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SRI SHANKARACHARYA
AND HIS CONNECTION WITH KANCHIPURAM

Adi Shankaracharya

 

APPENDIX -I

Some References to Sankaracarya
In Relation to Kanci

(1) Mahamahopadhyaya Lakshmanasuri in his Bhagavatpadabhyudayam (Sanskrit) says:

Sloka

Guru (Sankara) consecrated Sricakra in front of Sri Kamaksi and also established a mantha there (at Kanci).

(2)  Late Dr.  Ganganatha Jha, Mahamahopadhyaya and former Vice – Challencor of the Allahabad University), in an article in the ‘Bhaktakusumanjali’, presented to the late Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swami, Acarya of Sringeri Math (1912 – 1954) has written :

“The establishment of seats of worship at places like Kanchi, Sringeri etc., where his successors carry on the worship of the deities even today in all its fullness is a further proof of the view held by the Acarya that due performance of rites is an integral feature of his teaching.” (Page 1, Bhaktakusumanjali – English section – printed by Vani Vilas Press, Srirangam – 1938).

(3) Late mahamahopadhyaya N.s.Anantakrishna Sastri, (a former Professor of Vedanta of the Calcutta University), in an article is Sanskrit, contributed to the same ‘Bhaktakusumanjali noted above has stated that Sankara founded several pithas during the course of his digvijaya (at  different places) and among them five stand predominant and that one of these five is the pitha at Kanci.

(4) Late K.A.Nilakanta Sastri (Professor of Indology, Mysore) has made the following observations in his ‘History of South India’ (Page 428, Fourth Edition 1975, 1987, III Edition -1966, page 410):-  “He (Sankara) founded a number of mathas in different parts of India, the best known being those of Sringeri, Dvaraka, Badrinath, Puri and Kanci.”

(5)Late S.S.  Suryanarayana Sastry, a former Professor of Philosophy of the University of Madras, in his work ‘Sankaracharya, Philosopher and Mystic’ (1938), states “Sri Sankara established several mutts the most notable of which are perhaps those of Sarada Peeta and Kamakoti Peeta.

(6)Mahamahopadhyaya, Padmavibhushan Gopinath Kaviraj observes (in page 113 – of his work, ‘Bharatiya Samskriti aur Sadhana’:-

Sloka

(For his own residence Acarya Sankara founded a seat in the Kanci Kamakoti Pitha).

(7)  In the Karnataka Visesasancika (Published by the Sankaravijaya Karyalaya, Mysore 1935), Saligram Srikanta Sastri, has specified about Adya Sankaracarya’s own asrama at Kanci.

(8) Late Dr. Sir. C.P. Ramaswami Iyer a veteran Jurist, a former Dewan of the Travancore State and a prominent citizen of our country, in his brochure ‘World Religious – a study in Synthesis’,  (Pulished by the Government Press, Trivandrum – 1942)Refers to Kanci as one of Sankara’s capitals and his establishment of a math at Kanci.

(9) In the Chronology of Nepal History (Reconstructed) 1953, by Sri Kota Venkatachalam, the following information about the Sankarite Institution at Kanci is found:-

“The Kamakoti Pitha at Kanci was founded in Vaisakha Sukla Purnima of the Year Siddharti with Adi Sankara  himself as the first Acarya – (2020 of Kali era -482 B.C.)”

(10) Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Bombay) has published a short work by name ‘Indian Chronology’, written by Dr.S.S. Triveda, Ph.D., (1959).  The work is a mere compilation of dates of historical events and personages from ancient times.  In page 91 of the work, dates are given for establishment of institutions by Sankaracarya.  There it is stated that the Kamakoti Pitha at Kanci was founded on Vaisakha, Sukla Full Moon in Kali Saka 2620 = 482 B.C. with Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada himself as the first Acarya.”

(11) Dr.T.M.P. Mahadevan Professor of Philosophy, University of Madras, has observed (in his broadcast talk, published under the caption ‘Contribution of the South to the Cultural Heritage of India’ by the Publication Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.  Government of India -1961), that “he (Sankara) set up at cardinal points of the country, monastic institutions which would protect the spiritual interests of the race.  Of these institutions, five are the most important.  Except the one at Badari in the Himalayas, the other four are in the peninsular part of  India at Puri, Dwaraka, Sringeri and Kanci.”

(12) Prof. Baladev Upadhyaya, former Head of the Purana and Itihasa Section of the Benares Hindu University, has written a biography of Sankara Sri Sankaracarya,’ – in Hindi (Published by the Hindustani Academy of Allahabad – 1963).  In the 16th Pariccheda (Chapter) of the work having the heading ‘Mathom Kavivaran’ (Details about maths) the following information is found:-

“By him (Sankaracarya) in southern Bharat, at Kanci, one of the seven Moksapuries, a matha has been established” – page 191.

(13). The Chengleput District Gazetteer, published by Charles Stuart Crole I.E.S. in 1879 A.D. has the following details:- “The first of these wandering controversialists  was Shankarachari(who flourished in the 9th or 10th century?) and wandered all over India, establishing the dying religion, Saivite faith and fanning the persecution before which the last disciple of Sakiya fled.  He paid particular attention to Conjeevaram where he worked many miracles and founded a Matham or Monastery.” (Chingleput District Gazetteer Ethnological, Religious and Social page 86 and 87).
(14). Justice P. Sathyanarayana Rao and Justice P.Rajagopalan, in their Judgement in C.M.P. No.2591 of 1951, of the Madras High Court(Reported in ‘I MLJ 557 A.I.R. 1952, Madras – 613), have observed.  “Tradition has it that after conquering the rival faiths he (Sankara) established the Advaita system of philosophy and founded four Mutts or seats of learning in the four corners of this vast sub- continent – Sringeri Sarada in the North, Jagannath or modern Puri in the East, and Dwaraka in the Bombay Presidency in the west.  In each of these Mutts; as their heads, he installed his principal disciples and he himself assumed the headship of Sarvajna Peetha or the central seat of Knowledge at Kanci, the modern Kancipuram.”
(15). In the Report of the Hindu Religious Endowments Commission (1960 – 62) published by the ministry of Law, Government of India (1962) it is stated as follows:-  “It was Adi Sankaracharya(8th century A.D.) who first began to the theory of absolute Monism i.e. the Advaita, non-dualistic school of Philosophy, combated the doctrines of Buddhism and Jainism and re-established the religion of the Vedas and the Upanishads.  According to tradition, he inaugurated Several mutts or seats of learning in the four corners of India, namely Sringeri(Sharada Peeth) in Mysore, the Kamakoti Peetha in Kanchi in the South, Badrinath in the Himalayan region in the North, Jagannath or modern Puri in the East and Dwaraka in Western Gujarat.” (Vide page 10 of the Report) (The report is signed by Dr.C.P.Ramaswami Iyer, the Chairman, and the other six members of the commission.
(16)  In the English translation, made by Sri Lakshmi Datta Dikshit (Fellow of the Punjab University) of “The Age of Shankar’ written in Hindi by Vidyabhaskar Udayavir Shastry and published by the Virajanand Vedic Research Institute, Gaziabad (1981), references are made to the institutions established by Sankaracarya.  In page 35 of the work the following remarks are found.

                “A number of Mathas in the name of the founder Acharya were established in later years.  But  the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha is almost as old as the other main Mathas.”In Pages 48,49, it is stated “A study of the literature on the life of the Acharya makes it clear that after establishing the four Mathas, the Acharya did stay at Kanchi Kamakoti for some years.  This was towards the end of his life.”
(17) Mr. William Cenkner, Professor of the History of Religions, in the School of Religions of the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., author of a number of research works on Education, of works on great Indian personalities, and contributor of many articles on religion and philosophy to European and American journals, in his work. ‘A Tradition of Teachers: Sankara and the Jagadgurus of Today’(Published by Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi -1983, reprinted 1984) – writes; “Sankara reorganized Hindu ascetical life along monastic lines by establishing mathas to propagate Sanatana Dharma and the Advaita tradition….Tradition establishes the major mathas at Sringeri, Kanci, Dwaraka, Puri and Badrinath.”(Part II Chapter V – Page 109).
(18) “The Kalyan’, a premier Hindi periodical’ published by the Gita Press, Gorakhpur(U.P.)issued a special number called ‘Tirthank’, in January 1957.  In this issue, the name of the monastic institutions established by Sankara are mentioned under two categories.  Under the category named as Sankaracarya dvara sthapita pradhana pithas.’ The Kanci Kamakoti Pitha is cited as one of the important institutions founded by Sankara.
(19) The Guhyasahasranama (94) speaks of Sankaracarya’s presiding over the Kamakoti Pitha.
(20) In the Annual Report of the Archealogical Department of Mysore for the year 1928, (page 16) under the title ‘The Sringeri Math and its Gurus’ , a review of the Sringeri ‘Guruvamsakavya – the Sankaracarya Math at Kanci is noted as one of the five institutions established by Sankaracarya.

Book Index Page Sankara Appendix II - Extracts from Madras University Historical Series No. 15

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