Introduction / History
Viswakarmas are also known as Vishwabrahmins. They are followers of Vishvakarman, the Hindu presiding deity of all craftsman and architects, from whom all Viswakarma claimed to have descended from. Hence, today the term Viswakarma denotes a community or group of castes of artisans from India. These castes include goldsmiths, carpenters, blacksmiths, coppersmiths or stonemasons.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Aside from being known as Vishwabrahmins, they are also called Panchal meaning "specialized in five different works;" Kavi, Madhvi, Suhastasour and Narashansha identical castes in ancient Vedic reference; Rathakar, because they used to make the chariot for ancient kings; and Karmmalar in the Madras. Depending on which side—Northern or Southern side of India—the reference is made, there are many more names associated with the Viswakarmas. About ten percent of them live in Sri Lanka.
The Viswakarmas played a vital role in village economy. They considered themselves "missionaries of civilization, culture and religion" as they spread Hinduism through their art. They have contributed greatly to Hindu civilization and culture as city and temple builders, engineers, architects, and artists. In ancient India, Vishwabrahmins where highly regarded. However, they are not as highly esteemed by the Brahmins - the priestly castes. The origin of such feud is largely unknown, but one reason was the refusal of Brahmins to recognize the status of the Viswakarmas to be at par with their status. The Viswakarmas has also rejected the "pastorship" or "leadership" or "supremacy" of the Brahmins and have set themselves up as spiritual guides and religious teachers.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Their communal identity has always been strongly tied to their profession. With industrialization and more recently, globalization, the traditional artisan trade has been greatly affected. The economic and technological forces are buffeting their profession to extinction. This has contributed to a sort of identity crises - being unable to identify with the upper castes or the lower castes. They also have a rather unpopular history (until the 1980s) of identifying with the communists. Their socio-economic status varies from a very high level to the low level in different parts of India as they earned high wages in towns because of their factory employment and low in villages.
Their claim of "Brahminism" is based on their claims of lineage from the Hindu God, Viswakarma who is claimed to be the lord of creation. Also, they claimed that it was the Viswakarma who are the real architects of the Indus Valley, and the Brahmins are only usurpers of the glory.
What Are Their Needs?
The Viswakarma people need to put all their trust in Jesus Christ. He alone can provide them with the forgiveness of their sins and the hope of eternal life.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will give the Viswakarma a willingness to investigate the message of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Lord to send out Indian believers to the Viswakarma to disciple them in the ways of Jesus.
Pray for the Lord to bless them in such a way they will know it has to be him!
Scripture Prayers for the Viswakarma in Sri Lanka.