[Advaita-l] Sureshvaracharya

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 31 00:48:39 CDT 2009

Dear Vidyasanakarji,

I have not come across any original Digvijaya texts with claim related to Adi Sankaracharya's establishing the  Dashanami tradition. The Samadhi-sthal in the Himalayas may be that of a later-day Sankaracharya, unless the original Digvijaya texts confirm that Adi Sankaracharya indeed established that tradition. My feeling is that we should rely more on the records of the four main Mathas and that of the Kanchi Kamakoti Matha than on those of the Dashanami tradition. Secondly who was the commentator of the 17th commentary to Sringeri Matha's Guruvamsakavya, whose views on Adi Sankaracharya's Samadhi have not been given any merit by the Sringeri Math? 

Similarly regarding the case of the Samadhi of Sureshvaracharya we have to go by the same standard and give more credence to the official views of the Kanchi Kamakoti Math. If the Kanchi Kamakoti Math does not recognise the views of Sushmaa then these  views of Sushamaa too do not deserve any merit. But one thing appears to be common that the Kanchi Kamakoti Math as well as the writer of Sushamaa agree that Sureshvaracharya did visit the Kanchi Kamakoti Math, thus establishing the link between the Kanchi Kamakoti math and the Sringeri Math undisputably. Sureshvaracharya obviously did not die in Sringeri as, to my understanding, his Samadhi has not been located in Sringeri, as per Sringeri record. Moreover Gaudapadacharya wrote books on Sreevidya and Adi Sankaracharya also wrote the bhashya on the Laita Trishati, a book of Tantric (Samayachara) tradition. I understand that accorsing to purana one takes to Sreevidya towards the end of the life-cycle and
 if this is so it is no wonder if Adi Sanakaracharya went to Kanchi the well-acknowledged seat of Mothet Kamakshi, also called Shodashi or Tripurasundari and preferred to leave his mortal frame there.

I find a couple of other things interesting in this discussion and probably they deserve some consideration. Firstly the Murti of Mother Sarada in Kudali-Sringeri is made of wood and it is said to be the original one made by Adi Sankaracharya. The Murti of Mother Sarada in Sringeri is made of Gold and obviously Adi Sankaracharya could not have made it at that time. It must have been made and installed with  the Vijayanagar royal fund at a later date. The Virupaksha temple, founded by Vidyaranya Swami, also has the Murti of  Mother Sarada, made in gold..  Moreover there is said to be a belief that only one day in a year Mother Sarada leaves  the Kudali-Sringeri temple to visit the Sringeri temple. Does it imply that Vidyasankara Swami or his deputy shifted from Kudali-Sringeri to Sringeri during the time of the attack of the Muslim general. This however becomes mysterious as Vidyasankara Swami's Samadhi is neither in Kudali-sringeri nor in Sringeri.
 May be he passed away during his escape for the Muslim attackers and in that turmoil his body could not be found anywhere. The story prevalent in Sringeri is that he went to a room to meditate for three years and when his long medittaion was over the door of the room was opened and his body vanished from there. As regards the difference in the names of Sringeri and Kudali-Sringeri I understand that Kudali in the Kannada language means "by the confluence", meaning the "Sringeri at the confluence" (of Tunga and Bhadra)'

My interest is not to enter into the rival claims of the Mathas and the diverse opinions of the holy peronalities. But the truth can be only one and the Samadhis of the great acharya's can tell us a lot in a very simple way regarding the authentic history of the Maths. During this age of science so many non-invasive scientific tools are available that invesigations have become easier as never before.


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Sun, 8/30/09, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sureshvaracharya
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Sunday, August 30, 2009, 8:46 PM

I hesitated to enter into this discussion, but see that I have to! 

Re: burial place of Adi Sankara bhagavatpAda - there are actually more than two places that claim this honor, but only two have the benefit of support from established institutions. General Dasanami Sannyasi tradition everywhere in India accepts the Himalayas - Badri/Kedar/Kailasa as the location of Adi Sankara's last days, while the Kanchi Matha  uniquely claims Kanchipuram.

The Keraliya Sankaravijaya of Govindanatha says that Adi Sankara spent his last days in Trichur, back in the vicinity of the temple where his parents prayed to Lord Siva before his birth. The 17th commentary to Sringeri matha's Guruvamsakavya mentions a cave sacred to Dattatreya and further identifies this with a Dattatreya site in Mahur (Maharashtra). This reference to Mahur seems to useave been the commentator's own opinion, because the Sringeri Matha tradition is the same as the general Dasanami tradition regarding the Himalayas. However, the fact remains that there are at least two texts (older than some of the currently famous institutions, I may add), which name places that do not have institutional support.

Re: sureSvarAcArya - I have had various occasions to analyze and critique various statements made from the Kanchi Matha about traditions relating to the  Advaita Vedanta Acharyas. Readers are welcome to look into the archives for these posts. I know that searching our list archives is not straightforward, but I do not wish to enter into all that detail once again here. In brief, let me merely mention that the Kanchi statements about sureSvarAcArya are highly self-contradictory in nature. There is a text called sushamA, which is a commentary on the Kanchi Matha's Gururatnamalika. It was probably written in the 18th-19th century, and is a compilation of that institution's own traditions and the source of more than a little confusion in 20th century writings on the history of Advaita Vedanta and its teachers/authors. On close examination, its self-contradictions regarding sureSvarAcArya become readily evident. More to the point regarding the burial place
 of sureSvarAcArya, sushamA explicitly says that sureSvara went to Sringeri after entrusting Kanchi to sarvajnAtman. Now, many questions can be raised about this entire account, but it stands to reason that if the Kanchi Matha goes by what its own text sushamA says, it has to accept that as sureSvarAcArya went to Sringeri, his burial place has to be in Sringeri and not  in Kanchipuram. I will leave this issue at that.

Re: Kudali Matha - If you look at the list of this Matha, it is identical to the Sringeri lineage till the time of SrI narasimha bhAratI in the 16th century. Naturally, this list includes sureSvara and vidyASankara and vidyAraNya too. This is because Kudali was originally a branch institution established by one of the Sringeri Acharyas of this name. This is clear from various references from the records of the Mysore kings, the Peshwas and the Bijapur rulers. It is a different matter that one faction within this Matha seems to have a long-standing grudge against the Sringeri lineage. This has again lead to numerous self-contradictory claims regarding the relative status of Sringeri and Kudali Mathas. Suffice it to say that the name alone gives away the historical truth - Kudali matha incorporates the name of Sringeri in its own name, while Sringeri matha does not need to refer to the Kudali name! Same goes for other branch mathas such as Avani Sringeri,
 Pushpagiri Sringeri etc.

If you are interested in some of the post-Sankaran history specifically relating to Sringeri, I'd suggest a reading of Prof. A. K. Shastry's well-researched book "A History of Sringeri" published by Dharwad University and also Yoshitsugu Sawai's book, "The faith of ascetics and lay Smartas", published by Motilal Banarsidass (I think).

Best regards,

Windows Live: Make it easier for your friends to see what you’re up to on Facebook.
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list