Mahratta Kings of Tanjavur – The Principal Disciples (Mukhya Sishyas) of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Srimatha …3

Rajah Pratapsingh (1740-1763 C.E) came to know that the Jagadguru Sankaracharya had to abdandon their main Matha at Kanchi, travelled upto Travancore and returned to the forests of Odayarpalayam zamin, which was on the borders of Thanjavur territories where Golden idol Sri Bangaru Kamakshi was safely placed.

He sent his brother-in-law and commander-in- Chief Mallari Gade Rao and one of his ministers Dabir Panth requesting the Acharya to come over to his territory for His residence. Later, the Sankaracharya Swami reached Thanjavur. The Raja assured Him full security and requested the Acharya to make Thanjavur his abode. The Achaya after a brief stay in the fort preferred to shift to the banks of Cauvery in Kumbakonam.

The Rajah built a grand matha for him and a temple for his deities. 36 villages were endowed for its maintenance. Since then the Kanchi Acharya came to live permanently in Tanjore kingdom.

King Pratap Singh also made several endowments for performing nitya puja to the Adhishtanam of Sri Paramasivendra Saraswati Swamy, the 57th Acharya of Sri Kamakoti Peetha, the Preceptor of Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra.

The modi records of Tanjore kingdom contain details about monetary contributions and other offerings during Vyasa pooja and special occasions to Sri Kanchi Peetha from 1768 C.E.

A permanent ‘madhyasta’ seat had been held in the Royal Darbar by a representative of the Srimatha. The annual tribute and special offerings from the Tanjore palace were submitted through the madhyasta of Srimatha.

Arrangements were also made for the regular collection of “Sankaracharya Sambhavana” from all communities of the Tanjore country. This alongwith the land revenue and paddy collection from almost all villages of the country was remitted to the Matha directly by the revenue officials of the respective Taluk.

Apart from these, Mohini and Tasdik allowances were also given to the Matha in respect of the imams resumed during the occupation of Arcot Nawab.

The 1817 C.E records of Col.Mackinzie contain a direct reference about the said usurption of inam villages granted to the Matha, by the earlier kings, by the foreign powers who occupied Tanjore kingdom later. All these would show that the Matha was always revered and held in high esteem by all the Kings of Tanjore Mahratta Raje.

The modi records also mention about frequent exchange of rare manuscripts and books between the Sankaracharya Matha and Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Libraries.

Many old palm leaf manuscripts of the Vyasachala, Anandagiri and Govindanatha Sankaravijayams, Sivarahasyam (procured from Varanasi) etc. were also carefully preserved in the Tanjore palace library by the Kings.

King Tulaja’s relations with Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Srimatha

After Rajah Pratapsingh, his Son Tulaja and after him Serfoji extended all facilities to Mutt. He arranged for shifting of Sri Swarna Kamakshi image to Tanjore fort, from Tiruvarur. He also made several endorsements for the nitya naimittika puja of the deity.

Anandagiri”s Sankaravijayam was translated in Telugu by Andhra Kalidasa, Tulaja’s Court Poet. Govindanatha yati’s Sankaracharya Charita was written on the request made by Deepambika, King Sahaji’s mother.

Serfoji Raja and Kanchi Sankara Mutt

Serfoji attended the Mahamagam festival at Kumbhakonam with all his family members in royal splendour. After holy bath in the Mahamaga Tank, the Rajah visited the Kamakoti pitam Jagadguru Shankaracharya, residing at Kumbakonam and performed padapuja and offered serveral valuable presents to Sri Chandramouleeswara Swamy.

During his visit to the Mutt on the Mahamagam day King Serfoji performed ‘Kanakabhishekam’ (showering of gold coins) to the Sankaracharya. This was the third Kanakabhishekam performed to the Jagadguru Acharyas of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha, by Their principal disciples, the Mahratta Rajas of Tanjore.

The Swami blessed the King with Holy mantrakshata, valuable shawl and one Gowri Shankar Rudrakshamala studded with rare gems and the most mertitorious title of ‘Siva Puja Dhurandhara’. Serfoji’s son Sivaji II also performed Kanakabhishekams to the Kanchi Acharyas in 1832, 1842 and 1850 C.E.


1. The modi documents translated in to tamil and preserved in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. (11 bound volumes )

2. Modi Palakani – Articles published the Journals of the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore.

3. Note Books (48 nos.) containing hints in Tamil pertaining to Modi documents.

4.Administration and Social Life under the Mahratta Rulers of Tanjore by K.M.Venkataramaiah (1984)

5. Mahratti Modi manuscript compilations published by the Tamil University, Tanjore.

6.Inscriptions of the Tanjore Mahrattas by Mr.Rasu.


“One of the records is 31/C Item 60 subsection 5 from the Modi records from the Sarasvati Mahal Library, Tanjavur. There is a petition where a number of people had made a complaint to the then king of Tanjavur about the alleged misdeeds of some Karyastha of the Matha. This interesting document belongs to the time of Sri Mahadevendra Sarasvati who ascended the Kamakoti Pitha in the year 1851 during the time of the last king Sivaji of Tanjavur; and in this the petitioners in their introductory paragraphs give a brief but interesting account of the Matha. It is stated in the petition as follows:

“The Mutt of Sri Sankaracharya Svamy at Kumbhakonam was a small mutt6 when it was at Kanchipuram. Raja Prataph Singh brought the Sankaracharya from Kanchi and built a Mutt at Dabir Agraharam, granted Mohini lands, offered him his first honour and respect, etc., etc.

This clearly shows that the Matha was shifted from Kanchipuram to Tanjavur during the time of the reign of Raja Pratap Simha of Tanjavur. We have fortunately enough of original documentary evidence of the Tanjavur Maratha rulers themselves to substantiate the above.

There is an order issued by King Pratap Simha of the Tanjavur Maratha Rulers preserved in the Madras Central Record office as Record No. C-37/38-43 of the Tanjavur Palace Records.

This is in Hemadipant Modi script. In this order the king had stipulated that the sambhavana to the Acharya of the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha should be paid at some uniform specified rates. The Acharya is mentioned as-

“Srimad Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Srimad Pujya Sankara Bhagavad

Padacharyanam Adhishthane Simhasane Abhishiktanam Sri Chandrasekhara Sarasvatinam Pujyayoh Sripadayoh.”

In describing the Birudavali of the Acharya the king used the following phrases:

“Srimad Sakala Bhumandalalankara Trayastrimsat Kotidevata Sevita Sri Kamakshi Devisanata Sakshatkara Paramadhisthana, Satyavrata Namankita, Kanchi Divyakshetre Saradamatha Sthitanam”, …

From the above, it will be very clearly seen that the Birudavali of the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha which is existing today was used in full in 1748 A.D. by King Pratap Simha of Tanjavur. There are a number of other Modi records of the same king and his successors, which go to reveal the great esteem and regard in which the Acharyas were held by Maratha Rulers of Tanjavur.

The question as to why the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha shifted its headquarters from Kanchipuram to Kumbhakonam arises for consideration.

That the Pitha was established by Adi Sankara at Kanchipuram and that it has been continuing in an unbroken line of great Acharyas is clear from the other evidence already shown here. As to why and when the Pitha shifted its headquarters to Kumbhakonam, we have clear evidence in another important public record.

This is about a court case belonging to the times of 64th Acharya of the Pitha. In the year 1844 A.D., the authorities of Sri Sringeri Matha filed a civil suit in the Trichi District Sadar Amin Court that the right for the Tatanka Pratishtha of Goddess Akhilandesvari belonged only to that Matha. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha was made the first defendant in the above civil suit.

The plaint of the plaintiff, the answer of the first defendant, the reply of the plaintiff for this and the defendant’s rejoinder, the evidence presented by both sides and the judgment, are all now available to us in print. Ultimately the court decided that the documents submitted on behalf of the Sringeri Matha were not reliable and that the oral evidence adduced on their behalf was self-contradictory and the suit was dismissed with costs.

This suit bears the number O. S. 95/1844. This was taken in appeal No. 109/1846 and in special appeal petition No. 106/1848 to higher courts and in both the appeals the Sringeri Matha’s claims were disallowed with costs to this defendant. This one record is more than enough to give us a graphic insight into the affairs of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha about 120 years ago.

This record contains an important point of reference. In this rejoinder of the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha, para 20, the reasons for the shift of the Matha from Kanchipuram to Kumbhakonam are clearly given.

The following is a free translation of the relevant passage:

“The plaintiff in column 20 of his reply states that if it is true that the Kamakoti Pitha was established at Kanchipuram by Sankara and if Sankara’s disciple was installed there, the first defendant should still be residing there only and the reason for his residence at Kumbhakonam has not been stated in the defendant’s answer. It is not stated in any authoritative text that the Kamakoti Pithadhipati must necessarily live only at Kanchipuram and should not take up his residence in any other place.

The first defendant’s disciples and other staff of the Matha are still living in the Kanchipuram Matha and are still carrying on the daily Puja to the Sarvajna Pitha there. The first defendant’s Parama guru (that is Guru’s Guru) wanted to reside on the banks of the river Cauvery and hence came to reside in Kumbhakonam. He brought along with him the Yogalinga Chandramaulisvara Svami, consecrated by Suresvaracharya. The local Rajahs and other disciples afforded every facility and convenience to him and hence he used to alternate his residence between Kumbhakonam and Kanchipuram, etc., etc”.

The above clearly gives the reason as to why Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitha was shifted to Kumbhakonam.

This record belongs to the time of the 64th Acharya, Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati V. He was the head of the Pitha from 1814 to 1851 A.D. His Parama Guru was the 62nd Acharya, Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati IV who adorned the Pitha from 1746 to 1783 A.D.

It was this Acharya, who shifted his headquarters from Kanchipuram to Kumbhakonam in order to carry out his meditation and worship on the peaceful banks of the river Cauvery. He attained Siddhi in 1783 A.D. in Kumbhakonam itself.

The traditional accounts of the shift of the Matha from Kanchipuram to Kumbhakonam assign it to the period of King Pratapa Simha, one of the Tanjavur Maratha Rulers who was a great devotee of the Acharya.

This has been clearly corroborated by the Modi document of 1750 A.D. mentioned above. This king ruled between 1740 and 1768 A.D. This traditional account of the shift of the Matha, is fully borne out by the statement made in the court documents mentioned above. It is thus clear that in the latter half of the 18th century, the Matha was shifted from Kanchipuram to Kumbhakonam.”

No photo description available.

Mahratta Kings of Tanjavur – The Principal Disciples (Mukhya Sishyas) of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Srimatha …2

King Pratap Singh (1740-1763) of invited the Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha to Tanjore Mahratta kingdom during the invasion and occupation of Tondaimandalam.

“During the muslim invasion and occupation of Conjeepuram and the sorroundings, Pratapsingh brought JagadGuru Shankarachariya swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam to Thanjavur and provided him a Mutt at Kumbakonam endowing it with 27 villages for its maintenance.” [Page 36]

(Rajah Serfoji II – Short History of Tanjore Mahrattas By Prince Thulajendra Raja P. Bhosale, Tanjore.)

Mahratta Kings of Tanjavur – The Principal Disciples (Mukhya Sishyas) of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Srimatha …1

PRATAP SINGH (1739 -1763 C.E.)

” He (Manoji) and Pratap welcomed to Kumbakonam, the Sankaracharya of Kamakoti Pita from Udayarpalaiyam whither the latter had shifted from Kanchi on account of the increasing Muhammadan influences in that city.”

[The Maratha Rajas of Tanjore By

K. R. SUBRAMANIAN, M.A. With A Foreword By P.T.SRINIVASA IYENGAR., M.A., L.T., Reader in Indian History, University of Madras, (1928).]

25th March 44 B.C : The Birth Date of Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya

25th March 44 B.C : The Birth Date of Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya

Shri B.V.Raman in his book “Notable Horoscopes” has given a categorical statement that the 25th March 44 B.C was the Date of Birth Sri Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya . This according to him was on the basis of the reliable old records (Guruparampara patti) preserved in the Sankarite institution of Karnataka.

In the foot notes to his article on the subject, he says, “A learned Indian scholar who has written a book entitled Life and Teachings of Sankaracharya says that “in all this confusion of evidence it is safe to assume that Sankara flourished some time between the middle of the seventh and the first quarter of the ninth centuries”.

On what grounds he has come to this conclusion has not been made clear. There is no doubt confusion prevails regarding the year of Sankara’s birth but much of it could have been avoided if some of these scholars had taken the trouble to carefully examine all the relevant literature bearing on Sankara’s life and times, free from any prepossessions which are a concomitant of Western education.

A careful study of such authorities as Sankaravijayas of Madhavacharya, Anandagiri and Chidvilasa, Punya-sloka Manjari and the Guru Parampara list preserved in Sringeri Mutt reveals that Sankara was born definitely before Christ and not in the 7th or 8th century A.D. as oriental scholars-Indian and European-have made out.

It looks as though these scholars have confused Adi Sankara with his name-sake Abhinava Sankara who was the Guru of Kamakoti- peetha and the 36th in succession to Adi Sankara.

This Abhinava Sankara, a very learned and pious man, was born in 788 A.D. in the cyclic year Vibhava, solar month Vrishabha, on the 10th day of the bright half. It is said that like Adi Sankara this Abhinava Sankara also toured all over India, held discussions with learned men and conquered them intellec-tually. He died in A.D. 839.

Almost all authorities are unanimous that Adi Sankara was born on Vaisakha Suddha Panchami, at midday.

Suklapaksheshu panchamyam tithyam bhaskaravasave:

Madhyanhechobhijinnama muhurta subha veekshate.

As regards the year, Sukhacharya’s Brihat Sankara Vijaya and Chid- vilasa’s Sankara Vijaya make it clear that Sankara’s birth took place in Kaliyuga 2593, Sunday, Vaisakha Sukla Panchami, in Punarvasu nakshatra, at midday, when the Sun was in Aries, the Moon in Punarvasu last quarter and when Jupiter, Saturn and Mars were in kendras, exalted or in own house, Venus was exalted and Mercury was with the Sun. This date corresponds to 3rd April 509 B.C., the weekday being Monday. Un- fortunately except in regard to the Sun and Mercury, the positions of other planets (the Sun 20°; the Moon 71° 42′; Mars 252° 18′; Mercury 7° 6′ ; Jupiter 225° 30′; Venus 37° 18′; Saturn 338° 12′; and Rahu 41° 18′) do not tally with those suggested in the authorities.

As Prof. B. Suryanarain Rao says: “According to the records of Sringeri Mutt (Guru Parampara Patti) which are well preserved and reliable”, Sankara was born on the 5th day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaisakha of the cyclic year Eswara in Vikrama 14. This corresponds to 25th March 44 B.C.

I am inclined to give greater weight to the reliability of this date as it is given in the lists preserved by the Gurus of Sringeri, and consequently, there was no chance of their having been tampered with.

Sankara’s Guru was Govindapada, who is said to have begotten by his Kshatriya wife, the great Vikramaditya. Sankara must therefore have lived about the time of Vikramaditya.”

Images: Temple at Tiruvaikavur – Bilvaranya

Images: Temple at Tiruvaikavur – Bilvaranya (the Birth-place of Sri Vidyateertha Swami, the 51st Peethadhipati of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha) near Kumbakonam. After reigning at the Kanchi Sri Kamakoti Peetha for 73 years, this Acharya went to Himalayas to perform tapas. After spending 15 years in tapas Sri Vidyatirtha Swami attained videha mukti there.

படங்கள்: கும்பகோணத்திற்கருகிலுள்ள ஸ்ரீகாஞ்சீ காமகோடி பீடம் 51வது ஆசார்யர் ஸ்ரீவித்யாதீர்த்த ஸ்வாமிகள் அவர்களின் ஜன்ம ஸ்தானமான வில்வாரண்யம் எனப்படும் திருவைகாவூரிலுள்ள கோயில். ஸ்ரீகாஞ்சீ காமகோடி பீடத்தின் ஜகத்குரு ஆசார்யாள் அவர்களாக 73 ஆண்டுகள் அருளாட்சி செய்த இந்த அருளாளர் ஹிமாலயம் சென்று 15ஆண்டுகள் தவம் செய்து நிறைவாக அங்கேயே விதேஹகைவல்யம் அடைந்தனர் என்பது வரலாறு.

Inferable Link of Bhagavatpada Sankaracharya with Kumbhakonam – A.Kuppuswamy Iyer (2/3)

Migration of Tamilians to Kerala

It is believed that Parasurama after his surrender to Rama, prince of Ayodhya, came down to the South and was instrumental in colonising the Kerala region with Tamilians.

It seems quite probable that another migration of Tamilians to Kerala did take place in the middle of the first millenium before Christ. Even now there are some villages around Tiruchur and Kaladi with names similar to those of certain villages near Sivapuram. Some of these are:- Mathur, Sedinipuram, Chandrasekharapuram, Karukkudy (Marudanallur-called in Kerala ‘Karukkurry’.”). Names of places such as Alathur, Tiruvaloor ( Tiruvarur), Tiruvangad (Tiruvenkadu) are also found in the Chera country. There as is also a place called ‘Kandiyur’ in Kerala. Kandiyur is the name of a village about 20 miles west of Kumbhakonam.

It is evident that the very name ‘Kaladi’ given to Sankara’s birth place is a Tamil name. Perhaps the place got the name ‘Kaladi’ after the advent of Sankara. Sankara is also known by the epithet ‘Bhagavatpada’. ‘Pada’ signifies ‘foot’ and ‘Kaladi’ means ‘footstep’.

Ancient literary works like the ‘Sivarahasya’ indicate that Sankara was born in a village known as ‘Sasalagrama’.

Hence it can be concluded that ‘Kaladi’ is a Tamil name and a later name. Sivaguru, Sankara’s father was a native of Kaladi. Perhaps Sivaguru’s parents gave their only child the name ‘Sivaguru’ after the name of the Lord of Sivapuram (near Kumbhakonam) which might have been the ancestral home of their forebears.

That settlers in new lands generally named their new colonies after their original native places is borne out by history. Protestant emigrants to the coasts of North America from the time of Elizabeth Tudor till the time of George III, named their new settlements in America, after their original homes in England, with a prefix ‘New’ in certain cases. There is a city ‘York’ in England and one ‘New York’ in America, as also a ‘Plymouth’ in England and a ‘New Plymouth’ in America. In both England and America there are towns called Ports mouth, Halifax etc. And one can find names of certain villages with almost identical names in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Alwaye and Alavai

There is a river flowing near Kaladi called ‘Alwaye’ (called ‘Choorna’ or ‘Poorna’ in olden times). On her bank there is a town also ‘Alwaye’. There is a river flowing through the city of Madurai (in Tamil Nadu), known by the name ‘Vaikai’ (pro- bably a later nickname as per Tiruvilayadal Puranam), having its source very near that of the river Alwaye.

It may be mentioned that the city of Madurai is known in Tamil classics as ‘Tiru Alavay” (“Tiru’ being only a prefix denoting sacredness). And we have a Sanskrit name for Madurai in an almost similar sounding- word-“Halasya”.

Similarity of the name of a town in Kerala with the classical name of a town in Tamil Nadu provides another indication of the migration of Tamilians to Kerala.

Inferable Link of Bhagavatpada Sankaracharya with Kumbhakonam – A.Kuppuswamy Iyer (1/3)

Sage Vyasa reduced the essence of the Upanishads into aphorisms, known as Brahmasutras. Sankara Bhagavatpada was the first to produce a superb gloss on the Vyasa-sutras.

It is quite common knowledge that Sankara was born at Kaladi, in Kerala. All biographical sketches about Sankara state that his father, Sivaguru, performed penance at the sacred Tiruchivaperur (modern Tiruchur) for an offspring.

About two miles and a half to the south east of Kumbhakonam there is a village called ‘Tiru- chivapuram’. Puranas as also Tevaram hymns record Sivapuram as a sacred spot where Vishnu in the form of a white boar (Varaha) has worshipped Siva. Tirunavukkarasar”, Jnanasambandar¹ and Arunagiri- nathar have extolled the shrine at Sivapuram.

A small sculptural representation of Varaha (boar) worshipping a Siva Lingam is seen on the Sivapuram southern wall (outside) of the sanctum sanctorum of the Sivapuram temple.

The outer Gopuram (tower on gateway) of this temple seems to be pretty old. There is an old Champaka tree in the front part of the temple, in accordance with one of the below mentioned lines (2), about this shrine, in Tevaram.

A stone plaque on the left side of the main entrance gives the name of the temple as “The Temple of Sivagurunathar.” And the name of the presiding Sivalingam in the temple is ‘Sivagurunatha’ according to the Sthalapurana and ancient tradition.

It is notable that the name of ‘Sivagurunatha’ and its curtailed form ‘Sivaguru’, are quite common and widespread among saivites in and around Kumbakonam.

And it is to be remembered that Sankaracharya’s father too bore the name ‘Sivaguru’. But this name is not quite so common around Tiruchur or Kaladi as in the Kumbhakonam area of the Kaveri Delta region.

(To Be Continued)

Sri Ramapati Misra, President of the Bombay branch of the Varnasrama Svarajya Sanga

This passage is an extract of an article dtd. 01.4.1935, by Sri Ramapati Misra, President of the Bombay branch of the Varnasrama Svarajya Sanga, in Hindi.

In the second paragraph, the Author states that among the Sankaracharya Pithas with Dasnami Ascetics as their Heads, Five Pithas have been famous from the beginning.

(Sri Sankaracharya And Sankarite Institutions By Sri Anantanandendra Saraswati of Sri Upanishad Brahmendra Matha)