History

Types of Kayasths

There are of three kinds of Kayasthas (by blood) and four types in total:
1. Chitragupta Kayasthas (Brahma Kayashta or Kayastha Brahman). Caste-Status:Brahmin; usually 'Kayastha' in most ancient Vedic literature refers to this sect, henceforth Kayastha in this article would refer to the Chitragupt Kayastha unless otherwise stated.
  • BRAHMINS by vedah.net is an arcticle on who the brahmins are and the various sub-groups of Brahmins. The Kayastha Brahmins are mentioned at sl.no. 15 (due to alphabetic order).
  • The Brahmins : A List of Brahmin Communities is an extensive list prepared by Kamat.com of all Brahmin communities in India. Kayastha Brahmins are mentioned in the alphabetic order.
  • The Sanskrit dictionary at Hindunet.org defines ‘Kayastha’ as follows:
ka_yastha, ka_yata —a man belonging to the writer-caste; a tribe of bra_hman.as whose employment is writing (Ka.)(Ka.lex.)
2. Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu (Rajanya Kshatriya Kayasthas- from the Haiyaya family) Caste-Status:Kshatriya,
3. Kayasthas of the mixed blood. Caste-Status:Kshatriya or others as per the law of Hindu Shastras and
4. Kayasthas by name or virtue of profession (not by blood). Caste-Status:depends on history of that group and may vary with regions

Origin legends

Picture
Ancient temple of Shree Chitraguptajee in Khajuraho
According 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.



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