My Ancestry-with a little history and Geography
Says Raja raja cholan in the Epic novel ponniyin selvan by Kalki “I am determined by what I achieve rather than what my ancestry is”.Still ,I was intrigued to know my roots when my father made a passing remark that we are the descendents of Appaya Dikshita,the famous 16th century philosopher and religious Acharya.
History thrills me and the more I came to know about this Acharya and his era,the more I was interested in finding out the little piece of missing information.He lived from 1520 A.D to 1592 A.D and has 104 works ,spanning many a theme,to his credit.Some of his important works include Parimala,Shiva tatva viveka,Margabandhu stotram,Ratna traya pariksha,sivarkamani deepika.
By surfing through the web I hit upon a site that maintained the family tree of Appaya Dikshita and by way of correspondence with the owner of the site my search was over.I located my position in the family tree.I could do this effectively because the last in the link till then was Swami Shivananda(1887-1963)(of Divine Life Society fame) who I knew was my great grandfather’s brother.
Appaya Dikshita lived in and around Adayappalam,a village in Arcot district.His grandfather Vakshasthala Dikshita(1453A.D-1528A.D),who is my 15th generation ancestor was one of the advisors for King Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara empire(who ruled from 1509 to 1529).There seems to have been an Andhra connection.Though the names of his ancestors have been lost in obscurity,through various sources we know now that they came down from further north(as also implied by the sect name vadadesa vadamal).They seem to have inhabited the region around present Nasik (Near Thryambakeshwar)around 700 years ago and might have migrated south due to muslim onslaught during that time.
Due to the descent of Appaya,the family tree has been recorded from his times continuously till now and this is a rare phenomenon found in few families.A look at the following chart will give an overview:
3 great personalities figure here.Apart from Appaya,his brother’s grandson Nilakanta Dikshita was a master poet and was the minister of Thirumalai Nayakar of Madurai(who ruled from 1623A.D to 1659A.D).He has authored many books like shivalilarnavam,Gangavatharanam ,Kalividambana and others.Swami Shivananda was a great yogi and his work in bringing awareness regarding the Advaita Vedanta is remarkable.
There is an interesting similarity between the surnames of dikshidars and dikshits and the region from where they come from(near Nasik).I take a leave here by seconding my mail-friend’s statement that more research is required to establish the missing link between these two families.P.S: I am at the last link in the above chain