): Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 8: Bondage of karmas
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

[Gotra in India history glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र) is traditionally understood to connote a brahman family’s affiliation to one or another particular ancient sage (ṛṣi). This is not translatable into a succinct English expression.

(Source): Eknāth Remembered and Reformed
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

[Gotra in Marathi glossaries]

gōtra (गोत्र).—n (S) Family, race, lineage, kin. 2 m The founder of a race. gōtra utaraṇēṃ-jamaṇēṃ-yēṇēṃ To be suitable for the formation of affinity;--said of families or a family when intermarriage is contemplated. gōtra miḷaṇēṃ To confederate or combine. 2 To mingle or mix gen. gōtra lāgaṇēṃ in. con. To hold relation unto. gōtrīṃ lāgaṇēṃ To get into a family by adoption. 2 fig. To become addicted to. See nādīṃ lāgaṇēṃ. 3 To fall within the province or sphere of--a business. Some compounds are gōtravadha, gōtrahatyā, gōtra- sambandha, gōtravicāra, gōtraghaṭita.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

gotra (गोत्र).—n Family, race, lineage, kin. gōtra jamaṇēṃ To be suitable for the formation of affinity. To confederate or combine. gōtravadha Internecine slaughter. gōtrakuṭhāra A foe to one's own kinsmen. gōtrapurūṣa- -bandhu m A kinsman, cognate, kin.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Gotra in Sanskrit glossaries]

Gotra (गोत्र).—[gāṃ bhūmiṃ trāyate trai-ka]

1) a cow-pen.

2) a stable in general.

3) a family, race, lineage; गोत्रेण माठरोऽस्मि (gotreṇa māṭharo'smi) Sk.; so कौशिकगोत्राः, वसिष्ठगोत्राः (kauśikagotrāḥ, vasiṣṭhagotrāḥ) &c.; Ms.3.19,9.141.

4) a name, appellation; जगाद गोत्र- स्खलिते च का न तम् (jagāda gotra- skhalite ca kā na tam) N.1.3; Ś.6.5; see °स्खलित (skhalita) below; मद्गोत्राङ्कं विरचितपदं गेयमुद्गातुकामा (madgotrāṅkaṃ viracitapadaṃ geyamudgātukāmā) Me.88.

5) a multitude.

6) increase.

7) a forest.

8) a field.

9) a road.

1) possessions, wealth.

11) an umbrella, a parasol.

12) knowledge of futurity.

13) a genus, class, species.

14) a caste, tribe, caste according to families.

-traḥ a mountain; 'गोत्रं नाम्नि कुलेऽप्यद्रौ (gotraṃ nāmni kule'pyadrau)' इति यादवः (iti yādavaḥ); Śi.9.8. Hence गोत्रोद्दलनः (gotroddalanaḥ) means Indra; cf. इन्द्रे तु गोत्रोद्दलनः कुलघ्ने गिरिदारणे (indre tu gotroddalanaḥ kulaghne giridāraṇe) Nm. (-trā) 1 a multitude of cows.

Derivable forms: gotram (गोत्रम्).

Gotra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms go and tra (त्र).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Mātṛgotra (मातृगोत्र).—a mother's family. Derivable forms: mātṛgotram (मातृगोत्रम्).Mātṛgotra i...
Gotrakarma (गोत्रकर्म) or simply Gotra refers to one of the eight types of karma, according to ...
Uccagotra (उच्चगोत्र) refers to “high status” and represents one of the two types of Gotra (sta...
Nīcagotra (नीचगोत्र) refers to “ status” and represents one of the two types of Gotra (sta...
Samānagotra (समानगोत्र).—= सगोत्र (sagotra) q. v. Samānagotra is a Sanskrit compound consisting...
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Śāṇḍilyagotra (शाण्डिल्यगोत्र).—the family of Śāṇḍilya.Derivable forms: śāṇḍilyagotram (शाण्डिल...
Atri Gotra originates in the lineage of Brahmarshi Atri and Anasuya Devi (Without-Spite). Anasu...
Padagotra (पदगोत्र).—a family supposed to preside over a particular class of words. Derivable f...
Anyagotra (अन्यगोत्र).—a. of a different family or lineage. Anyagotra is a Sanskrit compound co...
Kauśikagotra (कौशिकगोत्र).—Got different pravaras from the Visvāmitras;1 about 25 among ...
Gotranadī (गोत्रनदी) is the name of a river mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa that remains uniden...
Gotraskhalita (गोत्रस्खलित, “blunder in addressing”) refers to one of the twenty-one sandhyanta...
Śakti (शक्ति) refers to “inborn intuitive intellectual power” according to Ācārya Rudraṭa.—He i...
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