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.