Saturday, 10 January 2015

Rishi Garga. The Origin of Garga Brahmin Gotra



Garga Muni author of Garga samhita was born to Rishi Bharadwaja and Suseela. He was a Brahma-Kshatriyas or what we call Warrior Brahmins, who have a Kshatriya charateristic as their mother is one. According to Anuloma marriage though the father is technically a Brahmin the child sort of inherits the kshatriya traits from their mothers. Dronacharya and Devavarnini (Kubera’s mother) are his half brother and half sister. Gargya was the son of Garga, the author of some of the Sukthas of the Atharvana Veda. Gargi Vachaknavi was too a hermit who was named after the sage Garga, in whose lineage she was born; she inherited her  name  from her father Vachaknu and mother Gargī.

We unfortunately do not have much information on Garga Muni, all the information is from Garga Samhita. Ashram of Garg Muni was at Dunagiri . Garga Rishi is one of the important 18 Saints of astrology.

Of the descendents of Garga some became Brahmins and migrated westwards and joined the Yavanas (Ionians) and possibly why we referred to Greek mathematicians and astronomers as Gargacharyas. Yet another branch of Gargas became Vaishya who are mostly come from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana. 


In the Narada purana there is this story about the three rakshasas who lived near the bank of the river Narmada who tried to gobble up Garga Rishi and failed. But then the Muni realised that they were who they were because of a curse they got, so he sprinkled the water of the Ganges on them with a Tulsi leaf, which got them reinstated to their original form. One of these rakshasas was Soudasa who was in actuality King Kalmashapada, who was turned into a Rakshasa by Sage Vaisishtha.
In India astrology is considered to be an important aspect of Vedas and Garga is one of the founders of the subject. Astrology Samhita written in ancient scriptures includes Narad Samhita , Garga Samhita, Bhrigu Samhita, Arun Samhita, Ravana Samhita, Varahi Samhita, etc are some of the major samhita scriptures.
 His work Garga Samhita is based on the six fractions of the astrological science. His work Garga Purana lays down the rules of astrology in detail. Garga Muni’s major contribution is in the field of Vaastushastra and Ayurveda. He laid the foundation for the future research in these fields. Rishi Garga starts the list of twenty seven nakshatra’s starting with Krittika. Choice of Krittika as the first of twenty-seven is very significant as it is in contrast with the Jyothisha saastra we follow that uses Ashwini as the first star
But thats not all that Garga Samhita deals with: it is also a place where we find accounts of life of Lord Krishna. There is a detailed account of Krishna’s character. There is but one variation in the story of Krishna here. Here he is said to have been married to Radha, his childhood friend and one of the gopis.
Vasudeva approaches Garga Muni after few months of Lord Krishnas birth and beseeches him to go to Nanda to calculate the horoscope of the Lord. He was the priest for the Yadu dynasty. Nanda received Garga Muni with respect and enquired the reason for his holy presence. Nanda knew about his astrological knowledge. He requested Garga Muni to bless Krishna and Balrama. Then to Nanda he explained the reason for his visit but he did not explicitly tell him that Krishna as Vasudeva’s child although they knew that Balarama was, as Rohini was Vasudevas wife, but then he did not reveal that Balarama was also transferred from Devaki’s womb.
Garga Muni decided to name the child without much pomp as not to arouse any suspicion in the mind of Kamsa. He predicted that Balarama would have a very pleasing personality so he was to be called Rama and in the future he would also acquire a lot of strength for this reason he would be called Balarama/ Baladeva. Garga also said that he would also be called Sankarshana as he brings to two families together.

Nanda is given many hints about the greatness of Krishna. Garga muni told him that he was a very extraordinary boy. He warned Nanda about the problems the child will encounter but he will be protected by his grace Lord Vishnu. He predicted that he would be given a name Giridhari because of his past times at Govardhana hills. He told him that Krishna would be very pleasing to all the cowherd men and cows, would be the cause of all good fortune, he overcome all kinds of material calamities, despite opposing elements. He warned that there would be various attempts on Krishna life by many demons, so Garga Muni asked him to careful and protect Him. And he named him as "Krishna" after receiving the name while he was in meditation. In various ways he described the
transcendental qualities of his son.
Garga Samhita ("The narrations of Garga") is a book written by the sage Garga and deals with the life of Krishna. This Garga Samhita is different from the astrological treatise with the same name Garga Samhita. Only fragments of the astrological text with the name Garga samhita is available; but the whole of the devotional text with the name Garga Samhita mentioned here is available. It is assumed to have been written during later the vedic period (900 - 500 BCE). Research show this samhita belong to Pancharatragama.
The several "khanda" or chapters of the book are :

  • Goloka-khanda
  • Vrndavana-khanda
  • Giriraja-khanda
  • Madhurya-khanda
  • Mathura-khanda
  • Dvaraka-khanda
  • Visvajit-khanda
  • Balabhadra-khanda
  • Vijnana-khanda
  • Asvamedha-khanda
The two chapters of the Yuga Purana are also part of the astrological Garga Samhita.
RIVER GAGAS ( Named after Garga Muni)
The Gagas river originates in the sacred forests of Pandokholi in Almora district, of the Kumaon Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand. The river evolves largely through the flow of over fourteen major streams or gadheras on both banks, and flows for about 50 kms prior to merging with Ramganga (West) river. Gagas river basin is spread over 500 square kms with a population of over 120,000 spread in 370 village.
It is a historic area in Almora district in the state of Uttarakhand in India. Approximately 400 km (250 mi) from Delhi, a cluster of six small villages forms the place that is variously known as Dunagiri, Drongiri and Doonagiri. 116 such villages combine to form the Development Block of Dwarahat, which falls under the District of Almora. Located at a height of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level, Dunagiri is famous within Kumaon for its temple of Shakti – known here as Dunagiri Devi.
According to the local tradition, the town has been regularly visited by sages (Rishi-Munis) of India who established their ashrams here in the midst of nature. Ashram of Garg Muni was at Dunagiri after whom river Gagas is said to have been named. Sukhdev Muni’s ashram (son of sage Ved Vyasa) was also here, at a place now known as “Sukh Devi”. During their period of anonymous travel, the Pandavas of Mahabharata took shelter at Dunagiri. Pandukholi is said to be the place near Dunagiri where they stayed for a period of time. Pandav’s Guru Dronacharya also did tapasya (devout austerity) at Dunagiri.Dunagiri is mentioned in Manas khand of Skanda Purana. Dunagiri Devi is described as Mahamaya Harpriya (Manaskhand, 36.17-18).Manaskhand of Skandpuran bestows Dunagiri with the title of Brahm-parvat (Divine Mountain). Among all the Shakti temples of Kumaon, Dunagiri is counted amid the most ancient ‘Sidh Shaktipeeth’, as a primary ‘ugra’ (intense) ‘peeths’ - called ‘Ugra Peeth’.
Dunagiri in Satya Yuga: An ancient Vaishnavi Shakti-peeth, Dunagiri is where Bhairavi, the consort of Bhairav or Lord Shiva himself, turns into Vaishnavi Mata. Bhairavi, the Divine Mother of Tantra at the last stage, turns into Vaishnavi Mata while awarding liberation to Her devotee, because only in the form of Vaishnavi does She award liberation. Dunagiri hill in the Himalayas is the secret shrine (gupt shakti peeth) of Vaishnavi Mata. Till today, there are only two Vaishnavi Shaktipeeths (energy centers) in India. One is in Jammu within Kashmir and the other is the Vaishnavi Devi temple at Dunagiri. These ancient temples, ashrams and mystic spots of Dunagiri are within a short walking distance from Dunagiri Retreat.
Dunagiri in Treta Yuga: Dunagiri finds mention in the story of Ramayana as being the hill where Sanjeevani booti was obtained by Lord Hanuman to revive an unconscious Lakshman in battle of Lanka. Hanuman is often depicted flying through the sky carrying part of a hill. This hill is Dunagiri. Lord Ram’s younger brother, Bharat, also meditated at a hill overlooking Dunagiri. This hilll, still named after him, is now known as Bhatkot (originally Bharat-kot). Dunagiri Retreat faces Bhatkot. Known for its healing effects and various medicinal herbs, the hills of Dunagiri are still filled with numerous species of medicinal plants and herbs that grow naturally in forests around here.
Dunagiri in Dwapara Yuga: The serenity and solitude of Dunagiri has been attracting spiritual seekers from a considerable time. Sages of Dwapara Yuga came to the hills of Dunagiri to meditate in solitude.  These sages are mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata. Sage Bharatmuni renounced worldly life and came to Dunagiri to meditate. Dronacharya, the royal guru to Pandavas and Kauravas meditated at Dunagiri (Dunagiri or Drongiri is named after Dronacharya). Dronacharya’s brother, Garg muni, one of the greatest sages of the Puranic times, also meditated at Dunagiri. River Gagas that orginates at Dunagiri is named after Garg muni. Dronacharya and Garga were sons of Rishi Bharadwaja, one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages) of this epoch. Sage Sukhdev muni (son of sage Ved Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata) meditated at Dunagiri. Shakuntala and Dushyant’s son, king Bharat after whom India is named as “Bharatvarsh” was born at Dunagiri. Pandava’s too spent time here during their period of anonymous exile. Their abode, now known as “Pandukholi”, is a popular trek from Dunagiri Retreat. The spot offers stunning views of the highest snow peaks of Indian Himalayas such as Nanda devi and Trishul. Dunagiri is the origin point of river Gagas, a river named after Garg muni. You can walk to the origin point of this river as it is within walking distance from Dunagiri Retreat.



Dunagiri in Kali Yuga: In more recent times, Dunagiri was the spot chosen by Mahavatar Babaji to give Kriya Yoga initiation to Lahiri Mahashaya, hence Dunagiri in known as the birthplace of Kriya Yoga. A golden palace was materialized here, as mentioned in the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda Paramhansa. It is also at Dunagiri that Mahavatar Babaji is said to have given initiation to Haidakhan baba in Manas Yog, to Neem Karoli baba in Mantra yoga, and to Sombari baba in Pashupat yoga. Other saints who meditated at Dunagiri are: Harnarayan Swami, Ram Baba, Mahatama Laxminarayan Das, Nantin Baba, Mahant Balwant Giri, MK Bhattacharya, Swami Satyaeshwarnananda Giri.

Divinity in form of Mother Goddess: Dunagiri hill is the shrine or seat of Sri Sri Vaishnavi Mata Bhagvati Jagdamba. Sri Sri Vaishnavi Mata is the presiding form of Divine Mother among the other forms worshiped in the Valley. Navadurgas at Dronachal Valley are: 1.Vaishnavi Mata (Shailaputri) 2.Kali, Kalika (Brahmacharini) 3.Sitaladevi (Chandraghanta) 4.Dipadevi (Kusmanda) 5. Kuladevi (Skandamata) 6. Jwaladevi (Katyayani) 7. Hulkadevi (Kalaratri) 8. Kasinidevi (Mahagauri) 9.Harsinidevi (Siddhidatri). Dunagiri is mentioned in Manaskhand of Skandpuran. Mother Goddess at Dunagiri is described as Mahamaya Harpriya (Manaskhand, 36.17-18). The distinctive qualities of Durga at Dunagiri as shul-hasta,  mahishasur-ghatini, sinh-vahini are described. In Manaskhand. Dunagiri Devi is also referred to as Vahyamati which identifies it with its Vedic roots. In Vedic times Durga was known to be a form of Agni. Till today, there are only two Vaishnavi Shaktipeeths (energy centers) in India. One is in Jammu within Kashmir and the other is the Vaishnavi Devi temple at Dunagiri. Among all the Shakti temples of Kumaon, Dunagiri is counted amid the most ancient ‘Sidh Shaktipeeth’. It is counted amongst the primary ‘ugra’ (intense) ‘peeths’, i.e., amongst the primary intense centers of energy.

Shwetashwetupanishad is believed to have been inspired/composed at Dunagiri. Fourth chapter of Shwetashwetupanishad ponders over divinity in context of duality of Purush and Prakriti, taking inspiration from Dunagiri’s twin natural peaks (one can see these twin rock pieces inside Dunagiri temple). Hence Manaskhand of Skandpuran bestows Dunagiri with the title of Brahm-parvat (Divine Mountain).



  1. A very Important Information related to my gotra thank you ....good research appreciated

  2. You have any information about kuldevi of garg gotra

  3. Hi ,
    is it possible to have surname yadav and have gotra gargi ????.

    Pls let me know .Thanks!!


  4. Wow.. this is a great piece of information...
    Does the Garg samhitha or Srimad Bhagavatm( Bhagavata purana) have conversations between Maharishi Garg and Lord Krishna??