Padmashali

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Padmashali
పద్మశాలి
Total population
90,00,000[1] (estimated)
Regions with significant populations
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,
Languages
Telugu
Religion
Om symbol.svg Hinduism

Padmashali (Telugu: పద్మశాలి) is a Telugu-speaking Hindu artisan community. The community members are traditionally weavers who specialise in weaving cloth of all kinds.[2] The community is related to the Brahmins.[2] They originally come from the Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and later some of the community members also moved to the neighbouring Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.[2] Most Padmashalis speak Telugu, except in the Dakshina Kannada district of Coastal Karnataka, where they speak Tulu.[2]

Origin[change | change source]

The term Padmashali is derived from two words Padma and Shali, The Padma means lotus and Shali means weaver.[3] They support their Sanskrit origin with various myths and Puranas such as Kulapurana and Markandeya Purana.[4]

The Padmashalis claim to be descendants from Bhrigu Rishi and Markandeya Rishi, Bhavana Rishi was son of Markandeya Rishi and to Bhavana Rishi were borne one hundred and one son; they took to weaving and the first clothes they wore was out of the fibres of the lotus stem so they came to be known as Padmashalis.[5]

History[change | change source]

The Padmashali community profess to have been following all the religious rites prescribed for Brahmins till the beginning of Kali Yuga.[6][7] One of the members of their caste named Padmasaka declined to reveal the virtues of a miraculous gem which Lord Brahma had given to their caste to Ganesha who sought to learn the secret which they had been enjoined to keep, and who on his wish not being gratified cursed them to fall from their high status.[8] It is said however that one Parabrahmamurti born in Srirama Agrahara pleased Ganesha by his tapas, who relaxed the curse, so that after 5000 years of Kali Yuga, they should regain their Brahminical status.[9][10] This Parabrahmamurti, otherwise known as Padmabavacharya, it is said redistributed the caste into 96 gotras arranged in eight groups and established four Mathas with gurus for them.[9][2]

Padmashalis Today[change | change source]

The Padmashalis divided into two groups based on Sampradaya, being the Shaivas and the Vaishnavas and they worship Shiva and Vishnu.[4]

Although Padmashalis are related to Brahmins, they are considered as a backward (OBC) caste by the Indian government.[2] The community is highly Sanskritised, with all men wearing the sacred thread and performing the similar rituals which Brahmins do, yet most of the community members eat non-vegetarian food and worship local gods which are not worshipped by Brahmins.[2][4] And Padmashali call themselves as Brahmans.[11]

References[change | change source]

  1. Padmashali population
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Padmashali
  3. The Indian Textile Journal. Business Press. 1984. p. 63.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 P, Swarnalatha. The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, C.1750-C.1850 (2005 ed.). Hyderabad: Orient Longman Private Limited. p. 31–41. ISBN 9788125028680. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  5. Journal of Indian Textile History. Calico Museum of Textiles. 1955. p. 56.
  6. Nanjundayya, H. V. (1906). The Ethnographical Survey of Mysore... Printed at the government Press. p. 103.
  7. Economics, Gokhale Institute of Politics and (1945). Publication. p. 179.
  8. Nanjundayya, H. V. (1906). The Ethnographical Survey of Mysore... Printed at the government Press. p. 103.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Nanjundayya, H. V. (1906). The Ethnographical Survey of Mysore... Printed at the government Press. p. 104.
  10. Economics, Gokhale Institute of Politics and (1945). Publication. p. 179.
  11. Economics, Gokhale Institute of Politics and (1945). Publication. p. 179.

Other websites[change | change source]