Madhava, Vidyaranya, Sringeri, and Kulke

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 12 18:39:34 UTC 2000

>Whatever be the motivations behind it, that you see this only in
>contemporary times is itself an indication of the young age of the Kanchi

I guess Vidhya must be possesing some special kind of vision - for
he's able to read the "young age" of the KAnchi matham everywhere.

Shringeri as a place is a non-entity in the historical and spiritual sense.
How many texts, say five hundred years back, even mention such a place? In
contrast, like the other three recognized centres - Dwaraka, Puri and
Badrinath which enjoy spiritual reputation beyond its Shankara Mathams,
KAnichipuram has been the jewel of the south. Apart from being one of the
recognized spiritual centres in India, it was also the capital of the
Pallava dynasty and also a great center for scholastic pursuits of all
disciplines - Astika and nAstika. Astika and nAstika literature affirm this.
Is there any record of RAmAnuja, the Vishitadvaitin, ever visiting
Shringeri? On the contrary, there's a record that he debated with a Advaitin
for several continous days in KAnchi.

That Shankara, a South Indian, would not have passed on KAnchi on his dig
vijayams is an impossibility. It is also quite likely that he set up
a matham, where rival schools too operated. In this context it seems
unlikely that he would have set up a matham in a place like Shringeri,
which had no such recognition at that time.

Also, if the KAnchi matham is a fake as Vidhya seems to tirelessly assert
how could it have ever have got such a reputation? In contrast, of the so
called "official", Shankara mathams, apart from Shringeri and Puri, the two
others are almost defunct. Even Puri's lineage doesn't seem to have been
continous. And none of them, including Shringeri, enjoy the repute of

And I'm also surprised with Vidhya's accusation that the KAnchi matham
itself grew out of its polemic with the other mathams, because as a
follower of the KAnchi matham, I've never heard any such polemic deriding
the other mathams. Contrast this with the never ending polemic by the
followers of Shringeri about their "authenticity".

Also, Anandagiri's version of Shankara's life is older than MAdhava's.
Just because it contains mythical and "inconsistant" accounts of
Shankara's life, can the older version be discarded as a whole?

If so called "traditional" history, concurs with "official" history, it
is probably time to re-investigate the basic presumptions which led to
such concurrance, rather than build on it, just because it fits one's

I've a question regarding the dating of Shankara. In RAmAnuja's life history
we've a good idea of India's condition at that point in time - that it was
overrun with Moslems. If Shankara was only earlier to RAmAnuja by a mere 3
to 4 centuries, when North India was already being dominated by Moslems, how
come there's no such mention in Shankara's texts? Reading Shankara's texts
one gets a distinct impression, that the traditional Indian society was
still quite active throughout the land, though tainted (atleast according to
Shankara) by nAstika influence. But is there even any mention of Moslem
influence? Contrast this with VidhyAranya in his Shankara Dig Vijaya, where
in the opening verses he mentions the Moslems. And even in his history of
Shankara where Shankara tours the whole of India, he gives no indication
that the land even if it is only the Northern part during Shankara's times
was being overrun with Moslems. Or am I missing something?

Anyway as Advaitins, whose main doctrine is the unity of all things, why
are people even getting into this "genuine and authentic" game? I doubt
if the KAnchi AchAryas are into any of this.

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