Thursday, August 23, 2007

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


  1. History doesn't often interest people. Your way of putting it is surely exciting. Keep writing!

  2. அருமை. தங்கள் வம்சாவளி மிகவும் ஆசிர்வதிக்கப்பட்ட ஒன்று

  3. It is interesting. I am also a descendant of the great Appayya Dikshitar. Our family roots are in Narayanammalpuram (Aravankulam) in Tirunelveli District. We were called Adayappalthars, a reference to our origins in Adayappalam. My grandfather, Sri. N.S. Viswanatha Iyer was a famous lawyer in Madurai and had the title of Samskrita Vachaspati. I am retired and have been living in the US for the past 42 years. I would love to find out if there is any affinity group for the descendants of Appayya Dikshitar.

  4. Aravankulam unfortunately has seen the golden quadrilateral run through it..sending most of the agraharam into the tar.

  5. Anand,where you in Palamdai,early this month?

  6. Nope. I visited Pattamadai and kodaganallur during the 3rd week of january 2010.
    Did you come across any other anand in palamadai?

  7. I was told that we are the direct descendants of the family of Vidyaranyar who was the Vedic Advisor of King Krishnadeva Rayar. Vidyaranyar of Viswamithra Gothram was stated to have been presented with Aravankulam village where he settled, He brought three vedic scholars of three other different Gothras to nurture each of the three vedas- Rig, Yajur & Sama. Some decades back all who lived were only from four Gothrams.

  8. even my mother hails from Gopalasamduram and grand mother sundari and grand father veeraraghavan (foundly called as writer sir).

  9. Can you send me the link of where you found the family tree? My mother is a descendant of Appaya Dikshitar.

  10. Can you send me the link of the family tree? My mother is also a descendant of Appaya Dikshitar.

  11. Dear Anand.....Great to know that you are the direct descendent of Sri. Appaiyya Dikshitar and Sri. Neelakanta Dikshitar.....I am a profound FAN of Sri. Appaiyya Dikshitar and even Sri. Neelakantha Dikshitar too. I am an avid Samskritam student and Hats off really to your Great Grand father Sri. Appaiyya Dikshitar for two of the greatest commentaries given by on Alankaras in KUVALAYANANDA and the other a commentary on the 24 sargas of Yadavaabhyudayam Mahakaavyam written and composed by Sri. Vedanta Desikar (Sri. Venkatanatha) both Samskritam and Tamil too...Such is the profound respect given to Sri. Appaiyya Dikshitar by the Samskritam knowing community that you really need to enter the Ocean of Samskritam in order to appreciate the scale of the respect being showered on Sri. Dikshit.....I sincerely request you to study Samskritam and gain full knowledge in order fulfill the lofty ideals of your GG Grandfather and pay a fitting tribute to this Great Person......Many of my ancestors were associated with Swami Sivananda too and my Uncle served for many years in The Swami Sivananda Charitable Hospital in Pattamadai.....My native place is also Kadayam in Tirunelveli dist. which is very close to Patttamadai.....I am very very keen to keep in touch with you if possible and also inspire you to learn Samskritam in order to fully appreciate your GGG father's absolute greatness.......You are really a blessed soul.....Pl attempt to rise higher in that pedestal as early as possible in your life.....If you are interested I shall try my best to guide you......My mail ID is and my name is Sundar......I am from Chennai......LLooking forward to communicate with you as soon as possible if you so desire.....All the best and wishing you the best in life.....Sundar

    1. Namaste. Thanks for your comment.

      I am doing my second year MA sahityam from Rashtriyasamskritavidyapeetham, tirupati and have read portions of Kuvalayanandah, chitramimamsaa and neelakantavijayachampu. Looking forward to learn more.

      What is your background?

  12. Absolutely wonderful to note that you are also on the route to becoming a great Samskrit pandit and trying to do full justice to protect the lineage left by your Great Grandfathers Sri. Appaiyyaji and Sri. Nilakanthaji Dikshitars.......Absolutely fantastic to receive an instant reply from you.......Also very happy to note that you are from BITS Pilani too.......I was in Vyas Bhavan there......closest to C'not......studied there way back in 1979 but quit after a year due inability to shift to Engineering stream based on transfer system.......later did Science and Post Graduated in Management from MSU.......Have done seven levels of Samskrit study in Samskritashri and completed Vichakshana in doing Samartha coourse...first level.......willl share more and more details on my appetite for Samskritam by tomorrow...Great to have contacted you.....Incredible to imagine that I have actually contacted Sri. Appaiyya Dikshita's GG Son ......feeling as if I am talking to the great Poet himself........totally flat.....cant believe my luck......Thanks again and best of contact me.....Thanks....(already posted the above comment via my email)

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