Sri Sankaracharya’s connection with Varanasi..2

(Contd.) Further even today there exists a Matha by name Sumeru Matha (also known as Paduka Matha) in Varanasi.

It has a distinct code (Mathamnaya) of its own. In an appeal for funds, for carrying out repairs of the Matha issued on behalf of this institution several years ago, it is stated that during his stay at the holy City of Kasi Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Jagadguru Adi Sankaracharya Maharaj established the Sumeru Math.’

Among the signatories in this appeal the names of the Heads of the Omkar Matha and Dattatreya Matha, the Mahants of the Visvesvar and Annapurani Temples, four distinguished scholars with the title of Mahamahopadhyaya, the Private Secretary of the Maharajah of Benares, many other Scholars, Officers, Zamindars etc., are seen.

In this connection it may be remembered that in Mathamnayas, the Matha for Urdhvamnaya is given as Sumeru Matha’, its Sampradaya as Kashi Sampradaya and kshetra (location) as Kaivalya-Kshetra (meaning thereby the place of liberation-Kashi being the foremost of the seven sacred cities of liberation or Mokshapuris of our land).

Among the other details given in Mathamnaya works occur the phrases: ‘शुकवामदेवादि – जीवन्मुक्तानां सुसंवेदप्रपठनं etc.

Some of ancient title records of the Vanjiyur Sri Viswanatha Swamy Devasthanam estates belonging to the Kanchi Matha, evidence the existence of a Branch matha of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha in the Hanuman Ghat,

Kashi and also the details of the mahant (sanyasi disciple) who was the in charge of the Varanasi Branch matha (also known as Sukadeva Matha).

With the laudable idea of fittingly commemorating the stay of Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada in the Holy Varanasi, the spiritual capital of Bharat, Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Moolamnaya Sarvajna Peetha performed the Kumbhabhishekam of the newly constructed Kamakotisvara and Panchayatana Mandir at Kashi on 28th January 1974.

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada’s connection with Varanasi Kshetra … 1

Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada had darshan of His Preceptor Sri Govinda Bhagavadpada at a place (cave) on the banks of the Narmada river.

Later, as per the wishes of Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada, Sri Sankaracharya crossed the forests of Central India and in due course reached the sacred mokshapuri of Varanasi where he stayed on for a pretty long time.

His illustrious commentaries on the Brahma – Sutras, the Upanisads, the Bhagavat Gita, the Vishnu – Sahasranama, the composition of the smaller pieces such as the Gangashtaka, the Manisha panchaka etc., are assigned to the period of His Stay at Kashi.

A verse in the Guruvamsa Kavya, remarks on the manuscript of this Kavya in the Annual report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the year 1928 (Govt. Press, Bangalore) and an inscription in the Brahmendra Matha at Sivalaya Ghat in Varanasi clearly indicate Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada’s establishing religious institutions in the form of Mathas at important places which He visited or wherein He stayed for long.

The Guruvamsakavya speaks of the Acharya’s founding of *five mathas* at Varanasi,

four for His principal disciples and one for Himself.

” वाराणसीं योगिवरोऽधिगम्य भुजैरिव श्रीहरिरेष शिष्यैः ।

सहात्मना पञ्चमठानमीषां प्रकल्प्य तस्थौ कतिचिद्दिनानि “II

-(Verse 23-Canto III).

On pages 15 to 20 of the Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department mentioned above, the following remarks on the Guruvamsakavya are found:-

” It follows that the author was the contemporary of Somasekhara II (1714-1739) of Keladi when Sacchidananda Bharati (1705-1741) adorned the pontifical seat at Sringeri.

(Kashi) Lakshmana Sastri, the author, seems to have been a very good scholar and as he composed the work under the orders of Sachchidananda Bharati. It may be reasonably presumed that he faithfully copied all available traditional information about the successive teachers of Sringeri “.

On page 16 of this Report the founding of an important Matha at Varanasi by Sri Sankaracharya is noted-

” The author says that He (Sri Sankaracharya) set up five Mathas and mentions the names of Sringeri, Kanchi, Badri, Kashi and Jagannatha.”

The following inscription in the Brahmendra Matha in Varanasi (referred to earlier) points to a line of Acharyas belonging to Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada Parampara:—

” जगद्गुरो शंकरस्य पारम्पर्यक्रमागतः ।

शिष्यः सन्मार्गनिष्णातः चन्द्रशेखर नामकः ।

तस्य शिष्यो विश्वनाथयतीन्द्रो योगिनां वरः ।…”


(Hampi) Virupaksha Sringeri Matha – Succession List

The succession list of Jagadguru Acharyas of (Hampi) Virupaksha Sringeri Matha … 1

Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya


1. Sri Vidyaranya Swami (Veda Bhashyakara)

(founder of Virupaksha Sringeri Matha)

2. Narasimha Bharati I.. (Saka 1300- 1315)

3. Surendra Bharati.. (Saka 1314-1328)

4. Sankara Bharati I.. (Saka 1332-1350)

5. Narasimha Bharati II .. (Saka 1342-1353)

6. Sachchidananda Bharati .. (Saka 1355-1368)

7. Sankara Bharati II… (Saka 1370-1385)

8. Vidyaranya Bharati I.. (Saka 1390-1398)

9. Narasimha Bharati III.. (Saka 1398-1408)

10.Sankara Bharati II.. (Saka 1408-1420)

11. Sachchidananda Bharati.. (Saka 1421-1435)

12. Vidyaranya Bharati Il .. (Saka 1436-1456)

13. Sankara Bharati IV.. (Saka 1456-1476)

14. Sachchidananda Bharati III… (Saka 1470-1478)

15. Sadananda Bharati.. (Saka 1478-1488)

16. Sankara Bharati V… (Saka 1488-1493)

17. Narasimha Bharati IV.. (Saka 1494-1504)

18. Vidyaranya Bharati III ..(Saka 1505-1514)

19. Vidya Narasimha Bharati.. (Saka 1515-1523)

(Source: Epigraphical Glossary on D. Inscriptions By Prof. V.Vijayaraghavacarya,1938)

Urdhvamnaya Kashi Sumeru or Paduka Matha…1

This Sankarite institution belongs to the Urdhvamnaya division and follows Sama Veda. The presiding deities are “Nirajanesvara Mahadev and Bhadra Kali (Maya)”.

According to the Guruvamsa Kavya of Sringeri matha, Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada established five mathas while staying in Kashi. (However, names and location of these five mathas were not mentioned by Kashi Lakshmana Sastri, its author)

This matha has been under the royal patronage of His Highness The Maharaja of Benares. It was presided over by a Bengali dandi sanyasin during the last century.

The “Paduka Matha” is also known as “Sumeru Matha”. Many Acharyas have presided over the matha without any break since from its inception.

In an appeal issued on behalf of this Matha by some dandi-sanyasis, Mahamahopadhyayas and other respectable persons, the following statement appears :

” During His stay at the holy city of Kashi (Benares), Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya Maharaj established the Sumeru Math “…

Sri Sankaracharya visited this place which was then a thatched house belonging to a Maharashtra Brahmana. When the Acharya left the place, His followers there wanted some sacred object be left behind in His memory. The Acharya Blessed the disciple His divine Padukas which is worshipped there even today.

During the period of Lord Cornvallis, the Britishers were persecuting the then Raja of Benares, and the Raja had to run for his life. By chance he came to this matha. Being thirsty he wanted some water and the then presiding Acharya quenched his thirst and blessed him. Later the Raja regained his State and became a disciple of the matha and provided for Annual grants for the maintenance of the matha.

Upanishad Brahmendra Matha.. 2


i. Upanishad Brahmendra

ii. Vasudevendra Sarasvati

iii. Upanishad Brahmendra II – Commentator of 108 Upanishads. (Vasudevendra Sarasvati had two other Sishyas Krishnananda Sarasvati and Svayamprakasa Sarasvati)

iv. Rama Brahmendra Sarasvati (Disciple of Svayamprakasa Sarasvati author of Tatvasangraha Ramayana, Ramayana Tatvadarpana and various other works)

v. Anantananda Sarasvati

vi. Gnanendra Sarasvati

vii. Vasudevendra Sarasvati

viii. Brahmanendra Sarasvati

ix. Ishtasiddindra Sarasvati

X. Krishnanandendra Sarasvati

X. Anantanandendra Saraswati

Anantanandendra Sarasvati, author of Vedanta Sara Sangraha (Ramayana Printing Press, Madras) says that he is the sishya of one Mahadevendra Sarasvati who was the prasishya (grand disciple) of Upanishad Brahmendra Sarasvati.

He says that Mahadevendra Sarasvati had 10 sishyas of whom he was one and that he consecreted a Sivalinga at Virunchipuram.

(Source: Anantanandendra’s paper ms.)

The Hindu, 12th July,1924 : col. 5.

“The author has taken great pains to sift and test the Various dates till now in the market of Shanakra’s birth and has chosen 509 B.C. as the most likely.

We congratulate him upon having hit the right nail on the head; it will please him to know that the ancient Tibetian records support him. For Shankara came in just 57 years and 9 months after the Nirvana of Buddha. He need not have wavered in his decision and put forth an alternative date of 44 B.C. of the Sringeri matha.

The life account of Shankara contains nothing new; and the author might have thrown overboard much of the heavy useless ballast of the various Shankara Vijayas and sail his craft lightly…………. The works now current might more properly be from the pen of the “Abinava Shankara of the Eight Century.”

Upanishad Brahmendra Matha … 1

Upanishad Brahmendra Matha is situated in Kanchipuram. Upanishad Brahmendra Sarasvati was a disciple of one Sri Vasudevendra Sarasvati. He was also known as Sri Ramachandrendra Sarasvati.

Upanishad Brahmenrda wrote commentaries on all the 108 Upanishads. He seems to have lived during the 18th century. At the end of the commentary on the Muktikopanishad, he says, he completed it on 17-12-1751. His writings come to about 45,000 granthas. His contributions to Advaita is voluminous.

In Benares there is a Sankarite institution called Brahmendra Matha in the Shivala Ghat. There is an inscription dated Vikrama Samvat 1941 Salivahana Saka 1806 (1884 C. E.) which refers to Sankaracharya, indicating thereby that a parampara of Sri Sankaracharya with “Indrapatta” existed in the 19th century at Benares. Visvanatha yatindra who is referred to in this inscription was a disciple of Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, the 64th Acharya Kanchi Kamakoti Matha.

There is a tradition in Benares that a sanyasi belonging to this Matha once visited Benares. At that time the Maharaja of Benares was suffering from some disease. The Sanyasi cured him of this disease. The Maharaja wanted to do something in acknowledgement of this help.

The Sanyasi wanted that a Matha may be constructed in Kasi for his stay. The Maharaja gave the necessary land for the Matha and the Matha was constructed, funds being given from the original Upanishad Brahmendra Matha. That is the Matha, now known as the Brahmendra Matha in Kasi.

Vasudeva Brahmendra Sarasvati of Upanishad Brahmendra Matha was the author of “Sastra Siddanta Lesa Tatparya Sangraha “.

According to the introduction to this book published in 1926 written by one Mayavaram Vaidyanatha Sastri, this Vasudeva Brahmendra Sarasvati was a disciple of one Krishnanandendra Sarasvati who was himself a disciple of Upanishad Brahmendra Sarasvati.

Ramabrahmendra, disciple of Svayamprakasendra Saraswati lived in Benares. He was the author of the work Ramabrahmendra Pancadashi.

Ramabrahmendra Panchadashi is a collection of various works compiled by Ramabrahmendra which includes Mathamnaya from Citsukhacarya’s Brihat Sankaravijaya, Sureswaracarya Sishya Parampara Stuti and Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Guruparamapara namamala, stava which was published by Kalpattu Guruswamy Sastry, in 1894.

In the introductory part of the above cited publication, it is mentioned that this had been regularly recited by the Sanyasi disciples of Kashi and the same was obtained from one Paramanandendra, who was residing in the Dandi Ghatta of Avimukta Kshetra (Kashi).