Madhava, Vidyaranya, Sringeri, and Kulke

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 13 11:06:28 UTC 2000

Annotated bibliography that anybody interested in the Sankaracharya
tradition should look at. I have split the list into two parts. As promised
earlier, these two posts will be my last word on this topic. I would welcome
it if someone else responded to any further questions. And I request those
who ask questions about Sankara's date and the origins of the various Mathas
to first investigate the following sources and further references in them. A
search of the list archives for relevant keywords would also be helpful. The
subject has been discussed many times before, and often by the same people
involved in the current thread.

1. Swami Sadananda Giri, 1976, Society and sannyasin: A history of the
dasnami sannyasins. Rishikesh: Kriyayoga Ashram - where a list of more than
50 Mathas and Asramas of the Dasanami tradition is given, with no mention
whatsoever of an institution at Kanchipuram. Of course, the list begins with
Sringeri. Is this only part of the anti-Kanchi polemic emanating from
Sringeri? I think not.

2. Wade Dazey, 1987, The Dasanami order and monastic life, PhD dissertation,
UC, Santa Barbara - gives credence only to the four Matha tradition, based
on the textual sources.

3. V. A. Devasenapati, 1975, Kamakottam, Nayanmars and Adi Sankara. Madras:
Institute of Traditional Cultures, University of Madras - where the most
unbridled polemic against the Sringeri Matha is presented as if it were
critical historical research, even claiming the moral support of Jean
Filliozat. Among the gems in this book is the claim that the Sringeri Sarada
Peetham must be subordinate to the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, because SrI and
SAradA are described as attendants on the Goddess lalitA in the lalitA
sahasranAma, while kAmAkshI is identical with lalitA. I'm waiting to see
when a similar claim will be made with respect to SrIvaishNava institutions
where SrI is worshipped. Those interested in the Saiva Nayanmars need to
read it too.

4a. T. S. Narayana Sastri, 1916, The Age of Sankara, Madras: B. G. Paul and
Co. - the first English language source of all the anti-Sringeri polemic
from Kanchipuram, along with largely unwarranted criticisms of the mAdhavIya

4b. A. Nataraja Aiyer and S. Lakshminarasimha Sastri. 1962. The Traditional
Age of Sri Sankaracharya and The Maths. Madras: Minerva Press - more of the

5a. Swami Swahananda, 1989, Monasteries in South India. Los Angeles: Vedanta
Press - where there are separate chapters on Sringeri and Kanchi, but the
introducion says that Sringeri is the original source of the Advaita
monastic orders in the south.

5b. Swami Tapasyananda, 1980, Sankara-dig-vijaya: The traditional life of
SrI SankarAcArya, by mAdhava-vidyAraNya. 2nd ed. Madras: Ramakrishna Math -
where the criticisms offered against this text by T. S. Narayana Sastri (4a)
have been dismissed as "scurrilous" and as "bazaar gossip". Note his
discussion of the development of the Matha traditions.

Note also that beyond a merely nominal link through Totapuri, the
Ramakrishna Math monks are not connected to the Sringeri Matha in any way,
and have no reason to support it over the Kanchi Matha.

6. D. N. Lorenzen, 1987, "Sankara." In, The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol.
XIII, pp. 64-65. New York: Macmillan - where the Sankaravijaya of
anantAnandagiri is described as constituting the "independent tradition of
the Kanchi Matha". How, why and when this text has come to be exclusively
associated with the Kanchi Matha should be evident from the following four

7a. V. S. Ghate, 1924, "Sankaracarya." In, Encyclopedia of Religion and
Ethics, vol. XI, pp. 185-186. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons - where
anantAnandagiri's text is referred to in great detail, but only the four
standard Mathas are listed. That the text places Sankara's last days in
Kanchipuram is mentioned in this article, as one variant tradition, noting
that other texts mention Badri-Kedar in this regard.

7b. J. N. Bhattacharya, 1968, Hindu Castes and Sects, Calcutta: Editions
Indian - reprint of 1896 edition. anantAnandagiri's text is referred to, but
again, only the four standard Mathas are listed.

8. A. C. Burnell, 1880, A classified index to the Sanskrit mss. in the
palace at Tanjore. London: Trubner & Co., p. 96 - where the Sankaravijaya of
anantAnandagiri has been associated with "schismatic Mathas on the
Coromandel Coast which have renounced obedience to the Sringeri Matha, where
Sankaracarya's legitimate successor resides." Unless Burnell, a British
colonial administrator, was also partisan towards Sringeri interests, I
don't see how this comment can be seen as anti-Kanchi polemic.

9. N. Venkataraman, 1923, Sankaracarya, the great, and his successors at
Kanchi. Madras: Ganesh & Co. - a description of the Kanchi succession, as
found in sushamA, the Sanskrit source of the Kanchi list. Venkataraman
dismisses the Sankaravijaya of anantAnandagiri as a "valueless forgery",
perhaps keeping in mind Burnell's comments on this text.

10. N. Veezhinathan, 1971, anantAnandagiripraNItam SrI-Sankaravijayam.
Madras: Center for Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras - with
a detailed introduction by T. M. P. Mahadevan, where Burnell's comments have
been criticized. Here I will simply point out that S. Kuppuswami Sastri's
edition of Mandana Misra's Brahmasiddhi (1982, Garibdas Oriental Series,
Delhi; Satguru Publications, reprint of 1937 edition) has a preface by P. P.
Subrahmanya Sastri, with information about anantAnandagiri's text that
directly contradicts what Veezhinathan claims to be the only available
reading (iti sarvAsu mAtRkAsu, in his footnote). Note that both the
above-mentioned Sastris once served as curators at the Government Oriental
Manuscripts Library in Madras, and refer to the same original manuscript as
was sent to Veezhinathan from this library. Suffice to say that this
so-called "critical" edition is nothing more than the Kanchi Matha's latest
version of this text. It has certainly had a chequered history, from
Burnell's comment about schismatic Mathas (1880), through Venkataraman's
dismissal of the text as a forgery (1923), to Lorenzen's characterization of
it as being exclusively associated with the Kanchi Matha (1987).

11. A. Cinkaravelu Mutaliyar, 1981. apitAna cintAmaNi: The Encyclopedia of
Tamil literature. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services - where Sringeri has
been described as the most important institution established by Sankara, and
the Kumbhakonam Matha as a branch of Sringeri, while no mention is made of a
Kanchi Matha. This is a reprint of an earlier 19th century edition. Thanks
to Naga Ganesan for helping me locate this reference. Note that entries in
this encyclopedia are based solely on Tamil sources.

12. Polakam Rama Sastri, 1976, Aticankarar mutal kAnciyil toTarntuvarum
kuruparamparai (Tamil), Madras: Liberty Patippakam - where more
anti-Sringeri polemic may be found. Note that Rama Sastri continuously
refers to a "SAradA maTha" at Kanchipuram, although the Kanchi Matha
conspicuously avoids using the word SAradA nowadays. The author, who was
associated with the Madras Sanskrit College, also used to be the editor of
"Kamakoti Pradeepam", a periodical published in all four south Indian
languages. Contemporary Kanchi Matha followers who claim that there have
been no polemical claims on their side need to look at old issues of this
"in-house" magazine.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list