Ancient temple of Shri Chitraguptajee in KhajurahoAccording to Hindu Vedic Scriptures and Hindu Mythology, the world was created by Bramha, the Creator. Lord Bramha first created 16 Sons from various parts of his own body. Chitragupt, his 17th creation, is believed to be created from Lord Bramha's Mind & Soul.
Shree Chitraguptjee is divine incarnation in human form, and is called Kayastha since he is the only creation of Lord Bramha who was created in entirety (kaya) from the Lord's body, unlike the other 16 sons who were created only from various parts of the body. Shree Chitraguptjee (and hence the Kayastha's) were accorded a dual-caste status, namely Kshatriya (Warrior) and Brahmin (The Learned).
The Kayastha trace their genealogy from Lord Chitragupta. It is said that after Lord Brahma had created the four Varnas (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras), Yama (Dharamraj) requested Lord Brahma to help him record the deeds, both good and evil, of men and to administer justice.
According to the scriptures, Lord Brahma went into meditation for 11,000 years and when he opened his eyes he saw a man holding a pen and ink-pot in his hands, as well as a sword girdled to his waist. Lord Brahma spoke: ``Thou hast been created from my body (Kaya); therefore, shall thy progeny be known as the Kayasthas. Thou hast been conceived in my mind (Chitra) and in secrecy (gupta); thy name shall also be Chitragupta.
Brahma then enjoined him to dispense justice and punish those who violated the dharma. Thus, the Kayasthas were accorded a dual caste, Brahman/Kshatriya.
In the legends of Chitragupta as well as in the Vedas, he is referred to as the greatest king, while the rest are "Rajakas," or little kings.
चित्र इद राजा राजका इदन्यके यके सरस्वतीमनु ।
पर्जन्य इव ततनद धि वर्ष्ट्या सहस्रमयुता ददत ॥ RIG VEDA Book 8/ Hymn 21/ Stanza 18
In the Garud Purana, Chitragupta is hailed as the first man to give the script.
"Chitragupta namastubhyam vedaksaradatre" (Obeisance to Chitragupta, the giver of letters)
The Rig Veda mentions an invocation to be made to Chitragupta before offering sacrifice. There is also a special invocation to Chitragupta as Dharmraj (Lord of Justice) to be made at the performance of shradh or other rituals.
"Om tat purushaya vidmahe Chitragupta dhimahi tena lekha prachodayata."
The priests also pay reverence to Shri Chitragupta :
"Yamam Dharmarajya Chitraguptaya vain namah."'
Lord Chitragupta is the Athi Devathai for Kethu, one of the Navagrahas, and those who worship Chitragupta, would be bestowed with prosperity. Also the evil effects of Kethu during its transit period would be mitigated.
The birthday of Shree Chitraguptaji is celebrated on Yamadwitiya and Chitraguptajayanti Puja is performed on this day.
The privileges of performing religious duties related to Yamaraj and Chitraguptaji are reserved by the Kayasthas. Of these, one of most important is the Chitraguptajayanti Puja. The greatness of this yajna is that whoever performs it, is spared the punishments of hell, whatever his records of deeds be.
The ancient story related to this is now told. There was a mighty king, who had subjugated the whole world by his ambition to be the supreme King of Kings. The stories of his cruel deeds had spread to all the corners of the world. His name was uttered only with great respect and a greater fear at heart, for everyone knew that his deeds were vile and extreme. His name was Sudass, the King of Saurastra, his capital, from where he ruled his vast empire with an iron fist. He was known to be one of most ‘Adharmi’ (nearest meaning: ‘irreligious and one who crosses the threshold of Dharma’) and perpetrator of ‘Paap’ (nearest meaning: ‘sins’). All through his extensive kingdom, it was known that their king had never ever done a ‘Punya’ in his evil life. This King was fond of hunting, and once on a hunting spree, was lost in the jungle. Unable to find his way out, and unknown to fears of any kind, he decided to see what his jungles were like. He went on exploring the jungles when he heard the sound certain ‘Mantras’ coming from North. He headed for the place where the mantras where being chanted. There he found a few Brahmins performing a yajna and few common people sitting to witness this. The king lost his cool on seeing a puja being performed without his consent. He thus spoke with thunder in his voice:
“I am King Sudass, the King of Kings. Salute me you foolish men. Who are you and what are you doing here? I demand an answer.”
The group of priests kept on chanting their mantra and paid no heed to the angry king, all the while people sitting at some distance and witnessing the yajna being performed kept mum, being afraid of the king. On being so ignored the king lost his cool and raised his sword to hit the head priest. Seeing this, the youngest of the priests stood up and spoke thus:
“Stop! King Sudass, stop! Don’t turn this opportunity into a disaster. You have been sent here not to be condemned but saved.”
On hearing these words the King became interested and said, “You, young boy, have great courage and knowledge for your age. Will you elaborate on what you have just said?”
The young priest said to the King, “O Sudass, you call yourself the King of Kings: how mistaken you are! When you die you would be subjugated to such punishments that your pride will vanish in thin air. You want to know who these men are and what are they doing and what is the purport of my speech. Then listen:
We are the sons of Lord Chitragupta, whom the great Rigveda call the true King of Kings, and whose title you are not worth stealing. We are Kayasthas and we are performing yajna to our Lord Yamaraj and our progenitor Maharaj Chitrgupta on this great day of Yamadwitiya. O King Sudass, whoever performs this puja is spared the punishments of hell. You can be free from hell if you will only submit to Yamaraj and Chitraguptaji, who has the record of all the sins that you have done in your vile life! Nothing in this world is hidden from Him and only He could save you. On one hand is salvation and on the other is hell. Come, join us or kill us all.”
The king was left dumbfounded and followed the young priest as if in a trance. He then performed the puja with full devotion and the exact procedure. Thereafter he took the ‘prasaad’ and went back to his kingdom with the other men.
There are several temples in India, particularly in South India, enshrining the Lord Chitragupta. The most famous of them is located at Kanchipuram .
One of the ancient temples of Chitraguptaji is situated in Khajuraho.
The Family Tree
Shree Chitraguptaji married Devi Nandani and Devi Shobhavati and had twelve divine Sons. The 12 Sons started the 12 main branches of Brahma Kayastha.
The 12 clans of Brahma Kayastha:
Sons of Mata Shobhavati
Shree Charu (Mathur): He was a disciple of sage Mathure, Rashi name was Dhurandhar, was married to Devi Pankajakshi and worshipped Devi Durga. Mathureshwari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Charu to establish a Kingdom in the Mathara region (between Mahanadi and Krishna River in Orissa). His descendants were known as the Mathurs. After defeating the demons, a term regularly used for the anti-Vedic tribes, they established the Kingdom of Mathara. This done, they also propagated to other part of Aryavartha. In the meanwhile they were further divided into 3 sub-divisions 1.The Mathurs of Mathara, 2.The Pancholi or Panchali of Pnachal Kingdom where in garwhal hills there is town of Mathara 3.The Kacchi of Gujrat. The Mathurs seemed to enjoy a long history of ruling many Kingdoms, the most important of which was Ayodhya, ruled by them before the Raghuvanshis took the reign. They are divided into 84 Als. They established Pandya Kingdom covering Madurai Trinivelli etc. They sent an emissary to the Roman Emperor Augustus Ceasar.
Shree Sucharu (Gaur): He was a disciple of sage Vashista, Rashi name was Dharamdutta and worshipped Devi Shakambari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Sucharu to establish a Kingdom in the Gaud region. Shree Sucharu married Devi Mandhiya, the daughter of Nagaraj Vasuki. The gaurs are divided into five divisions: 1.Khare, 2.Doosre, 3.Bengali, 4.Dehlavi, 5.Vadanyuni. Gaur Kaystha have been further sub divided in 32 Als. Bhagdutta of Mahabharat and Rudradutta of Kalinga were famous.
Shree Chitraksh (Bhatnagar): He was a disciple of sage Bhat, was married to Devi Bhadrakalini and worshipped Devi Jayanti. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Chitraksh to establish a Kingdom in the region of Bhat river at Bhattdesh and Malwa.They established Chittor and Chitrakoot He settled then there and his progeny came to be known as Bhatnagar. They are divided into 84 Als.
Shree Matimaan (Saxena): He was married to Devi Kokalesh and worshipped Devi Shakambari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Matimaan to establish a Kingdom in the Shak region. His(Shree Matimaan’s) son was a great warrior and established His kingdom in the modern day Kabul-Kandhar and Eurasia region and as they were sakha ( friends Of Sena )the progeny was called Shaksena or Saksena, a part of modern Iran was under their rule. Today they are abundantly found in the regions of Kannuaj,Pilibhit, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Badayu, Farrukhabad, Etta, Mainpuri, Aligarh. They are divided into Khare and Dusare and had 106 main Als at present. According to RC Majumdar, they were kings Shena of Shakas hence Shakashena which anglicised to Saxena.
Shree Himvaan (Ambashth): His Rashi name was Sarandhar, was married to Devi Bhujangakshi and worshipped Devi Amba-Mata. Settled in Girnar and kathiawar area called Amba-sthan, hence the name. Shree Himvaan had five divine sons Shree Nagasen, Shree Gayasen, Shree Gayadatta, Shree Ratanmool and Shree Devdhar and they married Gandharvyakanyas. These five Sons settled at different locations and accordingly their lineage spread their rule over these and were further divided into: Nagasen: 24 Als, Gayasen: 35 Als , Gayadatta: 85 Als, Ratanmool: 25 Als, Devdhar: 21 Als. Later they settled in Punjab after their defeat by Alexander's general and then by Chandragupt Maurya.
Shree Chitracharu (Nigam): His Rashi name was Sumant, was married to Devi Ashgandhmati and worshipped Devi Durga. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Chitracharu to establish a Kingdom in the Mahakoshal and the Nigam region (on the bank of river Saryu). His progeny were very proficient in the rules laid in Vedas and the Shastras, hence Nigam. Today they live in Kanpur, Fatehpur, Hamirpur, Banda, Jalon, Mahoba. They are divided into 43 main Als.
Shree Aruncharu (Karna): His Rashi name was Damodar, was married to Devi Kamakala and worshipped Devi Laxmi. They were Vaishnavites. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Aruncharu to establish a Kingdom in the Karna region (modern day Karnataka). His progeny slowly migrated to the Northern Kingdoms and now live abundantly in the present day Nepal, Orissa and Bihar. The Bihar branch is further divided into two; namely the ‘Gayaval Karna’ who settled in Gaya and the ‘Maithil-Karna’ who settled in the Mithila region.Later they adopted Buddhism. They are divided into an astounding 360 Als; this huge figure is attributed to the families who migrated in different phases from South. The clan has nothing to do with Karna of Mahabharata.
Shree Jitendra (Kulshreshtha): His Rashi name is Sadananda, was married to Devi Manjubhashini and worsipped Devi Laxmi. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Atiyendriya(also known as Jitendra) to establish a Kingdom in the Kannauj region. Shree Atiyendriya was one of the most religious and pious ascetic of the twelve Sons. He was known as ‘Dharmatama’ and ‘Pundit’ and was a master of passions; His progeny came to be known as Kulshrestha. Today the Kulshreshthas live abundantly in Mathura, Agra, Fawrookhabad, Etah, Etahwa and Mainpuri.A few are in Nandigaon ,Benga. Like Shree Shekhar kulsreshtha and Sugam Kulshreshtha as in Jalesar ( Etah ) Both of them were renowed writer.
Sons of Mata Nandani
Shree Shribhanu(Srivastava): His Rashi name was Dharamdwaj. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Shribhanu to establish a Kingdom in the Shrivaas(Srinagar)region in Kashmir and Kandhar. He was married to Nagaraj Vaasuki’s daughter Devi Padmini and two divine sons named Shree Devdatta and Shree Ghanshyam were born. Shree Devdatta got the rulership over Kashmir and Shree Ganshyam got the rulership over the banks of Sindhu river. They were called Srivastava ‘Khare’ born from second wife Kheri.Two divine sons named Shree Dhanvantari and Shree Sarvagya were born. They were called Srivastava ‘Doosre’.The Srivastavas are divided into 65 main Als.
Shree Vibhanu (Suryadhwaj): His Rashi name was Shyamsunder, was married to Devi Malti. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Vibhanu to establish the Kingdom in northern parts of the Kashmir region. Since Mother Dakshina was the daughter of Suryadev, the progeny of Shree Vibhanu carried the emblem of the Sun God on their flags and were called Suryadhwaj.Jarasandha of Mahabharat and Jamnaya of Taxila were well known.Later they settled at Magadh
Shree Vishwabhanu (Valmiki): His Rashi name was Deendayal and worshipped Devi Shakumbhari. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Vishwabhanu to establish a Kingdom in Valmiki region near Chirakoot and Narmada. Shree Vishwabhanu was married to Nagakanya Devi Bimbvati. He’s known to have spend a great part of his life practicing intense meditation(Tapasya) on the banks of river Narmada, when covered with the leaves of creeper Valmiki.His progeny were known as Valmiki.They became Vallabhpanthi. His son Shree Chandrakant settled in Gujarat while the other Sons migrated with their families to the North, near river Ganga and the Himalayas. Today they live in Gujarat and Maharashtra. They are also known as ‘Vallabhi Kayastha’ in Gujarat.
Shree Viryabhanu (Asthana): His Rashi name Madhavrao, was married to Devi Singhdwani. Maharaj Chitraguptji sent Shree Viryabhanu to establish a Kingdom in Adhisthana. His progeny came to be known as Asthana as Ramnagar-Varanasi's king bestowed them with eight jewels.Some say that they had no fixed sthan, hence the name. Today the Asthanas live abundantly in various districts of U.P. In Bihar they live in Saran, Sivaan, Champaran, Mujjafarpur, Sitamadhi, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur regions. Their population is also notable in U.P.’s neighboring state M.P. They are divided into 5 main Als.
These twelve sub-castes are further divided into ALs. A Vansh originates from a King, a Rishi or a Deity and as it grows it divides itself in to several branches. The descendents start to build their own sub-Vansh depending upon the places and situations met, at the same time acknowledging their submission to the MOOL Vansh. These sub-Vansh add specific nouns to their names which in case of the Chirtagupta Vansha(Chitranshi) are called the Als (Kindly be clear upon the point that the 12 main sub-castes are acknowledged divisions based on the family of the 12 Sons, they are not called Als, their further divisions are what Als are) One has to be careful to avoid confusing them with Gotra. Gotra goes after the name of a Vedic Rishi, who was either a Guru, RajGuru or Progenitor of that Vansh. The gotra for a MOOL Vansh is always the same. It is Kashayap for the Kayasthas. Thus, a Vanshaz can be known from his Gotra and Al (The term Kul is often used for Al, though the former has a much broader meaning).The Als can be thousands in number and must be added to the name in conjunction with one of the 12 main sub-castes. The ignorance of this law is precisely the reason why so many can not find their surnames mentioned amongst the 12 main sub-castes.
Aspects of Kayastha culture
Kayasthas practice family exogamyand caste endogamy preferring to marry only within their sub-castes. The individuals of same Al can not intermarry, while those of same caste and different Als can. Thus an individual from Srivastava subcaste and Pandey Al should not marry another Pandey of the same subcaste but can marry an individual belonging to another al of the same subcaste. Though not required, it is still widely practiced as a tradition.
Kayasthas worship ShreeChitraguptaji and on Bhai-Dooj, they celebrate Kalam-Dawaat Pooja (pen, ink-pot and sword worship), a ritual in which pens, papers and books are worshipped. This is the day when Shree Chitraguptji was created by Lord Bramha and Yamaraj got relieved of His duties and used this leave to visit His sister Devi Yamuna; hence the whole world celebrates Bhaiya dooj on this day and the Kayastha celebrate ShreeChitraguptajayanti, i.e. the 'Birthday' of their progenitor.
By worshipping Chitragupta who is their ancestor, kayasthas have the singular distinction of being the only "Ancestor-worshipping" sect of Hinduism.
Unlike most Baniya (Vaishya) or Brahmins, and like Kshatriyas, Kayasthas eat onions, garlic, meats like mutton and chicken, fish and eggs, though a large number are also vegetarians. Meat eating kayasthas do avoid beef as the cow is considered sacred for Hindus.
It is believed though not yet proved that Kayasthas of holy towns like Prayag, Mathura, Varanasi, etc. are purely vegetarians, while in other areas they may be mixed. It is said that Kayasthas started eating meat during the Muslim period when they socially mixed with the Muslims. It is also said that Kayasthas have the best eating sense, because amongst Hindus, Kayasthas add the largest varieties of food to their diet.
Of all the other castes in India, Kayasthas are the easiest to mingle with other castes. They did this when the Muslims came to India, and modern examples of this are Kayasthas outside India where they mingle with other castes more than they mingle among themselves. This cosmopolitan outlook distinguishes members of this caste, and along with the great emphasis on education, is to a large extent responsible for their success in changing times.
Kayastha ministers find mention in Hindu mythology. Prior to the Raghuvanshis, Ayodhya was ruled by Mathur Rulers, progeny of Chitragupta.
The Kayastha who are represented by the "Kayats" or the hereditary caste of the scribes of the present day, formed originally a sub-military class. The Anthropological Survey of India conducted a survey during the British Raj which concluded that the Kayastha community were also influential during the Mauryan period as administrators. Also, many proof have been found that the Hindu Kings used to grant lands to the Kayasthas, a practise enjoyed only by a particular caste. Also, it is but logical to consider the status of the Kayasthas when Sanskrit was the state language under the Hindu Kings.
Kayasthas have a unique distinction of having a script - Kaithi - associated with their name. Kaithi (also known earlier as Kayati, Kayathi or Kayasthi), similar to Dev Nagri, was used mainly by Kayasthas in northern India. It has its own Unicode now.
The Kayastha were one of the most influential Caste in Kashmiri politics around 7th century (ref. Rajatarangini) .The economic status of the Kayastha community bettered than that of other castes when the Muslims conquered India.Other Indian castes would typically not find employment under the Muslim rulers, as they could not learn the Muslim languages of Persian, Arabic and later Urdu . On the other hand, the Kayastha community as a whole traditionally put a lot of emphasis on education and prospered during the Islamic period of India. Many Kayasthas were forced to convert to Islam in this period and adopted the title Shaikh .
Kayasthas down the ages
Kayasthaindia developed expertise in Persian (the state language in Islamic India), learnt Turkish, Arabic and later Urdu, economics, administration and taxation. Kayastha india's successfully adapted themselves as scribes and functionaries under Islamic rule and later on under the British . Their adaptability and lifestyle was an asset which allowed them to succeed. The Kayasthaindia community, in the colonial era, learnt English, whilst the more affluent ones sent their children to England. Many Kayasthaindia became civil servants, tax officers, junior administrators, teachers, legal helpers and barristers. They rose to the highest positions accessible to natives in British India . Kayasthas in modern India
Post independence Kayasthas rose to the highest positions including the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, third Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Swami Vivekananda, Subhash Chandra Bose, Amitabh Bachchan, Raju Srivastava, judges, top civil servants and high ranking officers in the Indian armed forces. Other Kayasthas emigrated to the West in the 1970s and 80s.
Dr Rajendra Prasad rose to become the first President of the Republic of India. Dr Sampurnanand was the first Chief Minister of U.P. and Governor of Rajasthan, besides being a literary figure. Jayaprakash Narayan brought down Indira Gandhi , Subhas Chandra Bose fought the British rule militarily. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Satyendra Nath Bose and Jagdish Chandra Bose were eminent scientists. Munshi Prem Chand, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Satyendra Chandra Mitra a freedom fighter, Raghupat Sahai "Firaque" Gorakhpuri, Dr Vrindavan Lal Verma, Dr. Ram Kumar Verma, Mahadevi Varma , Kamla Chaudhury, Dr Dharm Vir Bharti and Bhagavati Charan Verma have been men of letters. Swami Vivekanand and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi were philosophers. Alakh Kumar Sinha was the first Indian Inspector-General of Police. Gen S.K. Sinha, PVSM, has served as Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Governor of Assam and Governor of Jammu & Kashmir.Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha have excelled in the film world, Raju Srivastava have done best in the field of Comedy, Mukesh, Sonu Nigam in the world of music, and Ambarish Srivastava is in the field of Literature only .
This is a list of noteworthy people of the Kayastha caste of India.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Dr. Rajendra Prasad- The first President of India.
Netajee Subhash Chandra Bose
Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan
Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri
C. D. Deshmukh
Shiv Charan Mathur
Ram Ganesh Gadkari
Dr. Vrindavan Lal Verma
Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Bhagwati Charan Verma
Phanishwar Nath Renu
Acharya Shivpujan Sahay
Acharya Ramlochan Saran
Science & technology
Dr. Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar
Dr. Jagadis Chandra Bose
Dr.Satyendra Nath Bose
Sisir Kumar Mitra
Films, television and music
Neil Nitin Mukesh
Sir Jadunath Sarkar
Banarsi Prasad Saxena
Ashirwadi Lal Srivastava
Shib Sunder Das
Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi
Bipin Chandra Pal
Subhash Chandra Bose
Rash Behari Bose
Tushar Kanti Ghosh
Basanta Kumar De
Sir Sarat Kumar Ghosh
S. K. Sinha
Girish Chandra Saxena
Anami Narayan Roy