[INDOLOGY] Kerala Advaita mathas

Uskokov, Aleksandar aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu
Wed Jul 15 12:59:56 UTC 2020

Dear Walter and Christophe,

Many thanks for your suggestions.

Best wishes.

Aleksandar Uskokov

Lector in Sanskrit

South Asian Studies Council, Yale University

203-432-1972 | aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu

From: Christophe Vielle <christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be>
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2020 3:43 AM
To: Uskokov, Aleksandar <aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu>
Cc: indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Kerala Advaita mathas

See on the topic the recent field-studies by Olga Nowicka (Jagiellonian University, Kraków), preparing her Ph.D.:

• "Conquering the World, Subduing the Minds: Śaṅkara’s Digvijaya in the Local Context", Cracow Indological Studies 18, 2016,
pp. 145-166. (available online)
 • "Vedic Ritualism and Advaita Vedānta Monastic Institutions in Kerala", Studia Religiologica, vol. 50/2, 2017 (not seen)
•  "In the Footsteps of Śaṅkara: Mapping a Pan-India Digvijaya in the local space of Kerala", In: Polish Contributions to South Asian Studies, ed. Danuta Stasik, Warszawa, Dom Wydawniczy ELIPSA, 2017, pp. 60-69. (not seen)

• Local Advaita Vedānta Monastic Tradition in Kerala: Locating, mapping, networking", The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture, New Series 9, 2019

• Her paper at the IIGRS in Ghent in September 2017 (see abstract below) was unfortunately not published in the Proceedings (see Puṣpikā, vol. 5: Tracing Ancient India Through Texts and Traditions: Contributions to Current Research in Indology, ed. Heleen De Jonckheere, Marie-Hélène Gorisse and Agnieszka Rostalska, Oxford – Philadelphia: Oxbow Books)

The Great Śaṅkarabrahmānanda: 20th Century Hagiography of a Malayali Saṃnyāsī

Olga Nowicka, PhD Candidate, Jagiellonian University, Kraków

Śaṅkarabrahmānandavilāsam composed by Ālattur Anujan Nambudirippad (1882-1943) is a hagiographic text composed, as author states himself, in Maṇipravālam, a literary style used in medieval liturgical texts in Kerala which used an admixture of Malayalam and Sanskrit. The work narrates a life story of a Trichur Thekke Maṭham’s (‘Southern Maṭham’) Svāmiyār (i.e. head of a monastic institution) named Śaṅkarabrahmānanda who was said to be born in Kirāṅṅāṭṭu Mana. As the Thekke Maṭham paramparā list enumerates few Swamiyārs of that name, it is still uncertain to which individual the story relates. The author of the composition was born in 1882 in Ālattur Mana near Wadakkancherry in Trichur District (central Kerala) as the son of Ālattur Janardanan Nambudirippad. His real name was Krishnan and he studied Vedas and Sanskrit in the traditional way in gurukula – possibly in Vadakke Maṭham Brahmaswam of Trichur what could explain his familiarity with the Trichur monastic tradition. He was considered to be proficient in prose as well as in poetry. One of his major works was a historical novel Rāṇī Gaṅgādharā Lakṣmī.

The poem Śaṅkarabrahmānandavilāsam by Ālattur Anujan Nambudirippad is an eulogy (comprising 326 stanzas) of Śaṅkarabrahmānanda – a saṃnyāsī of the Keralan Advaita Vedānta monastic tradition. The text is a unique record of the Advaita Vedānta ascetic’s life in the beginning of the twentieth century Kerala. It gives detailed description of the pūrvāśrama life of Śaṅkarabrahmānanda, his dīkṣā ceremony, quotidian ritualistic routine, funeral rites etc. but it also shows the recognition and standing of a Nambudiri saṃnyāsī within the local community.

In this paper, I intend to present a closer perspective on the regional Advaita Vedānta monastic tradition in Kerala in the early twentieth century by analyzing selected portions from the text Śaṅkarabrahmānandavilāsam.

Le 15 juil. 2020 à 09:00, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> a écrit :

I recommend Yoshitsugu Sawai, The Faith of Ascetics and Lay Smārtas. A Study of the Śaṅkaran Tradition of Śṛṅgeri.
Vienna 1992. (Publications of the De Nobili Research Library. XIX).


Am Mi., 15. Juli 2020 um 00:28 Uhr schrieb Uskokov, Aleksandar via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>>:
Dear colleagues,

I am looking for suggestions on reliable studies of the Advaita mathas in Kerala, traditionally considered to have been established by Sankara himself, with a focus on their history.

Many thanks in advance,

Aleksandar Uskokov
Lector in Sanskrit
South Asian Studies Council, Yale University
203-432-1972 | aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu<mailto:aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu>
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