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The origin of the Kap section of the Barendra Class of Brahmans of Bengal.By PANDIT YOGEŠACHANDRA SASTRI.
[Read May, 1903.] In the 12th century A.D. during the reign of Ballala Sena the number of the Brahmans who came to Bengal from Kanauj in the time of Adisura became immensely increased. There were 350 Brahmans on the east bank and 750 on the west bank of the river Ganges. The former were designated as Barendras on account of their being the inhabitants of Barendrabhumi, the present Rajshahi division, and the latter were called Rarhis owing to their being the inhabitants of Rarhabhumi, the present Burdwan division and the western part of Murshidabad district.
During this period there were no Brahmans well versed in the Vedas in the south-eastern provinces of India. The kings of these provinces consequently asked Ballala Sena to send some Brahmans, who were well versed in the Vedas, to their provinces. At this Ballala Sena was very glad, and having kept 100 in Barendrabhumi sent 250 Brahmans to those provinces. He distributed them in the following order :
निखिलन्पचक्रतिलक श्रीमदल्लालसेनदेवेन ।
इति समयप्रकाशः । 1 N.B.-According to General Cunningham, Dr. R. L. Mitra and Mr. R.C. Dutta, Bal. lala reigned in the 11th century A.D., and according to HTCATE he reigned in the 14th century A.D.
* वरेन्द्रे तु तदा साईत्रिशतान्यग्रजन्मनाम् ।
fifty in Magadha, sixty in Bhota, sixty in Rabhang, forty in Utkal (Orissa), and forty in Maurang.1
After a few years Ballala divided those one hundred Barendra Brahmans into three sections according to their qualifications, namely: (1) Kulins, (2) Çuddhacrotriyas, and (3) Kaştaçrotriyas. The Kulins were the following eight houses : (1) Maitra, (2) Bhima, (3) Rudra (Bagchi), (4) Sanyamini (Sanyal), (5) Lahiri, (6) Bhaduri, (7) Sadhu (Bagchi), (8) Bhadara, and the following eight houses were the Çuddhaçrotriyas : (1) Karanja, (2) Nandanabashi, (3) Bhattashali, (4) Lauri or Larali,(5) Champati, (6) Jhampati, (7) Atirtha, (8) Kamadeva.* Among those houses, Udayanacharya, the celebrated author of the Kusumanjali, a treatise on the ethical branch of the Nyaya philosophy, was
1 वारेन्द्रवासिविप्राणां मध्ये चैकशतद्विजाः ।
born in the house of Bhaduri; and Kulluka Bhatta, the reputed author of the Manyarthamuktavali, a commentary on the Manusamhita, was
भल्लुकस्य सतावेतौ योगेश्वरदिवाकरौ।
मं सं १२ । ६०३ टीका।
इति मन्वर्थमुक्तावल्याम् ।
born in the house of Nandanabashi. It is needless to mention the names of 84 houses of the Kaşğaçrotriyas as they have no connection with the present topic.
There are different accounts as to how, after Ballala Sena, the Kap section was originated from the Kulin mentioned before. Among them the most popular is the following :
Once upon a time many Brahmans of the Kulin and the çrotriya sections were invited to a dinner given by Cukadeva Acharya, an inhabitant of the village named Brahmanbala, on the occasion of his father's annual Graddha ceremony. There was a prevailing custom in that time, which still exists, that the dinner should not begin until all the Brahmans were present, especially when a respectable man was absent. But in that dinner this custom was not observed, as the dinner began without waiting for one Nrisinha Laurial, of Çantipore, who was formerly an inhabitant of the village named Laur, in Sribatta (Sylhet), and who, it is said, though a Brahman, used to live by selling betel-leaves. He did not come in proper time. Afterwards when Nrisinha came he wanted to know the cause of the violation of the custom. In reply he was told that as he was not a respectable man so none could find any necessity to wait for him. At this reply, Nrisinha felt himself much insulted and determined to raise his status in the society. He accordingly came home and started for Majgram, a village on the river Atrai in the district of Rajshahi, with a view to get his daughter married to Madhu
Kullaka Bhatta was an inhabitant of the village named Guakhara, formerly in the district of Rajshahi but now in the Pabna district. Sir W. Jones praised him in the following words : " At length appeared Kullaka Bhatta, a Brahman of Bengal, who after a painful course of study, and the collation of numerous manuscripts, produced a work, of which it may, perhaps be said very truly, that it is the shortest yet the most luminous, the least ostentatious yet the most learned, the deepest yet the most agreeable commentary ever composed on any author, ancient or modern, European or Asiatic."
1 The well-known Advaita Acharya, a friend and disciple of Gauranga, was the great great-grandson of this Nộisinha Laurial. Nrisinha's son was Vidyadhara ; his son Chakari; his son Kuvera Acharya ; his son Advaita Acharya.
भक्तावतार आचार्योऽदेतो यः श्रीसदाशिवः ।
Maitra of that village, who was the most respectable Kulin among the Kulins of the then existing society.
After two or three days Nrisinha reached Majgram and met Madhu Maitra while he was performing his evening ritual on the bank of the river Atrai. He instantly made Madhu's acquaintance and requested him to marry his daughter, Madhu at first refused to do it being afraid of social degradation. But when Nrisinha expressed his firm determination to kill himself in the presence of Madhu after killing his wife, daughter, and cow, and throwing his Çalagrama (the family deity) which he took with him, into water, Madhu was then obliged to consent to marry his daughter. The marriage was, accordingly, performed then and there. When Madhu came home with his new wife, she was not accepted by his sons and former wife and was illtreated by them. Madhu was bound to divide his house into two halves by means of a fencing, in one of which he began to live with his new wife, being practically excommunicated from the society.
After some time Madhu found himself in great difficulty when his father's annual Çraddha day drew near, because none of the Brahmans of Majgram or its neighbourhood would dine in his house on that day. Helpless as he was, he went to invite Dhain Bagchi (WT ant), who was his brother-in-law (sister's husband) and lived some miles off his house; but Madhu could not find him. Madhu, however, asked Dhain's wife (bis sister) to tell her husband to go to his house on the day of his father's Craddha and returned home.
When Dhain Bagchi came home he heard from his wife of Madhu's suddenly coming to his place and was very much astonished, because Madhu never used to come to his house before. He asked his wife the cause of Madhu's coming, but she could not tell anything more than what Madhu told her. He, however, started for Majgram and reached there at midday. While entering into Madhu's portion of the house he, being obstructed by the fencing which Madhu had made, exclaimed,
Well, Sir, what a Kap have you created here ? " " Yes Sir," Madhu replied, “I have created a Kap there.” The word Kapis not a grammatical one so it bears no etymological meaning. It was spontaneously uttered by Dhain Bagchi in the sense of something intervening. But this word afterwards became the designation of the sons of Madhu Maitra by his former wife, who became a section of Barendra Brahmans intermodiate between the Kulins and the çrotriyas.
Afterwards Dhain Bagchi met Madhu Maitra and heard everything from him that happened before. On the very day he summoned all the Kulins and Srotriyas of Majgram and its neighbourhood to attend a meeting to be held at Madhu Maitra's house to judge the con