FAQs – Mathamnaya – First Matha

Question: According to the Mathamnayas, which matha holds the distinction of being the very first one to have been founded?

Answer: According to all the Mathmnayas, Dwaraka matha is the first of the four mathas to have been founded. Sarada pitha, at Dwaraka is the “first amnaya matha”- “prathamaḥ paścimamnayaḥ śāradāmaṭha ucyate”.

However, Anandagiri, a follower of the Kanchi Tradition, along with his followers Cidvilasa and Kasi Lakshmana Sastri, the author of GVK, both adherents of the Tunga Sringeri matha, assert in their works that Tungabhadra Sringeri was the site where the first matha was founded.

Further research on this subject is warranted due to the disagreement between mathamnaya texts and hagiographies on whether the first founded matha was Dwaraka or Tungabhadra Sringeri.

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FAQs – Mathamnaya – Cidvilasiya

Question: Why do Mathamnaya theorists consider Cidvilasa Sankaravijaya to be exceptionally unique and significant and could you specify the exact location where Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada ascended the Sarvajna Peetha according to this historical account?

Answer: Cidvilasa is an adherent of the Tunga Sringeri Matha, presents a unique perspective in his Sankaravijaya by claiming that the Acharya established four mathas. Cidvilasa clearly asserts that Sri Sankaracharya ascended the Sarvajna Peetha exclusively at Kanchipuram.

Image: 19th Century Palm-leaf Tamil manuscript of Cidvilasa Sankaravijaya – Translation of the Skt. original text from the Tunga Sringeri matha, evidencing Sri Sankaracharya’s Sarvajna Peetharohanam at Kanchipuram.

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FAQs – Mathamnaya – First Printed Edition

First Printed Edition of “Mathamnaya

Question: When and where was the first printed edition of “Mathamnaya” published, and who was the publisher?

Answer: In 1894, the first printed edition of “Mathamnaya” in the Sanskrit Grantha script was published at Srividya Mudraksharasala, Kumbhakonam. The publisher of this edition was Brahmasri Guruswami Sastri, hailing from Kalpattu village.

Images: Cover page (original) & Foreword by the Publisher in Tamil (Reprint)

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FAQS – Tunga Date Change

Q: Until when did the adherents of the Tunga Sringeri Matha of Mysore State believe that Sri Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya was born in the first century B.C.E.?

A: Sri Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Swami, Head of the Tunga Srirgeri Matha of Mysore State (from 1868 C.E. to 1912 C.E.) constructed a temple for Sri Sankaracharya at Kaladi in Kerala. The consecrations of this temple and also of the newly erected adjacent temple of Sri Saradambal, took place in 1910, in the immediate presence of and under the directions of the Swami.

The Swami also caused to set up a stone plaque, containing an inscription of 18 Sanskrit verses, on one of the walls of the Sri Saradambal temple. The inscription was seen at the spot till about 1970.

Though the plaque with the inscription is not to be found at present in the temple, luckily, the text of the inscription, containing 18 verses in Sanskrit, has been published in the work ‘Kalady’ edited by Prof. K.R Venkatraman, and published by P.S. Narayanan of Palghat – 1966, with a message of blessings from Sri Abhinava Vidyateertha Swami of the Tunga Sringeri Matha, dated 8.1.1966.

The first three verses of this inscription are as given below:


श्रीशारदामन्दिरे प्रतिष्ठापितशिलालिखिताः

इमे श्लोकाः ॥

प्रायशो वर्षसाहस्रद्वितयात्प्राक्सदाशिवः ।

दृष्ट्वाऽधर्मेण धर्मस्य ग्लानिं सर्वत्र भूतले ॥१॥

कालट्यां केरले श्रीमच्छङ्कराचार्यसंज्ञया ।

प्राप्य जन्म स्वप्रतिज्ञापालनार्थीमिवादरात् ॥२॥

विजित्य सर्वान् वादेन दुर्मताविष्टचेतसः I

आविष्कृत्यासमन्ताद्वै वैदिकं धर्ममुत्तमम् ॥३॥

The preamble of the inscription states that the verse inscribed below are in memory of the consecration of the Sri Sankaracharya temple at Kaladi and for having a knowledge of the details about the Kumbhabhishekam of the temples.

The first two verses of the inscription purport to say that on seeing the weakening of Dharma in the world, Sadasiva, as if in accordance with his resolve, was born at Kalady, in Kerala, some 2000 years ago. (i.e., 1910–2000 = 90 B.C.) as Sri Sankaracharya.

From the above it is to be understood that till1966, the adherents of the Tunga Sringeri of Mysore State have held that Sri Sankaracharya was born in the first century B.C.E.

(Source: Sri Sankara Bhaktha Jana Sabha, 91, Salai Street Kanchipuram-2 Publication)

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H.H.Puri Acharya spoke to THE WEEK at Sringeri on the eve of the Historic meet of Shankaracharyas


QUESTION: What brought you to Sringeri now?

ANSWER: The Sringeri swami invited me to this meeting, and told me that we would be discussing the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. So I came. Perhaps, you should ask him what this is all about. They told me that it would be an opportunity for all the four Shankaracharyas to meet, and I was happy about that,

Q: So you do recognise the Kanchi Shankaracharya as one of you, and there are no longer any problems on that count?

A: You should ask this to the two mutts who actually had those differences (Kanchi and Sringeri). If they say they have all come together now, I am happy about that. It is better that we are not divided over small issues.

(THE WEEK, July 11, 1993)

FAQs – Mathamnaya Judicial Precedent


Q: What is the earliest recorded judicial precedent on this particular issue (Mathamnaya) ?

In the case of Shri Madhusudan Parvat of Jyotir matha, the Bombay High Court held,

A: 1.” Mathamnaya on which the Plaintiff (in the lower court) relles is not a work of Shankar Mathamnayas contain traditional ideals and could not have come down from Shankar”. (page 62).

2. “There is no authoritative version of the Mathamnaya and witnesses for the defendant (in the Lower Court) have produced other versions of it which differ in material particulars from those relied upon by the plaintiff “. (page 66).

3. “If there ever was any strict reservation of areas for the Mohunts of the various Maths certain facts proved in the case indicate that the reservation has long been disregarded.” (page 67)

[Shree Madhusudhan Parvat (Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math) Appellant (Defendant in Lower Court) Vs. Shree Madhav Teerth (Shankaracharya of Dwaraka Math) Respondent (Plaintiff in Lower Court).(Vol. XI of the Bombay Law Reporter)

First Appeal No. 45 of 1907, from the decree passed by Chandulal Mathurdas, Esq., First Class Subordinate Judge at Ahmedabad in Civil Suit No, 640 of 1904.

Before the Honourable Mr. Basil Scott, Chief Justice and Hon. Justice Mr. Batchelor November 11, 1908.]

FAQs – Mathamnaya Authorship

Q: Is Mathamnaya authored by Sankaracharya, or is it the creation of someone else entirely?

A: In ‘Sankara Granthavali’ printed at the Vani Vilas Press, Sirangam and published in 1910 C. E. in commemoration of the consecration of Sri Sankaracharya murti at Kaladi, in Kerala, under the personal directions of the then Sringeri Acharya, the Mathamnaya Stotra has not been included. This clearly indicates that the Mathamnaya is not a work of Sankaracharya.

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Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya: Foreword By Justice Prabha Shankar Mishra

“..This book tells us how Sri Sankaracharya wandered all over India and set up at cardinal points of the country monastic institutions which would protect the spiritual interests of the people. Amongst the five institutions, namely, Badri in the Himalayas, Puri in the East, Dwaraka in the West, Sringeri and Kanchi in the South, the Mutt in Kanchipuram has assumed greater importance for the reason that today, the Mutt has got three figure heads, who are Acharya and Guru in their own right, Sri Paramacharya, a living God, Sri Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi, a path finder and a leader of new heights and Balaguru, an emblem of renascence and purity.

Before reading this book, I had heard and believed that Mandan Mishra from Mahishmathi (Mahishi in Bihar) came all the way with Sri Jagadguru Sankaracharya to Kanchi and lived to be recognised as one of the foremost disciples of the Jagadguru.”


” After Sri Sankaracharya’s intellectual success over Mandana Misra and his incarnate spouse Saraswathi, it has been shown how the latter was about to go away to Brahma Loka in her divine form, when Sankara bound her by Vana Durga Mantra, and beseeched her to go with him… She agreed to send her grace with him on some condition and Sankara proceeded to the South.

When he came to Kudali (Kannada to join) about 9 miles from Shimoga, where the confluence of the Thunga and the Bhadra takes place, he seems to have forgotten to comply with the terms on the strict observance of which Goddess Sarada promised to bestow her grace…

On contemplation Sankara saw that the Goddess was inclined to stop at this holy junction of the two grace on Thunga and Bhadra rivers (Kudali kshetra).

Sankara repeated his prayers Sarada observed that during the ten days of the Navaratri, she would grace Sringeri (near Tunga), with her complete glory and during the rest of the year a portion of it will be with her statue there (Tunga Bhadra Sringeri-Kudali)…A Mutt was established at Kudali with a Swamy who has spiritual jurisdiction over portions of Mysore and Maharatta countries.

From the tables appended, it will be seen that Abhinava Nrisimha Bharati was the 25th from Adi Sankaracharya and succession of the Gurus on the pontifical throne of Sringeri. He sat on it from 1599 to 1622 A.D. the 14th from Sri Vidyaranya in the direct line of succession….

The Kings of Keladi rose to great importance and power at about this period and Sringeri was in their political jurisdiction. Nrisimha Bharati I. ordained Sankara Bharati in 1615 A.D. and the latter received an excellent training and made several successful tours in N. and S. India. He settled many religious disputes and attended to the spiritual wants of his disciples.

Venkatappa Naika who ruled successfully at Keladi from 1582 to 1629 A.D. asserted his independence after the fall of the Vijayanagar power. He was a powerful ruler and drove back the invasion of the Bijapur forces under the famous Mohomedan General Ranadulla Khan. He extended his territories on the North and the East to Masur, Shimoga, Kadur and Bhuvanagiri or Kavala durga.

The absence of Sankara Bharati, and a properly constituted Guru threw the affairs of the Sringeri Mutt into great confusions and Venkatappa Naika through his royal power and influence had to re-establish the Matha in Sringeri in 1621 A.D.

(See P. 158 Mysore and Coorg from Ins. Rice.)

While travelling in the Mysore country, Raja Wodeyar requested Sankara Bharati to consecrate a Mutt at Sivaganga as it was a very holy place, so that the Karnatic country under his political supremacy may have a Guru to administer to the spiritual wants of his subjects. Being highly pleased with the Raja’s request and his sincere solicitude for that spiritual welfare of his people. Sankara Bharati swamy founded a Mutt in Sivaganga. “

– A Short History of Sivaganga Mutt By B.Suryanarain Raw, Bangalore (1914)

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SANKARA or A Brief Sketch of Sankaracharyar’s History By P.K.Sankara Das, Madurai, (Jan.1897)

Names of Gurus Lifetime

of Sringeri Mutt Years

1. Sankara Acharyar 32 Years

(The original)

2 . Suresvarar 800 Years

3. Nithya Bhodaganar 20 Years

4. Gnana Ganar 94 Years

5. Gnanothama Sivacharyar 48 Years

6. Gnana Giriar 86 Years

7. Simha Giriar 62 Years

8. Eswara Thirthar 69 Years

9. Nrisimha Thirthar 83 Years

10. Vidhya Sankarar 105 Years

11. Bharathi Krishnar 52 Years

12. Vidhyaranyar 55 Years

13. Chandrasekara Bharathy 41 Years

14. Nrisimha Bharathy 41 Years

15. Purushothamar 42 Years

16.. Sankaranandar 26 Years

17. Chandrasekarar 23 Years

18. Nrisimha Bharathy 24 Years

19. Purushothamar 50 Years

20. Ramachandrar 55 Years

21. Nrisimha Bharathy 36 Years

22. Nrisimha Bharathy 43 Years

23. Nrisimha Bharathy 44 Years

24. Nrisimha Bharathy 40 Years

25. Abhinava Sachidanandar 81 Years

26. Nrisimha Bharathy 40 Years

27. Sachidanandar 40 Years

28. Abhinava Sachidanandar 40 Years

29. Abhinava Nrisimhar 44 Years

30. Sachidananda Bharathy 53 Years

31. Abhinava Sachidanandar 44 Years

32. Nrisimha Bharathy 83 Years

33. Nrisimha Bharathy

(present one, 1897A.D)

SANKARA or A Brief Sketch of Sankaracharyar’s History By P.K.Sankara Das, Madurai, (Jan.1897)