Showing posts with label mutt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mutt. Show all posts

Myths of Kanchi kamakoti Peetam

If you have ever gone to to websites of Kanchi Komakoti Peetam or Wiki or websites related to Kanchi Mutt you will come across the following claims and much more. We will see the following claims.

Claims made
  • Shankara established the Kanchi mutt
  • Kumbakonam mutt is branch of Kanchi mutt
  • Kanchi Mutt is 2500 years old
  • Adi Shankara spent last days of his life in Kanchi mutt He is buried in the premises of the mutt
  • Kanchi mutt was established as the controlling centre of other mutts.
  • Suresvara was appointed as the successor to Shankara at Kanchi mutt.
  • Kanchi mutt was shifted to Kumbakonam in 18th century AD due to opposition from the Local kings in Kanchi
Is Kanchi Mutt 2500 years old?
First we have to fix the date of Adi Shankara to know the date of Kanchi mutt as it is claimed to have been established by him. Date of Shankara , We have already seen in another article about dating Shri Adi Shankara. His date is fixed to 8th century AD not 500BC as claimed by Kanchi Mutt. So the question of Kanchi Mutt being 2500 years old do not arise.

No Tamil or Sanskrit literature before 19th century Speaks of Kanchi Mutt , which shows there was no mutt during that period.

Did Adi Shankara established Kanchi Mutt?
Every other Mutt or religious work mentioning Shankara have told there are only four mutts established by Shankara , independent of the other. Each mutt was allotted Upanishads to focus on

Saraswati, Bharati and Puri -------------Shringeri (South)
Tirtha and Ashrama-----------------------Dwarka (West)

Giri, Parvata and Sagara-----------------Jyotir (North)

Vanam and Aranyam----------------------Govardhan (East)


Except Kanchi Mutt and its associates all the Other mutts say that Shankara died in Himalayas. His final days are said like this: Setting off from the Jyotir Ashram (Badrinath) in the Himalayan he headed toward the nearby Mountainous region of Kedarnath, the place that was destined to be his final resting place. His four chief disciples accompanied him part of the way, but then Shankara insisted they go no further as the final part of his journey was to be completed alone.

Kanchi Mutt Chronicles , claim that Adi Sankaracharya had spent the last days of his life in Kanchipuram where he attained samadhi, and not in the Himalayas as is generally believed. A mandapam named after the father of the school of advaita philosophy, seen in the Kamakshi temple premises, is cited as his samadhi. It was originally called `Sankaracharya samadhi', but when it was pointed out there could not be a samadhi inside a Devi temple, the mandapam was renamed `Sankaracharya sannidhi' - sanctum, not a tomb.

So we can see that the Shankara cannot have come to kanchi in the final moments of his life and established the Kanchi mutt.

Kumbakonam mutt is branch of Kanchi mutt
According to the Kanchi chronicles, the math in Kanchipuram had to be shifted in the 18th century AD, in the face of opposition from local kings and hence the shift to Kumbhakonam. (One does not know of any Hindu-hating king near Kanchipuram from the 18th century.)

"Historians, however, hold that the Kumbhakonam math is a branch of the Sringeri math established in 1821 AD by the famous Maratha monarch of Tanjore, Pratap Singh Tuljaji. It is the date of the oldest inscription found in the Kumbhakonam math building. The Inscription is in Kannada. The math refers itself as sarada math. The diety of Sringeri mutt. If the mutt has anything to do with kanchi, it should have been diety kamakshi , the goddess of kanchi not sarada. Kumbakonam Mutt Independence Kumbhakonam math proclaimed independence from Sringeri and established itself as the " Kamakoti peetham.". In addition to denying the historical truth of its origin as a branch of the Sringeri math, the story propagated was that it was originally established by Adi Sankaracharya himself at Kanchipuram, with control over the recognized four maths. Worse, a wholly fictitious story that Adi Sankaracharya ascended a sarvagna-pitha at Kanchi and attained samadhi at Kanchi is propagated as "tradition." The real problem though was that in the course of this campaign, someone with more enthusiasm than scholarship, "fixed" the date of Adi Sankaracharya as 477 B.C. and wrote up a continuous list of gurus of the math from 477 B.C. to the present! This guru parampara is filled with names of sannyasis taken at random, with no thought to chronology.

Kanchi Mutt origin
In 1839 AD, the head of the Kumbhakonam math applied for permission to the English Collector to perform the kumbhabhishekam of the Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram. In 1842 AD, he was appointed sole trustee of the Kamakshi temple by the English East India Company Government. This is well documented because the original priests of the Kamakshi temple, who were thereby deprived of their rights, complained to whomever they could possibly complain to. Numerous petitions, counter petitions, letters, and other suchdocuments are available from this period.

Thus the Kanchi math as an institution dates from 1842 AD. The headquarters continued to be at Kumbhakonam but the sannyasi head would periodically visit Kanchipuram to assert his rights over the Kamakshi temple.This math originally had a limited following in the Tanjore and Kanchipuram areas, but soon embarked on a massive propaganda campaign that ensured it prominence. The Kumbhakonam math shifted to Kanchipuram in accordance with its new story.
Suresvara was appointed as the successor to Shankara at Kanchi mutt. The Kanchi chronicles explain that before his demise, Shankaracharya established a fifth math at Kanchi which he intended to be a controlling centre of all the other maths. Sri Sureswaracharya, Sankara's prime disciple was placed in charge of it. Interestingly, the Sringeri math also claims Sureswaracharya as their first pontiff. If Sankaracharya did not establish the Kanchi math at all, where was the need to appoint a successor there?!! It is the Kanchi math that "claims" Sureswara. The Sringeri math does not "claim" so. In fact, a very old structure that is reputed to be Sureswara's samadhi is still preserved outside the Sarada temple at Sringeri.

Conclusion
We can see that the Mutt is anything but lies one after another. Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, who lifted a math disintegrating in Kumbhakonam and re-established it in Kanchipuram, according it a position of pre-eminence. But the chronicles are just out of this world. So many lies left, right and centre. Not surprising that the math has such scandalous history. The Mutt is known for More political connections then spirtual quests. To conclude Here is an institution
  • A mutt Not even 200 years old claiming as 2500 years old.
  • Kanchi Mutt is a branch of kumbakonam mutt, which inturn is the branch of Sringeri Mutt. What kanchi mutt claims is the other way around, brushing aside all the historical facts.
Source
Real History of Kanchi Mutt by Vidyasankar Sundaresan

The Truth about the Kumbhakonam Math, Sri R. Krishnaswamy Aiyar and Sri K. R. Venkatraman, Sri Ramakrishna Press, Madurai,1977.

Kanchi Kamakoti Math - a Myth - Sri Varanasi Raj Gopal Sarma, Ganga Tunga Prakashan, Varanasi, 1987.

The Illustrated Weekly of India, "The Weekly Cover Story" - K. P. Sunil, September 13, 1987.

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