On the history of Kanchi Sankara Matha

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Wed Jan 5 17:05:47 UTC 2005

The lengths of reigns seem extraordinarily long.  Are they, and the
number of generations from the founder to the present, comparable to
what are claimed for other maths in the Shankara and other traditions?
Religious celibates to seem to live long in the West (at least to judge
from the 19th and 20th c. tombstones in the graveyards of various male
and female religious communities I've wandered through).  But are the
Kanchi Acharyas traditionally appointed as quite young men?  If not, and
they were appointed as mature or middle-aged men, some of the lengths of
tenure would get them to truly astounding ages.  A quick and not careful
count of the kings of England from almost the same date
<http://www.scotlandroyalty.org/kings.html> gets 73 kings, queens,
and lords protector, double the number of Shankaracharyas.  Of course,
the former probably often ate and drank too much, sometimes spent too
much time exposed to the elements on campaigns, and often died in war or
by assasination.  So I'm interested in the length of acharyas of other
monastic institutions.


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
Senior Reference Librarian
Southern Asia Section
Asian Division
Library of Congress
Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732
fax 202-707-1724
athr at loc.gov
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library
of Congress.

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