Kamakshi and Kamakoti Pitham – 1

English Translation of Samskrtam article by
Panditaraja Pattabhirama Shastri, Vidyavachaspati, Varanasi, Part-1

From the time of Parameshvara’s first srshti unto this minute, Bharatadesha is counted amongst the most sacred. What may be the reason for this?

Even if the parabrahma is devoid of qualities, form or blemish, and is truly sacchidananda, it takes various forms with various names at various times due to the divine lila, in order to establish dharma and punish the evil, incarnating in various places on earth in the forms such as Rama, Krishna and Nrsimha and walks all over Bharatabhumi thus sanctifying it. Further creating men of great wisdom and the seers of the darshanika tattvas and philosophical systems such as Vyasa, Jaimini, Kapila and Gautama enriching the mind and intellect of human beings.

With the ocean of Vedas, which was the primary cause for creation, establishing granthas for countless shrauta and smarta karmanushthana for the welfare and conduct of this world, and sages such as Apastamba – Katyayana- Baudhayana- Latyayana Maharshis were the cause of the greatness and glory of Bharata Mata. Vyasa and Markandeya Maharshis wrote countless puranas writing many things worthy of practising and following thus proclaiming the fame for Bharata’s itihasa. Smrtinibandhanakaras such as Manu and Yajnavalkya codified rules for the society enabled human beings to live in an orderly manner knowing their limits.

The crest jewels of Bharata – poets such as Bhasa, Kalidasa and and Bhavabhuti enriched and propagated Samskrta literature.

Sacred rivers such as Ganga, Krishna and Godavari and tirthas worshipped by Maharshis flow across Bharata bhumi sanctifying her. Various temples, sthalas, tirthas and Pithas that increase the spiritual shakti illuminate the eminence of Bharatadesha. Such being the case and reasons for its glory, what is to doubt the preeminence of Bharatadesha? It is true that it is due to the great fruition of our purvapunya that we were born in this sacred nation.

In this renowned Bharatadesha, there are some that are kshetras, some tirthas and some Pithas. Wherever we set our eyes on, we experience in these great temples the presence of devatas, the living of yogis, mahatmas and great devotees, the people whose hearts are purified by the adhyayana of veda and shastra, the constant travelling of those of great learning and immersed in shrauta, smarta karmas. Among these tirthas,

it is possible to say that the city of Kanchipuram is bestowed with all of these qualities is not hyperbole. Kanchipuram is divyakshetram, divyatirtham and divyapitam.Even now in Kanchi, jivanmuktas and Mahatmas dwell; it is the place of residence of panditas learned in the four shastras. Here Vedas, the pramana of Bharatadesha resound. To answer the question of what the cause of this kind of greatness is one has to say that it is here that lotus-eyed shakti Kamakshi the Paramba’s abode is.

The Goddess Herself says in the Kamakshivilasam of Markandeya Purana,

“यथा सुधार्णवेचाहं मम श्री पुरसत्तमे ।

सामर्थ्यरूपा जगति शक्तिरित्यभिधानतः ॥

कामाक्षीति तथात्रापि सन्तानादिवरप्रदा ।

निवसाम्यमरा यूयं सदा मद्दर्शने रताः”

श्रीपुरादधिकेऽत्रैव स्थितिं कुरुत निश्चलाम् ॥ इति ।

From these it can be ascertained that Kanchi is a divyakshetram. Others may be kshetras but this is a divyakshetram whether it be for devas, human beings or for rakshasas for they all attempted to acquire some power and achieved success there.

There was a time when the devas and humanbeings could see each other, talk to each other and go to each other’s places and be of assistance. With Bhagavan Vasishtha’s anugraha, Raghu the son of Dilipa received a divine chariot that could go from place to place in the sky, how else could he get the horse for the ashvamedha conducted by his father Dilipa and battle against Devaraja and win? Arjuna was given ardhaasana by Devaraja.Thus many kings, having requested by Devaraja rendered assistance in battle.

Here, in Kanchi Bhagavati the form of Shakti orders the devas, “You all stay here”. Even now we see in Kanchipuram, there are many temples for all the devatas. Hence this is a divyakshetram.

Kanchi is the central part of the bhuvalayam. Just as the central part of the human body is the navel, likewise is Kanchi. Like the armor, it protects all the creatures. All living creatures take the essence of food from the mother through the umbilical cord in the navel for sustenance when they are in the womb. Hence among the sharira avayavas, there is an important place for the navel as among all the places of this world, Kanchipuram acquires primary importance on account of its being the navel centre and also because of Sati devi’s navel falling here.

It is said in the Markandeya Purana

जगत्कामकलाकारं नाभिस्थानं भुवः परम् ।

पदपद्मस्य कामाक्ष्या महापीठमुपास्महे || इति ।

From this it can be ascertained that among the 51 Shakti Pithas this is an important pitham. This is also elaborated in detail in Meru Tantra in the Nityashodashikarnava and Jnanarnava and other tantra granthas. Due to the depth of the nabhi this Pitha is in the form of a bilam.

This kshetram is known in five names such as Kamakoshtam, KamakotiShripuram, bhuH, bhadram, jivanmuktipuram.Just as the central hub of a wheel is important for the moving of a wheel, likewise for the movement of the wheel of samsara, deciding that Kanchipuram the central part or the nabhisthana, bilam is Kamakoshtam, Kamakshi rules there and sets in motion this samsara chakra. The name Kanchi is also well known as the abharana or the ornament worn in the waist. The waist is the middle portion of the body. Thus the central portion of Bhudevi, the waist portion became known as Kanchi with its etymologically significant name. This is not a name that was just made up but is mentioned in the Puanas. (1/3)

Shivarahasyam – Kashi and Kanchi – Part 3

Shivarahasyam also acquires great significance in the Gangadi Vijaya Yatra of 1934 of Shri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati Shankaracharya Swamigal, the 68th Acharya of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Mulamnaya SarvajnaPitham.

When some scholars questioned the validity of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitham, Shivarahasyam was considered as evidence and one of the important pramana granthas for the charitam of Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada.

The sixteenth adhyaya of the ninth amsha of this Shivarahasyam narrates the history of Shivabhaktas beginning with that of Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada. This text says that He incarnated 2000 years after the beginning of Kaliyuga.

Many granthas accept the pramanya of Shivarahasyam. Shivarahasyam is also quoted in nibandhanagranthas such as nirnayasindhu and the Advaitarajyalakshmi commentary of Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam.

Sadananda who wrote the Shankara Digvijaya Saram, a summary of Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam refers to both Shivarahasyam and Anandagiriyam and that he writes his text after examining them.

शैवे सूचितमादितो यतिवरैर्बद्धे पुरा ग्रन्थतो

ऽगाधे शङ्करदिग्जये निजधिया वीक्ष्याहमेवाततम् ।

सिद्धान्तं श्रुतिसद्गिरां किल ततो निष्कृष्य संक्षेपतः

कुर्वे स्वात्मविशुद्धये स्फुटममुं तत्सारमेवादरात् ॥

During the Gangadi Vijaya Yatra a large body of scholars and Panditas of Kashi gathered, headed by Tarkaratna Panchanana Bhattacharya, and weighed and examined all the pramanas. The body of scholars wholeheartedly accepted the validity of the Mulamnaya Sarvajna Pitha and its sthapana by Shri Bhagavatpada after carefully weighing all the textual evidence.

In the Shivarahasya, Shiva gives the five lingas to Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada and asks Him to take these lingas and worship them thrice a day. To this day, the Jagadgurus of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mulamnaya Sarvajna Pitham offer puja to Shri Chandramaulishvara three times a day.

The Shivarahasyam concludes that by worshipping these five lingas named Yoga, Bhoga, Vara, Siddhi ( Moksha) and Mukti in His digvijaya, Shri Bhagavatpada defeated scholars and then ascended the Sarvajna Peetham in Kanchipuram in the sannidhi of Shri Kamakshi Devi.

तद्योगभोगवरसिद्धिविमुक्तिनाम-लिङ्गार्चनाधिगत-दिग्विजयः प्रकामम्।

सर्वज्ञपीठमधिरुह्य विजित्य मिश्रान् काञ्च्यां शिवे तव पुरः स च सिद्धिमाप॥ ४६ ॥

In a publication from Shri Vallabharama Shaligrama Sanga Vedavidyalaya titled “Adishankara Pujakalpa” the preface by Purushottamashrama Swami in 1992 says that an old copy of Shivarahasyam was available in Kashi Naresha Pustakalaya and copy was with Panditaraja Rajeshvara Shastri Dravid. The tippani of this also contains extracts from Anandagiriya Shankara Vijaya from Shri Rama Taraka Matha Pustakalaya, thus establishing the pramanya and importance of these two granthas for both the Shankaracharitam and for Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Mulamnaya Sarvajna Pitham.

According to the Royal Modi records of the Tanjore Mahratta kingdom, it is documented that Maharaja Serfoji obtained a copy of the Shivarahasyam manuscript from Varanasi. This itihasa which is a valuable piece of ancient literature is also safeguarded in numerous libraries across Bharat.

During the later part of the 19th century, some books were published with the altered version of the shodasodhyaya, navamamsha of Shivarahasyam. However, the learned Pandits of Varanasi through their expertise, identified and removed those spurious alterations made in the original text of Shivarahasyam.

They successfully foiled the attempts made by the four math propagandists to diminish the eminence of Kanchi pitham and alter the sacred samadhi sthala of the Acharya in Kanchipuram, by comparing the modern publications with the original Shivarahasyam manuscripts preserved in Varanasi.


[Images: Shivarahasyam, 9th Amsha, 16th Chapter – Gangadi Tirtha Vijaya Yatra of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipati Jagadguru 1008 Shri Shankaracharya Swami, Published by Shri Madavram Sanda, Shri Jagannatha Shastri Bharadwaj and Shri Damodardas Khanna, Varanasi (1936). ]

ஸ்ரீசங்கராசார்யரும் காசி க்ஷேத்ரமும்

(21.4.1988 அன்று தினமணி நாளிதழில் வெளியான கட்டுரை)ஸ்ரீசங்கராசார்யரும் காசி க்ஷேத்ரமும்

ஸ்ரீசங்கரபகவத்பாதர்கள் வாராணஸீ க்ஷேத்ரத்திற்கு விஜயம் செய்தபோது ஐந்து மடங்களை ஏற்படுத்த ஸங்கல்பம் ஏற்றனர் என்பது தொடர்பான வரலாற்றுத் தகவலுக்கு அடிப்படை ஆதாரம் துங்காச்சிருங்கேரி மடத்து அதிபர் உத்தரவின்படி 1735ஆம் ஆண்டு இயற்றப்பட்ட குருவம்ச காவ்யத்தில் காண்கிறது.

உண்மை இப்படியிருக்க, ஆம்னாய மடங்கள் நான்கு; ஆசார்யர்கள் நால்வர் மட்டுமே என்று குருவம்ச காவ்யம் இயற்றப்பட்டதற்குப் பிற்பாடு யாரோ அடையாளம் தெரியாத பண்டிதர் எழுதிவைத்த மடாம்னாய நூலைக் கொண்டு சாதிக்கச் சிலர் தொடர்ந்து முயன்று தோற்று வருவதும் நகைப்புக்குரியதே.


Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada’s connection with Varanasi Kshetra … 1

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada had darshan of His Preceptor Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada 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 BhagavadGita, 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 Bhagavatpada Parampara:—

” जगद्गुरो शंकरस्य पारम्पर्यक्रमागतः ।

शिष्यः सन्मार्गनिष्णातः चन्द्रशेखर नामकः ।

तस्य शिष्यो विश्वनाथयतीन्द्रो योगिनां वरः ।…”


Shivarahasyam – Kashi and Kanchi – Part 2

The twentieth Chapter (Seventh Amsa) of the Shivarahasya speaks of the greatness of Kanchi and the Kotitirtha mahatmyam and Ekamreshvara and how praying to Shri Kamakshi and Ekamranatha removes all papas.

It is also noteworthy to add here that there is a Vishveshvara temple and a Muktimandapa on the banks of Sarvatirtha just as there is in Kashi.

Shiva says, “O Devi! Where Vegavati nadi flows, there is a city named Kanchipuri. There even Brahma and other devas always desire to live. My lingasvarupa named Ekamresha is there, the darshana of it removes all papas instantaneously”.

देवि काञ्चीपुरी काचिद्यत्र वेगवती नदी ।

तत्र वासमपेक्षन्ते नित्यं ब्रह्मादयः सुराः ॥

एकाम्रेशाभिधं लिङ्गं तत्रास्त्येकं मदात्मकम् ।

तद्दर्शनेन पापानि विनश्यन्ति क्षणादिव ॥

Vishnu details the story of a famine that lasted for many years.The Rshis went to Gautama and Gautam due to his tapobala created food. The Rshis then created a fake cow to eat the nivara dhanya and sent it to Gautama. Seeing the cow, Gautama Maharshi threw a blade of grass and the cow fell down and Gautama thought he had committed gohatya.

Later knowing the action of the Rshis, he cursed them that they will lose shraddha in the vedokta bhasma and rudraksha dharana, Somavara vrata, Shivaratra vrata and even faith in Kashivasa and lose Shivabhakti. The Rshis were crestfallen.

Vishnu then continues that all efforts must be taken not to attain this state of “ashaankaratva” and one must do Shivapuja. He further instructs Brahma to worship knowing that this devi of divine form the mother of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Indra as Kamakshi.

ब्रह्मविष्णुशिवेन्द्रादिजननी दिव्यविग्रहा ।

कामाक्षीति विचार्याब्जसम्भवैनां प्रपूजय ॥

Thus Shiva concludes that Brahma as instructed by Vishnu staying in Kanchipuram worshipped me, Ekamranatha with great effort.

महादेव उवाच

इत्युक्तो विष्णुना ब्रह्मा मामेवैकाम्रनायकम् ।

सम्पूज्यातिप्रयत्नेन काञ्चीवासं चकार ह ॥ (2/3)

Shivarahasyam – Kashi and Kanchi – Part 1/3

Shivarahasyam is rightly called an itihasa ratnam and it imparts Shiva bhakti. It begins with Skanda expounding the efficacy of Shivabhakti to Jaigishavya muni.

This voluminous text has 18 parvas and around 1,00,000 slokas making it longer than the Mahabharata. The work is divided into 12 amsas and 1000 adhyayas/chapters. This voluminous work though existing in manuscript form was not printed by the Sarasvati Mahal until 1932 and Shri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamigal expressed anguish that the chances of this rare itihasa getting lost is inevitable. Then the Saraswati Mahal took efforts and printing the Shivarahasyam manuscript which was procured from Varanasi by the Maharaja of Tanjore.

  • The seventh amsha begins with the first chapter that contains a Shivasahasranama taught by Shiva Himself to Parvati. Subsequent adhayas in this amsha elaborate on the efficacy and greatness of Kashi. Bhagavan Shiva Himself says that Devendra and other devatas leave swarga with all its bhoga and come to Kashi seeking Mukti.

    स्वर्गभोगमपि त्यक्त्वा देवेन्द्राद्यमराः सदा ।
    काशीवासमपेक्षन्ते मुक्त्यर्थं सर्वसाधनैः ॥
  • Shiva then describes the layout of Kashi covering Panchakrosha – an area equivalent to five kroshas (equivalent to approximately 6.5 miles).
  • The third adhyaya details the importance of antargrha yatra / inner circuit of Vishvesha and the rules to be followed during antargrhayatra.
  • The fifth adhyaya talks of the qualifications to reside in Kashi and the vihitachara prescribed for those living in Kashi
  • The sixth adhyaya speaks of the greatness of Gnanavapi
  • The seventh chapter describes the grandeur of Muktimandapa
  • The eighth adhyaya describes the charitam of the five-year old balaka Dandapani and his intense tapas
  • The ninth adhyaya describes the stories of the Shivadvija in Kashi as told by Shiva and Vireshvara Charitam as described by Brahma.
  • The tenth adhya has a varnanam of the Pashupatakunda
  • The eleventh chapter describes the Vishnu doing Shiva Puja and aradhana in Omkareshvara Kshetra in the middle of Kashi, following the Shivastuti and Vishnu’s receiving the Sudarshana Chakra.
  • The twelfth adhyaya describes the Kedareshvara lingavaibhavam in Kashi.
  • The thirteenth chapter begins with the sages asking Suta Pauranika the qualifications for a person who resides in Kashi and Suta Pauranika detailing them.
  • The fourteenth chapter of the Shivarahasya consists of Shiva sending Nandikeshvara to see Skanda who is immersed in Shivayoga. Nandikeshvara then visits Kashi does abhisheka of Vishveshvara with water from the Manikarnika with water and milk. He then proceeds to see Skanda in Shrishailam and this chapter contains the greatness of Shrishailam and the charitam of Atri muni.
  • The fifteenth chapter talks of the procedure to do Shivapuja and the comparative benefits of doing Shivapuja in Vrddhachalam, Kanchi, Shrishailam, Kashi and the antargrha in Kashi.
  • The sixteenth,seventeenth and eighteenth, ninteenth chapters outline the shiva nama mahima and the things that are needed for Shiva Puja and the greatness of Shivabhakti. (1/3)