Why TamBrahms do not have Surnames?

If you are Tambrahm you are often asked as to why you have no surname. For example my name is Venkatraman Pichumani. Venkatraman is my name and Pichumani is my fathers name. So thats it. Nothing else.

Many others add either the village name ( Navsariwalla, Goregoankar, Nemmara ) or the profession of their ancestors ( Broker, Patel, Kulkarni ).

If you really look at it the surname is all about declaring your lineage. It tells someone that you are A child of B of the lineage of Village name / Profession.

But we desist from both. We take great pride in tracing our ancestry and lineage from the roots of time by recalling the sage/s from whom we are descended.

Every Tambrahm kid, when his upanayanam ( thread ) ceremony is performed is taught his Abhivadyae. This is learnt by rote and repeated every time he does namaskaram to elders.

Mine is “Abhivadyae Vishwamitra Aghamarshana Kaushika TriyaRishya Pravaranvita Kaushik Gotra ShuklaYajur Vedi KatyanaSutra Shri Venkatrama Sharmanaham Asmiboho ”

So there, that is my root..my ancestry..my lineage.

But that would make a pretty long surname for sure.

And enough of the long Tamil name jokes already ๐Ÿ™‚

These two links give a fuller explanation of the above

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhivadaye
http://www.heritagewiki.org/images/b/b9/Abhivadaye-English.pdf

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4 thoughts on “Why TamBrahms do not have Surnames?

  1. “Initials indicate town and parentage…. But that’s for lesser folk who have to announce their antecedents.” – Margayya in the novel The Financial Expert by R. K. Narayan!

  2. Venkat – this post takes me on a spin. After which I’m back here to share what I learn and also offer you my virtual manaseega salutations.
    Abhivadhaye – I, who am
    Angirasa Bharahaspatya Bharadhwaja- Triyarishaya Pravaranvita – (with the lineage (Pravara) from the 3 rishis (Triya Rishaya) – Angirasa (son on Brahma), Brihaspati (s/o Angirasa) and Bhardhwaja (s/o Brihaspati, and also incidentally is the father of Drona and grandfather of Ashwathama)
    Bharadhwaja Gotra (my gotram – the unbroken male lineage or patriline, clan)
    Aapasthamba Sutra (follower of the Aapasthamba Sutra )
    Yajurshaakadhayee (of that branch of the Veda’s called Yajur vedam)
    Vigneshwara sharma (with given name of Vigneshwara)
    aham asmi ( I am)
    Bho – I salute thee.
    _/\_

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