In Hindu traidition, a Pravara is a system of identity, also called as a family line. Pravaras are of a particular Brahmin’s descendent starts from ancient rishi who are belonged to their gotra, also called as clan.
The Pravara has been vastly used in defining one’s ancestry. In Vedic ritual, the importance of the pravara would be recited, “As a descendant of worthy ancestors, I am a fit and proper person to do the act which I am performing.” Generally, there are three, five or seven pravaras. The sacred thread yajnopavita worn on upanayana has close connection with the concept of pravaras related to Brahmin gotra system. The pravara identifies the association of a person with few rishis. It also signifies the texts contributed by those rishis.
In Hindu culture, the term gotra refers to lineage. It refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor. Generally marriages within the same gotra are not allowed, as per Hindu customs and traditions. The name of the gotra can also be used as a surname. When a person says “I am Koundinya-gotra”, he means that he was one of the descendants of the ancient sage Koundinya.
Sons and disciples of a sage can or cannot have the same gotra. But most of their thoughts would be focussed only about realising divinity. People of the same gotra can be found across different castes. Each gotra comprises of pravaras.
But at the current trend, youngsters whenever they fall in love, they used to forget about their Gothram, family background, traditions and customs, since they would prefer to get married only with their preferred girl/boy, and in such cases, the question of Gothram would not arise, in their minds, since inter-caste marriages are most common in this today’s modern world! Some would even justify inter-caste marriages by quoting incidents from Puranas, and some would even go to the extent of telling, “At this New Age Technological World, traditions and customs must have to be considered as old age practices, and let us throw those stupid things in the dust bins!”