Kanchi matha

Kanchi matha

The Kanchi matha is a Hindu monastic institutionlocated in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, one of the five"pancha-bhUta-sthalas" (five "material" sites) [The five "pancha-bhUta-sthalas" or material sites represent earth(Kanchipuram), sky (Chidambaram), air (Kalahasti), fire (Thiruvannamalai), and water(Thiruvanaikoil). ] . It is known formally as "Shri KanchiKamakoti Peetham", and claims to have beenfounded by the Adi Shankara, who is said to have died here. The head of the matha is referred to as a "Shankaracharya", a titlethat is also applied to the headsof the four Shankara mathas.

The Kanchi mathahas been gaining prominence since the 18th century, when it was at
Kumbakonam. Some accounts claim that it was founded there as abranch of the Sringeri matha, and branched out afterwards. Today it is one of the most important religious institutions of SouthIndia.

Kanchi matha came under a cloud in November 2004,


The matha's official history states that it was founded by Adi Shankara of Kaladi, and that Jayendra Saraswati is its 69th head in succession, tracing its history back to the fifth century BCE. [ [http://www.kamakoti.org/peeth/origin.html kamakoti.org] ] A related claim by a few propoganda material of this Matha is that Adi Shankara came to Kanchipuram, and that he established the Kanchi matha in a position of supremacy (Sarvagnya Peetha) over the other mathas of the subcontinent, before his death there. Other sources give the place of his death as Kedarnath in the Himalayas. [ [http://encyclopediaofauthentichinduism.org/articles/52_the_dynasties_of.htm] [http://encyclopediaofauthentichinduism.org/articles/53.3.htm] ]

Other, historical accounts state that the matha was established more recently (probably in the 18th century) in Kumbakonam, as a branch of the Sringeri Matha, and that it later declared itself independent. ["The Curious Case of the Missing Monk", The Illustrated Weekly of India, issue dated September 13, 198] [ [http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/alt_hindu_msg.html Real history of the Kanchi math] ] The heads of a matha in Kumbhakonam acquired control of the Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram and moved their establishment to that city, between the years 1842 and 1863. This marks the origin of the Kanchi matha. [Mattison Mines, Vijayalakshmi Gourishankar, "Leadership and Individuality in South Asia: The Case of the South Indian Big-Man", Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 49, No. 4 (Nov., 1990), pp. 761-786.]

The Kanchi Matha claims to have been moved from Kanchipuram to Kumbakonam during the 18th century when Hyder Ali invaded the region. It is also claimed that archeological evidence in the form of stone architecture depicting the Shankaracharya and the epigraphy by the side situated in various temples in Kanchipuram indicate the 2500 year age of the Matha.

The Matha's published materials also claim that the present structure at Sannidhi Koil Street at Kanchipuram has been established there centuries before, which claim is however contradicted.

The Kamokoti Peetam however, tradionally refers to Sri Kamakshi referred popularly as Kamakodi. 'Kamakodi' is of Tamil origin, refering to Goddess Durga. 'Kodi' refers to Durga in the ancient Tamil Sangam literature. Kanchipuram is referred to as Kachi. The Vyakarana Mahabhashya of Patanjali uses the word 'Kanchi' and it can be thus understood that the word Kanchi also has a Sanksrit base. However, KamakOti is a latter Sanksrit form taken from the original Tamil form of Kamakodi. Tamil literature also refers to Kamakodi as Kamakanni.

The Original Kamakoti Peetam, in which Sri Adi Shankara established the Sri Chakra Yantra during the latter period of 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century' is at present known as "Adi Peeteshwari Ambal' and this temple is near the present famous shrine of Kamakshi. The form of the deity here is with "ankusa, pasa, abhaya and a kaphala"respectively in each of the 4 hands. This matches precisely with Girvanendra Saraswath's "Prapancha Sara Sara Sangraha".

It is noteworty that the Sri Chakra in the present day Kamakshi Amman temple was installed by one Nrusimha Advari during the 16th century, which is evidenced by a stone inscription in the vicinity. The Present day Kamakshi was originally a Budhist temple, and the present Kamakshi was perhaps Tara Devi. The process of conversion of the present temple from a Budhist temple into the Hindu Pantheology was complete perhaps by the 12th Century AD.

Thiruthondar Puranam of Sekkilar Perumal written during the 12th Century mentions the old & original Kamakoti Peeta as Kamakottam. It also mentions about the new shrine which is the present day kamakoti Peetam. Arunagiri Nadar also refers only to the Original Adi Peeteswari with four hands as described above. He mentions that she is "kumaran's mother" and that she resides very near to "Kumarakottam" It should be noted that the Original Kamakoti temple is just adjacent to Kumarakottam. Arunagirinathar has obviously taken no notice of the present day Kamakshi temple.

In recent years the institution of Shankaracharya at the matha has come under increased stress. In 1983, when Jayendra Saraswati was already junior Acharya, the widely revered and popular Chandrasekharendra Saraswati appointed 13-year-old Vijayendra Saraswati as Shankaracharya as well, possibly owing to his differences withJayendra. "Three Shankaracharyas for a single math was unprecedented",cite news
title = Swami And Fiends: Why He Got Caught
author = S. Anand
publisher = Outlook (magazine)
url = http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-anand231104.htm
date = 23 November, 2004
accessdate = 2007-07-27
] and Jayendra Saraswati abandonedthe math and disappeared, and the Paramacharya anointedVijayendra Saraswati as the math head. After about two weeks, Jayendra Saraswati returned, and a compromise was reached.

Murder and turmoil

In 2004, an ex-employee of the Kanchi matha was murdered. During the murder investigation, the police charged Jayendra Saraswati and several of his close associates with the murder.cite news
title = A major breakthrough
author = S. Viswanathan
publisher = Frontline (magazine)
url = http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2201/stories/20050114006902000.htm
date = Volume 22 - Issue 01, Jan. 01 - 14, 2005
accessdate = 2007-07-26
] The murdered ex-employee, Sankararaman, had pointed out issues such as the tendency for both acharyas to be "closeted for long hours with certain women"as well as financial mismanagementcite news
title = Who was Sankararaman?
author = A Ganesh Nadar in Kanchipuram
publisher = Rediff.com
url = http://in.rediff.com/news/2004/nov/13agn1.htm
date = November 13, 2004
accessdate = 2007-07-26
] . Investigators found that calls to the assailants had been made from the matha phone, and charges have been filed against Jayendra Saraswati as well as the junior acharya Vijayendra Saraswaticite news
title = Sankararaman murder case: charges framed against 24 accused: Jayendra Saraswathi, Vijayendra Saraswathi are prime accused
author =
publisher = The Hindu
url = http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/29/stories/2006032907360400.htm
date = 2006-03-29
accessdate = 2007-07-27
] .

On November 11, 2004, Jayendra Saraswati was arrested from Mehboobnagar, Andhra Pradesh. The arrest initially caused a tremendous uproar among the Hindu laity across the nation, and Bharatiya Janata Party and other Hindu groups started canvassing widely for his release. During the bail hearings, Justice R. Balasubramanian of the Madras High Court observed, without prejudicing the final verdict:

:"materials relied upon by the prosecution... would prima facie constitute reasonable grounds to believe' that the petitioner is shown to be guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life."cite news
title = Strong case made out for bail: Supreme Court
author = J. Venkatesan
publisher = The Hindu
url = http://www.hinduonnet.com/2005/01/11/stories/2005011110890100.htm
date = 2005-01-11
accessdate = 2007-07-26

However, in a subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court, bail was granted, with the court observing that: :No worthwhile prima facie evidence apart from the alleged confessions have been brought to our notice to show that the petitioner along with other accused was party to a conspiracy

The Supreme Court also agreed to shift the trial to Pondicherry, after the defence argued that the media attention and other factors in Tamil Nadu made a fair trial impossible there.

In March 2006, both Jayendra as well as Vijayendra Saraswati, as well as a number of others, were charged on 14 counts, including murder and conspiracy [cite news
title = Sankararaman murder case: charges framed against 24 accused: Jayendra Saraswathi, Vijayendra Saraswathi are prime accused
author =
publisher = The Hindu
url = http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/29/stories/2006032907360400.htm
date = 2006-03-29
accessdate = 2007-07-27
] .

List of Kamakoti Matha heads

Chronological list of heads of the matha, according to the official account.

# Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpada
# Sri Suresvaracharya
# Sri Sarvajnatman
# Sri Sathyabodhendra Saraswati
# Sri Jnanandendra Saraswati
# Sri Suddhanandendra Saraswati
# Sri Aanandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Kaivalyanandayogendra Saraswati
# Sri Krpa Sankarendra Saraswati
# Sri Sureswara
# Sri Sivananda Chidghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati
# Sri Satchidghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Vidyaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Gangadharendra Saraswati
# Sri Ujjvala Sankarendra Saraswati
# Sri Sadasivendra Saraswati
# Sri Shankarananda Saraswati
# Sri Martanda Vidyaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Muka Sankarendra Saraswati
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati II
# Sri Bodhendra Saraswati
# Sri Satchisukhendra Saraswati
# Sri Chitsukhendra Saraswati
# Sri Satchidanandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Prajnaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Chidvilasendra Saraswati
# Sri Mahadeve11dra Saraswati I
# Sri Purnabhodhendra Saraswati
# Sri Bhodhendra Saraswati II
# Sri Brahmanandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Chidanandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Satchidananda Saraswati
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati III
# Sri Chitsukhendra Saraswati
# Sri Chitsukhanandendra Saraswati
# Sri Vidyaghanendra Saraswati III
# Sri Abhinava Sankarendra Saraswati
# Sri Satchidvilaasendra Saraswati
# Sri Mahadevendra Saraswati II
# Sri Gangadharendra Saraswati II
# Sri Brahmanandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Anandaghanendra Saraswati
# Sri Purnabhodhendra Saraswati II
# Sri Paramasivendra Saraswati I
# Sri Sandranandabhodhendra Saraswati
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati IV
# Sri Advaitanandabodhendra Saraswati
# Sri Mahadevendra Saraswati III
# Sri Chandrachudendra Saraswati I
# Sri Kamachandrendra Saraswati
# Sri Vidyateerthendra Saraswati (1297 - 1370)
# Sri Sankaranandendra Saraswati (1370 - 1417)
# Sri Purnananda Sadasivendra Saraswati (1417 - 1498)
# Sri Vyasachala Mahadevendra Saraswati (1498 - 1507)
# Sri Chandrachudhendra Saraswati II (1507 - 1524)
# Sri Sarvajna Sadasiva Bhodhendra Saraswati (1524 - 1539)
# Sri Paramasivendra Saraswati II (1539 - 1586)
# Sri Atma Bodhendra Saraswati (1586 - 1638)
# Sri Bhagavannama Bodhendra Saraswati (1638 - 1692)
# Sri Advaitatma Prakasendra Saraswati (1692 - 1704)
# Sri Mahadevendra Saraswati IV (1704 - 1746)
# Sri ChandrasekharendraSaraswati V (1746 - 1783)
# Sri Mahadevendra Saraswati V (1783 - 1813)
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati VI (1813 - 1851)
# Sri Sudarsana Mahadevendra Saraswati (1851 - 1891)
# Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati VII (1891 - February 7, 1907)
# Sri Sri Mahadevendra Saraswathi V (February 7, 1907 - February 13, 1907)
# Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal(February 13, 1907 - January 3, 1994)
# Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal
# Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal


External links

* [http://www.kamakoti.org/ Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham - Official website]
* [http://www.kanchi-sathya.org Kanchi Sathya Presents several opinions on the court cases]
* [http://www.kanchiforum.org/ A forum for Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham]
* [http://www.kanchiforum.org/interesting/judgement.html Complete text of the Judgement of the Supreme Court of India ]

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