On the history of Kanchi Sankara Matha (fwd)

Gary Tubb gat4 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Sun Jan 9 17:21:05 UTC 2005

The following message was received by the Indology list committee and is
being forwarded to the list at the request of the message's author.

Gary Tubb.

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On Wed, 5 Jan 2005, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> I found Palaniappan's post about a record of one Purushottama Bharati from
> Kumbhakonam very interesting. However, I would hesitate to draw a direct
> connection between this historical record and the Kumbhakonam pre-history
> of the current Kanchi matha, for a number of reasons. That said, the
> following comments may be of interest.
> 1. iSTakA = brick, especially in a Vedic ritual context. It is possible
> that iSTakA maTha may refer simply to a maTha that had a brick building.
> In the year 1492, such a structure for a sannyAsin's abode in a diverse
> temple city like Kumbhakonam may well have been distinct enough to be an
> identifying characteristic. Or perhaps the maTha was a good source of
> iSTakA-s for constructing altars.
> 2. The URL provided in Palaniappan's original post gives the list of
> Sringeri, not of the Kanchi matha. In any case, as regards the question
> regarding number and lengths of the heads, the answer is yes, the practice
> at Sringeri has been to select the successor at quite a young age. For the
> traditional authority behind entering sannyAsa directly from the
> brahmacarya stage, see Sankara's commentary on gItA 3.3. This is the
> practice in most of the advaita maThas in the south.
> 3. For Sringeri, the number of names in the lineage is about half that
> found in the Dwaraka list, which in turn is about half the number in the
> Puri list. I won't comment about the Kanchi list. However, note that the
> dates given in the Dwaraka and Puri lists go back to 500 BCE. For details,
> please see my paper, "Conflicting Hagiographies and History: The place of
> Sankaravijaya texts in Advaita tradition," International Journal of Hindu
> Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, August 2000.
> Best regards,
> Vidyasankar Sundaresan

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