[Advaita-l] Question on the Kanchi Sankara math

Nagarjuna Siddhartha nagarjunasiddhartha at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 9 14:33:55 CDT 2003

Dear Ravi and Karthik,
Can you please provide us more information or any links regarding the claims made in your posts?
Also, a more general question. The earliest of the bio-graphies of Sankara (the Sankara vijayams) was written 600 years after Sankara, according to the information I have. Are there any existing bio-graphies before that? Do the maThas have a complete lines of successsion of gurus right from the period of Sankara? (By the way what is the date of Sankara? I find 693 - 725 AD as the modern estimate.) It seems Suresvara's name appears in the parampara of all the "I dont know how many" number of "major" maThas. Is this true?
Some more general questions - Is vishNu worshipped as a primary deity (or one of the primary deities) in any of the maThas? I heard that the South Indian maThas worship Siva and Sakti alone. Is this true? 

Ravishankar Venkatraman <sunlike at hotmail.com> wrote:

>S Jayanarayanan wrote:

>Simply put, the Kanchi Math started off as a branch of 
>the Sringeri Math, but eventually severed relations 
>with Sringeri. You can read more at 

This is "simply put" for people who want to believe only in the link Jayanarayanan has attached, and not for me, a person who would like to know the truth about the whole life of the great preceptor Sri Adi Sankara. I can lead you to more books on this matter describing how Kanchi math has been lying, written by folks I do not know why.


What really is painful and surprising here, is that a person like Vidyasankar Sundaresan, who certainly I hold in high esteem for his knowledge in Vedanta as many others do in this list, would condescend any level to somehow prove that Kanchi mutt is propagating disinformation. Fortunately though, this has not been seen much here in Advaita-L, but in other lists where I have read the archives. Interestingly every single opportunity has been used with pronounced, sharp criticisms and invective harangues, against Sanyasis who followed the Advaita tradition rigorously. I have seen some equally opposing criticisms from a few others that are not justified.


If you go back to the archives in this list, there have been articles on Sankara Vijayam texts, where I had contributed some articles too. Many of us here are practicing technical and scientific careers, demanding good analytical skills � but emotions seem to rule.


I brought out in my earlier posts on Sankara Vijayam that, what is being believed as a major tradition about Sri Sankara is very contradictory within itself, about things like  who the first successor was, how many successors they have had totally, and so on. The people who believe in this tradition believe that Sri Sankara established four mutts in the four corners of the country. Dwaraka and Puri would date Sri Sankara to 5th century BC, but Sringeri would date Him to 8th century AD. Modern historians seem to accept the latter dates. There have been no compromises on any dates. It is hard to believe that a person who is supposed to have lived less than 40 years, spanned 12 centuries to establish 4 mutts in different parts of the country. This is acceptable in the tradition, as well as in history - why? Part of the problem is the Indian history has not been writte n painstakingly before the British came to India, to chronologically place events. The history, supposedly well written
 by them in the last few centuries, did not address this issue clearly � why? Possibly, it has partly accepted this tradition to be true, without retrofitting at least some of these major events. Various independent scholars have written on this, but these entire attempts have not been very successful, but good enough for making arguments.


We believe in some books written by some people for accepting a conflict bridging twelve centuries. Each one of these mutts� position or authority has not been questioned, but has been accepted as telling the truth. This is more than enough to believe that there is a mystery about the whole thing of the personality of Adi Sankara has not been resolved. 


Similarly, as you may present a strong case for Kanchi Math being a branch of Sringeri, there is enough documentary and material evidence that a lineage existed before 1821AD, in Kumbakonam and elsewhere. The very story of Kumbakonam mutt as a branch of Sringeri, coming in the earlier parts of 1800s, on the request of some local kings, is not a very strong case, for that reason. If you scan Indology archives, you may most possibly get a few of these evidences presented. As long as you are willing to verify the evidence YOURSELF, you will find what I say is true.


Sri Kanchi Mahaswamigal was born in 1894AD, but things have been said that He somehow rewrote various books to retrofit the history of the Kanchi mutt to Adi Sankara�s times. God � give me a break. This whole dispute started in 1840s, fifty years before His Holiness was even born, and that too with a small legal fight over the �Tatanka Pradishta� for Goddess Akilandeshwari. More than the Acharyas of  Sringeri and Kanchi mutts, it has been the enthused devotees, waging this war. I am not going to argue here on behalf of anyone, as my family had traditional ties with both these mutts, but the stories about the origin of Kanchi mutt seem to be equally mysterious in their origins. To me at least the story from Kanchi�s tradition is at verifiable for several centuries before 1800s. 


My request to you all is to STOP this attack on Kanchi mutt for the very reason, that we lived during the lifetime of a mahapurusha and Jivan-mukta, who for some reason chose to be a part of the lineage of this mutt, who has been called as �The Monk of the century� by Dalai Lama, who have been revered by many Siddha purushas like Sri Ganapathi Sacchidananda Swamiji, who has been hailed to be a great tapasvin, by other equally great mahapurushas of His time, including Sri Gnanananda Swami and Sri Chandrasekharendra Bharathi Swami of Sringeri. 


If you need more info on any of these things, plenty of posts are available in many list archives. 



God bless you all,



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