maThas and maThAdhipatis

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed May 19 21:45:59 UTC 1999

>  Normally,  a  maTha  does
>not  move  with  its  reigning  abbott.  Because  RAghavendra  TIrtha
>happened  to  be  a  extraordinarily  charismatic  abbott,  this

There is always some background of political conflict behind a move in the
first place, especially if the maTha has come to develop close relationships
with local rulers. And influential maThas rarely lack for charismatic
maThAdhipatis. The hand-picked succession tries to ensure this. For example,
there was a period of more than ten years during the rule of Hyder Ali in
Mysore, when the Sringeri maTha moved to Nasik in Maharashtra. It
"returned," so to speak, only in the middle of Tipu Sultan's rule.

What I'm saying is that when discussing the history of such institutions,
the large amount of flux that is possible, especially in the formative years
and in times of war, should be properly accounted for. Of course, modern
scholars have hardly studied the institutions of Dvaita and Visishtadvaita
critically, while greater attention has been paid to the Advaita
institutions. It seems to me that Paul Hacker and Hermann Kulke have not
appreciated the significance of these factors in their discussions of the
Advaita institutions.


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