Kanchi Shankara Mutt

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 25 20:41:52 UTC 2000

Thanks for sharing further details on a confused period of south Indian

>by performing Kathi Kalyaanam, which was custom practised by the
>Kshathriyas.When the katturaja was thrown out of power, Prathapa

What variety of marriage is this? Meaning, can it be related to any of the
standard eight forms of marriage acknowledged in the old texts?

Please note that everywhere in the world, "official histories" of a royal
dynasty always try to legitimate the current ruler and his lineage, at the
expense of other related people with varying claims to the throne. English
Tudor history is a classic example. Such textual accounts need to be studied
critically, along with other independent sources. Sewell seems to have
relied solely on British East India Company documents, but the discrepancy
in dates indicates that the dispute was not unambiguously settled for some
time. As for the 1857 document, it is the advocate's job to present a
one-sided picture, favorable to his client. That picture may or may not be
valid from a neutral perspective.

You might also want to take into account that the Marathas in Maharashtra
did not have a Kshatriya status conferred upon them without a murmur.
Shivaji was crowned as a Chattrapati only towards the end of his rule, just
about half a century before these events in Tanjavur. In the 18th century,
the Marathas were still relative newcomers to the Tamil south. Moreover,
Tanjavur had been originally given to them as a Jagir, by the Adilshahi
Sultan of Bijapur. The documents and publications that you have been citing
might shed some light on how the other branch of the Marathas was received
by the predominantly Tamil and Telugu population of Tanjavur.

>Since Sri. Vidya Sankar  feels that the material (Bhonsle Charithram), on
>which I rely upon glosses over some events as it was written during the
>period of Serfoji II, a descendent of Prathapa Simhan
 I must place further
>evidence to support my statements..

With all due respect, you could have made your point more effectively, a
couple of days ago, by quoting all these pieces of evidence, instead of
releasing them in bits and pieces. I hope you don't view this exchange
simply as a means to proclaim, "Vidyasankar is wrong." Tanjavur Maratha
history is still a rather obscure thing, and "prior disclosure" might help
us all develop a better idea of those events.

Could you also share with us the publication details of your sources? I am
aware only of R. S. Shelvankar's 1933 book on the Modi manuscripts at the
Tanjavur Saraswati Mahal Library. You seem to be quoting from more recent

Finally, all of the above, no matter how interesting on its own terms, is
still only peripherally related to the Sankaracharyas at Kumbhakonam or
Kanchipuram. What would be interesting and also more pertinent, with respect
to the subject matter of this thread, would be to get the earliest attested
dates of specific persons, and to independently reconstruct a lineage of the
Mathadhipatis from the evidence of these documents. This can then be
compared with the officially reported lineage of the Matha. The two may not
exactly match, but my expectation is that they would not be significantly
different either. I also expect that the primary documents would not
themselves attach a Roman numeral suffix to names that get frequently
repeated, like Mahadevendra Sarasvati and Candrasekharendra Sarasvati. It is
the researcher's job to draw up the proper chronology. You could make a
significant contribution towards an objective and dispassionate
understanding of these issues, and I, for one, would be interested in the
details. Such an exercise has already been done with respect to the Sringeri
list, in the books by A. K. Shastry (Karnataka University, Dharwad) and
Yoshitsugu Sawai (Sammlung de Nobili, Vienna). None of the other
Sankaracharya institutions have been similarly studied.

Best wishes,

ps. My name, Vidyasankar, is one word, not "Vidya Sankar". Like Hariharan,
or Lakshminarayan, or Gaurisankar.

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