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II

THE TR.ADITIONAL AGE


OF
SRI SANKARACHARYA

AND
THE MATHAS
A. NATA::JA AIYER
AND

S. LAKSHMINARASIMHA SASJRI M.A.L.T.

I*
If

I8
I
I
I

THE TRADITIONAL AGE


of
SRI SANKARACHARYA
and
THE MATHAS

by
A. Nataraja Aiyer

and
S. Lakshminarasimha Sastri,M.A.,

L.T.

SRI KANCHI KAMAKOTI MUTT


KANCHEEPURAM

POBLISHERS

First Published

1962

Reprinted

1988

Revised Edition

1992

Price Rs.

other

who
through practice and
::: precept, have fostered the .. ..
.... h o a r y A d v a i i i c.
tradition thatwas bequeathed ....
to
posterity
by

the great Bhagavatpada


as a priceless legacy, this
Printed ar

M/s. Rajan & Co. l'rlntrrs,


I, Goomes Slrcct, Madras . (100 001.

~:'.' .t:~~~ 1; :~:~~ ~I~ ~~dK~t:: {:

Preface
~

This Book is an attempt to determine the


age of Sri Sankaracharya according to the ancient
Historic traditions preserved in the Mathas, which
are indeed as old as the Acharya. The facts we
have herein presented would be found to differ
considerably from the dates assigned by
Historians. But if Historians have their own
reasons to believe that Sankara flourished in
788 to 820 A.D., we have equally valid~ or more
valid reasons to believe that Adi Sankara lived
during the period 509 to 477 B. C.,
We do not claim to be original inadvocating this date. Pioneers like the late lamented
T. S. Narayana Sastri (Age of Sankara), and
Sri Kata Venkatachellam, and a host of other
scholars, h~ve already proved that the date of
Sankara is 509 to 477 B.C. We are merely content to follow their foot-steps.
The histories of the various Mathas have
been sketched, with the scanty ineterials that have
been made available to us.
\Ve have primarily based our work on the
historic traditions as embodied in the Gururatna
Malika ~f Sadasiva Brahmendra, and in the Susama
of Atma Bodha.

J 11 l lulincss Sri Yog swar 11 .111karn frnrya f the a vardhana


Matha of the Vimala Pitha of Jagannatha, for the
Acbarya Parampara of the Govardhana Matha
that he o graciou Jy favoured us with.

CONTENTS

1J1.i11

li

l 111!11,

I.

We are also gratefu] to Sri E. Rama Rao


of Bangalore who ha traced the recent rustory of

Kudali (Appendix F).

II.
III.

If this work should arouse a genuine


interest with regru-d to the hi tory of Sankara and
the Mathas in the minds of the inte!Jigentsia it
would, we believe have amply ju 'tified it.
exi tence.
THE AUTHORS

PAGE

CHAPTER

I V.

V.

Prelude

The Bb.agavatpada

...,
and the Mathas
Sri Sankaracharya

46

The Bhagavatpada and the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha

5&

Sureswaracharya and the Mathas

73

The Mathamnaya
Pitha

and the Kamakoti


100

VI.

The Kamakoti Pitha through the Ages

113

VII.

Epilogue

141
APPENDIX A

The Traditional age of Sri Sankaracharya


, and the Math.as
APPENDIX

Southern Tours of the Acharyas of Amani


' and Sringeri
APPENDJX

The Vidyaranya Tangle

147

155

161

an

PAGB
APPENDIX

, ~~I~ if;J: f

The Acharya Parampara of Sringeri


The Acharya Parampara of KudaJi
The Acharya Parampara of Dwaraka
The Acharya Parampara of Govardhana
Matha of Jagannatha

~"'~~+.11) ii~

illlt ~ ifr~~l"i

166

THE

169
172

DATE OF SRI SANKARACHARYA AND


THE CHRONICLE OF THE MATHAS
A TRADITIONAL APPROACH

Prelude
~il~<wfffir1;ITTiff~~:

177

?Trfi
APPENDIX

of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha attained


Brahmibhava

'

APPENDIX

181

The
Vidyaghana - Abhinava
Tangle

~'lir.( Wi?\~laT~~Ri"t. t

~~ tlf.t <V-W-fir-n ~ ~~1 :

Places all over India, where the Acharyas

APPENDIX

'l'lle for going vei'St', qnot1.:d from the Vyasacha1ira


Sat1karavi,iaya admirably snm!'! up the l'ilinist.1y u!
Sri Sankara Bhagavat Pailli. durin.g Jris short Jife E bnt
thirty-two summers on this earth.

In the Dwapara, Trcta and K1'ita Yugai;;, Pinamcswara,


t. he {mq: '1~1<tf ex11aunded1 in
His aspect as Dakshinamutti, the highest monistie t"llth
through hi'l Eloquent Silenco to Hi gr at diseipks
Sana.Im, Sananoorui,,, anntann. and ~anatsujata .lnrl t.hese
djsciples tov, dua to the plentitude of His gmcc, as
becaw c of Llieir own spirituul emirumce, entered
fully into t.he spirit of the Adhyatmie lessons expounded.
through silence, ancl reiilis a, ;yj nin themselyes, the
Highest Brahman.
whom the 'rut.is declar 1

Sankara
187

A Succint Survey of the Sri Kudali


Sringcri Mutt

~nt~'~ !Fi~ ~~l;q~ II

ruao

190

But some two millennia after the departure of Bhagavan ,


Sri Krislina from this earth, some ' two millennia sin~e

Mllllkiu<l 11, grnd111dly 1111!111 rron1


t 11111,1
p111t1111l 1'1'fat<.>' ancl prompt"d
' ,,, I I I' r I\ -1'1) )t(>(1
I " t I1:1<1 11 i<!kl'n it.'3elf to th<' p111 t11t 1 Ih . 1 .
I
.
0
,.
(' u ' IVP
I' "IL UI' S Or 1h(' scns('f.I, and them~C. obffrious f .t b' ,
lr,.rim hurl sunk l
. l
..
. o t s 'A' I
. , . . . ow m 11e qua~nuc of s.11n!'l11 111, 1h l'
To tast ~ti l' miser~-. 01', to borrow th<' jm; l &l'J' \ ' or tlit'
V.1Mac11ali.vn,
1\fankhld had lo t itsPlf in tlt1~ l;I,
. ti1s.
. 'A.
,, ,,.rm
o~. J~ana, a~d wa.o; <' rehC'd by an al1-encoru~)assin~
"ilflfiu of nm; ,l',. and. in lltt<'r lm:._ui sl1. wa!'. rryin~
:tl~ncT f ]' Redempti n. n WR.S then thR1 lhP comra' .,1onat (.furn, Daksninamurti, hose to :tbnnrlun h ,s
..;1 enc
. and. c.]esc n ding au1on~ the suffel'irt" ht1mmlit.
ndeemcd it 'with the halmy medicam:e11t of ~turn va '
rh () . t
<
I VR .
0 . ~mpo ent Mahrswara H im C'lf. thP>1 forP. r:rnw 1t 11

A~ for b:i<i- innumerable opponents, the very fact that


~~.t as th y w-erc, they were outshone by the spfondonr
"f.l~ his genius- and spiritual stature-, would show how
i.Mignificant th: y should hav<' felt before him. As is
1t}lu<1J with. great mt>.n of all ages, legends soon g11the:re<'t
ronnd his wonderful personality, until, to-day, we have
.iJ. host of miracles attributed to him. Not that one need

ul1'

0111 m1ds1

111

;i,,

uf' l\nli

j;

1lH' gTPa1- 81mlrnrarh;11')'iL

llis life of hut thi1'!.v-iw.o '''1.1m.11er<'"' on 1111s


1'<11'1h ] 1;i.,
l'CCOUJJil'd in tl1(' Jllltnl'l'OUS ~11nk;11;1\ i,i;1.1:1", wl1i(]i
;ttrihutr_ sa many rnir11cles to him_ Pro 111 1..-hM wr r;rn
:c of l11m 1hrougl1 tlw lrn:r.c of rnil111111i11, lir nrnst ]inw
rossesscd wondcifn] physical stan1in:1. ; 1111nzii 1g- p<>vrlii <'
powers anrJ an incornparah!,1 i11cisin inkll<'< I. lf<; was
'~'1r<' tl~an cvc11 " snprrrnan---;1 11cmig'(1(l. '\o "'"lld('.I', I]('
ri~cply impressed contemporaries, -followr1s 111111 orrnmwnh
ilikc, and compelled 1.heil' adrnin1tio11 ;111<1 1' vl'11 1lieir
\1orship. 'l'l1e t1emernlons pstrem in whi('h }w w;is liild
1>.Y his
c.1ntemporarirs, n1ny h<' glean<'rl l'ioin 11 1"'-''
l'npt.urons exclamations of 'T'otakacharya. Ii is .Ji,., I'!.
1isciple, wJ10 sa11
my sett Jc<l cm1 vi11 i1111 111:11:
< g on t , "It
. is
hon :ir! nnn<' o1 ltc1 than Bhawt (~iya) I ri111 -..1 ! I '
:(\('Jl

~ ~"l' ~errf.mr ~ f'l'a{r ~;;r~a :ilaf'H t;,f~f't. 11


(TotRlrn~l;ii;.1111

I ( ),

look a..<>kanel' at miracles. .Miracles are not impossible to


men or' hi-; yogic calihl'e. But whatc'Atr fascinnt.io11 tht':V
might exen~ise on the minds of the populace "ohl~t ::mcl
inteliectual '.TJcn would always ris
up~ior to mirucles .
~~ost arnm:ing, indeed, is th<' vcl',\' life of the Achary:i .
the details of which are more miraculous than the most
rnarvellous of miracles. His life was one round of iitupen
dous dynamism. He was inde~ d a prodigy in t1w fnll<'st
l>t-.nsc of the term. An oft-qnotrd verse sums up hi><
mcteo-ric ca.recr in a ccnplrt :-

a1'2~fi :qg;ii~T [fG:~ B~m~fqcr_

IS{l;sit ~Cfql;:r,_ ~!sir '[I~ ~~n::~"-FTIQ.

II

.-\n expert i11 the four V('CTas in his eighth }Tai. a pro
foimd scholar and a master of all Sastras in his twelftl1
yea.r, lt< indited in his sixteenth year those incomparabfo
P.: 1a.syas on i hr Brahma Sutrns, on the Upanislwds an<l
on the Bi:aga.vafl Git.a, an intimate knowlrdge of whmw
1ll'pths it were impossi.hle to attain rven -with a full span
of a hundre<l years <ledicated to their stndy. Hr.
.-:wept like a tomado throughout the length an<l hreadth
of Inrfo1 rnorP than thrice, nprouting man~ k~ p-rootcd
h1'resi1:;, ee:>tori.ng thr Vedir religion to its pristine
purity ; and propagating thc m<'1>sag<' of Adv:.iit:i through
the Mathas whi.rh hr fonn<kd among- the snow-rlarl sum-

rim11lnyas,

in the Island of Dwaraka e.ngirt


en, at ,Jagannatha, on the shores" of the
n, :in] among the verdure-clad hills of Sringe1i.
11 il 111. other place.s ricli with spiritual or cultural
111111Lior1 Finally he settled down at Kanchi, foun<l.ed
1h lum1tkoti Pitha ovei which he himself nroohlcd,
rstablished 11is intellectual supremacy by being c11thro11ed
on th
arvajna Pitha, and attained Videh.a Mukti at
I wchi, in ills tliirty-seeond year, by mer!li.ng himself in
the pl'esencc of K&.aksi, the Bruhnrn.vi~lyn. Sw1-11pini of
the Upanishads. The mlilltle oi' the gL-eat. Ai>hm.va ieH:
on the shoulders of Sarvajnatrrum, who, though young
in years, was ripe in spirituality. T11e yonng sucees:sor
had tbe ra1 e good rortune of being guided spiritually an<l
temporally by the great Su.reswa.raclULrya, who had heeu
the right hand of th<l great Bhagavatpada himself.
The great Sankara, therefore, 'fas the first Achacyaof the Kamakoti Pitha which he founded in 482 B. C.
Sine~ then it has had an unbroken line of. Acha:.t:yas.
:srune of w.hom wore of a spiritual cminen<' comparnbl
to that or the great Bhagavatpadn. b:imsclf, and hence
often l'OnfalsedJy identified with ltini_ Today, w have on
this Sarvajna Pith.a a b(.'nign soul who illustrat.es to us,
through hi universal toleran.M, lofty nobilitr,' pl'ofotmrt
erdudition, towering spirituality and childlike simplieity,
what the great Bhagavatpada himself was like.
ft

111

We propose,
date of Sankara
and to trace the
pa.rticuforly, the
which the great
Aeharya.

in the following pages, to discuss the


according to ancient historic tradition!'!.
history of the more import.nut 1\fathn!I;,
history of the Kamakoti Pitha owr
SanJmra himself presided as the first

We cannot but think that the idea of the founding of


the Matha!! e.manated from the great Govinda Bha~avat
pada, the Guru of the great Sankaracharya.. All evlde~ce
poin.L.'i ru that direction. Here are a iew fMtS bearing
on this question. In 493 B. C., in hi'i sixteeei:i-tb ye~r,
Sankara, returned to Kalati, after his meetm? .W:1th
Gaudapadacharya, his Guru's Guru and af~er . mditmg
.his Bhasyas. At the time he reached Kalati, his .moth~r
!\.rn.mba was on her deathbed, and shortly after his
~ . 1, s.1e
1
died
and
arr1va
. . He attended to her obseyuies,
..
.

would perhaps have founded a hermitage for lnmsel~ m


his native village and stayed there, having attamed
J ecvan Mukti.
But a messenger arrives post-haste from Govinda
Bhagavatpada, calling on Sankara to return immediately
to Omkarksetra on , the banks . of the Narmada where
Govinda Bhagavatpada is awaiting his end. This messenger
is nom1 other than Vioou Gupta or Visnu Sarm.an, the
co-pupil and lif-0-long companion of' Sankara. Bef~
leaving Kalati, Sankara ordains his boyhood com!'amon
Visnugupta in Sanyasa unrler the name of C~tsu~b8Charva who is afterwards to chronicle Sankara s bfc
in hi~ Brhat Sankara Vijaya, and who later succeeds
Brahmaswarupa as the Acharya of the Dwaraka Matha
in 448 B .C.
Sankara returns, accompanied by Chitsukhacharyia,
to Omkark.'i tr~ where hl' finds Qovin<la B~vatp~da
on the ev0 of his Videha Mukti, retaining his hfe with
the aid of.his extraordinary Yogic powers. When ~ank:ara
mTives, Govinda B~avatpada risea from his. bed,
embrar.eR l1im, and communfoates to him hie last WlShes.
What exactl~, his last wishes were, we are not told.

6
I,
'i11,1dl ,1
f ,,
t1

lw <'or11111arnls II ti
th
.
a
ilC 0
erg tQ follow

M:." i k11 r:1.

"J'lw11~h
.

lllN1.nwl 1011s

then attain" Brahmibhava.

i111d

the lead

we are not t 0 ld ha
w t exactly the n1>rti
were we e~n ve...v
ll
.
''
ng

we OOnJecture their J>'UI'


!>' <'. F1 r, immediatel :r thereafter Sank ,
f>tva1a.ka , founds th D
ak
ara" goes ~ to
oad"'n'k
war a
tha, then nr~ to
D
and fo
' Matha, then
>.
h n nBJ'ama

un els t h e ,Jyotll'
reacllu;
t etl ast coast, :founds the Go>ardhana Matha then turns
sou l-west found Sri

'
13
d
'
s
ngen, finally arrives at Kanehi
h~u~fs the_ K1Uuakoti Pitha, stays there till the end
" e, nnd attains Videha Mukti Tt . . ld th
th t tl fi

\\Ou
us appear
ar a
le nal b hE> t of Oovinda Bhagavatpada was tl t
w.athd<.; honl<l b f
d ;J ,
<
1a
..
e onn eu m v:uious parts of the co'l'll)try
(Hde--Tlie Ag~ of S11.nltii111 h.- 'I' ~ 11-T"ra,an" o-~.
pp. 99-1631.
.
. .. '~" n qmJLl'I,
'

' ""J

Ma

of

All<1 now, to onl' t,,"!':k,


}}_,. t Iie graee of the BJ
"
parla r
, , , , 1agavat-

CHAPTF.R

THE BHAGAVATPADA
A mono Hi<' moist 1'm rt.an

. "
PO
t acluevements of Sri Sa.nk.:1.
ac1iarya, reverent_ia]Jy caJled the Bl:
..11
:restahlishment oi M th
.
.
. . rngavatp""'1.a, the
.
, 'fi a as m var10ns parts of Ind. 1a 1- ;i~
,
certamly .
a SJgm cant one, Althouo-h 'manv of th
r
b

~ ese
M athas ha
ve c isapprared due to political and . . - .
eausrs . d ih
ooonom.rc
, , -' ctn
, ough some of them a1.n.' i'n t.he- pr,~ss o:f
l. He reor.ganistld- the a1>eet1~ d
- -

motlel of tho 'Buddhist order and cf. or er of Hincl11::' '" <ni lt"
in dlrerent ,Jllllrte of India.' the ounded a numb\'' of M:Lt,has
S.rlngerI, Dwn1aka Badarlnath
best knnwn being 1ho""' <it

A History ol' South Jndla by

x'

PuA rNl.and Kanchi."'

ilakanta

<1111. d10 -A t ri).

dissolution, the few institutions that have survived the


rav.aJ-ges of time still preserve the glorious traditions
w11icli the great founder infnsed into them at tbe time
of their inception. 'They are all lasting monuments
hi.~ far-sighted spiritual genius and are stiil rallying
hounds for Hindu religious thought and culture. It is
11l>0ut the history 1)f the Mathus in general, and of the
Kamakoti Pitha in particular that. we propose to write.

or

\ The history of the Mathus must naturally be a history


of Sankaracharya himself. Unless we can fo: the date
of the Blrnga vatpada himself, we cannot assign any
1.lates to the Mathas. The determination of the date of
S:tnkara iCl, therefore, the very foundation on which the
) superstructure of Matha history must be erected.
Ko orhc1 problrm of Indian history has been so variously
and in<'oncl usively discussed as the date of Sri Sankaracharya, J\'.lany elates ranging from the 9th century to
the 16th centmy A. D. have be.en suggested a.,; prQbable
dat<'S or Sankara's advent, and plausible reasons adduced
in support thereof. But such arguments, though appa
rently satisfactory. with referen~ to a given date, a:ve
found to elasl~ with certain othe1 facts of his life. No
date, so far suggested, is free from objections. But yet
the great Acharya must have lived some time! But,
when'? We have to sift and correlate so many details
pertaining to him befo1e we could arrive at his date
with any degree of certainty. We will therefore give a
brief resume of all the dates so far suggested and diseuss their merits as also their drawbacks. Ii possible,
we will, point out the more probable date, although it
would be impossible to prove the eertairtty of that date
wit.h any degree of accuracy.

,.

l.

IIl'l't js the ,.-erdict of historians : -

( o) 'I'ho Cambodia Inscription of the Greatel' Indiu


niontlorui
one Sivasom<i who tyied hims tr a pupil of
11
Uhagavnn Sankara ":.! 'J'hi Sh-a;('lurn was the pre
1111Hor of llldraval'man who is known to have lived durina
~7.~887 A. D. This date of Incirn vru:nu:m is l'endei
11rohnblc, because he was the granru on o.r Jayava:rman'
mn~crnal uncle, known to havl' liwd du1ing 802-809 A. .
.Tl is theme argued that ~i vMoma, the 1wecl'ptor di
Jnn_ravarman ( 878-887 A. D.) , must have l een on , of tl~
Jmuormost disciples of "BhagllYan Sankara , and hen~
"Bhagavan Sa11kara " rrlust haH~ Jivt"tl a short whll . \
b.;!'ore Indravarman. Hencn th~ Arunb0<lia i nscription i
said to support the hypothe i suggest<d hy T ile nnd
supported by Pathak, that Sanlrnrn wu.s horn in 788 A. D.
and died in 822 A. D.
(b) The 75th verse of Sounclarya Lahari. a wrirk
assigned to Sankara, contains an alltt'lion t o tlu Tamil
sa int Tirnjnana-Sumbhanil}J 3, the grcalcst of the T a.ram
h~nnnists. H e i. thl.'1'<'in reerr0d to a::; thP ' Dravida
Sisu." Since Jnanasamhhanda is said to have lived in
the 7th century A. D., and since it js reasonable to
1iuppose that at kast a century should have elapsed before

------

(2) ~r~arfif ~1e1"riVr ~<rC1~iu~<r1ct:, 1

A~ft:~~J~R?!~~fu-ri~1a:

II

(3) ~ ~~ i:r~ <t\tur~.n::~ ~~~a:

'T<T:'Tl'{JCJR: qf{CJ~fcf ~'@afirq I

~~'i&r ~ efcr~fu~r~1~ a<J


(<f;qJ'irf !ft~Fniprf.r ;eq;ft:q: Cfii:J~CIT It
(Soundarya Llh'.lri 75.)

h.i$ :fame spread a.U over South_ India, Sankara must


lrn.~ lived in the late1 pArt

of, 8th eentllry A .D. and


early part of 9th century.
( c) All accounts of Sa.nka.ra refer to his meeting
with KumarHa Bhatta, the famous Purva Mimamsaka.
l\11marila is assign~d the da:tc " not earlier than
700 A. D. '' 4. Hence Sankasrat who was considerably
younger than Kumarila, may reasonably have lived
towards th<: end of the 8th century.
(d) The Panehapadilrn of Padmapadarharya, the
direct disciple of Sankara. c lllLa ins a significan1 reteren~e
to Mahayana Buddhism 5 which is a latr development m
the historv of Buddl1ism.
(e) in the refutation of the Pasupata doctrines in
the Sutra Bha.sya, there ar<' quotations from Puranas
which are assigned to the 4th century A. D.
(f) Again, in the. Sutra Bhasya, thC're is a. passage 6
which is said to be a quot:ation from Kamalasila's commentary on the Tattvasamgraha of Santarakshita.
(g) Sankara refutes the doctrines of A.Hanga, Dinnaga Nagarjun a and Asrnghooha., who am known to have
lived not earlir than the 3rd century A.D.
(h.) Sankar~ came much Jatc1 than Bhartrhari, who
is usually assigned about 600 to 6GO A. D. on the authotity of 1-'rsing.
{ t) Ahove all , there is nn 1Ulllt istak ahle c.hron<>gr11.m
(whieh finds support from a hr:ln<'h of the Sr.ingeri
4. Keith Kaima Mimamaa. pp. 11.

(5) am: ~ ~ ~~:

w: {f+Tf.rrm: 1

(6) ~~~l ~w:ltfl

10

II
11 . It to It

trr1111ItI1011 )
/

U"'

"" "11 "''''

It U

' 'j

flt C'

I
( ;jf,c Of

S_..L.~-s

I llN flculh, fl20 A

"'"' '"

D.
~iv. r'fl{ fir.Jr~~ si 1~Jffi
"' ' 6-.

{l

nt1 ..
.. s

The clrronogimn

'"'~\1\? I

l.!'f ~<J;:r1'ifl "


..,
'
'' ~. ~q~'fiiQ'fi: I

3889

Ka!i or 3889-3102=
, i.e., 3889
777-78 A.D.
SuniJa.rJ~ anothe ,._
J h reads ~ ~ .
4'...-' h' es ther cwonogra1n
wuc
~ Lu.L'IJJ
d t
~
-IA ~lifii'f~819-~0 A. D.
a e of Sankara's <lea th to beLUC

evidence points to its being (at kast in part) , the wmk


of a later successor of Sankara .

In fact, not only is there this reference to ,Jnanasambhanda, but there are references to Sundam.murti
1.1nd Siru Tondar in the Sivabhujanga Stotra and to
Kannappa Nayanar in the Sivananda I1ahari. The SivnbJrnjanga Stotra contains the verse : -

:rr:;Fb-...

~~~~~~ ~~ ~~: I
~!Jfg=
'883 which
d,
y
f .. L
' i evel'Se
yields
~rs. o

b 1

H tnce from all the fore .


.
rh1tc of' Sai1k - .
going evidence, th3 probable
'
-0ra is 788 -J320 A. D.
TJ1t>se i ,.
now t.hc '11-,uments mc not without defeets.
\V ad vane(
- rountPr-argumPnts :p

. (a) TJ1e d iffic ulty with the


havmg })(en t-1. ' ti . 1
theol'y of ~ivason1"
;-i i
< SCl_p P of " Bh
wJ10 was thi o h <J
agavan Sankarn " is
.o a,... ct van Sar kal' 9 '\IT
'
or t he great Sanh ' 1 .
, - a ' vv as he the " Adi "
succe OJ'. sonJc oaf~ ae hU1l'ya r a ny one of his equally fJ:reat
'
w om wer f
.,,..
" anka1:i. " . l . .
c amous by the J1ononfi
.
;me '' 11'\v ot11 r8 f
" Sankara" f
o - whom bore thP narnr

lfi~ifq ~r;:or~ait~urr

ilr

fq-q:~l~orr ill 11
(Sivabhujanga 13)

Here the Pxpression


<4.r.:ffiite1
is said to allndc
VJ either :~rn1dara111 nrti ot, according to others, to Iyarpagai
Na.yanar
({,i)UJ)iJurna; flirTUJ@rT ).
The ~
is said to be ~iru-'l'on<lm . a11d fq(fi!tl' is Chan<lesa.
Xayana1. The Sivananda Lahari has a specific ~efercnre
to Kannappa Nay:mar, in the 6::lrd slolrn comrn1~nrinf-!
with the \rnrds :--

morTcJF-1~ q~.ffl: oWfll! ~T~~

Furthei ' th e1e


, is 110 <Hll' of tl1
.
tlic well-kntJwu 1 . J
.
c name S1vas0nM aniona.
llSCJJ) CS of Ad' S
k
"'
1 "an ara.
( b) As for the

Soun <larya J,ah . . exp~s1on "Dr-avida Si~u ,, m


d
a rJ , llttcl its all
. ~mband hii - " th
ege reference to .Jnana.w
<'S' argum t>nt

."'oundary;i T~alta ri shou ld


ds '~ould be quit(' valid if
t h e 'Bha~vatpa Cla
On
un on tedly be th.~ wmk of
.
th
contrary,
all available

];l'i;;rrsfu

Cle.

Sundarmnurt.i and Sirn T<mdar7 were a.t le;1st histori cal, and W t'l'C known to ha ve lived in the 7th and 8th
centuries ie:-;pceti ,.Pl)' . B11t Chandcsa and Kamrnpila an~
q1rn.si-leg<noh1ry figures whos<> li-H~s . could not have been
so well-known hllt for t lwi 1 hnving been immortalisc<l in
the Perin Pnl'annm h.v S ckkiihar. It would 1'hrrcf01P. he
l!\Orn 11:<1s01111 hie to believe that the Sankara who wTok
the Si vaJ,huj:mga arnl Sivanauda Lah a 1i, l i n'd r1,f tr!r
Sekkir.har in tlw 12th century A. D. 1-km(', rcli:rnce on
these presumptim1s would fav<m1 a date late1 than the
12th e<>ntury, rather than th(' early 9th centnry if we
admit that. thc> Adi Sa nlrnra was the author of these
i.

Identified with th e Palla.vu General Paranjoti,

tury A.D.

7th c~n

13

12
sUlli,as;. 'l'his is palpahly uhstud. TbNi{' stotras can
be r,ttributed to 8ank~ua, ru1<l 11enc.e thejr value
a. internal v idencc fol' dcterm.iuing Llte clat( of Sankara

~ve1

is tt !Jsolutel. Nil ;

(c) S;:mknra was eP.1'tainls the cont.empol'arr of


Kumarila Bliatta. Bu1 i the date of Kumarila, uiz.,
mi<l11le of 8th enti.uy, beJond foq ut<' ? W1;1- will later
on how that the elate of Kumnl'ila iN ult.o ctlwl' <l1'ffe1 nt
(d) The word Mahayanilm i1 1 th "' context icfNs'
only to tl1 "Ilimddha ", withou1 au,,- of the ~pooi:a.1 con notation attacl1eil to tluu W'Ord h~ mudrrn hiNtorians.
17

(e ) The O-<.'l.IJled "quotations' from Puranas arc no


an but pa.ssage.<i well known to any one
.rarni:liar with Saslra" Even admitting t.lull lhC'r are
H quotations ,. from l'tu'llnasi,' on \\ lwt f,!1'om1 rl~
can one
fix lheir <lates nt 4.Lh c:e.ntu:ry A. D. ?
guotatioru; at

(l) TlH' so-c;11lc>d ' quot<1tion .. fro m lC;rn1alasUa. if


it h a <11wtation nl :11J, 1TUgltl lunT a: wf'fl bc><:n quoted
by Kantabsfla fr0111 I bl' ~ul r.~ hhn .. n 1111Jwt than the
other way r1bon1.

(g) Sun kn ra, no 1fonht p1t'nte. lltr .8;111trnnt ikat


V ijnauavar1;., .and SnuyR,tt11a srhools oJ' Bnd(Tiiism. But
nowhere 11ocs Lr mention As:rn ga, Di11rn1g-a or Nngar.iuna

b_v uame. Tlio11g;l1 tJ 1ose fnm )US B11dultisr philosopher~


perfected thr pa 11.i:culru BaucMli.1 rloctl'iur \\ ith theh
d ialect.if:' skill. t!tc> (loctrines pre-existed long before their
f:imr Hrmw, i i h; thl' irnc.ien t cfoct1inC's that are refuted
and not !hr

.A!i!aD$?'n

of tut\, doc1l'ines.

or J)inu aga

or Nagarjum1 brand

Trum.: i. 11lso the otlier a. p(>(t or 111 1' r1t1ar;tion C'!im


be qtri1c sme thnf the!!<' B1ul1lhL-1 phiio.~nhers did

Wt>

Bal live el;Ll"lier than the 3rd or the 4th century A.D. ? :Ve
will later on re-fer t o a date :for Na..,,aarjuna, m uch earlw1
than what ; now accepted.

(h) Certainly Sankara came late~ than Bhartrhari.


Bnt the date assigned to Bha.rtrhari at present (7th
century A. D.) is not beyond , doubt as we wilt later on
snow.
(i) As for the chronogram ~der .cons.ideration,
seem
t h ere are a .f ew more details in it wlnch historians
.

. d . The same verse which gives the yeal'f


to h ave misse
~"'!~~?. ad(focc::; some. ~den(ie- a~ to the duy ~
hi<; birth. fcf~~ :i:rN~ irrfo ~~1-fT ~ifiU't;q: . ~. e., San~ar~
birth Wats in Lhe eyclie year V1bhava. m .the Va1~k :
Masa, and Dasami Tithi. This cre~tes a difficulty. J\d1
S ank ara ,s year o f birth is adnntted. by
.all to be
h
Nandanw , and the Tithi is Panchami, whic.h is t ,,,
.
dw
annive'J:'SMY
. <. of the Sankarajayanti celcbrat10ns even
to this day.

rui

This discrepancy is due to the fact that the verse


under consideration, refers not to the ~tdi Sankaia's aate,
but to the date of Abhinava Sankara who ac1orne.d the.
Kamakoti Pitha as its 38th Acharya from 788-840 A.D.
"bh.1nav <1, Sankara's date has been quoted by Atma l'l
Bodhaf
.,~
. h'
mentary Susama on the Gururatnama n:a o
rn is com
,
'
.
thns . tiju~

Sadosiva JJ1ahmt?nfila. Th passag


rans
--:
"l'nrl@ ~e_;~~ l ml::ff~ ~~II~~ c~c. 'i.e., t bhmav:

Sankara's date of birth was m t e c!? ic yea1


:sakh:a Jfas.a ' Sukla Paksa Dasami [m the
yearr
V i'bh ava, Tr
r ai

3889 Kali u1 1 8 A. D. The Punyas~olm ]Iii an~~m o
SarvaJna Sadasiva Bodha confirms this conclusion of
Atma Bodha, thus : -

14

15

~~~ fit~~ ffi?r ~ ~mii-f.if f<tor~rf.rl'f


~t'lr~1fifa:t1M8fstactiiE-.brll-g'f~~~or:

~arlier.
1

Now every activity of_ this Abhin11\-;1 ~aukan boi(~


such clOSc and striking rcsemblanC'c to th<' <lr>ids of the
:-;-reat Bhagavatpada himself tl1at n hopclrss cm1 fusion
arose with rcgnrd i..o the idcutiticx of t ii<> hin
Adi Sankara was born at Kalati in Malnbal', aml
Abhinava Sankara was horn ;1t ( 'hi<himlrnn1111
And it
sn happens that therr is a tradition 1luit m:i k<'s the Adi
Sankara a native of Chidamharnrn. Tlw 1<'<lSOll for
this conf11sion is o/)1'ions. Both th<' .\d i ~m1lrn1a arnl
Ahhinava Sankara t1i11cllc<l t lw <11 tin lc111..nl1 and
lrreadth of this Janel. Ahhinma Sank11111 1isitr1l . K1t~hmir
and occupied t he San-aj1rn Pith a.
_/\ft 11 I11111 lH' went
t o K::iilnsn, an<:l cntcr.t'd 1lt<' Dat1:1t1,'.1;1 e;_11,. <llHl was
seen no more. The lVfadhaviya Sm1kar11 Viin'.'<l lrn-.: ob.

virmsly fastened on theR(' inci<fontsi of Ahhinu-,-~ 8imh1ra'~


fife and foisted tJ1cm on thr Adi Ra11lrn1a \\ho dicn aJ.
K~nchi. Jiencc the two Sa1tlrn1-asi :n l101w.lt1:1s]~ ronfmncl
witb each c.ther and so too '11'<' thr-i1 dnt('S. \Vhat 1.lw
~toriaru; and Othel'S hrJiCY\ to h t]1(' dHl'. t' of _r\(lj
Sankara (788-820 .A.D.). is tcall~ th<' dat<' or Ahhi11ava
8ankara, whereas i.he Adi Sankar11 lived fl millt>nnium or
moro earlier tLan his illustrious sncrC'ssor. H would be
curious to study how faT th is <'onfn ion of idrntitiex
has gon<.>. Actually, Abhlna,a Sa nkaril clied i.n hi;: 52nd
Year; i.e., in 840 A.D. But whoeYP1 it w:tfi thnt confounded the identities he was r1,1reful tnough 111 rndow
Abhina.va Sankara with 32 years of life so that the> wellkn own life 19Jfill of Adi Sankara may lie 1'(\tainecl. Abhinava Sankara is tl1er efore madr to i'lir twenty yPai'IJ
1

Thus a branch of Sringeri tradition fi:ires the


<late of Adi Sankal'a's Guh.apravesa (actually Abhinava
Sanka,ra's
Gnhapravesa !) thus :-~<>~ "l'v~T~~"-T"~
'")O A . D ., th C d a.t P
(J92 l) ~l[l5F:l~
'. I 11.
!~OW r\<1 1I <J)]
><,.. . hof Adi Sankara's d(ath. according 1" histori:ms. But
actually Abhinava Sankara died in 840 A .n. Herc i~
the chrnnogram of the datr o i' )1 i-; d<ath :--

I"

f~;j-s~f!!lf.f ~~T G:~tsft[ ~~ q;~f<feyr~i?f~ricf; ~~~ff

-'J~afgfrr: 1 (Pnn.vasloka l\fanja1i), i.e .. in the year


8iddha r thi, 11sada Jlfaw, Amm.1as_11a 8-1-0 A. ll_ Tt is thus

1a."'_v to see how, through a str:mge ronfu::;ion of identities


their- da.t<'S ol' hirth al'<' also hojlC'lessl~- <011fnsell. So ,
ll'ha.tev('J' l'videncp his1 orian s <Hlduf'l' is nll i<l with
regard to the date of ,l/,Jiimna 811nkarn rm l fl. and nnf
at all with ;pqanl to t he dal!' n( . td1' Sr111l,-arn. In other
11-otd;;. historinns n J"<' nt onrc 1ight a ncl wrong----right
with 1egar(l to Ahhinai-:1 fi:mkm;1 nnrl wrnng with regard
11)
\.iii Sankarn. lt is \1ondrrful to hd101d with wl1at
llflf'il llll,,. Yision this eonfusion of i<kntitirs ])('twren the
:\di Sanknrn a;1d Ahhinaya S:rnknnt was !'meshadowC'(1
h.1 A1ma Bodlw ill his Sns~nna, e1-r11 in 1hr first qm1rtr1
oi' tho 17th eentmy 8 .
It wonl11 not be ou1 of plarP l1rre to Clltcl' into a dis
rnssion of another dntc, <1ccordin~ to a nrnj,)r tradition
rrcvaknt in Sringcri. According to this tradition, 30S8
Kali (44 B.C.) is th(' datr of hi1ili of Sankara. 'rhr
lntf~l' i\fadha vi~'a San k;1 rn
Vi.ia.v;i sepms to have het:n

(8) ~\Nrf~rrr '!.~~crier 5!'NW~1iih-<Tt <rcfflili~~P:r: aw:i~1~ ;;f;+[~~~1l'tiJf5!~~


~~<ird~ '!~~ra~~a-:
~<iri!;~ f.i~ : at~ ~>!'~ ~'1<tf*'1r: amf~ct~Cf'l'!'nTrof:

m11

~ 'f.q'l.f: ~~o;qq_ I

Susama 16

16
.
uid d by
u11ti d"IV 1111011

th 1t10 11 ut plunf't,s 'l'

' 17

it oots about
. .
.L
i

<leseribm~
" we tme o Sankara.. bU'th ~
~mu ~a't ~it: ~~Slil~f;~
wh~n.

~~ ~ ~firwr ~ ~~r

:q'

~it u

.
(.Matll1a1 iya. Sankara Vijaya 72J
" Arya.mba gav1' birth
. .

whe th S.
Io a. sou rn an arn;pieious Lagn<i
. n
lUl, Mut-s aml Saturn were in exal .
tion and .Jtl])ite1 in Ktndra."
ta-

TT1 curious fcatu11 about this sloka. i . t1 t.


to t.hc usual practicc or :111 ori .' .
Ill., .contrary
the autho f lh .M <l' .
nl.ll poet~ nnd historians,
t ' :'V
r 0
cl "av1ya s~mkarn Vijay11 VMel'"'I'
J
::isi, .uas not rho f' 11 t 0

'
"'

hirtl1 accord.in
gl\ e the yea t o t' Sankal'a''>
1
.
g o any on . of the Indi"'
mdee<l., has he sa1d
ll .

..... eras, nor


:my . iing aho11t the month tl Tith'

t b e V11ra o1 Lagua It
' lC
i,
of Ra.ma' Jataka . . :;et~1s to be a mndom imitation
as g1 en m VnLniki's Ramaya I ta.

-- -

Sun
Budha
Sukra

Chandra

Rahu

Lagna

Ii'

Guru

- --

I
Kali 2593
Constellation
Ardhra

l
J
i

Kuja

Ke tu

I
I

Sani

Setting aside this verse, let us turn to the horoscope


38 maintained by the Sringeri Matha.

of Sankara

Date of birth, 3058 Kali. Iswara Samvatsara, Vaisakha


Suddha Panchami, Sunday.
,

But, unfortunately neither in the year 44 B.C. which,


accorrling to Sringe:l'i., was tll.e date -Of Sankara's birth, nor
even in 788 A. D. whieh, is the commonly aGcepted <;late
of Sunh.ara, did these planetary r-.ombinationa occur. Hence
trus horoscope is defective either with regard to its
planetary position or with regard to the year, viz., 3058
KnlL We will later on show that the year 3058 Kali
alone is Mfective but not the planetary positions, which
can be rect:i.P,ed with a little calculation.
At any rate, we shall be content to point, out, for the
present, that the date. of Sankara's advent is .neither
44 B. C. nor 788 A. D. as found . in the various tr~ditions
prevalent in Sringeri.
After what has been said against the date 788-820 A. D.
which has found favour with historians, it could be
easily seen that any other tlate Pithcr posterior or
anterior to 788-820 would be qually untenable, since all.
references to Sankara in the early enturie of the
Christian e'l"a would fovariably be to a contemporary
Acharya on the Kamakoti Pitha.. Nevertheless, we enumerate below a few Qther dates, either for the fancifulness of t.ho arguments adduced in their favour. or :for
the l;lnmistaka ble synchronisms they bear to some
Ac~arya of the Kamekoti Pitha.
II. In his commentary on the 18th Sutra of the 1st
pada of the 2nd Adhyaya of the Brahmasutras, Sri
Sankaracharya writes : S 2

18

fir 1<tn: mr ~"l'P.J;rfif: ~~ qra~~ ~f~1~


~~if .~ 'lnl ~Cf~ ~Cf~4$t{'ct4t~ ~~~
'1'

'

C:l 6iJ'f: 1

1 :1 ~l'f' is mention in this passage, of two well-knowp


it.i:.,; ul' n11f'i<111t lnrlia, Srug.hna an<l Pati1Jipntra. They
a1c; ;ig;iin alind1 d to, in ad<lition to !la~nra, in the
!Jha-;hj 11 vil TV . ii-5. The determination of Sankara's
<fot ~ io:; uttempted f1om this "intC!I'Iial \'iden e'' tlrn. :Buth &n~hn t and Pa.talipntra existed at the time of
&lnJrnrachurya, siuce he refors to them. Ilut Patalinutra,
wa~ destroyed by floods in 7rrs A. D. Sin<.'<: Sankara
"ouJd not huvc> refo1red tn a citv that had n: 1ea 1v heen
lost, iL s1:111d to 1eason that he ~ust hav livc1l 1i~ior to
irs <lrsirniion ili 756 \.. D. Rene the nrip 't 'iimjt -0f
Sankara

life cn.nnot he beyoud 756 A. D.

This argument
reasons:-

erumot

carry

co11Yfotjon

for two

(a J 'there is no pu~posefiil allusion here to Pataliputra. Tl1e context may vel'J well lrnve b(en fillC'<l up
with namrs at any other city, like Dwaraka, Ayoclhya
or :ivanti. T.he _i\charya ml'rC'l,l- want d to m ntion two
~ities, Yory far apart. Ile just chancrcl on tl1(? names of
~wo such cities, one being Pataliputra. There is, as mueh

pnrposjvcn1>ss in this- a11usion a. when wr sav " from


"'hina to Peru. ' The mention of Patnliputr;) i~ pm>t>Jy
tr~"lt/.lf. and dr not form a dependable piccr of intern:.i-1
cvidenr.e.
(b) C:rantinir !bat Pntalip11ha was de"troyccl in
75G A.D., umhing conld, howevrr, pre'.'<mt Sankara front
tefe ing tc a lost city. Even today, we talk a Atlantis:
Sfocvah, Ayodhya and Vi.jayanagar. All these cities

\\Cl'e de!:>t,1,,yed centurie ago. Can it be argued .t~t,


uw we a1lu lt to these cities, we must bnve be.~n .livmg
,before their destruction 1 This " Patalipu~ra " ev1dene_e
is least convincing, !:>ince Sankara's allu ton to ~a~1iputra could neither prove his anteriority nor postenor1ty.
n wonld be 1too hazardous to ba8e any theory on such
;:u11depcnd.ible assumptions.
.-011

III. There is again a passage in the same Bhasya


fh' R1alnllnsur.rru which runs thus ! -

.; ~ ~!!il' {TGTT ~

Slt'li'!!if<Plolts~<I:. '({4~~~
JJ~~r'l ~r cpc<n~'1l u~r ~ ll<r~fu <11 fq~lf;:i 1
(U : lt 18).

'rhe topic under discussion is the impoi:;~ibility of. any

1- ...
and a non-existent.. To illusassoe1ation
ue~ween an ex1' stent
.
tnttb the point, the Bhagavatpada dra.ws attent10n tothe
, ahstndity of a statement such as "Purn~va11mm succeed
.ed a barren woman's son." The tnntlon of a barren
\';<;man's son as having been the predecesso1 of .Purnavarmnn could never prove that the barren womall's son ever
.c~isted, or exists or could exist.
N'ow, here again, historians have detected an allusion
to Purnavarman, who, presumably, must have been a
. .Contemporary of Sankara. The case is argued thlllt
Among the kings with the surnamo Varman, of the van..
"'e
come ac>ross two Purnavarmans.
.ous d ynast ies
"
"l'h-~ro is a. Purnn.va.rman mentioned il" a. Ja'l[a copper
plate inscription. This Purnava.rman c~u1~ no~ hr.ve
had anything to do with Sankara, since. he hve-a m. iaroff Jav:':t. Another Purnavarman is mentioned by H1eung
"l'sang as having ruled over Western Ma~adha. And
:Sirice Sankara wrote 'his Bhasyas in Varanasi (Benares),

=-:-

20
he could not have been unaware of PurnavarmMl_ of
MagacTha., who probably eaine to the throne during the
Achary.i.'il ojourn a.t Knsi. Hence, it is reasonable to
suppose Lha.t S<mkara wrote hls Bhasya after Puma.v.arman 's aMes.sion to the thron~, since the Sutra Bbasya
speaks of Pama varrnan's coronation (<i.uT<l'licrr)sf~if;R(
etc.). PruLably, Sankara expounded the Bl1asya dming_
Purnavarman's r0ign. Himce, Sankara and Purna.va.riruUr
were rontemporaries.

Now, Hieung Tsang was travelling in Ind'.i:a ior sixteen


years, dming 629 to 645 .A. D. lJJ, particular, he travelled
in the l't[ngadlrn. country during the years 637 and
63S A..D. A.nd aince the Chinese traveller refers to Ptnnavarman :ts already ruling over Magadha, th, latter's
accessipll -to the throne should hav-e been in the early
1 part oJ th6 7th century 01 the end of 6th eentury.

Fmthel' confirmation of Purnavarman's date is forthcoming. 1'h sacred Bo-Tree at Buddha Gaya was cuL
down by one Sasanka, but it was aga-in nurtured into
growth hy Pumavarman who was a Buddhist. This
Sasan:ka, again, j identified witlt that Sasattlm who
treacherously killed Rajyava.r dhana, the elder brother of
Harsanndhana. Siladitya. Dr. Ferguson fixes the date
of Rajyavardhana and his father Prabhakar.a rardha.rui
respectively at 610 .A.D. and 580 A.TI. Prof. Max
1\follcr assigns Prabhakara,vardhana and Rajyayardhana,
to 6no fl.I'd tilO A.D., respectively. Ilenee Sasanka must
Jiavq lven living about 605 .A. D. Rene , Pumavarman
who nmtmcd back the Bo-Tree at Buddha Gaya after"
its <lest ruction by Sa.sank.a, must have lived early in
the 7tli ~ntU1'y. Hence, Sankara too must have liVt!d iIJ
the f'.A-riiei part of the 7th century-.

21
Tl1c foregoing argument is indeed yerv ingenious, But,
. tl1e. follov;irn.,_ lloints
'hefore any cr<'dcncc is given to it,
.must be considered :-V eda nta
.
r.a) '\'as 8anlrnra r>:poun d mg
<B.
)l or
. , was
, ? he
\
I
.
't
.
the
Sutra
i,1sy.t
.
W:t'iting contemporary ns ory m
.
J

. mentlOlle
. d in thP contc:<', merely
.
( ('\/ l'H t"Javmnrnn is
J
'
.

f tl
top;c unc1e1 i]1scnsto illustrate the irn~l1cations o . lC tl . . , J{shatr'':1 name
In~tcad of his name, nny o ie1
, ' . .t '
h
RlOil.
.
. A<lit avarrnan ' rn igh ;
ave
~nd1 ns _,\.vant1varman or
y
h
' Jl . 1 18)
. l ~ fact in the Slttra B asya ~ . . . .
l)('C'n usec . Jn .
'
fr1rc1l 1 <' D vawhel'(~ Sruglma and l) ata11pn tra< ar t'i d 1s ,, having
,
v
.
1 tfa 1oo a re men .ton
,.
daLl :1. an(, ' aJIWc a . "
. .. ,
_.,__w:b1'le 1rvinn to
r
Js it wot'"''
, !;,
1csidcd. in those ci ,ies.
, tt
n<l y. jnadatta, fix
.
, 1 t"irs of Devacrn .. a n .
,1,
-<.'StnlJl 1sh 1 ne 1C en. IL '
l
, l t, _, n,, 8ankan1.
fi San "'U'a s c d t' " 111,,_,
tk~i l' dat.C'S, a lltl thl'llCC ix_~' " (I ,Yiijna<laita S .r1mLentsJH)llJ<l have hecn Dnvadatt<l s a;1
t"D now th1i11~ht of
po1n 1y 1 1"orhmat l.v, 1~0 on{' .ms,_',
"""'"TT11"" . (the
.
h
'd tifV
Ol t11il~
..,.. ...,,~.,,
cfo;1wc1mg t {' l enh
p ...... varnw.n is said t h~ve
iuu ...
ll S son) w om
Lw11cn womn
.
.
l l t be if some one
llHked won l J
sntir<~(lr. <'. l jT.n,vemous
"'
~ 's son'' th,,"'
. '
(the harrcn won1 " 11
:nn .'le
t1iat
<i~l.Tf'.Ji.3f
.eont1t1TJ01;ny of Sankara!
. 1'n e con 1.ex t , has as mLu:l1 spec1fo~
" . 'lll rn
.
I.., 1l111avctln1,
,.
.
I ". Ail th('se in;cmons
1
't
Torn Thck or I ari;,;.
.
..J
j, Ni\ i y :E:
. '
in1l1'P11 1111wh :luO
,.
i1.1 ,.,.c1
on tr1.'Jlucs, l"'l'l'C
,,
'-;jWCll 1rtLlOllS,
m..
1 f"JS<'
:n ho11t not 111-11g---,
' .. of la liom lost.
.

. J)O..sitive evidence
to.,
the eoni rarv thcl'C JS
.
( c) On
J ,
)~'
11,'gadha at. the 1.nne ox
ono
'-' '
.;;: hrnr t l U:Lt 11ir
,., <i. ' ~
(Gurnratnamah'ka
, s Hal a aifr.r ?,! ; Cf1<..?'111<.'5WI_
, t
San.lrnra \\a..
. . 21 ) 0 i' tlw J\rnlhrn Jvnas .Y
f
"
['
.-.
..
,
PrahrnrHd1a,

'
4'"'

n ;--;;i< ,1:-;i..c. J ,...


9.01'8 ,..,61" -.Kah m ~-" tn
wl10 reigned durmg tl ic Y"fll'S
.; ' ~ <J- -~ )

22

23

-"

489 B.C. This IIala was a contemporary of Nara, of


the Kashmir Gonanda dynasty, whom the Raja 'l'ata ngini'
mentions. Hence, Purnava.rman could not have been the
~ontempoiary of Sankara,
Pumarnrman is just an
imaginary figure; just like 'rom, nick or Harr~'

Ent tll.' Jiina.'la (V-0l. 1-3) would have it Lha.t Purn.11 ...
varman was a real historic personage and identical with
liala, who was the 74th ruler of Magadha. It is Sfii(l:
that Hala was also kno,n1 by the surname Puma from
the Yayu Purana verse :
~m: ltif~~t l1_oTT ~ret '~ ll~ffi I
where iflf: is the surname of HaJa.
If, therefore, Purna or Pm1iayarman and lfah l1C'
identical, that would be a further confirmation of the
traditional date of Sankara.
IV. The l\Iadhaviya $ankaravjjaya makes Sn nlrnra
a contemporary of Bana, Mayura and Dandi in the:
slo1rn :
v

'fi'.nflil::rtf;;cr!J

~fu;a1f;q31-.Tr;:i:_ 'l'JUT~<!._(eflJG'!l~~ 1 fu~m )'

~~il"1f~~1;r w~~M~iflllT~'lit~<fiT{ I
(Sa rgu 15. 141. )'
Professms \Veber, Buhler and Max Muller have fixed
the date of Dandi at the end of the _6th century A. D.
Bana and l\'Iaynra are also known to have li \"Cd in the
beginning of the 7th century. Hence Sankara must have
lived towards the end of the 6th and the beginning of
the 7th century. This piece of independent evidences is
said to confirm the date of P'nrnayarman ~

The biggest flaw in the argument is, e-0uld the highly


spurious :i'.fadhavi.va Sankara Vijaya be relied upon when
it makes Bana, 1\fayura and Dandi tlie cont<'mv oraries
of Sankara 1 It makes Srikantliacharya (of the llth;

century) and Abhinavagnpta (of the 10th century) also


contemporaries of Sa~kara. Can this be soberly accepted 1
The Madhaviya Sankaravija.ya makes everJ one, from
Adam to fjisenhower, a contemporary of Sankara. It is
highly risky to base one's arguments on this highly
anachronistic work. This work itself is a .hug(~ :rnar.hronism, since the author (or authors) of it, who lived
in the . e:arly years o~ this century have fathered the
work' on Vidyaranya of the 14th century!
This pseudo-biography, passing under the impressive
title l\fadhaviya Sankaravijaya, is neither MaclliaYiy:i _nor
Sankaravijaya ! Though foisted on the .devotecl. head of
l'lfodhavacharya, or Vidya,ranya, it is really a much
later work (later than the 14th 'century). It cannot l1t1
more than two centuries old, because it has two commen.taries, Dindima and Advaita. Lakshmi, the Litter of
which belongs to the first quarter of the 19th crntury.
It appears to have been written by one Nava Kalidasa,
and, freely emended by an adherent of the Sringeri
l\1atha. It has been revised and altered beyond recognition by Bhattasri Na.rayau a. Sastrigal, with the aid of
Kokkonda Venkatara.tnamgaru, and Siddhantam Suhrahmanya Sastri of Bangalore. In fact, on more than one
0~"11 ion, the fate Bhatfasr i
ar a:n wn Sa, tci p onsttd of
bavincr b<'en the <'rent.or oP h . . . fodhnv-iy-a Sank.am
Vijaya o. Not only has Bhattasri Narayana. Sastri
altered the text just as it suited him (an cl Sringieri) but
he has ev..en managed to suppress, in the second '.e dition,
snch passages in the Dindima and Advaita Laksh1ni (the
9. See m-ticle entitled .. l(o!!IS :ia@~ _1a:h::S.)~ "
by vetnri
Pra!Jhakara Sa~tri, in
the
"Anrlllr::i. Patrika" Madrai;,
Durmati Samvatsara, Margasira Masa Sanivas~ra (1938).

24
two well-known commentaries on the \vork), as h'td any
reference to the Acharya~ connection with Kanchi. In
sh?1't, the aim of Sri Sastri was to erase all traces
the Bhaga,'atpada's connection with. Kanch.i.

o:f.

As for its claim to be a biography of the great


Bhagavatpada, '\Ve, will have to borrow Bentley's words
when he summed up his views on Alexander Pope's
trnnslation of Homer-" !t is all very good, Mr. Pope,
bu~ you must l\Ot call it Homer." So too must we say
of the l\fadhaviya "It :Is good poetry and all that, but
don't call it Sankaravijaya-not one shred which is
genuine biogl"apliy." As we have elsewhere pointed out,
it is a string of anachronisms and a veritable comedy of
conll.i Pa itlcuiitiPs. But all that were par<lonable, if
0111,v ther . we1 . not thut piirtisan 1ipirit lnrhng- behina
th lines. Aml the most surprising feature is-rather,
it should he t he Iea5:t urprising,-that ~ri.nger.i regard~
the ?viaJJ1aviya apka1avijuya as the canon icnl gospel,
ana this Sanlu.iravijaya boosts Sringer~ wrth the 1esult
that, between themselve8, they have caused incalculabl~
l1arm to the cause of truth. .

As one writer ha.~ aptly pointed out, " A compaJ.'ison


of Anandagiri's Prachina, Sankara Vijaya and Vyasachaliya Sankaravijaya with this so-called Madhaviya
Sankara Yijaya ... . wo~ld at once show that the latter
must have been mainly copied from the two former San"
ka1:a Vijayas-of course with such omissions and come
missions, mutilations and modifications, as every plagiarist ol' chora kavi used to do. . . . . . The author of the
(is) ........ ~
so-.called Madhaviya Sankara Vijaya
comparatively modern advocate of the Sringeri Mutt,
and th~ work is consequently of no historical value."

25.
V. In China, during the reign of the Chena Vamsa
'kings ( 557 to 583 A. D.), Gaudapada's BhMya on Iswara
._I(rsna',s Samkhya Karika was translate..d intothe Chin~e
1ang;1age. J\'Iost. probably the work was translated in
570 A. D. Since it is not probable that the work would
have been translated du'r ing the lifetime of Gaudapada,
sometime should have elapsed between the death of
Gaudapada . and the translaiio1i of his work. Hence,

Gaudapada mu.s t have

lived in the middle

of the, 6th

cenhlry A.D. Sankara, who WM the disciple of Govinda-

pada. who was himself the disciple of Gaudapada, must


therefore 1rnve lived towards the e1~d of the 6th e<'ntury
or the beginning of the 7th century A. D.
'rhis argument, too, is based on defective premises.
'l'rue, some time must have elapsed since the writing ef
the original Bhasya and its translation into Chinese. But
how l.ong ? It. could have been years, decades, centuries.
How could one assert that only decades had passed since
Gaudapada's death and the translation of his work in
570 A . D.? This nidence, too, is incqnclusive.
VI. Mr. Telang refers to a Trivikra.ma who was the
first emperor mentiornid in a Tamil work called the
Kongudesa Kala. Here, this Trivikrama is said to hav'3
'been converted into a Saiva by Sankaia. Now. was this
Trivikrama the first of the name or the second ?
Dr. Deuss.en is inclined to believe that it was 'J'rivikrama II. Dr. Bhandarkar has shown, on evidence
based on a eopperplate inscription got in 1874, that the
date of Trivikrama I is 4th century and that of Trivi
krarna, II is 6th century. Hence thi; reference to SaHkara having eomerted Trivi.k>:8ma to Saivism pioves
-that Sankara lived in the 6tli r,~tm~- A. D.

26

21

But the qucs~

l k

.k,
~on lS, 111 i.ic
SanY-..ara converted Trirama? Wu it the fi.nit or the A..:i1 S
u
anrmra or
0 f J.:_ .
ILllS
iUwttrious succ~ors '1 Adi Sanlta
em rnent1 . k w.
.
rn was prek
Y a V i sopke7', w1th no sectarian bia~. Ji 'l'ri~t rarna was made a Saiva, it should haV'e h en bv a
a e~ 8ank~u'fl.cbarya with $0mewWit pronomtct>d S~h-a
leanutg-&---pr<.1bably b S h'd
.
,
,
A h
.
y
ale I ananda Ghana the 23rd
c arya <if the Kamakoti Pitha.
'
,

anr

Vf

encde, we have shown ho~ untcnu hll' .some of the


3 1i cs a vaneed by histo
.
ntt
. ..
'l:'larui are, either bec.attse of then-
acl.er unrehab1hty or because they refer to a. Sank~r1arvn., other, than the great
or Ad"
S k

'
. i , an ara.
.;J Hit

But to m
al.it!
lfl.<! another's atgurnf'nt.
ic; certain!
not to prove one'
.

Y
..
s own case. Havmg shown the urueliA,bili Ly of the dates a<hanced by historia
cxpla.'
. .

ns, we must now


.d ~ oi~r poSJtion, and prove our hYJ?Otheses with the
Bl of v-aliu proofs.
We baso our pwois

Sankara on :-

,]
or 1tetermining
th.u

Wite of"

(1) The records of the Dwaralm, Puri imd Kanchi


l\fa1has ;

(2) The
Matha.

''

more anc1ent

u-..
~n ctl
;it1011

t t 11e Srine-eri
~

(3) (a) the PunV!l..,J k


1\Ia

Sarl .
"~ o a
ujnri of SarvaJnJ.
ilslva Bodha, (b) the Gm uratnamnlilrn of Sada \a
Brabmen?m, a11n (t) Susama) the comrnentmT on Gururatnamahka by Atma Bodha ; and

(4) On certain -verses ot .Jina Vijayo n work of


the Jamas, w h"ic h contain
valuable

'' the date of


clues to
Sanka.ra.

\V c will now discuss these various documents :..:_


(1) The 1Jwa1;aka, Puri and Kanchi Mathas cite the
chronogram, of Adi. Sankara's advent from the Prachina
Sankara Vijaya (quoted by Atma Bodha in his Susama):
fo~ 5!~TFFfii'i~Cj'~iSfT1JJ~
;q) il;:it'f ~;=f;rull:;!G:ll~tl~l~ I

~N-sf~a~~f.r f.r~;,mljf<?~s
ClfT[nC!I<'( fu<i~ ~: ~ '9' ~':fi=tfo II
Decoding
the
sloka,
af<f~ = 3,
~C!N = 9,
<rlur = 5, and ~ = 2.
Combining these iigiircs,
we get 3952. 'rhis figure must be reversed (as is cu<>to
mary with all chronograms). We get 2593, i.e., 2593
.rears since the beginning of Kali, since all ancient
records refer only to Kali era. Now it i.s a well-known
:fact that the Kali age commenced in 3102 B. C. Hence
'.~593 Kali corresponds to 3102'-2593 = 509 E. C. 'rhis
.is the date of birth of Adi Sankara~ Other detiJ-i.ls .with
regard to his birth arc, that he was born in the cyclic
~ear Nandana, Vaisakha l\fasa., Suklapaksa Panchami,
Sunday, in the constellation 6[ Punarvasu in the Lagna
Dhanus. It is remarkable that 'even to this day, Sankara
. J ayanti is celebrated dl over In1lia on Suklapaksa Pan-
.chmni in Vaisakha Masa, in the constellation of Punarvasu. Henco, Sankar~ lived during the years 509-'177 B.C.
Since then, the Dwaraka. Matha. has had an unbroken
line of nearly 79 Acharyas, Puri has had ovei one hundred and forty Acharyas, and the Kamakoti Pitha., sixtYcight Acharyas, from the great Sankara to the present
Aeharyn. N"o historian could. nfford to ignore these threema.Jor inslituiions and their historic traditions; parli-

28

29

cularly whrn there is such remarkable agreement among


~em with regard to details.

the dates whereon the Aradhana was to be offered


to the departed Acharyas. To the body of verses handed
down through ag-es, Sarvajna Sadasiva Bodha has added
a few, probably in the place of the missing verses,.
bringing the verses up to his own time. Sarvajna
Sadasiva was therefore the editor of an invaluable
historic tradition.

li01'6 positive information is forthcoming. There is


the famo1s 'ra.mrapatranusasarui (copper plate inscrip"
tio111 of king Sn<lbanva ad(h'eSSed to the gren.t HhagavatpHdo 11im 'cli, trprorluc d on pu.ge ~9 of Vimarsa, fl work
written b tJ1e last Aclrnrya of the Dwaxaka J\fatha.
(Vide-Appendix A) ~. This copper-plate inscription is
dated 2663 of t he Yudhisthira Saka which corresponds
to 478-477 B.C.

(2) Even Sringeri which has had a chequered histo1y. has a tl'ailit.ion-a mor ancient one-wllich says
that Sankara fl Hll'i!:JlcJ. in !lit 1st cent my B. C., v~. ,
44 B. C. ( Vifie-Sup1a).
(2a) The Govardhana Pitha Guruparampara entirely
agrees with the Dwaraka chronology.
(3) The Kamakoti P itha which alone has had an
uninterrupted history, despite adverse circumstances,
bases its chronology on the historic traditions embodied
'in the P1rnyasloka l\failjari, in the Gururatnamalika, and
in Snsama .
() Punyasloka Manjari is a work consisting of
209 verseoi, <'Olleeted by Sarvajna Sadasiva Bodha, the

Mth Acharya of the Ka~akoti Matha ~ho lived in the


16th eentury. Sarvajna Sadasiva says that most of the
-verses are very old, and handed down to the successors
through th e a.gS. These verses are short obituary notices,
~i s it were, giving the place, the year, month; and th
tithi of the death of each of the Acharyas who occupied
the Pitha. The funyasloka Manja.ri is therefore a string of
m<'mol'h l vr.1-.;P.-, which serve as mnemonics 1<> r(lmOinber

(b) Sadasiva Brahmendra, the famous Raja Yogi,.


was the di<iciple of Paramasivendra Saraswati. the 55th
Acharya of the Kamakoti Pitha. He was so much devoted
to th.is Pitha that he recorded its history from the times
of the Adi Sankara to the time of his Guru Paramasivendra Saraswati, in his Gururatna:mii.lika, consistingof eighty-six beautiful and terse slokas.

(c) Atma

Bodha,

the

disciple

of

Adhyatma

Pr~kasend1a Saraswati, the 58th Acharya of Kamakoti

' Pitha, displays rare critical powers in his commentary


Susama on the Gururatnamalika and in his gloss on
Punyasloka Manjari, called Makaranda. He w1'Qte a
supplementr called the Parisista, wherein he added memorial verses to the Punyasloka Manjari of Sadasiva Bodha
wherein, again. he has recorded the achievements, date and'
place of demiSe of the Acharyas from Sarvajna Sadasiva
Bodha to his own Guru Adhyatma Prakasa. He gives a
plethora of references, wh ich, unfortunately, we are
unable to trace. But he reveals a highly critical and'
historical ' genius which compels our approbation and
admirati,on.
It is a pity t11at historians should have contemptuously
ignored ,these records of the Guruparamparas of the
Mathas. \Ye do not believe for a moment that they are>
ignorant of the existence of such records. The only

30

31

possible explanation is that, in the eyes of the historians,


all these records arc fakes of a later date concocted bv
the various Mathas to cnrry their history 'far back int~
a hoary w1tiqui.ty. Should such indeed be the attitude
of the historians, that would scarcely be fair, since, such
an allegation would imply that the Acharyas of the
various :Mathas Wl'l'C paities to the perpetration of this
,pionP. fr;,ucl. Or, i11 view of th'-l remarkable similarities
found in the rccor<Js of the Kamakoti, Puri and Dwaraka
m1d Kudali }fa th as ( Sringcri excepted), it 1night be
'Presumed that at a distant period,. the heads of these
Mat.has conspired togelhcr and faked these records to
.overmve their credulous Sisyas with their tale of hoary
antiquity. But this presumption,
too, is hardl~
plnusible. There have been practically no occasions for
the heads of these Mathas to come together-rather; they
have been keeping one another at arm's length. Above
all, it should be rememb~tcd that these great souls,
wedded to piety and truth, could never have been guilty
Of even such venialities like tampering with dates.

to concede {even half-heartedly) historical validity to


Puranas and other jndigenous documents is to court
ostracism from the confra,tcrnity cf historians.

The -0rJy reason that could be ascribed to this neglect


of these records by historians is their fund11mental distrust in the indigenous, <ind particularly,
religions records. The historians have set before themselves certain theories-unassailable in their own estimation-~na
certain chronologies ; and whatever goes
counter to such theories is suspectable and hence unreliable,
and therefore must be thrown overboard. Such a rigid and
nncompromising outlook with regard to indigenous histrJry as embodied in the Puranas and other religious
Norks, is calculated to distort and vitiate history, and
render history a.vythkl{l but history. For any historian

This is a revolutionary age--even in the domain of


13eience. It is high time that historians awake to certain
H~YO!utionary vistas which are likely to be thl'OW!l open
by a closer study of all available ancient material.
As for the chronogram that fixes the date of Sankara
:as being 509 B. C., that may be dismissed on the facile
,assumption that since it is adopted by Sankarite institutions, it must be a. deliberate fake. But the same
nllegation c:in never be levelled against another chronogram, derived from the Jina Vijaya, a Jah1 w rk, out
spokenly hc:stile to Sankara, which fixes the date of. birth
.of the Bhagavatpada exactly at 509 B. C., though, oi
<Course, indirectly : wrr~c<fi<:SMi

Wilit

~ ~1

~Ilt oWr"(. i:tiH<r~t ~1al"'l'J~~R'6: 11


at1o:~G1tfit:itr{l~) irrn~rmmft t
~~: fcrmil!~ .................... .

;f~lttl~.;&J;;i:, ~: ~at" :q'f~it'liNl"l I


~ill'11"f~<b: ~I~ ~lfa~ l

(Jina Vija.ya)
The fot\;going vcrse summarises the life of Kumarila
Hhatta. BrH'n in the village of Jayamangala, on the
banks of -the J'.faharrndi, at th junction of the Andhra
country and Utkalil.desa, Knmarila was an Andhra by
hi1'th, ~on of Yajneswara and Chandra.guna. He was a
formidable debator and a staunch upholder of the Vedas.
1-le helonged to the Krsna Yajus Sakha.

33

32

ffi!O_ q~~ qr{ ~~~ira ~Rf

Now follows the chronogram of the birth of KumarilaBhatta :~<~ ~l\i:lTili: 'fit'<fit<-Jr~<~H:: 11
~Rll~+m:& 'Jill<iiJ06ilitfl~: I

~~: m~~Of~MWl

q:'f mfil~~~fcfi

({*9t fii.'ltfl<\_ ~~:

II

1'hat is, in his fifteenth year; Sankara met Kumarila,.


i.e., in 49,1 B.C.

~<fT~~<tOf if<~~l ql+ii\~"fl~ I

(Quoted by T. S. Narayana Sastri


Sankara' 1917, pp. 139).

~ffil)~~

The date of Sankara's demise is thus fixed in the:


Jina Vijaya : -

~'for~~pt~c~Mt
ilfifil"~.,ra:: ,
<.

in his ' Age of

Before we decode this verse to obtain the date of:


t>irih of Kumarila Bhatta, we must be familiar with
certain era1 in ancient Indian chronology :( 1) Yudhisthira era of the Hindus, correspondingto the coronation of Yudhisthira-36 years before Kall

or 3138 B.C.
(2) Kali era begins in 36 Yudhisthira era or
3102 B.C.
(3) The Yudhisthira era of the Jains corresponds
to 468 Kali or 2634 B. C.
Now, decoding the foregoing chronogram, :;iW: = 7-,.
cm:: = 7, ~ =0, if&:if~T = 2, i.e., 7702, which, when
reversed, gives 2077 of the Yudhisthira era of tho Jains,
i.e., 2634-2077 = 557 B. C. This is the date uf hirt:h
of Kumarila Bhatta.
J\ext, Chitsukhachrya in his Brhat Sankara Vijnya
says that, Kumarila was older than Sankara hy t"ortyeight years. Hence, Sankara must have been hmn 48
years after Kumarila, that is in 557-48 = 509 fL C.
1'he date of Sankara's meeting with Kumarila i:-i irn1icatcd in the verse :--

l:!;ifii'~if ~ffi~~OO~T~'>l'<t<e~: 11

(Quoted in the " 'Age of Sankara " pp. 141).


Decoding, Si!~ = 7, i!J'OT
5, ~Iii = 1, ir~r~r =2, i.e.,
7512. Reversing, we get 2157, Yudhisthira era of the
Jains, or 2634-2517 = 477 B. C., in the cyclic year

Rak~aksi.

This is fully confirmed by the Punyasloka Manjad


which give,;; the date of Sankara's death in the verse : :i:i~r~i;;;nffi ;i~~~liP:i~)
+J~~~!JFC151~i!"l'd~: ~~~:I

~ ~f~;r_ ~~6~fq ~~TO>~sfq

"' 'f,~;

~~ ~r~N~'l~fe:~ 11

Aecording to this verse, the date of Sankara's death


is 2625 Ka1i or 3102-2625=477 B.C. in the year Raktaksi, Vrsabha Masa, Suklapaksa Ekada.si tithi. Thus,
after this amazing confirmation that we receive from
Jina Vijaya, we need n-0t entertain the ghost of a doubt
with regard to the date of birth of Sankara.
Sri Sankaracharya visited Nepal during the reign of
Vrsadeva Varma who reigned, according Nepalese

35
-dynastic history, from 2615 Kali to 2554 Kali.
further confirmation of the date of Sankara rn.

Thfo fa

''fhe common allegatiou against tht' Mn thas that they


have taJllpercd with their dates to gain antiquity fo1
their institutions is hnrdly fair. Had they been prompted
l>y mich ignoble rnotinos, 1.hey couhl have pushed hack
the date of Sankara as far hack as 1st century Knli or
30th ceni ury B. C. For, Gaudapada is said to have h<'t~n
a Sisy~ of Suka, who lived in the let. cen.t.ury l{:tli,
If that. were so, Gaudapada's Sisya Govinda)ladil, ;111d
his Sis>a Sankara BLagavatpada, con1c1 e asily hn. ie lH~1:n
made to li l/e in the 1st century Kali or 30th cen t111y B. C.
But the~;r. Matha histories rwver make snch f:111tf1';ti;i
daims. StH'.h moderation should be ample proof of 1.li('i1
authenticit:v.
1

If 9th century A.D. js too late a <late for :~1111bra,


nevertheless feel that 6th century B. C. 1:1 :rn 1111crn1
ooionably early date. Someliow, our" hisi01i<' 1p11:wi111rT "
rnvolts against so early a dnu>. Such :i n1cdl d 11i,,
historic com;ei~ncc is \'Oiced by Mr. N. \11111l:1l11.,111Jtn
when he writes: "It (the Kam.akoti Pith.a. (l11r11p;inn11
parn) gives a very earl~- date to Sri Ra.111\11111 011., t.h:1i
is not acceptable for sevmal reasons; 1111d ii mi::i~:11~
uniforn1ly lont~ periods to the c'arlic;.I
(:11rn:""''
"\\vh:it tht' '\:T5ter has i11 his mind lS f!ii~; : 'I' 110~1 n. 1:.
be t11e date of 8tmka1a's hirth. 1l1Pn 1... h11111111:1 11 '<lll
we

i\p.

IC. Kota
55.
11.

ram:.m,

V rnkatachellam,

chrouology

Sankara and his successorf.:i


PO- 9.

or

in K1111Plil

Np1il

lv

I H111 or.1',

N \'111h:1t

tNupotary of Gautama Buddha who is said to hav~


J1een bnrn in 566 B. C. Th~ date of Sankara's Viddm
lWukti is 477 B. C., i.e., he dies nine years after the
death of Buddha, who is said to have died in 4tW:l B. C.
lt were v,lrn:ost re heresy to believe that Sankara could
.ever have been Buddha's contemporary ! HencfJ it is
:that Mr. Venkatrarnan seems to favour the Sringeri
-chronology, which .ssig:ns 44-12 B. C. as the life-time
<lf Sankara, 'rhe ~::ceptance of the Sringeri date wouk1
help us to tide over the difficulty of Sankara being
ronternpor:.inGUs with Buddha. If the date 114 to 12 B.C.
.be accepted &"! Sankara's date, moxe tha,1 foui; cen.turict>
would have elapsecl since 1J1e death of Buddha, a period
.long ,, ough for !3uddhism to have undergone such phllosophic mutP.ti()n.s as to invite tlie attacks of Badarayana in
his Brah.ma Sutras, and, later on, the criticisms of Sank.a:ra.
Mr. V>nkatraman almost seems to suggest that the
Kamakoti date 509 B. C. should be amended, so aa, i r
pos.5ihle, to tally with the Sringcri date. He believes
i hat the periods of the pontificates of the first few
Aclrn.ryas are very lo:ng. Sure&wara is assigned 70 years,
.S arvaJnatman 112, Satyabodha 96, Suddl1anan<la 81,
Kai.vaiyD,nanda 83 years, and so on. If: we deduct from
the dm~ation of the pontificate of r~aeh of these one full
-cycle of 60 years, '\YC will be able to shift forward Sanlc..ara 's data by as muah as 300 years at. lea.st, i. e., t(1
about the 1st centu i-y B . C. or so. By thus deductin~
a full cycle of 60 years in each ca.<iB, no violence . wrn
be done to the eyciic year, l.tl'Onth, paksa and tithi of
the d~m.isc of the particular Acharya wl10se date is su
emendea. For instance, Sarvajru-1tma;n is assigned 112
YNH's. He is sa.id to have died in tl1e. year Nala, month.

36

Vais:tlcha, on the Krsnapaksa chaturdasi tithi.. If now


we remove one full cycle of 60 years, then 112-60== 52.
i.e., the 52nd year will also be Nala, with the same
month, vaksa and tithi. Hence, without materially altering the year, month, paksa and tithi, the dates oJ Sarvajnatman and others may be u pruned" to " reasonahlc
limits " so that we might bring Sankara's date forward
by at least three centuries, to the satisfaction o( a H
parties concerned. ,
But the very idea behind such pruning would be : (l)
that the early records have been deliberately fa.lsifo~d, by
an addition of 60 years to the reign oi each Acl11rrya ;
nnd (2) thnt we believe that no man could live for over
hundred years. To presum e so would be tantamount to
questioning the honesty of the chroniclers. They were
too ~reat to be capable of such shady transaction!>. Somcof these chroniclers are, even to this day, eomrnandin~
the veneration of millions. One. at least among tl1em,
the great Sadasiva Brahmendra, the author of t lw I lm1ratnamalika, is held in high reverence by all :tlik('. irrespective of. their affiliations. In fact, the grcnt. 8atchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsimha Bharati Swami of Hl'ingcri
himself ha8 celebrated the gTeatness of Sa<lm~ivn Brnh rnendra in immortal verse. Such being 1.lw <':Is(', no111
conld dare to question the honesty o:f Sa<la1;iv:i, 01 or any
other equally venerable chroniclers o:f the Matha Ii i:-1t.orics.
1

To set Emits to the lives of the early Ad1111",v11H iw to


place them on a par with ordinary :f'l)llc l:1t11 f.cHlay,
there are people amidst us who are past 1111nd11 d. 'rhcm:i
are centena1ians in Nepal and in the Hirn:ila 1:1n tracts.
The early Acharyas o:f the Kamakoti l'ilhn w<~rc :111
ce!ibates, and disciplined souls. Bein~ Yog-i:-1 ol' ;1 '''\l'Y

37

high 0irder, they could easily have lived up to t20 yea.rs


whtioh. is regarded as the life-span of 'Mahapurusas.
Hence . no doubts, need be entertained with regard to
the l>'JSsibility of extreme longevity in the case of the
-early Acharyas. Hnce, whatever "pruning" we pre-sume to effect with regard to their " long lives " would
be only with a view to place at least three centuries
bet.ween Buddha and Sankara.
llul, iH there no way of accounting for a gap of three
or four or more centul'ies between Buddha and Sankara.
without altering Sankara's date, i.e., 509-477 B.C? There
J8, ana that is a very bold step-to push back the date of
Buddha hv centuries ! Pandit Kota Venkatachellam of
Vijayavad~ has attempted this Herculean task ffrst by
re~tid!ating the existing chronology in ancient India~
history, and secondl~r by adopting the chronology env1saged in the Puranas and other ancient works, and by
~riticttH.r examining them. According to Sri Venkat.a('.hellarn 12 the life-time of Buddha was Kali 1215 to
1295, or 1887 to 1807 B.C.-more than fourteen centuries
enl'liel' th:m the dates accepted at present. by the
11istohan~.

12.

Pandit Kota VenkatacheUam, Vijayava.da Author of


of Nepal History, reconstructed.
F'or the benefit of those that may be interested in the
1heories of Sri Venkatachellam, we summarise his arguments:(l) Tl1e existing chronology in Indian Hi~t?ry is fundamentally defective and arbitrary, and needs rev1s1on.
(2) The W estern historians .who establ ished th'O! existing chr onology i n ancient history were r eluctant to concede
anv great nt iq uity t o things Indian, and h ence pushed forward ll\e dates as late as possible.
(3) They -were elther .ignorant of the
chronology as
found in P uranas. or. being OA:qua.lnted with them, they deltberately dismissed t hem 88 being 'W9rtbless.
ChrO'n~logy

38

39

Sii Kota Venkatachelam has taken considerable pa:ins:


to fix the date of every important event in Sankara's;
life. (pp. lJ 1 to 116, Chr-0nicle of Nepal History) .

of Chit.sukha's work, we have complete details with regard


to the date: of Sankara :

~a: m ~~ i!Rr ~11Jr~~~ey01' 1


rrw~ ~cf.f. ~!ir~fofa{-~~ ~ II

of thl date is forthcoming 1'rorn


the Brhat Sankara Vijaya of Sri Chitsukhaclmr>a, who
appears to have been the most sober and fait.hfUl hlographer of Sankara, having been the companion of Sankara, practically from his birth. In the 32nd Pralmrana,
Further con:firmatio

Cl

~~Brosey Cfc{ ~ ~I"-1;.i ;:<~~ ~~ I


~JW

~~~ :q q~p:<it

are:-

(a) Yudhisthira era


era
(c) Saptarsi era or Laukikabda
'I'he Jains adopt a YudbisU1ira e ra which
2634 B. C. :ir 468 after Kali.
(fl) Kall

3138 B.C.
3102 n.c.
3076 B . C.
conesponds to

..
.:

(6) According Iv Pauranic nccomlts of Kali (Cf.. .Bhagavata Purana. XII : L 1 ....13) , the dynai;ties that ruled over
!dagadha since the time of the Mahabharata Y.Tar were :
( I ) Barhadra tha dynasty
22 Kings
1006 Yi>.ars
(2) Pradyota
.,
S ,.
J38
(3) Slsunaga
JO
360
(4) Nanda
2 ,.
100
(S) Maurya
,.
12
316 ,.
(6) Sun~
10
300
(7) Kaawa
4
8
(8) Andbra
32
S06
with a total regnaI period of 2811 years. The Maurya. dynast.ytharcfore came into power in 1604, years of the Kali era 9 :r

RMT

II

~1~~~1eft I

!Jtrol~mt ~ ~ <t><ii2~ II
+Ml~ ~sf~~~~)+!~

( 4) The real history of India. is said to comm enc'.~ from


the d~ath of Buddha, which is now lixed by da ting back
from the Ume or Ale.xander's invasion of India during 32632% B. C. Tile reigning mona1cb at the time or Ale:xander's
Jnvaalon is aa.id to have been Chandragupta Maurya. Wilh
this starting-point in history, viz., the invasion of India hy
Alexander, the date of Gautama Buddha's NJrva.na. is .1\xed ns
being 486 B.C. llut this date of Bud,d~a's death, MCOl'dJng t<>
F1ri Venka,tachellam, is wrong, Fo1-, AleJW.nder's con tem.pora1-y
ea n.ol Chandragupta. Ma11rya, but ChandJ<agu.pta 01 tlt
Q,apta dynasty.
VD Real history commences from the Ma.habharata War
wMcb. took place 36 years before Kali, i.e., 3138 B.C. Ther e
are three principal crns men tion 1] in ancient works/ They

<ro ({!f ~~!~ rnfu ihl~

~~~ ~~~~
~~ i'lf~ ~iii.

:q

~~ ~,<IT

II

,fqtirr ~~ij' ~ I

51Hl~ ~ ~r~<tf ~~iii ~r-IO!ll II

(12 to 16)" 'fhen iu the tenth month of her pregnancy which


was fraught with all auspicious igns, in the year 2631
of the Yudhisthira Saka, in th.e auspicions year Nandan~,
on SundaY the 5th day oi the ..bright half of the auspicious m;nth Vaisakha, when the sun was in Aries
(Mesa), when the moon hnd advanced into tl:c conste~a-,
tion of Pnnarvasu, in the Ijag11a Kataka, JUSt at m1<11498 n. c.Tt~CLLA ~rcr.anrl rnillit~ -1\1anrya ii; 1568 Ka~t
or 1534 B.C. Conesp ondin gl y the date of Gautruna. Buddba is1215 Kali or 1887 B. C.
Sri Venka.tachellam bases his arguments on : (1) Th<3 proper inL .11'll'et.atton of the Pauranic chran?logy (2) Kalhanas R aja Tntangini,
(3) the
Nepala Ra1a
vam'savali and other an ci<mt worlcs.
If these fundam.enta.l assumptions of Sri Venkatachellam
he admitted (and they appear reas~mable encm_gh), the ~ate
of Sank,wa;:narya seems to fall quite naturally m the anCJeni:
historic set.ting.

ln

40

41

in the Muhurta known as Abhijit, with the Lagna


.a~pected. by auspiciou~ planets, when Guru, Sani, Kuja
a nd Ravi were both rn Kendra and in exaltation, when
Snkra _w:as ascendent, and when the auspicious Budha
was with the sun, the chaste Aryamba gave birth to a
son even as Parvati gave birth to the glorious Shanmukha."
2631 Yudhisthira Saka corresponds to 2593 Kali or
509 B C. The horoseope {)f the Bhagavatpada reconstructed from these data would be as follows :-

planets in 509 B. C. was just, as is found iddicated in

~lay,

Chitsukha's work.

Of immediate concern to our subject is the fact that


the dates of the establi~hment of the various Math.as
have been painstakingly determined by him. Thus : The. establishment of Dwaraka Matha
491 B. C.
486 B.C.
'fhe establishment of J yotir Matha
485 B.C.
'l'he establishment of J aga.nnatha: Matha
4:84 B.C.
'rhe esta.blishment of Sringeri Matha

Sukra

Surya
Bud ha

The establishment of Kamakoti Pitha at


182 B.C.
Kanchi
ln short, Sri Kota Venkatachellam,s work hears the
impress of eaniest study and deep research, but unfortunately, no historian serous to have ta.ken any notice of
his Jlnding.;i either favourably or adversely. lJike Casi.andra, he is treated with cold indifference by historians
and lay.men alike.

Chandra
Gum

Kuja

Born in the
Constellation
Punarvasu

Lagna

-J~ani

But whatever be the merits of Sri Venkatachellam's


flndirrgs, they lend confirmation to the date of Sankara
as preserved in the Kanchi, and Dwaraka l\fothas. In
fact, all difficulties are overcome by adopting this chronology. Fnr instance :(a) Nagarjuna (Nagarjuna Yogi) is assigned the
<late 1294 B. C.13 ; hence he is a forerunner of Sankara;

positions of Rahu and Ketu are not


indicated since we have no data.
NOTE : --The

\Ve have n~w ~ccasion to l'Cfer to the horoscope of


Sankara as .mamtamed by the Sringeri Matha. It would
he .found tnat the planeta r,v positions in the foregoing
;.~oseope reconstructed from Chitsukha's Brhat Sankara
I~aya are the same as those reconstructed from th<i
Srrngeri data, if suitable corrections arc effected in the
latter. But whereas the planetary positions never
<Jeeqrred in 2593 Kali ( 44 B. C.), the posit ion of the

I
11

13. Cl.lronicle of Nepal Histori. pP. 110.


:'Vote : -Though it is not abSolutely relevant to the con
te.xt, we will attempt to establish the date of Gautama Buddha
on 11ome av-..t.llab1e astronomical data. In attempting this reoonslruction of the date of Buddha, we are consirierably
ind-'btea to some of the astronomical facts dealt with in
Jijna;sa. (Voi.1.3). on pages 7-14. (1927). We will harness
these facts to the determination of the date of Buddha.

II

42
(b) Vle have - alre:idy shown that Kumarila WM
born in 557 B. C. Bhartrhal'i or Bharti:p1'apancha as he
At the t.in'le crt Bhisma's Niryana, the relative . positions:
of the sun and the mocn :md otber details are dei;m,!bed in
fnH in the 49th chapter of Santi P:uva of the Mahabharnta.
'file details ure as follow : -'lche Month was Muglm, Suklu Paksa, .Ast.ami tithi, an<i
the sun had just reached the f,foridian when winter solstice
{Utta.l'ayana) commenced.
'Fhe mJon was in the constellation Rohini, nearly at ihe
end or the third quarter.
Relative to the moon, therefore, the sun was at 90', since
7;, tlthie hll,(l passed since the previous Ama.vasya (Ch. 273).
Hra.b.masri Sundareswara Sastriga\ of Varahur has shewn .
as a result of elaborate calculations, that the sun was in
longitude 318 3' 20":

In 1927 A. D., the Utta.rayana or winter solstice occurr~d


in Mula, when the sun reached the longitude 247 19' 37".
H6nce, due to the pre-cession of the equinoxes, the winter
solstice bad been thrcWJl back. by 318 83' 20 -minus 2'*7 19'
37", i.e., 70 49' 43". Now, it is coIJ).Illon knowledge that for
e\ery y oer the procession ol.' equinoxes shifts by 5026K
H t\nCe at the rate of 5026' p~r year, the total number of
y an; d uring which the equinox s :;houlrl h a ve hee11 t hroWl1'
baclt by 70" 43' 13" w ould be 5006 :)ea rs up to 1927 A .TI.
Hen~ Bh1sma. d led in 6066-1927 =3139 B. C. or 31 39- - 3102 =
37 before Kali, which is the date of the Mahabharata War, or
the beginning of Yudhisthira Saka.
This is one unassailable la nd-mark in Indian chronol<;ll'.v
which tallies admirably with the date indicated' by thP :Maha'.
l:lharnta in the Mausala Parra : -

'fe!:f<Wc'l~~5l1U
qi;I crn\cFF~<'f:
....

~ i~crfmrR Wi f.l'ffil ~ ~f"lftR: I!


G~rga,

in his

astronomica l work enti.tled the 'G:u ga Sam-

hita', has a verae :

~~ ~s~mr ~rf.rnr~ui!!Oi 1
~~ <\f~i.1smH~<tr ~:~~~;q_

which me.ans that when th e sun turns on his northward


couri:e without N:>?...ching Dhanistha or turns on his s\Juth
~ard course without reaching Aslesa., there will be som$ ealn-

1s sometime:; r everently calk<.l, was a senior contempotalT


mity. Dhanistha begins in 293 20' longitude. Hence from thH
time or Bhir,mn's llP<itll to the dayr. of Garg"d, th~ equino::'<es
had preced-ed by 318" a' 20" 1nin-us 293 20' O" or ;~4 43' 20" .
whicll, a.t the rate of 5026" per
y ea1-. would yield :l77l
years, after Bhisma's death, i. e., 3139--1771 ==13138 B.C. Tim
same Garga, in the Yugapurana chapter of his .vork, says that
shortly after the reign of Sa.lis ukit in Magadha, there w o uld
llc mvasions by hordes of Panchalas , Matlmrd.s and Y:wn.nas.
Hence the trouble foretold in I.he for egoing verse, filey1;11~r
~:i;ql1,)
should
refer to th e i11vasion by the hordes of
Panchalas and Yaranas. H ence, Salisnkba must have reigued
be/or~ 1368 B C.
Now, Salisuka, according to the Puranas. was a descen....
dant ot Chandragupta Maurya : -

~~t"(. ~~: ifi~:qq_ ~(f;{J~~1.:1fu I

~lJrnT~ ;:;;r.-mr i!Tl!f m~i:i~a ~ <fiwT 11


~ Q'.ci vi::~~ ~ f~r zyRtssf~Tit~m
Q'ccft <irRm~~ Cl~=<rrit'li<J~<r: 11
~a1:1;qr ~lfotar a~

BWm:

~<i~: ~a:

~R<fi~i'm~ m~~lt ~'{~qf(f

*
meit
"'

,,

;I;
{::!.

11

...:+-

'l'lr: "1r.or1!{~G1mi::t:, 1
'm1T *"r~f?.q efll'~t <r.'1n ~Q~~TG:i!: 11
~m ~~

Srimad Bhaga.vata XII : 1. 12 to 14 and 15.


l:lalisulrn. is therefore the seyenth ruler of the M:rn ryam
d:ynas ty after C h:lndragupta Maurya, Asoka being the tlilird. _
Now Salisuka should have r eigned earlier than 1368. But
the total regnal years of the Man ryan dynasty was 137 yea.rs,
ol'. wblch pn>bab?
some 130 years lUJ,cl pa.<i!!I d fro.m Chand ra~pta. to s Iisukha. rn oth~r wor ds, the elate of Ob.an.dragu1.1t1t
m ust be J368
130= 149S or bout t'i n() B. '., wllloll 1s ve1y
near the dale ass igned lo Cl1andragupt.a. Maurya by Sri Kot11
Venkatachellu.m, viz., 1534 B . C.
This ' aate receives, surprisingly enough, a corroboraticn.
The VisnlJ. Pv.rana has a verse:

~IW: qfr~"(l) ~ ~m~~rfu~'F!il 1

t!',~;s~ ~ ~1~ q~~ffl'tJ.T.. ll

45

44
{)t SankarH, and son

14 of Govinda Bhagavatpade. (the


Guru of Sankara) before his Sanyasa. Further, according to Kota Venkatachellam's scheme, more than 13 centuri<>S pass from Buddha to Sankara, a period long

whioh means that from the birth of Pariksit to the coronation


or Nanda (Maha Padma Nanda), 1500 years had t>:tssed.
Pa11iksit must have been born in 3138 B. C., since Ab!timanyu
died in 3139 B. C. (Pariksit ~ a posthumous child). Hence,
the coronation of Nanda must have come off in 313S~1500 =
1638 B.C.
If now we accept the tradition that the two genera.tions
the Nanda dynasty ruled for 100 years, then the date of
accession or Chandragupta. Maurya should be 1638- --100 =
J538 B.C., which confirms Sri Yenkatachellam's da.te as also
the date obtained on astronomical evidence.
~f

Now, even historians admit that Bimbisara of the Sais\1naga dynasty was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Now,
the !ollowing table gives the regnia.l years of the rul1~r'> from
:Btmbisara to Chandragupta, according to the Matsyrc Purana:
Bimbisara
28 years
Ajatasatru
27 years
Darsaka
24 years
Udasin
33 years
Nahdivarrlhana
.(0 years
!\lahanandin
.(3 years
Mahapadma Nanda and other Nandas
100 year~
295 years

Total

~nee Buddha was alive in 1538


295
18.'l.~ B.<;., wllich
nearly oonflrms the date of Buddhia as arrived at by Sri Kota
V ertka.tachellam.

Here, of course, it should be noted that Buddh:\ was


alive even at the beginning of Ajatasalru's reign. Let us
supp090 that he lived for about two yea.Ts dllring Ajatasatru's
reign and dted in 1803 B . C. And sine!' Buddha Is said to
h.a.v lived far 80 years. he must have been born in l 83 n.o..
wbtch Is verY nearly the same as the date arriv d at by
Sri Kota Venkatachellam.
(Viz., 1887 B. C.)
At any rate, the date of Buddha as held at present by
historians, is absolutely invalid.

enough for the original teachings of Buddha to undergo


the ,.arious transformations into the Sautrantika,
l\Iadhyamika Y ogachara an'd Vaibhasika schools.
The Brhat Sankara Vijaya, written by Chitsukhacharya, the Efe-long companion and (later) disciple
of the Bhagavatpada, confirms every one of the dates:
we haYe otherwise proved. There is, for instance, positive infomnation in the Brhat Sankara Vijaya that the
Bhagavatpada was fully ordained in Sanyasa by Govinda
Bhagavatpada on the second day of the bright half of
Phalguna of the year 2640 of the Yudhisthira. Saka or
499 B C.1-1. Unfortunately the Brhat Sankara Vijaya. is
not extant in print, though, we understand, a few
manuscript copies exist. We have to be content with
exceryts from that work quoted by other writers.
It is t.heref ore clear that the date of Sankara, 509 t<>4'l'i B. C., is quite reliable and calls for no revision. Or,
at any rate, sankMa was born and li11ed in the preChristw.n e1 a, and certainly not in the 9th century A. D.

Bom in Kalati in 509 B. C., the Acharya founded


many Mathas, in particular, the Kamakoti Pitha, over
which he himself presided as the first Acharya, and
entered the Guha or Bila (the fissure) of Kamaksi in
Kanchi and merged himself in Brahman.
14. Vide-" Age of Sankara", by T. S. Narayana Saatri,
pp. 90 to 103.

CaAPTEn

II

SRi SA:NKARACHARYA AND THE MATHAS


The Ministry of Sanlmra mr.'1y be viewed from three
<lfritinct asrects. The principal mission of h1:'i life \VUS
to extirpat<~ heresies like the Charv~,ka, Bauddha., ;Taina,
"l'arJ;.ika and Samkhya doctrines, and to combat the pel.'nicious religious practices that were being obsel'ved by
the' Saktas, the Kapalikas and the Kala.mukhas. Having
Cut such heresies at the very root, his next Jabour was
to restol'e the. pure Vaidic religion ; and this he accomplished by writing those maBterly Bhasyas on the Upanishads, on the Brahrn.asutra<>, and on the Blrngu.vadgita, wlierein he expow1ded the doctrine of Advaita,
plaeing it on firm philosophic foundations. He furth<':r
pU:l'gcd religion of its objcetiomible accretions and restored the pure Vaiclic mode of worship of Ganapathi,
Sm:va, Vishu, Siva, Sakti and Kum.a1'a. It was nol, however, enough. to have written the Blursya,s antl to h.uire
rr.:foemed religion. 'l1 he moment his dominant personaiity
waB withdrawn from one scene of ac.tivity to another,
there wa.'3 the grave possibility of the heresies gaining
ground, and defeating his spiritual mission. Hence, like
a wise conqurrm' 1vho lea es garrisons behind to consoli'f.fal e his conquests, Sri Sankara appears to have founded
.a nnmhcr of Matha.s in many of the more importn:nt
plac1~s tJrn ! he visited ns a peripatetic teacher, and
nominated some of his .faithful Sisyas to- preside ovm~
thesr l\fa.thus .and continue his lifo mission by ste.mmhig
the tid<' of heresy, by propagating: the doetrines of
Advaita, Vedanta, and by setting an ex&"llple iii. pure
worship by adoption of pujas according t-0 strictly Vaidic

i
'

47
traditions. In the chofoe of ce11tres for his Ma.tlui3, h'3
a.ppe.a:r Lo futv been prompted by considerations of. prior
.sp:i-rit11al or religiou.~ 11ssoeiatioru of ucli places 01.', somet.iraes, b~ their ha.v ing beeu Lh form r strongholds of
ht"tcsies whicJ1 be i;o $U('MfiBfnlly uproot, d. Besides the
w0H-kriown rout M:ntli.as, viz.1 Lh
.fyo1ir i\laLh at
il11tl~rikas1arua
the Kalika Pitha ut Uwar-akn, the
\'lmitla Pith.a. at .Tagannal h11 and the Sarada l'iLha at
Sring rj, he appears (.(> have founded I -kno~\tl Ma.thas
a~ .E &Si like th.e umcrn an<l Paduk11 MatJ1as and the
nutue.roi;is Nambudri Mat.ha. like Ute V dakk:a.i Madam,
'l'ek.kai Madam, Naduvilai Madam, Tirukkazhikkad l
Madam and the B1ahinc. wam JI fa lam in Malabar,
his native oounby, and many more 1'fat1ins in
many more. plfces. These Matha.c;i,
vidcnily, have
had a heqt1ered history. Som~ fom Mathas al.on~ appear
t.o ha\e su1vived the ravages of time .ancl ru. still th re
with differ nt. degrees of opulenc ~d 'popula1-ity. So'mP.
of the. "Matha. a.ppellr to have been ~wallowed up by th'
returnrng tide o.f. l1eresy. and others have receiv d a
ntercifnl lcnse of humble unpr tentiou, existene .
Ananlla,'!iPi, in his ankara Vijaya, cnumeiate. a
11wnber of Sisya.s oI th Aeharya. They are Padmapada
( ot.hcr:vioo called S1mn.ncbn1:1), lfastamaln.ka, Sru.nitpani,
Chid ,lasn, Jnana.Jrnnda, Visnu Gupta, Kirti, Bhanu- .
rumiclri, Krsna Darsan,a, Bu<ldhi-Vrddlri, Virimchlpada,
-and Hudli11ana.ntanand ndragiri. Iu I.hi list of Si!i as
&, ('numerated by Anaud-agiri, we miss a few famifu '.
1
wim.e . Sureawarach.a,rya is conspicuous by his ahsenei'.
J nother discipJ.e,
Udamka, said lo have been cmetl of
lepr~~! by Sankara, is 111.so n<>t m<'ntioned. But since
1 otaka .is 'Often iden.tifi d will\ Anandagiri, Su dliananta-

49
:wmdendiragiri (or simply Anandagiri) and Totaka ~Y
be identical._ Visnugupta, who is said to have belonged
to the same village as that of the Bhagavatpada, was

later orda.ined as Sanyasi under the name of Chitsukhaehwya. It. was this disciple of Sankara who wr~te the
Brhat Sankara Vijaya, which, unfortunately, 18 not
extant but which Anandagiri claims to follow closely~
Prthirldharnbharati, again, is not mentioned. Probably
he is not different from Hastamalaka, though some think
he is different from Rastamalaka.
\Ve have, at present, accounts of only four :\Iatbas,
enumerated in the popular Mathamnaya stotras (said to
haye been written by the great Sankara himself). Bach
of these Mathas was placed under the care of" one of the
more distinguished Sisyas of the Acharya. We will Just
trace the history of these Mathas as found in the
.M:athamnaya stotras or from a particular work ent~tle<l
the Mathetivrttam (~'l'ffll) which is mater1ally
the same as the others.
At the very outset, it should be remembered that
each l\fatha hns.its own version of Matharnnaya, and th.at,
consequently, there are striking differences even with.
r-egard to some fundaim:ntal details. For the. benefit. of
the reader who may be curious to be acquainted w1.th
the contents of the Mathamnaya texts, we summarise
here the details of the Mathctivrttam which i<; Sringeri
sponsored.

.A.dhipati. But the Mathetivrtta says th:,


the first .Acharya of Dwaraka was Viswarupa, the sam(
as Sui'CSwa tacharya. According to a still anothe1 ersio
the fust Acharya was _pru:lmapada. The Dwaraka Pit h.
:as- its

constitutes the Paschimamnaya. or the Western Amnaya


It is caUecl the S:ll'ada. ~fotha. It,~ a.mpradaya is Kita
vara. (:A Kitav8.J?!. is one who -avoi~ injury l.o insect~
Th<.> S anyasis of this l\fath,a as u:n1e the title of Tirll
or As:rama. Tb.e K fra. i. Dwuraka, the presidin~ dc11
is Siddheswara, Ths &ikti j Bhudralmli, the Tirtl
as ociatcd with th pla is. OomaLi. and the Acha ry
are called r.wa.111pa Brahmacharis. This Matha stand
lo~ Sarmneda with foe Mahavakya (~f?r) " T~
't'Yam Asi; being it, guiaing motto 2.

~!'e appears to be ii lot of unc rtainty as to wli


exactly wa.;; lb.. firsL AcbaJ"ya of the Dwaraka Pith:
We have already refened to two-Hastamalaka an
Vll:tWarnpa otherwise called ~urP..swara. .Brahm.aswarup
(who U! consi I :red as bcing i len ti al with Sur e wara o
Viswa.rup a ) was succeeded by hitsuldm, who was ii
L1un succe d d by Sar\'ajnntrrum, the aut.hor o f anksepi
Sariraka . It will b
later -8een that Sureswa.rn. an<
1. Kota

Venkatachellam.

pp. 114).

(Chronicle of Nepal

History

(2) 3l'~+l": qf~:tmri;;rr~: ~T'(C\Jm- i3'i:"1~ 1

<6'1G<ir~: \J'+:J;i~~~~ crrqr~i!'r ~:11r 11


~R02f ~ ~ l<i!Q. ~: ffi~".i\:: ~~er : I
~'-fiTwl' $! ~1ft ~TO: arJ'iTI<If f~~: U
;itir?11aNi{if~ iif~:qrfr~~qci:;: I
~~~~ q'ffif '<!' ~ 1:1"~ ~q_ ll
~

The very first Matha, in the order of chronology, to


be founcecl appears to have been the Dwaralm _Matha.
It was founded, it is said, on Magha Sukla Saptami of the
cyclic year $adharana in B.C. 491. With Ha.stamalaka1

(Mathetivirtham 7-9)

'

50

51

Sarvajnatman al'c clnimed to be the first Aehm-yas not


merely by th11 I >waraJm Pitha but by the Sringeri Matha
as well. f>adrnapadacharya is also mentioned as having
IH'C'll
lh1-1I. Acharya of Dwaraka, In short, the eru:ly
Ii iHLory ol' th.is Pitha is very canfusing. The reason may
h< Umt all these.~Hastmalaka, Padmapada and Sureswaru may have had something to do with the building
up of this institution.

Ananda Brahrnacharis. This Matha stands for Atharva


V cda, the Mahavakya oP:r+rr~+rr ~~ being its motto~-

Despite these confusions, the Dwaraka chronology i3


practically the same as that of the Kanchi chronology.
!Both fix the date of Sankara late in 6th century B. C.
According to the Guruparampara of this Matha, thl~
~al'ly Acharyas appear to have lived very long, just ~s
in the Kanchi Parampara. The number of Acharyas m
tlils Matha is very nearly the same as in the Kanchi
Matha, i.e,, more than sixty-five. Upto 1704 A.D., there
were 61 prmtiffs in this Matha. It continues to exi'it,
despite vicissitudes.
The next Matha to be established in order of time is
the J yotir Matha. It is said to have been :founded on
Pnsya Suddha Purnima in the cyclic year Raksasa, with
Totakacharya as its Adhipati s (486 B.C.). The Matlie-tivrtta, however, makes this the third in the order of
Arnnayas. This Matha belongs to the Uttaramnaya (t.he
N orth~rn .Amnaya) and is called ~he J yotir Matha. The
Sampradaya is '.Ana11davara (shunning pleasures). The
.Acharyas or this order are styled Giri, Parva!3'. or
Sa!7ara. The Ksetra is Badarikasrama, the presiding
de~y is Badarinarayana, and His Sakti Purnagiri. T"h"!
Tirtha is Alakanada. The members of this order are
3.

VidC<--Chronicle of Nepal History, pp. 115.

Beyond 1h\$e bald details, very little is known about


this .Matha. Probably because of its rather inhospitabl0
Jocntion, it has not had much of a history, and is nt
j)l'('Sent extinct.
'l'lJC third in chron0logical order, and second in the
}lathamnaya order is the Govardhana Matha, said to
:have been founded on Vnimkha Sukla Navami in th~
1yelic year Nala. "-485 B. C. Padmapadacharya was it<;.
first Adhipati. Certain ]fathamnayas, however, say that
Hastarnafaka, and not Padmapada, was the first Acharya
or this l\t1tha. This constitutes the eastern Amnaya
(Pmvamnaya). The Samprndaya is Bhogavara (shunning enjoyments). The titles assumed by the ~\.charyas
of this .Math< are Vana, or Aranya. The Ksetra is
Purusottamaksetra, the presiding deity, Jagannatha,
His 8nkti Vimala, the Tirtha Mahodadhi (the sea)
and the ..1.\eharyas belong to the order of Prakasa Brah~
' maeharis. It stands for Rig Veda, and the }fahavaky~
1

(4) fG;aM"~\lUIDl!T

~)~~mt~~ I
an~<JTU ~: u~zy:rrs~ fu~ 11
~rfu ~TCclfTaT~ fuf{i:r~i:fWTU: I
~~r (<fir)~ir: ~ ~crcrr ~ Ul'.fcl ~ 11
~cft i.fr~fl' ~~r an:qr~: ~)~ : ~=

al~ cit~~ if"'"~@<:jf iJ~:q~ 11


~ ~~ ~~<Jkclf: (Bf 1-1:r ~J~ I
( Ilfathetivrttam, 7-9}
'. 5.

Vide-Chronicle of ~epal History, pp. 115.

52
-53
~r.t "f;r ( Prnjn:umm Brahm.a} is

the ruliu.g motto of this

,l\1111.ha Ii.

'J.'lic (fovardhana Mat.ha still exists. Besides this Matha


J'nri has a few other Mathas, viz., the SanlrnranandiA
:!Uatha, the Siva Tirtha Matlia and the Gop<~.fa Tirtha

lHatha. The latter are :probably off-shoots of the original


(i-ovardhana Matha.
The Govardhana Matha has had a phenomenally long
line of Acharyus, there having been as many as 14!
incumbents up to the present time. Its traditions, however; confirm the date of the Bhagavatpada as being in
the 5th c<mtury B. C. The fact that there have been
more than twice the number of Acharyas in this Matha.
than either in the Dwaraka or the Kanchi Mathas, could
be accounted for by .the fact that the Acharyas being
grhastas (family men) . prior to their Sanyasa, they
would all be naturally old by the time they accede to
d1.e pontificate. There is -also another fact to be rcmemJtered. Due to prevalence of rivalries, there happen tCJ
be more than one Acharya at a time, one sponsored by
the people, and another by the rulers. Be that as it may,
it is a very old institution. and continues to exist
t11ough unobtrusively and sqmewhat impecuniously.
(6)

q_tr~1'41i[ct't4: ~T~T~;:r+JC5: !:~<:r: I


~':rf<JR:: ~i:51~ q<fl~ q~ ~:a- II

~r'Clli' g ~ 8TRI: ~r~rs~ ~tR!T,


fifil~T~T ~ ~<ft" ~<rrcr. an:qr~: q~crr~<fi: 11

m~ ~tr:
'!il,ifillf: ffi'7

51)'ffi

~~:qJU<:J'f.m<n: I
~ '3f ..nf ~+rrrhr:, II
(Mathetivrtta.Q.o!.

(-6~

We now pass on to the fourth and one of the greatestot


the Mathas at the present time. 'l'his Matha is uniqu~
in evel"J respect. Unlike tl1e Dwaraka, Kanchi and Puri
Mathas which maintain tlic tl'ndition that the Bhagavaipada lived in the 6th to 5th century B. C., the Sringcri
Mntha maintains that Sankara lived during the years 44 to
12 B.O., or till 34 B.C., according to a more ancient trad~
tion. But Sringeri appears io have a minor tradition
according to which the. date oi' the birth of Sankara i~
the same all favoun~d by the historians, viz., 788 A.D.
In fact, some very recent chroniclers of the Sringcri
Illntha lrnYc stuck to the 78 8-S~O A.D. date oi Sankara,
nnd written their histories on this assumption, ignorin1{
altrJgother the more ancient tradition prevalent in tlrn
self-same Sringeri Matha, as also the tradifrms obtaining 1n ' Dwaralrn, Kanchi and Puri. Again, unlike the
Dwaraka and Kanchi Mathas that claim more than sbtty.five pontiffs from Sankara to their present Acharyas,
tlie Sringeri Matha has only thirty-five Acharyas from
Sankara to His Holiness Jagadguru Abhinava Vidya
Tirtha Maha Swami. The Sringeri Matha is thus unique"uniqne not merely in its trnditions, but unique in ;ts
splendour.
Richly endowed by princes and successive dynasties,
opulent and regal, with a miniature state over which the
ruling Acharya wields (or till recently wielded) bot.h
spiritual and temporal powers, it is very much akin to
thr~ Vatican, with its celebrated line of pontiffs and itsi
~2ge-long aplendour and pageantry. The regal sp-lendonP
cf the' g1,eat Acharya's state procession in his rnagnificent .A.dch Pallakki with his diadem, with the mighty
;array of richly caparisoned horses; elephants and crune&.,

54

55

111ul 111nrt.i11l looki111{ ini'aniry, with the multitude of gayfcwloow~, 1lihnt.1nH, cliamaras and Vyajanas--that were'
inl11t1cl n Hig-ht. for gods to see, a sight that simply overwlwhnH th'3 host of Sisyas with a sense of incomparable
dignity and awe. Again, lik:e the Pope who commands
the allegiance of all Christendom-the Catholic world at,
l~as~the Acharyas of Sringcri dominate the Hindu:,
worJd. Their disciples are legion, in all parts of India.

It appears to have been founded in the cydic yeat"


Pingala, Pusya Purnima. in 484 B. c.s.

This Matha constitutes the Daksina (south~rn) Amnayn.


lts Sampradaya is Bhurivara (eschewing wealth). The
Aeharyas of this Matha assume the titles of Saraswati,
Bharati and Puri. Its Ksetra is Rameswara, its presid--
ing deity Adi Varaha, the Sakti being Kamaksi, (or
Sarada according to another version). Its first Acharya.1
was Prithividhara (who is said to be the same as Sures-waracharya). The Tirtha is Tungabhadra. The ponti:ffsc
befong tu the order of Chaitanya Brahmacharis. The:
l\Iatha stands for Yajurveda ( Krsna Y ajus) , the Mahavakya ~ ;risnflii 7 (A ham Brahmasmi) being its ruling'
motto.
(7)

:qg~ ef~m~: ~~h:1fu-

+t"if

+r~CI. II

~ft:<t~'Sf ~u=~~~: ~+r;:r: I


~ ~rcrrfrr ~H:~al

+m:al

au II

Though the Mathamnaya says that Prth:ividhara was


the firs : Acharya. at Sringeri, the
fatha lays great
stress on Su.I'eswara~hacya having been the fitsL Acharyu,
who is f 88.id to hav.e administered the Pitha for
eig~t hia.ndrod years from 12 B. . to 78 A. D., or,
according to another computation, from 34 B.C. to 765
A.O., i.e., for 799 yeal'S. It claims an unbroken lineage oi
cJJy 35 Aehacyas, inrludin(7 lie pr ent ltcad of the
~tntha. The .A.e11al'yas of th is Vyakhya, Sihmasana, claim
Ferainty over th eirrht subsidiary 1\fathas--the 1\Iathas
Bituated in Virnpaksi, Puspagiri, Kudali, Sankeswara,
Srisaila, .Ama.ni and Kiunbhakonam (Y)

The Mathamnuya prescribes jurisdictions for tha


spiritual sway o. the heads or the our Matlta"!l enum rated above. People of Sindhu, Sauvira, Saurastra,
Maharastra and contiguous regions are subject to the
Sarada (Dwaraka) Pitha. The inhabitants of Anga,
Vanga, Kaljnga, l\fagadha, Utkala and Barbara are subject to the sway of the Govardhana Matha. The natives
of Andhra, Dravida, Karnataka and Kerala are subject to
the suzerainty o~ Sringeri. The people of Kuru, Kasmira, Kamboja, Panchala and other northern provinces
were to be under the sway of the Jyotir Matha :

R1~m<ilnr":u0!~l1ilffi!'~<ru: '

~~~ ~ ~iiTUil:~'l'ffi I

~~wr~;q wrcit~'!'~n: 1

~r~ ~~= ;~~fo- ctt~ 1


~~ Br~"fi{t ~~

lffQ<li:

~~if ~:sif'ft~<tit4qr: II

il

(Mathetivrttam,

_ ~: q~~@'.:irt m\~r;.fto{Tft>~r: 11

'ifilil'lllit ~ ~T ~llf<\'.. ~~~~51~T II

11-1~

8..

Chronicle of Nepal History, pp. 116.

.5'1

56

~itl~6'".{i~l@'f ~H::e1'1flztr~<f,: I

BftU"i{"~'I':l~{~l~5i~~: I
izn;ij-~<rr ~~, ~cn'<fi~rr<Jf~rnr: u

~!'-6f~!if{ifil;:41f;;TCff~ll?J~fct~FTQ: I

;;o~rfim><ror~~l {~~~ilfl.:4Cif: 11

q,,~~q~j ~r.~ ~~l'<\l l!lf.l~;q1a,

u (35)

\\Tc are thus asked to believe that the Bhagavatpada


held the mw.rati Pitha in speci11l esteem.

(Ma theti vrttam, 1 \-20) .


I

Not bi;ing content with defining the juris<licti6p, tM


Iathamnay:i .proceeds to lay clown that,. for the eftk~~t
1aintcnance of spiritual order, the Acharya of eac\
fatha shou1d always be on the move within his jul'ls\
'iction, and permanent stay at the headquarters is no~
ountenanced.
I

~~u~51fc'!fu(~ ~~re ~fr.l<i1i:r<Ir.11,, 1


~ g

met Cfffi: oll'T.f~ 'i ~pl!'~ II


(ibid 22)

\Vith a
ids one
ominion,
'etrimcnt

touch of high politics, the l\fathamnaya for.\.charya from encroaching into another's
lest it should lead to ~1 J nabbles, much to the
o:C the lofty ideals in view : !fHr.r~fq~11\' ~ >J~m 'i 'fii\f'T.f'f l

~1~;:~~;:1~: a:f<I:

(25)

*
ill qf{Cfr'llq_:

*
(26)

Mathetivrtta would have us believe that the


evinced a marked preference io1 the
~harati or.:ler of Sanyasis.
He is made to go a little
'It of the way to hurl maledictions against any one who
10uld be guilty of disloyal1.y to the Bharati Matha.
luch trciitors, be they Br.abmanas or Ksatriyas. would
ot merely forfeit their Moksa but would be reborn as
:isachas :
The

~hagavatpada

In addition to the founding of the Mathas, the


Bhagavatpada is said to have entrusted the propagation
of the six-fold religions-~ITC'!~fG'Wf to
some
of
his chosen disciples. According to Anandagiri, Sai-rn religion wa s propagated by .one Paramatakalanala, Vaisn.ava
religion with its six-fold variations, by Laksmana and
Hastamalaka, Saura religion by Diwakara, Sakta religim>
by Tripura Kumara, Ganapatya by Girirajakumara, and
Kapalika by Va.tuka-natha. It is extremely doubtful
if Kapalilrn, which stands self-condemned, ever received
the Bhagavatpada 's approvl}l as a :eeligion. to be foHowccl
by (JTJe seeking ,Tnana. The sixth religion is probably
Kaumarmn-the worship of Subr.ahmanya.

lrn,vhow, these Sisyas, entrusted with these different


missions, must have had buses of ope-rations, an.cl these,.
probably, were some of the minor 1\fathas, not taken
cognisance o1' by the Matha.mna.ya. All these minor
organisation~ may have had a brief existence, and might
liave faded into oblivion through the ages, for want .-,;f
'1ellergetic and zealous workers.

59

53
CHAPTER

III

THE BHAGAVATPADA AND THE KANCHI


KAMAKOTI PITHA
Any one who has studied the second chapter would
lia.ve been intrigued' by the fact that the Kamakoti Pitha
is mentioned nowhere in the (extant) Mathamnyas, and
that no jurisdiction is assigned to it. It is nevcrthelesir
a Matha oi very great antiquity, having had an unbroken
hi<:Jtory to the present day : ( 1) The Sivarahasya, a very ancient work, devotes
a whole chapter (Ch. 16), in the ninth amsa, to the
advent of th~ Bhagavatpada. The last sloka of this.:
chapter:

a-~rl+ll<r<a-Nfi w:rrey:qm ~5-R<rFr. 51JCCJ;;j?.f: ~q;t~~ I

err~~ ft'tfGri.'11 o~~rsa.=r~rCiiil~:


fiJ~I~ ~ <iiT~<l'T 81~ ~f;i;:i:rr:r II

C()ntains the most important piece of information. It is


'il-.;qrir~ t?rf~irr:r-that
he
attained
Vi.deha M:ukti
at Kanchi. Obviously the ~'iiftii:f referred to in the
sloka must have been in Kanchi. The drift of the sloka
is that after accomplishing his life's mission, he retired
to his own hermitage at Kanchi and there finally he cast
off: his mortal coil.
(2) The Markandeya Samhita specifically states that
the Kamakoti Pitha, alias the Vidyaraja Pitha was
established at Kanchi with Sureswaracharya at its head : -

<fit,.;;qf ~r~c-r <n~~ififf ~111Zr1CJr ~~~


~ftfiic:.rm;;wlz~~a<1~ru:;;:; ~rw:ui~~+ft~ 1

~~~:m~fa~ ~~!l<l<ftjl=!T~~cr14G:Tc+rr
fqsrq~r~~ffi ll~fcr +i'!+l~roi'tfc:i~;w;01r;q 11

(3) Kanchi appears to have been better known m 1


ancient times as Kamakoti. Among the places that
Sri Balarama visited in the course of his Tirtha Yatra,
there is an explicit referende to Kanchi as Kamakoti
puri : -

~ <w1<itrn a;{l qjJ~ 1

(Srimad. Bhag. X : 79. 14).


( 4) Kanchi figures as one of the eighteen great
Sairti Pitltas enumerated in the ancient works. The
Kamakoti Mahimadarsa section of the l\farkandeya
Purana defines Kamakoti as Moksa or liberation, in the
highest sense : -

<firi:rq;)fa":

~ffi'

"'

ma.=r:

~qp.t '<l'g~Cli: t

(5) The Bengali Encyclopedia (1892) Vol. III


writes t!rns with regard to " Kanchi " : " Kanchi is a Mahapithasthana and .i$ the Samadhisthana of Sri Sankaracharya. In the lHandir of
Kamaksi, there is a shrine of Sankaracharya with his
full-size Murti. This is his Samadhi : ~ ~T

;rffi

~ifi'f ~~1 ~ I
5'fcrlUa ~ II

~ ~fcl ~ I

~~ft ~

5i)'W1lfi'f

~'lr.ilif..--

~f~ q~ ~ 51~~~ 'lIB"

(6) The manuscripts of the Anandagiriya Sankaravijaya in the Rama Taraka Matha library at Kasi, re-fer
to the Pratistha of the Srichakra of Kamaksi, and to
the Y ogalinga being handed over by the Bhagavatpada
w the ' custody of Sureswaracharya with his Matha at'.
Kanchteepuram. Anandagiii further refers to the'"

61

60
estnblishmeut. of' the six-fold paths worship
lwvin~; t:.iken place at Kanchi ::-

c~~)

~I f.\~J1 qJJfl?.l+JtTit~ :er mrir~<rt ~~~~- "{'q'%nrriii.~ f;:nrfil"'-7 ~ire~~ ~ir ~ t etc. (Anand. Sank. Vij.
GG 11 I> ::iknrn.na).

l'he mo,..t valtmb1r picc oi in:f rmai.ton tlia~ nandag~i fur11Lhes us \V-ith i. thal the Hlia~ mt.paaa attained
V1deha M11kti ai KanclU : -

~t;f. :rf;:JT~ : Cfil~);rlf{ tl"~ ~l~~'lfir~~ li<l..~m:lt

~~"ils;n~r~ tr~qr~r ~~ <nriftt ~ ~('iT ftiFir~r ~ ~


trr~:Jw~qf( ~. a:r'~c"Ri
{{~ozrrffier;:~~q11J1~1Rt ~fd II

SIP-r ~'f[<rfqtf) ~iffl:


(ibid. 74th Prakarruia).

(7) EYen the Madhn.viya Sa:hka.ra V\jnya, before it


was " emended " by Bbattasri Naxayana Sastri, contains
a bal~ reference to Kanehi, saying that here ihe Acharya
established . the Bhagavati following t]ia Parttvidya
Sa1ana, .hich suggests that the Aclrnrya ~ablisl11>d the

Srichakra at Kanclrl :-

~~~t~:er acrr ;;rrm:r ~1 'lff{T ~furlTr{: ~ai<iilir!@:r, I


~1:71+f ~ a~ 'fil{m~<!T lf-(~m{UTG"mR ~ 11

(8) The. Hultzseh Reports on Sanskrit Mannseripm


No. 3 (available in the Madras Government Orient.a]
Manuscripts Library), refers to the Bharati line or San.yasis. (the B~ara.ti line being Kudali or Sringeri 7) and
therein contains a verse which Jearly mentions Kancbi
as the final aoode of the .Acharya. where 11e lived for
11

while .and attained Videha .Mukti : -

~ ~ ~~~ 'l~<ilae
q'3f~~~~~ll

(9) The l\fadhaviya Sankara Vijaya takes care tosec that the Bhu.ga.vatpada, after founding the Matha ai;
Sringeri, goes north to Kashmir and th~mce to Kedara.
There he is said to have been petitioned by all the Devas
to return to Kailasa, and accordingly he ic; said to have
:ascended corporeally to bis abode. In other words,
Kanchi does not at all figure, in this work, as the final
scene of Sankara's life.
This version of the Madhaviya Sankara Vijaya is quite
understandable, in as much as any admission of Kanchi
ru: ' the anal scene of Sankara's activity~ woulrl he tanta1.t101mt t<' recognising the authenticity of the Kamakoti
Pitha which he established there. Hence such an admission is not to be expected from the :M:adhaviya Sanlrnra'

Yijaya.
. Nevertheless, the writers of the two comme.nhi.ries,
'Dindima and Advaita Laksmi, on the Madhaviya Sankara
Vijaya, quote profusely from both Anandagiri's and
Chitsukha's Sankara Vi;jayas, citing passages to show
th'lt Kanchi was the final scene of Sankara'<; life, and
not ascension to Kailasa as described in the J\fauhaviya.
Rankara Vijaya.
{10) A work entitled 'Sankara Vijaya Vilasa' gives
an elaborate description of how the Bhagavatpada per~uaded a king of the name Rajasena to build temples to
Vamdaraja Ekambareswara and Kamaksi at Kanehi, and
how he ascended the Sarvajna Pitha at the same place.
{Sankara Vijaya Vi1asa, slokas 6 to 61, ch apt. 25).

(11) An old manuscript work (printed at the Mangafo<layam P:ess, Trichur, 1926), called the Sankaraeharya
Charitra by one Govindanantha, found in th(! Nambud6

62

63

-\l:1t.l'ns in ~~blabar, testifies to the fact that, after tour111g 1ou11d lrnlia, Sankara finally reached Kanchi : -

,( 13) We now cite from all Sanka.ravijayas evidence


to show that : (1) Kamakoti Pitha was established at
K anchi, ( 2) Sri Chakra was established and consecrated,
(3) that Snreswaracharya was invested with spiritual
;md temporal sovereignty over the Pitha; ( 4) that Yoga
Linua was established and worshipped in the Kamakoti
Pi tha, ( 5) that the great Sankara ascended the Sarvajna
Pitha at Kanchi and (6) that he attaim~d Videha :M:ukti
--Vt Kanchi.

C'!Cl: <nT=<i1:J.t <r<:01r ~~~r ~f.rg;~rrCJ: 1


~l-~r:rlo+rru~

Q:<;mi: i:'I~ f<Jufurmr_ 11


(12) Many literary works, too, allude

to Sankara's

connection with Kanchi : (a) Sri llarsa, in his Naisada Kavya refers tc>The commcntat~rs .:\lalli~1atha ~ncl
Narayrma, explaining. the passage m qucst10n, wnte :
The allusion here is to the Yogalinga which the Adi
S:mkara cons.cerated and -installed in the Kamakoti Pitha
in Kanchi, and nominated Sureswaracharya to supervise
its proper worship. Though I-Iarsa may be guilty of an
mrnchronism in alluding to the Yogalinga in his Naisada
Kavya, he is referring to a very well-known fact-viz.,
the fact of the Yoga Linga being worshipped in the
Kamakoti Pitha at K~nchi as recounted in the Si.varahasya
and lHarkandeya Samhita : -

'7<='fifa-Cfi'l:1f<TTtPTiil?cT;i:: I

<f.p:;l'ff

~reor+r<F.rar g; <:ft<r~~mr~~~ I

51RrnM ~~~r<i 'i~~ ~~~ ~: II


( b) ln the Sankarabhyndaya Kavya o [ Sri Rajachudawani Diksita, the Videha Mukti of Sri Sankara is
ilescribed ;is having taken place in Kanchi : q;~qrcft{~~ q;m~i:r~;i:
Dt~f.i;:<\+rfq;:~G" fa~T ~+[~~~{: I

(c) In his Patanjali Charitra, (Kavyamala series,


N. S. Press), Sri Ramabhadra Diksita too refers to
Kanchi as having been the final scene of Sankara's life: i!f[a~~~eo~c<J ~~r Ti!~~

~gt ~-TRt+r'ir:T

ij'

~eou.q: 11

II

1:;

(a) Chitsukhacharya in his Brhat Sankara Vijaya


refers to the Bhagavatpada's triumph over Saraswati,
his ascent to the throne of Omniscience, (i.e., assertion
of his unrivalled, intellectual and spiritual supremacy)
and his Videha Mukti at Kanchi : -

<irvft fa~

:q- f<i<lf[~~Tif~i[T ij~~lflo+rfcr~~ '<!' a'ij" Cfi~'l. I

fE!if:a<rRld4<i! ~femrtT~Tm ~r:

S,{: 'Ra=< ~~q- m~

II

(b) The Prachina Sankaravijaya endorses the


foregoing facts enumerated by Chitsukhacharya. : -

~~iflftom~ ~ f+r~ fq~~ ~err.t ~~


~~-<filf~~iffe;sd"llJ+i<blR:<flit +Ji ~+r~ ij~~~~i( 11
( c) The Keraliya Sankaravijaya fully confums
the foregoing versions of Sankara's activities at
Kanchi : -

~ J;ifl"i~+f'fij'f

m+l't"'( ~'f.~~Cfi: I

~t S;l'\"~rr~fu~ ~ ~~ 11

~l~ ~f~~ illRT~ ij"~S.S~\RI: I


~ ~~T!;<;f a~ ~cf 'l'<fg ~~ 'tllt""t!tl it( II
~~ifllf ~.-t ~ :iimwrrif'lii{ I
~~if 'iHTOfi~~ m<i ~ :q 11

6.~

~!~ ~st~ ~'<liiT11o~~: II


~~r ~ ::ll'ig ~f9~<J ~i~)i: II
""

~~~~ ll~ ~ Cl~ ~t<l~ I


af10%~ffcrU<rtt a.T~t ~ ~ II
U l'tCJ ~fq){l~lm ~:q~f'm!:l~~CIT<J:. l

"'
ai~fif 11.a- ~c:r~ill'l ~ Rrnfu 11

(d) 'l'he Vyasachaliya Sankaravijaya, written by


one of the later Acharyas of the Kamakoti Pitha summarises Sri Sankara's activities at Kanchi : -

~ f.r&~"{q'rj ~fti'Efi<f ~ ~~i:ft6Il'~f.~ +!"~ l:CJ~t:=a" I illSIT


Pluqfct ~~T'lr<Ta~=<r m~~~i:~rfita-: <fi+rf'l 'tF.~-!!mr <-fiRT:<11q_ 11
~+1rf[i~~f~ey~<r~orrRf \lij~re~>r~

~fo(!+iR+i~<r , ~1~rP.-

f.7iQ~ rlli1:<ffil ~~ ~C{i" ECJfu6lffd~~ ~t~tOJ II ~(if ~ ~"{~&:


iiil~~mcrra:

mCJt<i:, J;j''f.~ll R'rr+rRrf7t"{f ~~T'l I 'lil~lff &~lf

i.i:J~i~f"l .....~'f ~ <iIT1f 1H~ E'Kl 't'1 18"t>~

ti

It may be noted in passing that the Vyasachaliya


Sankara Vijaya, recently published from the manuscripts
available with the curator of the Government Oriental
.l\fanuscr;_pts Libra;cy, does not contain these significant
Elokas pertaining to Kanchi. Evidently, from whomsoever the m:llluscripts were obtained, that individual has
taken care to expunge these slokas so favourable to the
Kamakoti Pitha. These slokas indeed would have been
lost for ever ; but fortunately these are found quoted
by Atmabodha in his Susama. The credit of having
drawn attention to the existence of these slokas goes
entirely to Sastra Ratnakara Brahmarsi Rama Sastr:igal
of Polagam. Thanks to this discowry of Rama Sasti-i~al,
these slokas have been included in the preface to the

Vyasachaliyv, Sankara Vijaya, though they are missing


jn the mail~ body of the text.
(14) we now pass on to the evidence tendered by
Sadasiva Brahmendra in his Gururatna Malika. He devotes
seventeen slokas to a . description of the life or the
Bhagavatpada. There is one verse in this work which
gives a masterly summary of Sankara's activities at
Kanchi : -

J;i'iiffi" :tt' ~1rr~:zrr i:r~~r ~or~~ :q"<fictt !:[~~ :zrrsir

~ffif~mff~'lfcilrr<if ~~ RrITg ~~:

1 ,,

11

(1) Kamaksi, who had till then been worshipped in


the famous for<.?
(fissure) as Chidakasa Rupini, wii.t
<liv1~sted Jf her Ugra Kala and enthroned in the Sri
Yantra (jnst established in front of the bila), by San-

kara .:-~)!;rt ~~OJf ~ ~n~itf, i:rmr CJT ant ~ ~


~it ~ :q"$f>qt ~f.rma- ~ J;I'~~ -afrcrr1,q etc. (Atma
Bodha's Susama.).
(2) ~q'lff(~ ~~ct~: >r~~?IT.I W~<f ~ 'Q;+"Zf: I

fi'.ffillfui<.?&(q~~:q '-fiT~T.:lfTi['olG'TRf: ~ ~f.f,~;q'

:q

<fill~{{, I

(G. R. M. 30)
Having, with supreme ease, quelled all the scholars in
argument-scholars who had flocked to Kanchi-Sri Sankara
established his intellectual supremacy and as1~ended the
8ar\ajna Pitha-the throne of Omniscience ai Kanchi-

<f.f~=<;<:ff

q;f~ftwrift

~w~ ~~ ~T<J:. fu'tt1:zrQ: 1 ~a-r( F;nsama).

ft;(';fcf~crq-: -afT~<a~~~qfo ~Rt <l'T0!f11_ 1

(3) ~m-fu~~i:rrfuil'oir ~imr <i~r<r ~~~

-af~<tir~ "Im~ ~rs+~~f"Cfefi il'Ei;Jmirra<ff~ ~rs<r~ 11 31.

67

.
at Kanchi the Sarnda Matha
Sri Sank-ara establt.shed
d from the snow-clad
P"tha
renowne
.
1
'
or the Kamakoti
f
the administration
Himalayas to the southern s;ha:as peculiar to the
anJn tne enforcement of all
fom castes : -

....

;fl

~:

llH '<f ~i:m:::

~..+.> ~
oi1~

111ti:it1~~6l4
.s~. "' -=--~raitii "' 1 ~~R ~it

~ iJO I "il'Cf. cnlll'bl~I


~

~t1n1<ti:TX(+f1Ao

=if

rt

~flki~qa: ~~T"'( ~~~: I ~ S'!Jii~


~- 1
(Susama).

~-

"

cw:f26TWTIOl'Tlif'110:

~~~-

h .
~
"'
th t Atmabodha emp az1ses
~
ft is worthy of note . a lf - the first Acharya of
fact that Sri Sankara h1mse was
h Kamakcti Pitha.
t e
t Bhagavatpada
(4) The Videha Mukti of the greaplace at Kanchi
. allY 8 tated to have taken
is unequivoc

(33 '
~f~ q=t ~: etc.
J
.
A tmabodha writes that the
Explaining this passage,
,.
lf in the Chidakasa at
lly merged nimse
.
Bhagavatpada fi na
~ ~ ~Of: ~~
;r
Kanehi :-,-...~qr
,~~1"'t...,' ....
,.i:<f1'1tl'( ~ it W~

Ir ( Susama., 33)
nra-: ~: ~~:
B h
"''<:l
d
d
by
Sadasiva
ra
f . the evidence ten ere
So muoh .or
d. Atmabodha.
d
men ra an
dehce
.
11 these documentary eVI . r
( 15) There is, besides ~
h ld go a long way in
1 f t re which s ou
h
a remarkab e ea u .
d 1
No place other t an
confirming the fore_gomg eta1 sdius of about fifty miles
t environs to a ra
f
Kanchi an d l s .
. .
f the sacred memory o
.13 SO ri_.
'"h with associatloIL'> o

itself : -

Sanka.rt.

(a) There is, first and foremost, the life-size image

of

~ankara in .the Kamaksi temple, installd over his

Surnadhi.

( b) Among tlw ornamental sculptures of the pillars


at Kamakili and Ekamrcswara. temp! s, ther e arc images
of t11e Dltagavatpadu witl1 regal in Jgnia beside him. bi
the Varadarajaswami temple, too, there is a stone carving- rcpre~1enti11g Sri Sankara as paying homage to
Bliagavan Vyasa.

( c) In the unei nt dilapidated . temple (recently renovated) at Sivasthanam, in Teuambakkam on the eouthern
bank of the river Vcgayati, there is a plaque behind tl::.e
I,inga in ihe sanctum which repr ut Sri Sankara a.s
o.tr,~ring obeisance to Siva and Parvati.
( d) In Tiruvottiyur, six miles north oJ.' Madras,
there is un image of Sankara installed in the temple of
Tripuraslllldari, whose Ugrakala (fierceness) the great
B11fl!!'avatpall.a is said to have mollified. So, too, in
Mangadu, fifteen miles west of Madras, there is a Meru
P1asthn -of Sri Yantra, said to have been installed by
tl1(! gr at Sankara himself. An image of Sankara is also
found installed in the temple.

( e) Most interesting feal ure of all is this- -that there


is nu iiahotsava celebrftted in the Kamaksi temple at
Kancheepuram when the Murti of the Acharya is not
accorded equal worship. At the end of the Chaturmasya
e "C'J'.v year the image of the Acharya is taken in proces:.ion, by way of Vfavarnpa Yatra, to the Upanishaf
Bralunendra Matha at the western outskirts of Kanchi.
S!1ch intimate local association with the personality of
Sankara \"annot be ascribed to mere accident. The

68

69

poplJlax iru..igmation througliout the- ages abould have been


Jlowerfully imp ressed by the dominant pel'&onality of the
gi-eat Bhagavatpada who cast off his mortal oil in this

e<mi ou. n d 111~'.


. lus
opponents he mi(J'h
tl1c Sarva /Tl<l Pitha at
J . "" t finally have ascended
is certain . tha1 A. b,111< . anSc n as well. But this much
' . ' ,
nava ankara th 3
'
e 8th Acharya of
the Kanrnkoti Pitha l"<l
Ka~limir.
c
cI
ascrnd the Sarvajua Pitha at

city.

Vii e cannot but refer here to some disputed issues.


They are:(1) D[d Sankara occupy the Sarvajna Pitha at
Kanchi or at Kashmir~ and
(2) Did he die at Kanchi or at Kedara?

After all thff evidence we have marshalled, it woul~


be il.~ess to reopen these qu.estic>ns. Still, the .Madhaviya $8.nka.'r'a. Vijaya d-esci-ibes Sankar a's accession t o the
arvajna Pith.a at Kashnrir, and his ascension to Kailasa
from K-edara. How far a.re they admissible ~
There is evidence to the effect that the great Bhagavatp ada visited Kaabmir-and probah1y O<!euried. the Sarva jna Pith.a aa well. There is even today in Srin:a-ga:r
a temple dedicat~ to Sri Sankaraeharya. The following excerpt would explain : " Sankaracharya-This shrine is situated in the city
of Srinagar. SanJmracharya is an ancient temple crowning the Takti-Sula;iman bill and standing 1000 ft. ab~e
th1j valley. The temple and he bill on which it stan
take th~i:r name .froll). Sankaracharya-the great Sou
Indian Teacher of Monism, wno cam.e to Kashmir from

T ravance1e. This temple was built by .King Gopaditya,


wllo reigned in Kashmir from 36 to 308 B . C. It was
repaited lat.er by the liberal-minded l1ns1U:n king, Zuin-

ulAbdin." (' Tl;te Rinclu ", dated 17-7-]949, yage 15.


crJumn 2).
Hence, after establishing his supremacy at Kashmir by

i'

Bu t ' .,...,. 1h""


Iac11rnviya
.
s
..
al.togl'lh i ignore .Adi Sankara s ankara V1Jaya should
P1rlw at lrallC'hi, and .his V'
ascent. t o the Sa.rvajna.
.1deha Mulrt:1 there, and if h
Jionld pamt a trantlios
"'
pietnr<' o:f: hlS d
..K aiJ asa, tht" t ason h Ja b
, .
epa rture for
obtuse intellioence s "'l oul l . e obv10us even to the most

'= "10u c it recog


~
1
sion to the SarvaJna 1rth
n1s: ...,antl:ara's acces1
h
c
a at Kanch1
d h'
t ere>, that 1vould amount to a rec
. . an
1S demise
kot! Pitha as 1w1! ! B t th', . ogm~10n of the Kamao" tJ
M 11
.
u " is, m the view of the writers
l ie L a1 iavi~a Sankara ViJaya
a11 t
i lb
' must not be. Hence
c
nesp ' e i erate alterations.

But after alJ that we have said


opinions as to Kanchi havin ' there could be no two
SetQkara 's life.
g been the final scene of
ln addition to what all we h
d
.
the antiquity of the K . h'
ave a duced m favour of

anc I Kamakoti P"th


1
cite numerou~ ~ynclii .
a, we would
~ "
omsms 1Jet
th M
and the eontem;orarv
r{ 1 ~een e atha history
how the Nfatha h ~o ~ ica history, so as to illustrate
Sankara :
as
a an unbroken history since
(I) Hala, king of Magadha b l
.
dynasty a d R
' e ongmg to the Andhra
.
n
apsena Chola were ccntc
.
Adi Bhao-avat,-.ada 1 (Sth
, mpcranes of the
,"'
Y

.
cent. B.C.)
J. Cf.

8lftT ~f<i5"~%.'S'1~Jie;:-:Gl{
=-:---a-n-::d --:~::-~-~-::~
.-=-~-,-"'l-~-'f'9rt-<.;i--~
=
--.,~--

~rct5f~~:

'"''~''"~'

(21, 27, Gurunatha Malika.)

70

71

(2) Muka Sankara (the eighteenth pontiff), was


served by Vikramaditya the Great, better known as

Sakari. (375-413 A.D.)


(3) Sa,t-chit-Sukha

(the twenty-.first Acharya), is


said to have converted the astrorwmer Ary<rhhattu from
atheism in 499 A . D.

(4) Abhlnava Sankara, the 36th Acharya ot the


Kamakot' Pith.a ascended the 'arvajna Pitha at Kashmil',
in the reign of Virutyaditya .Jayapida. (779-8"13
D )
l5) Sarebidvilasa,, the 37th Acharva. (840-873 A.D.)
was served by Anandava.rdhana, author of !Jhwani, who
lived in the TOign of Avant.ivarman of Kas11mir, (Sn5-

8S4 A.D.)
(6) Boclha II, the 44th pontiff (1061-1098), has been
irl~ntified witlt Soma Deva, the author nf Katha Sm~it
8agara, and he was a contemporary of' King Knlasa of
K nshmir ( 1063-85).
(7) Chandrasekhara III, the 45th Acharya, otherwise known :is Chandrachuda (1098-1166), is said
have
defeated tf1e Jain teacl1er H~Qha.ryn. in the court, of
Kumarapaia. Vidyalola, a Chalukya prince, (114::{-1172
A.D.). He was also held in high esteem by ;Jayasimha,
king of Kashmir. (1127 to 1149 A.D.)
( 8) Advaitananda Bodha or OhidvilnSfl, the 16th
Acharya. (ll66-1700), is said to have defeated Sri Haraha.
in argument-the famous Sri Harsha, the author oi

Kbanda.na. Khanda Kbadya. and Naisada. (U74-1200)

(9) Madhava., sometime minister to Bukka I, the


lrlng of Vijayan.agar (1354-79), was a pupil of Vidyf\

in sua.msion, if we

~cbatya.

ucludo the

Bhaga.viupada and

Tirtha, the 49th A h ,


1385) 2
. c a1ya of Kamakoti Pitha. ( 1297 tc
(10) We have a co er
.
. .
possession of the K
pkp . pl.ate mscr1pt10n (No. I)' ir
(ama oti P1tha in } h
- 0 ra1a DeYa
th
c
w nc Vijavagand
c' . (' 1nno. of Tond .
d
.
"
o f. iands to Sri s'"', l .
aiman al am makes a gift
r\aneheepul'am
.
.(J99J ' Aan rnrachar. :yasw:im1,
'
.
residing in

~.
.D.)3
, ~~ 1 ! A second copper lat . . , . .
of i1i1mrnt'asimha n".,
P c mscr1pt10n of the reign
[)
J.:l
e1 d. <>lrfr<-:t son 0 f ''T
.
nar;isa. Na.yaka,
1" '" ue1 bl'oth!'-1 11 ( K 14''9 .
JJ.'1slm:i l l'Vl11'<1Vll,
'.J..'Jie ,\,'l':l" 1-S Sft,,..._
- ' t.~ .. . ;J07 A. D. (No. II).
.
'
, ilJv.
( l... 1 .>\IHI 1111' I" U1S<'l'ip1 .
'
si:1 nw dri1r
(T
. . mu al I hp ~<I lllP ,. i.,.11 md o
.
. nsCl'1ptinn TII)
"'
'
L
(J:l\
roppm 1 t

.
KJisJ1n"
~
, p u r lllSCT'1ptio11
I' the. reign of
' ........ tOVltrarn o-1: v.
n
A. D. '"To. 1V).
JJC!}'itnagn. <Salm 1444,. :-. e., 1522
the

(14) Another iuscr


d~Yarnu-o,
, 1ption
of the reign o.f K r1s
. h na.~" (oak"
~ .. S amv
t l H>O
( 16) ..An .
. . .a
, i e., 1528 A.D, N'o. V)
n
mserrptmn_ oi' th
. .
~.
.
'-'holdrnna! hu. .Nnvana
. 'yyavarn (Se 11 e1gn
16')0 of. \. IJn~raranwi
.
,.,.
' 16)

a,a ., i.e. 1708 A D)


~
.A III man by the
'

Shuh f) 1, <lated TI .. :
t>mperm of Delhi ( Bahadur
_______ .c.Jna, 1088 o.r 1710 An
:!. For

<t eo
- t.ed to Sit
theN roregoing
k . d e ta..11s or 8Ynchroni-.-- -- - ln i'l.anc-ltL"
en atrwnan-" Sankara
d s~ we are In
3
.
811 nfs succe.sso.ra
ll
. lhra and the l'ollowfTI~ 1
. h~~~;:~tenl
tal ivork o1 Sri T 1 ~~~;>hllo.ns ll.l'e aken from thP
.... ous be.Jongi
t

.~.a 1a. Ra-0--" c
Jr:otf Pl.tha."
ng o t!.te Sl'i sankai-a h .
opz:ier plat11
4 S .
o a1 ya oi lhe KJ'.una-

ca $e lS: not
lJ M. Subramanva A
Bahad s
yyar assures us th t ti
SJ1alti dynastv of ~o!hab of Deihl, but Thanr Sh:!1 donor iri this
Madarma H. tier . conda, whose min 1
of the Kutb
same as that i~ c:o~c;; tbl e J~gir ~eferred
~rslhfse~e A.k~anna and
J> ate mscnption No. X.
ll1Rcr1p1Jon JS th

tg

72

73

(17) In all the foregoing inscriptions, the Swamis


of the Kaernkoti Pitha are the donees. Here follows a
copper plate inscription (No. X), in which the Swarn~ is
the donor. The date of the grant is Saka 1608, 't. c.,
1686. The then Acharya of the Kamnkoti Pitha, Sri Mahadevendra Saraswati makes a gift of land to one
Rama Sastri. In this inscription, there is a reference to
the land in question as haYing belonged to the Jagir
Sime (31rr&:rt flmw)
granted sometime earlieL' by
Akkanna and Madanna, ministers of Golkonda.

is 1mqnesti1mably the most ancient, presided over hy the


Bl1ugava.tpada. himself, held in high esteem by Sureswara lHi:rya nnd others, worthy of being followed by all

Mackenzie"' mentions that the Kamakoti Pitha had as


many as one hundred and twenty-five copper plate inscriptions in its possession. But unfortunately all of them
were destroyed at the beginning of this century, except
these ten. The destruction of these copper plates is a
terrible loss to history.
(18) T!rn Chingleput District Clazrteer oi' the Y{'ar
1879 contains the following account :" Shankarachari ...... paid particular atLcntion to Conjeevaram where he worked many miraeles and founded
a }iatham or l\fonastry." (pp. 86 and 87)

Sisyas, and foremost in importance :---~Rr ~ ~fl~Tl=f'f.Tfa

\31ifr~ +HT<K'TI<.CTf'<f~, ~'t.i(]~lllfcfto:t1+1 ftr f.R'~ ~


cRWTI'siWf qft~~aftlfc~if ~rrEi~~a-. 51\:lr.ra# tfto-j;i'fcf
qft

f.lm::"'l1<ll1afirfu- 11*

CHAPTER

IV

SURESWARACHARY A AND THE MATHAS


In the foregoing chapter, we have adduced plenty of
cvidnce to show that, after the Videha Mukti of the
gnat Bhagavatpada--or, rather, even when he was

::ilive-Sur:;i:,'Waracharya was vested with iull powers of


control over the Ka:ncbi Kmnakoti Pitha. But in a sense,
he was not the iru spiritual sue easor of tbe Bhagavatpadu. Th. tru~ sucee sor wa the seven year old Sar\'Hjnatman, who had held his ground against the B4aga.vatpada J1imself for three dayii, and h~d thereafter ackno1vlcdged defeat at _the latter's hands. The pontifical
n1antle faEs, after Sankara, on the shoulders of Sarv11;jnatman. But what is the position of Sureswaracharya '?"

'Vith all this volume of evidence in favour of the


antiquity of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha, it -~ould be
impossible to call it a bogus institution ~s pa rtLsan propaganda has been asserting time and agam.
.
-w c ca1inot do better than crown our arguments with
11 ,,- h mahopadhva"a
.,
~fadhava
the conswcred
verd"1c t of ~na
a
" :
.
'"r
B1iandari
of
the
Punj;ih
Oriental
Umvers11-.y,
who
.
S .i.,t i
.
,
pth
writes: " Such being the case, the Khnchi Kamakoti 1 a

.\tmabodha throws a ilood of light on this intriguinf(


question._ He says that Surcswara not being a Paramahamsa, was never nominated to the spiritual succession
by Sankara in his own Pitha, where only Paramahmnsashave the right of succession, nor .even in any of the-

pa~~6t:~~i~64~ol~~~~ lt~~~~~a~: ~~:a~t~~r;~?i!torv~~- c~:

*Appendix 1. Sankarapit)la tattva darsanam, published in


J::lenarea.

<.,.

Mackenzie.

75

74
Sisya Pith11s. Nevertheless, considering Sureswara's eminence, cq ua} io his own, and considering his great yogic
powers, the Bhagavatpada entrusted him with the control of all Pithas, Thus Sureswara, in his capacity of
Controller-General, stayed for some time in each of the
Pitlrns-(and prohabl~, paid pe1-iodic visits)-stabilising
those inst;itntiom:. llern~e it is that all M:athas in.dude
Snreswara in their line of succession after Sankara : -

<llii !;!{~{: @:i.:i" ii!iQ"'Of'-1f~9rqft~~fd"r.ff{+!~FffPH m~~ 'Rli~~"fiB+!"!f!~'t~


~~T~~!JfT @i:r'R> f~Glfrfii5"!! i'l"T

;:i-

f.t~fU(l)sRt l:"l'B+!T'l~:'.';""-Tm~lfl

+TITT<1Tf.'il<.'T ~ ~~i:rfc;o:i;iFJ12.:r1<rf~ f.r~m:

G{f~"+!Wr: ~ ~q

'rotl'i'.ffijlC(

n5r

a~

Pfi<r;:oRln: ;;r,r<9g<!Hi r

'.f{+f!'qf~irtr.rulft r.r~n ~Rf <!l:gf~.,ifcr: II

(Snsama).
This information, furnished by Atmabodha is highly
revealing. Properly understood, this will set at rest all
those endless squabbles over the question of Smeswara
being the first Acharya of Sringeri or of Dwaraka or
~vrm of Jagannatha.
Let us first of all unravel the mystery of Sureswarac harya 's 11lace in the Sringeri Gurupararnpara. Ths
Sringeri calendar assigns the date 28 B. C. to Sur eswan i 's
accession to Sringeri throne. This date is far behind the
date assigiled to him by the Kanchi calendar. According
protectorate
to the Kanchi calendar, Sureswara's
extendec1 from ,:176 B.C. to 406 B.C. Hence, there is a
huge gap of 378 years between the dates assigned by
the Ka nchi and Sringeri calendars. ~or is thi:;; all. The
Sringeri calendar endows him with a life of 800 :nars.
He is said to have lived up to about 772 A. D. If we
shoi tld be guided by the Kanchi calendar n'l well, we
wo1~ 1d then have Sureswara living for an incredible span

1Jf 1349 years ('!) from 577 B C. (his date of birth) to


772 A D.. y ~gi as he was, he could not have lived for
-0v~r a millemum. Further, the Sureswara's rei"'n of the
~l
. fY]
>':>
"-' rngei1
1 I ia commences 378 years after his df'ath (
406 B C"

.
m
: .1
accordmg to the Kanch1 calendar. This
huge mterrugnum is really bewildering.

. Ntir i this tJw only disrI'<'panc~'- Aftrr Sut'f'SWlll"ll pass11lt!. !l\:1.1Y in772~\ .D., heis~aicl tolrn chceu s11cceccledbv
om J: 1tyab~dhugJl.'1J.lll who is frll>ntified with 8:u1~1..jn:l;
rnan'
fust pu1 hrnl st ~c"s.~r aft<'r Sankara on the
Ku.ncbr P11lia. ..1\er.ording to the Kanchi calenihu-, Sar'VaJna~an att.nined ternal :pe~te in 3fl4 B C., <1ft r a
lon~ .reign C>f I L2 year.. F1<>m 364 B. C. to 772 A-. D. i
a far c1T. Tlow eoul I Sarvajnatmnn. d('nd in 364 B C.,
sncc.ee~ to I lie Sringel"i Pilha in 772 A. D. 'i Con irlt~Ja.hl<'
cool.umon nreva.ils in tbC' early histor,\ of the Sringeri
Matha.

t!ie .

. At the vcr:y outset, there i~ ~ sha.l'p disparity in the


dates of Srmgeri on th one hand, and 0 Ka.nehi and
DwarakA on the Qt.her-the former favouring 28 B.C.
and the latter 476 B. C. for Sureswara. There , houlrl
be some baffling mystery in thi. TJet U."l try to nnruvcl
the myste1 ~ wjth the cllle fmnished by Atmabndha.
Sttrvajm1tman imcceed,s, at the age of scv<>n to the
spirituai t l11011e vaeated by Sankara in -476
.
with
'mesw111.aC'haiya as prot~etor. WC' hoH be.('n t Id that
~:wesw taclm.r?a was Controller~Geneyal over all JUathas.
Pro_hably hP went on periodic tou:rs of in.~eetion to the
V<ll'1ous Matha::; during the 70 vea1
of his protcrtorate.
-On nil lihesr occasions, he should have taken with him
his ward Sarvajnatman, to the varioua Miitha
and
~o.ionrned ihere for a while. These t;i.vo, SID'eswaraeharyn

C.

76

77

nnd Sarvajnatman, belonging to the Kamakoti Pithathe Pitha of the great Acharya himself-must han' been
ac~orded high honours by the firnt Aclrnryas of all the
other lHilthas ; so that, between the Bhagavatpada and
themselves they filled in the revered nnmes of the elderly
Bureswara and the young Sarvajna in their spil'itual
geneology. Thmi, the first Achar:va of Sringeri, nominated
by Sankara himself, was Prithvidhara (or Prithvidhava) 1
[Sri N. Venkatrama.n, however, seems to regard Pri1.hividhara as being identical with Sureswarn. (Sankaracharya and his successors in Kanchi, page 10). But
Atmabodha thinks otherwise.] But Prithvidharacl1arya,
_though realty the first Acharya of that line afte1' Sankara,
waives off that honour and prefers to considP.r himself
as successor in the line after Snreswara and Sarvajnatman (or Nityabodhaghana, as Sringeri chronides call
him). The Kudali-Sringeri records, (Hultzsch Mss),
contain a very suggestive verse : -

Kanchi and perhaps stayed there permanently with a


view to perfect his Tapas : -

~.rr;;q ~t 'l'fciT ~~~ I


~ f~(qf 1;>1<{411 ..{ ~ffl ~1;n:rfuqq II

f<i~TOT~ 'l)C<if ~iffig-~~ ~~: I etc.


where .Prithividhara (here called Prithvidharn), is
said to have been the first Acharya of Kudali Sringeri,
at the confluence of Tunga and Bhadra. From all that
we are ablt> to gather at this distance of time, Kudali
was the original seat of Sringeri Matha. It is further
stated that. on hearing about the demise of the Bhagavatp:ida ( 477 B. C.), Prithividha.ra Bharati hurried to
i.

izfq<fl':l'<NiNl~tt~1~zjirt\;rfij-51~~1;i:_ I

a~ ~

""

~fu'a:

(Gururatna Malika. 32) and

11

(Susama.).

~~Us'lia<J~

~efti:rq: ~ ~fiT~T

~ii'~ Clir~h=1<rr~of ~1iz~<it1-1{~r~1 1


G'ifW;:ci tl'+i~ cPrnf~B:[~ Cl~T II
(Huhzsch Mss. J)

,. Probal>!y . he Jeit fxiliin<l him his successors to t.he


1 Jtha, and bll about :... B. C., there must ha>n been fUl
unlHoke;i !in ' O[ Acltarya.s on th K.udali-Srincreri Un"'
' bl
5
vp 1ooa Y about a do7,en Acharya whose names ar enumi~ra te<l in tJ e Hult7.sch Mss. But immcthing happened
JU:.L then. 'rheJ;e was no successor to the pontifiratefor what reason, we cannot say. 'There p rhaps some
trut.h in. tho tradition that the the1~ .Acharya of Kudali::U:in.geri l1ad gone on a .t our to Kedara and .had not.
r turned. It was at thi tim~ that the future Acharya of
ihc Iv.unaJmti Pitha, Sri Krpa Sankru:11, undc1; orders
i1orn lris ll.ITU and predecessor KaivaJyanandir, m'<lained
one Subhata. Viswarupa in Sanyasa, and sent him to fill
tb_e vacant. throne o:f Kudali-Srinooeri. After Subhata
V.1.Swai'Upa had assUllled the pontificate, however, the
Achrn.-ya wh had gone on tour to Kedara appears to
J111n~ l turJJcd. Viswampa waa, therefore, p:rovided witl1
a 1"'ew Matha a.t nhe ptesent Sringcri .. on the banks of
the Tunga In this eontext1 Atmabodha quotes witJ1
~pprovf!I a V<'rse from Sarvajna Saaa,siva' Punyasloka
~1m1,jari which throws light on this iilcident : -

. ~f~q~~~~ ~[fqig~f~'<i
~~T f~(f ~ ~~Hil't ~~ ~Cf{l'.:ffO.f ~ 11 etc.
,

(Punyasloka l\fanjari).
Since Viswarupa is one of the names by which Sures
wara too is often known, this new Viswarupa was easilJ'

78
identifa.1 with Snreswara, and the tradition gained grournl
that Sureswara, a/ins Viswarupa occupied th0 pontifical ,
throne of S1ingcri, and the history of the Sringcri. Matha
it'iell' was tra.ccd from his times (circa 28 B.C.), and
Sankam himself -vvas made to live just prior to 28 B. C.
(J4 to 12 B. C.), so as to make Viswarupa's succession
immediate after
Sankara. This Viswarupa was then
.,
mcc{;edcd by Nityabodhagana (v.Tongl:v identi.ficd with
Sn-v ajnatman), ,T nanaghana, J nanottarna. Siva, ,T nana~i.ri, Simhagiri, Iswara Tirtha and finally the famous
Vidya Sankara Tirtha. 'l'his last Acharya who lived for
105 years, is generally assigned the date (1229-1333) in
the Sringerj calendar, su that Bharat Krsna 'rirtha, the
brother of Vidyaranya, might succeed him without any
break in the line. But according to the 'l'hcosophist
(Vol. XVI, pp. 292-96), Vidyasankara appears to have
died in 5G9 A.D. at Nirmala on the Bombay coast, on
Kmtika Sukla Trayodasi. After him, until Bharati
Krsna Tirtha occupies th~ throne of the restored Sringeri
Matha, i.e., from 569 A.D. to 1333 A.D., there was an
interrugnum of 764 years during which the Matha had
no history at all. Though this appears to have been
the real state of affairs, the Sringeri cafondar adju.~ts the
period 28 B. C. to 1333 A. D., thus :.::......
(a) Viswarupa (confounded with Sureswara) 28 B.C.

to about 772 A. D.
( b) The other Acharyas,
Viclyasankarn, from about 772
an unbroken line of suceession
by endowing Viswarupa with
800 years.

from Nitya bodhaghana to


A.D. to 1333 A. D. Thus,
is sought to be established
an incredibly long life of

But what appears t o h ave actually happened is """


follows : w.>
(a) Prithhridhru:a to y
c T'
iswa.rnpa, circa 477

t!f! names of the A h
vidhara and Viswaru
h . b c ar::as between
' pa .,p;e ecn irretrievably
(b) From Viswar"
t 'l"d
569 A.D.
. .... pa o ' i yasankara, 28

28 B

(c) From 569 A.D.


un d-.er a trtal eclipse.

B. C t<>

Prithilost

B.C. fo

to J:338 A D., the JJ1atha wa"

"

< r 800 ""<'il


!
' J'!j w irn_
..
'"".
iif"R'!'{~~~'b~'ft!JT~.P-l-

Atmab dha. refers to this 11u.g:c gup

~'"Y
,
11() -.
' -eJ';ii:(ft..-"~i:tm:r
-.
-.-..., I

=~~r<1-41-1<'(.
~l!fu; ~ ~1~fltt!\
~

...

8!rlffi1{'{1m+1~r~at ~q<A:.
'f S'Q!"fq-Blffi{:
(Susama)." This must be bome in . d
After
the Bh
d
mm
held
agavatpa a, w.tien elever. pontiffs had
S .
sway, there were n1' Aehru.7a in th
Sarada. M ~,,.t. "
e.
rmgen
"'hlJ.a ior e~ght hundred ve!l.l'S ") 'l'h
.
of this

'

e w:oter
A<lha
comment., as one closely associated with the
ryas of tht~ Kamakoti Pitha
d
..
histol'ian should hav kn
' a~ . as lts accredited
h
.
e
owu the inti m.ate detail .
f
t e history of both the K
h'1
d
.
" o
W-0 should, tJ1ci;efor b Ii ~~
an Srmgeri Mathas.
that the S ., , .
' e eve is words w.Mn he savs
He doe rmgen Matha ceased to exist for 800 ye~s:
s not seek to fill up th
.

endowina v
e mterrugnum by
"' ISwarnpn (-0r any one elR.e) with 800

TJ

years_

le rnt1tgumg question Jna


.
Knml.!rkoti P"tb
.
Y now 8 -1'1 e-how dia Lhe
1
a, which appetr' t h
h
in {?Uidmg the d<> tm . ' f
o . nve ad im interest.

,.
ie,<:i o
rrnger1 all
ti
s1on to be broken
d th
ow ie sucees-for 800yeru:s f Whan
us allo~ the Mat}rn to lapse.
\)('.CLUTed it
S ~n, on a. p1ev101ts occasion, a break
'
sent u ~ta V.Jswarnpa to t&ke ~hmge of

's .

81

80
Sringeri. (Vide supra). Later on in 1333 A.D., it sent
Bharati Krsna Tirtha to revive the Sringeri Matha as
also to found eight more Mathas. Why was it 1 then,
that the Kamakoti Pitha allowed an interrugnum of 800
years to pass without nominating anyone during that
period 7 Atmabodha, in this connection, gives but a
glimpse of the chaotic nature of the times. We have to
l'eronstruc:; the history of the Karnataka from other
so11rces.
First, the Kamakoti Pitha itself was passing through
difficult times from 5th century A.D. onwards. Bauddhas,
,Jainas, Kapalikas and Saktas had regained their supremacy in Kancheepuram, rendering peaceful existence
impossible for the Kamakoti Acharyas. :B'u,:rther, Kanchi
was in a state oi panic due to the periodic incursions
of the Kaiabhras, of whom very little is known. The
unsettled conditions of the times may be gleaned to
so:rnc extent from the Matta Vilasa, a play of the late
7th centur,Y A. D. in which the excesses of Bauddhas,
~fainas and Kapalikas arc caricatured. Hence,
the
Kamakoti Pitha itself was constantly on the move, far
away from Kancheepuram, as can be seen from the fact
that most of the Acharyas died far aw.ay fronL Kanchi,
and their successors belonged to the same places where
the prr.decessors had died. Thus the Kanchi Matha waA
itself havinl:! a precarious existence amidst the pplitica1
and religious turmoil of the times.
Passing on to a consideration of what happened to
Sringeri, we must peep through the dense haze of time
to get a bluned picture of what was happening then.
This is the religious and political background :---

Karnata'ka h~s, from very early times, been a stronghold of extrfm1st types of Saivism, apart from its having
been in the grip of Jainism as vvell. The entire countrv
,vas studded with the .Mathas of Kalamukhas. Srisaila~
was the centre of Kapalika and Kalai:nukha activities.
There was, again, Vira Saivism, the fore-runner of the
Basaya cult, and hence much older than the Basava
enlt. The Vira Saivas claim that theirs is the oldest
religion in the world. They claim that Revana Siddha
or Renukaeharya, one of the first five great Acharyas
of their cult, presented the 'Adi Bhagavatpada with a
Linga ~qfaCf.T~w-the
present
ChandraSpJiatika
mauliswara worshipped by the Sringeri Pitha 2, They
go so far as to say that the Ifrhat Sankara Vijaya has
fl chapter entitled the 'Siddha Sankara Samvada' wherein the con n~rsation of the two Acharyas is -said 'to have
been dfScrihed in detail, and more, that Sankara himsell was persuaded to believe that Lingaradhana was
snpc;rior to any other form of worship. Whatever such
claims may mean, there is some more information-and
very valuable information at that~forthcoming with
regard to Sringeri and Vira Saivas. There is a pas~
in the Guravamsa Kavya, published under the authorlty
of the Sringeri Matha which contains tw-0 tell-tale slokas :

~i::iJ~l'clU~~~
t~ :) <ii~1"'414~h'llit'1flift;=zy:r itif\N~ I

~1~1Jrt ~~ .~qif.mr fci~Qll 11


~~!!J'ti'IUl<ilf4 @'r f~~ l

cft~1"l+R11"'4~ cr-=~s~ 'lit~~ 11


2.

(Nanjanacharya-'Vedanbi.sara Vira Saiva Chintamanl),

82

83

lifit~~w-~~
~c<iT ~1r{r~ R{if't~a

Sri Krishna Sastri has in mind the following slokas in


the 4th Kallola of the 12th 'rara11ga of Sivatatva
Ratnakara : -

Wl'eT\Rrr ;iJ{~~ c<t


~l{~w;r~ R{~ I
.r.::
...
i.tCCTI .S ;::;q~r 1tf.filllf Ci~l=f

ml":

~<LiJ;q'rTcl~iurr G"1~r<rct1J.. 11

~: ~~a: ~ ;;J~1o:r "lirmll

&-.,.;qrf~TT~rnf~ii!r

These slokas purport to say that the Bhagavatpada,


before he 1-eft Sringeri for Kanchi, gave Sureswara the
Chandraimauliswara Linga and the image of ~he Ratnagar()}rn Gauapati, both of which he had ohtairrnd as
presents from &nukacharya. The Guruvamsa Kavya
itself explams ~fu-~i!.. thus : -

w1r:[;:r ~<I1fffi~fir;qrfrr;;rr ""~ ~To/~.fiJ'i.:;<i~~w ~~<?r.,.~i "fW.


iirliii<f'4 '1lif ;ii-~ ~: Ci~foq:;~(f if!.if:;i'TW6 fif~~J{'i:f I i.e., tht.
Susiddha referred to in the passage is Rcvanaor Renukacharya,

according

to the

R:io Bahadur H. Krishna Sastri, in his preface to the


editiou. of Sivatatva llatnakara, make
the J.
alins.
rem81'.'k : ' "One vcy interesting featnre in the story of
Vi<lyarany~ . . . . . . . . . . is th R~mm<isiddhn flmprndaya
wh.ich the .A.chary.as of the Sankar11elrn.rya line that
initiated our Vidya:ranya were practjsjng ~it Srfogcri.
'Ihe Linga ot ltandl'amauliswm.a which is still worsl1ipped a. th-e chief dejty by the Ac-harya.s of the
Sring ri J\iatha j Dlso saia to b~''e he n 11rr. ented to
Vidya;ranya b.v .his dirnct tGurn. Rcvanasid'dha, we ]mow,
is a well-J..riawn Sa.iva teacher, whom the Vil'a Saivaa
still claim a~ one of their earliest Acharyas." Evidently,

fii"I ;qr'FIGrsfl'i~IJ.. 1

~Rr+Jf@~ a~ <R!4 ii~ c"-!fu~qq: II


t<iurrf~~51rfr '"'Ff<;:JT'llI~+fll!<\"fCJ:. 1

Guruvamsa Kavya Canto III 33, 34.

siddha JWahayogi
Vira Saivas.

u ~c;urrfti~B>r~r<rs:rc;f~;rr~ I

~<r~f.f'l ~n;r aCJri:fi21faf\~;qfq

11

(SL 9-11).
The Guruvam&'lJ Kavya, in its 5th and 6th sargas, gives
a detailed account of how Harihara and Bukka (the
founders of Vijayanagar), took asylum in a forest, after
having been routed by Iring Ballala. Revanasiddha
appeared before; them in their dreams, and {)njoined
them to visit and worship the famous fonga ')handramauliswara, and to enlist the services of Vidyaranya
for regaining their kingdom.
Hence, there appears to be much trnth in the conclusion arri;:ed at by Sri II. Krishna Sastri, that "the
Keladi chiefs who were mostly followers of the Veerasaiva religion were devout adherents of the Sringcri
Sankara.chmya Math, perhaps also for the same reason
viz., that the Sankaracharyas were followers of the
Rcvanasiddha Sarnpra.daya. This explains perhaps why
in the A dvaita Math of Sringeri there is still a greater
bias towards Shaivisrn and Sbaiva worship than towards
Vaishnavism and Krishna worship, though the founder,
the great Shanka.racharya was no l'CSpector of creeds.
nor of anv distinction between Siva and Vishnu."
f Prefa.ee

'

to Shlvatatva Ratnakara--Il.

Krislma Sastrl)

84

85

From the foregoing citations the following fact.a


emerge:(1) The Sringeri tradition itself admits that the
Lino-a
c of Chandramauliswara was got from Renukacharya.
\Ve need not give any serious credence to the claim that
Renukacharya presented Chandrarnauliswara to the
Bhagavatpada. \Ye know from other sources that he
fetched the Pancha Lingas from Kailasa, of which the
Chandramauliswara of Sringeri is one and the Chandramauliswara of Kanchi is another. But the insistence
that the Virasaivas place on the fact that Renukacharya
presented the Cha~dramauliswara Linga, and the open
aeknowledgment of that fact by the Sringeri chronicles
point to the 'One inesca,pable conclusion that during those
800 years of Sringeri's eclipse, the Matha had either passed
entirely imo the domination of .Virasaivas or (which is
11early the s~me), the successors of Vidya Sankara (after
569 A. D. ) , succumbed to the influence of Virasaiva
religion and became converts thereto, forswearing their
allegience to the Advaitic tenets of Sankara, and, per:
haps, the uriginal Chandramauliswara having been l~st
in the course of all this turmoil, a new Chandramauhswara Linga, worshipped through generations by the
Virasaivas, was substituted in the place of the original
Chandramanliswara. 'Vhatever might have boen the real
state of affairs, this much is certain-Sringeri as an
Atlvaitic institution, ceased to exist. The Chandramauliswara installed there by the Bhagavatpada fell into the
hands of the Virasaivas or, having been lost for ever,
was substituted by another Linga, worshipped by the
Virasaiv as.

(2) Nor was this all. In the course of the 12th


and 13th centuries, the followers of Ramanuja, and
)!adhava were aJso aggressively propagating their
doctrines in the Karnataka. From !Goa came the missionary activities of the Roman Catholics (Cf. ~~T<If
iitlt'T~lcr~fQ;:r!lI, etc.

and ...... [Q'~m<i51fuf;:j~~: firoRr ~


51"2"(Ji51~{Jwrr: IDl'::QCI": 'bUJfaJwt -Cf~~~'qi~~<il~m: i1H~UJ:!}H:
etc.-Susama). In short, among the fanatical du~lists
who
overran Karnataka in those
days, it was
impossible for a monistic institution like Sringeri to surviv~. The inevitable happened. It ceased to exist.
But even the Virasaiva domination of eight centurie!l'
was not tG last long. 'l'he armies of Malik Kafur, the
victorious General of Alla-ud-din Khilji, were marching
through K:1rnataka, submerging the old order like a.
tidal wave. After Malik Ka.fur's Campaign in the Karnataka, the Virasaiva dominatio!J- at Sringeri was probably thoroughly shaken. The institutipn i,vas in its
thl'oes of death.
I

(3) At thi~ time (early 14th century), the pontiff

at .Kanchi was Vidya Tirtha. He was the Guru of


Sa~'ana l\Iadhava
(later, Vidyaranya, head of the
Virnpaksi Matha) and of Bhamti Krsna Tirtha, the
younger brothrr of Vidy<iranya-later to becomr the first
A<:hmya of the resto:ed Sringeri Matha. Sankarananda,
who later succeeded Vidya Tirtha on the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitlrn, was not only for sometime the Guru of both
Vidyaranya and Bharati Krsna Tirtha, but also rendered
eonsider,abll' assistance to restore the Sringrri l\Iatha and
to found eig-ht new M:athas to stem the tide of Ramanujite,
Madhva
Proselytism
and
Roman
Catholie

86

87

Evangelism. The eight Sisyas chosen by Vidya Tirtha


and Sankarananda for this onerous task wen Satchldauanda, Adwaitananda, Sevadhi Mahadeva, Sivadwaita
and Sukhananda
Brahmananda,
Sandrananda,
and
Sukhananda. 3
Vidyaranya, therefore, with the blessings of Vidya
Tirtha and Sankarananda, strained every nerve to restore the old order in Sringeri, and to found the other
l\fathas to serve as bastions against the advance of the
other Sctarian cults. This fact--viz., the Vidyaranya
was the restorer of the Ancient Regime is reflected by
the fact that all these Mathas, jncluding Sringeri, contain, in their Srimukh.as, the seal Vidyasankara or Vidyar:myu. Sri N. Venkatraman thinks that ViJyasankara
and Vidyar::mya " mean the same, but different from
the lXth head of the Sringeri Matha, who died in Nirmala in 491 S.E., i.e., 569 '.A.D." (pp. 95, Sankaracharya and his successors). Such, however, does not
appear to be the case. Of course, the term Vidya
Sankara does not at all refer to Vidyasankara, the 9th
Acharya (reckoned after Sankara) , of Sringeri who
died in 5!)6 A.D., though the Sringeri chronicles would
ha;;e it so. The term Vid,ya-Sankara is a M onogrmn cu
it 'llJere, rt fusi.on of Vidya Tirtha a.n d Sankamnanda,
the two 1lcharyas of the Kanwkoti Pitha who were
r.espor!.'iib?c for the restoration of, Sringeri with the aid of
Vidyaranya. It was Vidyaranya who, in his gratitudA
3.

+rijT~'i

e1

c::
:q- ij"1~fiM{,

fuq,

Bf[~iif~~'

:a:r~o~igr<i;:zy:-ol!T:

'~firS:iH~:,

"

:a:fiF'Ho/G.'

.::...s:
'(1q11:T

~~'Efili _..Fi'fiTlfr~~o51fufmT':

~m'r.?$iirnr<t'11T : ill~i{W~ ~fa' oit'~ll. II


-Sui;a.ma.

ana devotion

to his
Vidya Sankara 4.

Gurus

composed

the monognm

(4) W11cn Vidyaranya attempted the rcstomtion of


Sringeri, evidently the first thing to be restored was
the worship of Chandramauliswara r~inga. But from what
we are able to see, the fonga had passed into the ha:nds
of the Virasaivas. Vidyaranya had perhaps to coax the
then Virastiiva owner of the Chandramauliswara Linga,
a11d he got it returned on condition that it was to be
1,lO!lsidered a present from Virasaivas. Probably he had
f..lso to agTee to the importation of some Virasaiva
rituals in the Sringeri Sampradaya. That appears to be
the drift of the Guruvamsa Kavya.
Hence, the Sringeri Matha was 1X'storcd to its original
.status through the labours- of Vidyaranya. Bharati
Krsna Tirtha was the first Acharya after the restoration:
Evidently, the Sringeri chronicles commit an error when
they make Vidyaranya als;o an Acharya of Sringeri. This
-cannot be, for both Bharati Krsna Tirtha ( 1328.80), and
Vidyaranya ( 13:31-86) , are assigned the same periods.
Both could not have been pontiffs simultaneously. Fur1her, Vidyaranya is definitely known td have founded
:and preside] over the Virnpaksi Matha - fi!~'lfa.'f~ ~
,~

ir~ tl'~fll~

etc. t Susama).
'rhe latest chronicles of Sringcri would, however,
draw a veil over this eight-hundred-year-eclipse of Sringeri,
and rewrite the entire history of the Matha thus : - - -- - -- - - - - - -- - - - - --------------4. mi:4' ~;qf'!i f.leyr('fl~~<R1'l';:q<Tf : ;rrm fct~r{O<T r.r~mr'fi{

~F~~T~ (7,ff~ ~~f!J<3ffi ~~flT!:pmf;:r""

Q''"fT<l!'f,

~ifi{r;r-<"({~ QT~ 13;:ajq- ~~'fiRRl{ I etc. (Susama.).

88

89

(1) Sankara Bhagavatpada, 788-820 A.D.


( 2) Sri Sureswaracharya

however, uDsavoury, would nevertheless,


start.ling facts about Sringeri's status.

(3) Nityabodhaghana
( 4) Jnanaihana

reveal

some

We are indebted to the Indian Patriot, (April 11th


19th, May 15th, June 3rd and fith, 1912) for some o-f
the following details which help us to reconstruct the
history of Kndali and Sringeri :

( 5) J nanottamasiya:

( 6) ,Jri anagiri

(7) Simhagiri
From 820 to 1333 A. D
( 8 ) Iswa,i:a 'l'irtha
( 9) N rsimha Tirtha:
(10) Vidyasankara
.( ll ) Bharati Krsna Tirt:&a to Abhinava
'1'irtha, 1333 to the present day,

Vidya'.

so that, from the times of the Bha.gu,::itp"ada to the


present day an unbroken line Of Aclu.rrya is made tO'
rule c>ver Sringerj. Not merely is this attt>mpi, ca lculat d to vitin1c histol'y, but i.<: .a.<: rlll'POSeful RS to tr.r
to ::i1te1 tJF 1wad te fit a C<lp, ratl~fr th::i n alter tl1e cap
to .fit lhe h ea .
From Blrnrati Krsna Tirtha up to Abhinava Vidya
Tirtha, the present pontiff, the line , of Acfotryas in
Sringeri ha-; been fairly continuous.

vte cannot, in passing, avoid glancing at the rather


tangled state of affairs bet:ween the Kudali and the"
Sringcri l\[athas. Both the institutions are old, though
the one cla:iins the other to be its off-shoot. Litigatiom
have been frecf'uent between the two 2\fatlrns, chiefly o.r:i
the issue of their being in the direct line from the
Bhagavatpa3.a. But an examination of such squabbles,

Kudali, or Kudali-Sringeri at the confluence of Tunga


and Bhadra appears to have been the real scat where
the B_hagavatpada founded the Sringeri Matha. There
is a local tradition that Sarada visits Srir.geri from
Kudali only during the Navaratri. This tradition would
seem to 'support our vie-\V. An inscription dated 1153
mentions that Kudali was otherwise known as Vidyanagara, lVIaharajadhani, Nrsirnha. Ksetra, Daksina Varanasi, Tunga Bhadra Sangama, Kucluli, Rsyasrama, Rsyasmgasrama, and Srngagiri. Hence the real Sringcri is
Kudali. The present Sringeri is an ml.tpost of KudalL
We shall hereafter refer to the present Sringeri as NcoSringeri, to avoid confusion.
About the year 1570 A. D., Nrsimha Bharati Swami 5
(.alias Ammaji Swami) of Kudali went on a tour to
Kedara, and did not return for many years. A successor
was therefore ordained under the na.me Nrsimha Bharati,
by the local authorities, and nominated to the pontificate. The Sanyasa of this successor was not quite valid,
inasmuch as it was only Pustaka Sanyasa.
5. 1ilabama.hopadhya;va Brah.rn.1.!'lt'i Ven!Hltachal>l Dlksita
of Mysore slves a dlff~rent ac.count of lhls caSt>. ( Virfr-prdface to Brahma. Sutra. .Bllruna-Venl<:ateswara Steam Press).
A<'.corql{i_g i.o Venk:atacbn ta Dlksi t.a. the wami who wi>nt on
tour was one Sankara Bha.:mti, an Acharya of Sringeri. His
suec~ssor having been nominated by the Sringeri Agent during

90

91

Soon afLer, the elder Nrsimha Bharati (1547--1609),


returned from Kcdara, and resumed his pontificate.
Nrsimha llharati Junior, the successor, was, however,
sent over to Nco-Sringeri where a vacancy had a,r isen.
The new _Acharya of NBo-Sringeri was, however, given
to understand that he should stay at Neo-Sringeri and
mr1st not go out on Digvijaya.

During the pontificate o1 Nrsimha, Bb.arati, the 531d


.Acharya ot Ku lali ( 1727-51) Cheladi .Basavappa
Naya.k~ II om
again passed ordPrs re. trarning the
Ai:iharyas of ~eo-Srirlgcri from going out on Dig ;ijaya.
_Again in 1806, dlll'ing th pontifi ate of $aukara Bltarati,
the 56th .Aclulrya o:f Knuali, Ptll'nayya, the famou s
mi,1ister of Hyder Ali and 'rippu Sultan, restrained the
Achal'yas of Neo"Sringeri from Digvijaya.

This agreement was ratified in 1580 by Krsnappa


K ayalm of Keladi ( 1520 to 1609), who passed 01ders that
the Acharyas of Neo-Sringeri should not go out on

In 1811, Krishnarajendra III of Mysore allowed Narasimha Bharati (180'7-20 ) of the Kudali Matha to go
-0n Digvija~a, having recognised his titles to his being
the Jagadgurn.

Digvijaya.
During the reign of the 52nd Acharya of Kudali
( ci:rca 1723 ! , the Acharyas of Kuda.li, Sankheswa:ra and
Neo-Sringeri l\fathas, met at Satara, during the reign
of Sahu, the successor of Sivaji. The question as to
which Acharya \Vas to be accorded Agra Puja was veheml)ntly discussed. Pinally, the issue was settled by
deciding thnt the Acharya of Kudali aJone was entitled
to Agra Puja. ( Vide--History of Sankheswar<>, Matha).
his absence, Sankara Bhara.ti, after his
to stay at Kudali.

return, was

obliged

But on a reference to the Guruparampara ot Sringeri, we


fi nd tbers is no Sankara Bharati at all, particu laily between
1500-1600 A.D. We are afraid, there is sorae mlirtall;~ here.
We have therefore preferred to follow the version of the
lndiun Patriot, since the writer of those articles in the Indian
l'atriot was an Antevasi
;a~ijt
of the last Acha:-ya
of Kudali and at one time a successor presumptilre to the
pontificate of Kudali. The gentleman is still alive, and we
had oral information from him in addition to what we gathered
from his articles. His version of the whole case appears to
he more aut;1entic, and we have preferred to adopt his version rather than the version of Venkatachala Dilrnita which is
somewhat confusing.

In the year 1820, during the reign of Sankara Bharati


(J 820--56), the 58th Acharya of Kudali, the .Acharya

-0f Neo-Sringeri was again restrained from going out


oi Srin~ri.
ln 1836, the 58th Acha !:ya of Kudali set out on a
Digvijaya, when the Acharya of Neo-Sringeri took
..exception to that, and filed a suit in the Hu:mr Sudder
A<lala.t of Mysore. The litigation was a long-drawn--0ut
affair, aincl in t.he appeal (No. 22 of 1847), the verdict
-was returned in favour of Kndali. This decision of the
Huzur Sudder Adalat was ratified hy Sir Mark Cubbon,
ihe Regent of Mysore, in 1849.

Jn 1851. the 58th Acharya of KuJali, visited Mysore


:and was accorcfod royal honours.
Prom the foTcgoing citations, it should be evidei;it that
the Kudali parampa.ra is the direct parampara, and Neo.:Sringci.;i is only collaternl, with no jurisdictions beyond
the boundaries of Sriugcri.

92
'l'he Ka11ntaka was divided into a number of diocese

for purposes of spiritual as also fiscal administration of


the Matha benefices. vV est Karnataka was under the
jurisdiction of Kudali, and East Karnatalrn, under the
sway nf Puspagiri, South Karnataka, com prising modern
Kolar m~der the jurisdiction of the Anrni:i Sringcri, and
North Karnataka under Sankheswara Matha. About 1792,
when Tippu Sultan had annexed Coimbatorn and Salem
districts, the Acharya of Amani toured these districts and
recruited Sisyas. But when he attempted to recruit disciples
ia Tnnj0re and Trichinopoly districts, he was firmly told
tliat, that was not his jurisdiction, and that, if at all he
wanted to tour the districts, it should be on the distinct
unclert.akin~~ that he would not attempt recruiting Sisyas.
He gave the undertaking that he would thereafter desist
from recruiting disciples.
This WIJS the first occasion when an Acharya of a Matha
belonging to the Karnataka attempted to tour the South.
South India. including Chola, Pandya, Chera countries
and Toncfaimandalmn has always been under the jurisdiction of ihe Karnakoti Pitha. In tlw~ middle of the last
C1'ntury, Babu R.ao, the a~,,mt of Mackenzie of Tfmjore
was informed by the then Achary.a of the Kamakorti
Pitha that hii,; jurisdiction extended over the districts
enumerated above. Hence it was that the attempts of
the Acharya of Am:mi Sringeri to enlist Sisyas were
firmly rc'sisted.
But in the middle of the year 1854, Hi" Highness
f:'ri Krishnaraja Udayar Bahadur, had olrt.airny} initiation
in Sri Vidya from His Holiness Nr~imha Bhn,.wti VTII of
Neo-Sring-eri and had composed two works, the Sringeti

93
ltfatha Guruparampara, and Astottara Sata Namavali on
Nrsimh~ Dharati Swami. This enlightened ruler of 2\iysore
was so devoted to the Acharya of Sringeri, that, for the
first time in the anuals of Neo-Sringeri. the Acharya waa
penr,itted to go on Digvijaya. And when the Acharya
sent a Srimukha intimating- bis proposed visit to the
citizens of Madras in 1860, he was assured by the
President of the Association of the Citizens of Madras
that, His Holiness was most welcome, prnviclr.d that !1is
rno,emcnts and activities during the tom wet\: such a'1
wonld not offend the dignity of the Karnakoti Pitha
\Yh;se spiritnal jurisdiction comprised l\Iadras and South
India.
The Aclrnrya of (Neo.) Sringer! then gave :m assur:.ance in 1v1iting, that he and his followers would never
J.e)lort then:selves in any manner derogatory to the dig_nity of the Kamakoti Pitlm. ( Vidc--Appendix B).

l_i'rom all that we have so far cited, it should be clear


that Neo-Sringeri has no jurisdiction whatever beyond
the limita of Sringeri. And whatever jnriscliction
S.ringeri now elaim:01 WIJS acquired through sufferance an<l
aot throngh right. 'his is so, because Neo-Sringeri appears
to be a collateral branch of Kudali-Sringeri, which alone
appears to have been the original seat of the Bhagavatpada's Sringeri Matha, an<l which appears tu have had
an unbrokrn hne of more than sixty Acharyas, just like
the Kanchi and the Dwaraka Acharya ParampDras.
\Vhatever may be the position of Kudali, this much is
certain ;-that the Sringeri Matha of the present day
belongs to a minor braneh of the Parampara founded
by the great Vidyaranya when, as the founder 11 r r,ltn

95

94

Virnp aksa .Matha, he

stablished S:cingeri as al r> Puspa-

gir~ .Amani, Sankheswru;a and other 1\-1 athas. Particularly,.


af ler 15.99, Neo-Sringru s ems to have sbrunk into a
litt1 township, with no jurisdictions. There i, perhaps'
eon:rider ab11'1 truth in t ho verdict .returned by lfuhuyavedanta:pravartaka Sri edanta R amanuja IJaugaro
in the year Srimukha : - .::ici-g/$..as l ;:S-s~s ;St:\'o:S/$.,.~ os ~
1f;:pXf\IJ'::r& .:SX:Sa-.J~ei~ '!~oXMtr ::Jlli<So~;$ ~i:l"i):,15oZl:l;$~ ;$~

:.Siba>cl'Nm

:S.jg_~x

cDdfut;>~

l'\:lC:o

~os'tir~51!llll"~ ;3~~

:.Ss;;S~ ::ill.)Ol'~o OSo:Odfu ".,~ lMo'i::a~~i'l' ii3;$JXoOJ>o'~

etc.
~Page 16 of
the Nirnaya Patra,
issued by Sri
Vedantaramanuja Swami). " It is clear that the decision:
arrived at by Gurram Venkanna Sastrulu that the"
present Sringeri Acharyas, who reaJ.ly beloug to tlie
Parampara of Vidylll'anya, are not the rightful
masters of the Vidyapitha established at Sringeri by the
Bh<tgava tpada, is perfectly incontrovertible and we full,r'
endorse the view."
At nny rate, all this evidence would show that the
present Sringeri Matha is not the Paramount .Matha thatit claims to be.

\Ve have illustrated, thouf!'h at consider~1bl e fongth,


that Sureswaracha,-rya wa never tlte fu'st Acha1y-a of
Sringeri or of any other Math.a for that matter. H e wasthe Controller-General of all the Mathas and a pedodic
visitor. Hence, if Dwaraka and JagannatJia Math.as
e1aim Sureswara (as also Sarvajnatman) as the first
two Acharyas of their Pitha, it is for the same reasonthat we have advanced with regard to Sringer:i (Vitlesupra). But, to this extent at least Sarvajnatman was:

associated with Dwaraka, namely, that he was for sometime teacher of Brahmaswarupa who succeeded to the-throne at Dwara~a. Consequently the identification of
Brabmaswarupa with Sureswarachar.ra must also be
wrong.

A consi4erable part of Sureswara's seventy years asprotector was spent at Ka,nchi . The Brhat Sankaravijaya
itself records how the Bhagavatpada himself commanded
Surcswara to be protector of all Mathas without being
specifically nominated to rule over any Pitha in
particular :if ~'ft ~r~~mf~

iilirfq iftorfer-q-(~

:;n~ ~lcOO~ er ~'if ~~ aj-flr{;;:nq_

11

Here, perhaps, is the c]ue to the fact that all Mathas


consider Sureswaracharya as th.e ir Guru after Sankara.
No one was better qualified to officiate as protector than
Sureswara with his rich experience of the world as a
GrLastha, and as one who knew the mind of the
Bhagavatpada most intimately. After his protectorate
extending over 70 years, tJ1e great Yogi, Sureswara,
attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi at Kanchi, where his
remains haYe been enshrined in the Sureswaracharya
Matha, opposite the Gangaikondan Mantapam. in Siva
Kanchi. 'rliere is also an Agraharam in his Purvasrama
name, i.e, Mandana Misra 'Agraharam <'l.rdjacent to the
Kachapeswara temple. Re died in 2695 Kali or 407 B. C.
in the cycllc year Bhava, Jyestha Masa, Sukla Paksa
Dwadasi.
After the demise of the great Sureswara, Sarvajnatrnan became the full-fledged Acharya of the Kamakoti
Pitha. He was the son of one Vr.rdhana, and hailed

96
from the Paudya country, on the banks of Tampra.parni.
A real prodigy even in his seventh year, he e\rolrnd the
admiration of the great Bhagavatpada himself, who was
hi:::nself a prodigy of the first order. Ordained in Sanvasa
by the gr.eat Sankara himself, he was nominated su~cesc
sor to ihe 1\amakoti Pitha--a worthy snecessor to
a worthy Guru.
Sarvajnatman seems to have been eonsiderablv indebted
to 8uresw<'.ra for instructions in ccrtrtin b;an ches of
philosophy. H e gratefully remembers him and offers
him obeisance in the opening s1okas of his Sanksepa
Sariraka : -

l!l'T ~~H~if;~{~'Hi'tF-!iim~:
~ij~rc+rfrr{lsf~ctr ~CR: B~r.r~rrut'iJ:l 11
~ ffo;r.f~~<{~~ ~~rlf~~ ~q
~'Tiic'i~o<aref.t ;r~ ~<.7-rf~~ ~r.f ~rnm 11

Of cour~e, historians have found some extraordinarv


revelations in this sloka, viz : ( 1) Deveswara ( differc~t
from Sureswara), was the Guru of Sarvajnatrr.an. This
Deveswara is said to have been a disciple of Devananda
who was himself a disciple of Sresthananda.
But what the historians seem to forget is that no
Sisya refer<i to his Guru by his direct nam e. It is almost
a sacrilege to refer to one's :Guru by name. 'rhe Guru
is invariabl~' referred to by some other indirect name,
hut synonymous with his real name. Thus, Deveswara
is synonymous with Sureswara (~<i=~t.)

97
Chola (870--901 A.D.) and by others with one Manukuladitya, a ruler of Travancore who " flomished in
T r avancore at the end of the tenth century " (K. A. N.
Sastri, A History of India, p. 34Q).
But on cl~e1 examination, the term Manuknladitya
looks more like an epithet r ather than a proper name.
As we have already pointed out, it is too ha:-:ardous to
'bas~ the determination of dates on mere names. But this

Travaneore ruler theory of Manukuladitya would no


doubt be advantageous t those who would have Sankara 's dat<'I a 788--820 A.D. But we haye prcm~a that
all such spcenl.ntions aro baseless. At 1my rate, this
Ma.nukuladitya l1ypotbesis of historian wou d show how
political histor.1 alone means history for them. and how
-all_ religious and social histori es must be adjusted to
SUit the e.lliigencies of political history.

\V hatever }1istorians may say, we prefer to follow the


l ead of A lm a Bodha. According to this sagacious hist or ian of t11e K amakot i Pit.ha, Sarvajnatma n was sometime Guru of Brahmaswarupa. of Dwaraka Pitha. H e
1.eld Jainism in check and dfod in his ll 9th year in th e
y eiir Nala, Kali 2737 or 364 B . C.
Thus t he Kamakoti Pitha h ad been placed on a firm
lrnsis, thank;,; to the administrative ability of. the great
Sareswaracharya.

The s~cond discovery of i:he historians is that Sarvajnatman was a contemporary of a king named Manutruladitya, who has been identified by some with Aditya
'S 7