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Sri Chitrapurmutt Shirali

Chitrapur Math is the central Math (community temple) for the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin sect. This Math is located in Shirali in North Kanara area of Karnataka and has been there since 1757. The other Maths of this community are located in Gokarn, Karla, Mangalore and Mallapur. All the Maths have the insignia of the saffron flag as shown above.

The chief deity worshipped in this Math is Shri Bhavanishanka who is a form of Lord Shiva. The other 6-7 sanctorums of the temple are reserved for the Samadhis of the previous GuruSwami’s of the community. Daily Puja is carried out at the shrine of Lord Bhavanishankar as well as the other Swamis.

H.H. Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji is currently the Head of the Math having ascended the Peetha in February 1997. Shree Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji is the eleventh Guru of this illustrious lineage of Gurus which began in 1708.

Swami Parijnanashram I is said to be a direct avatar of Lord Shiva himself and he came down from somewhere in North (probably Varanasi). Not much details are known about this Swami since record keeping within the Math started only in about 1722.

Swami Shankarashram hailed from the Harite family. He was consecrated by Shri Parijnanashram Swami in 1720 (Sharvari Chaitra Sh-15). He was a learned saint and a great Sanskrit scholar, having had the good fortune of long training under His Guru. A solemn promise was made to Him by Chitrapur Saraswat people in writing that they would be faithful to Him and would follow all His religious observances. This Swami gave up his mortal coil and attained Samadhi in 1757 (Ananda, Phalgun Sh-5).

At this point the issue of location of his Samadhi was drawn up, and the Nagarkatti family willingly offered their house in Chitrapur, Shirali for construction of the Samadhi and the Temple. This selfless contribution is the Math which stands till today.

Shri Shankarashram-I had not adopted any disciple which caused some concern as to the continuity of this illustrious lineage. The threat of property takeover by the regional authorities loomed large over the Math at this point in time and hence a saintly person from Pandit family, was touted to be a worthy person for this position. Upon fervent requests by the members of the community, he graciously agreed to ascend the Peetha. He was ordained Shri Parijnanashram-II. However he developed extreme detachment and did not like to be associated with a throne that bore immense power and authority. As a result, he adopted a disciple from the priestly family of Shukla assigning him the name of Shri Shankarashram-II and he spent his life in Kollur in Dhyan(intense meditation), though He often visited Shirali. The holy Samadhi of this saint is located to the right of the Main Samadhi.

The Samadhi of Swami Shankarashram-II is located in Mallapur. He was a great scholar, a yogi and was aptly considered an avatar of Shri Dattatreya.

The disciple chosen by him hailed from the Talgeri family and was given the name of Shri Keshavashram. This saint was an excellent administrator and as a result, He began acquiring land and other agricultural assets for the Math. Swami Keshavashram ordained a young disciple once again from the Shukla family under the name Shri Vamanashram.

Being of a simple and quiet nature, and because of an intense spiritual bent of mind, He entrusted all the day to day matters of the Math to the priests, who were the managers. He attained MahaSamadhi in Mangalore.

A disciple was adopted by him from the Nagarkar family. He was found to possess some a majestic glow on his face. Hence he was ordained a disciple for Sannyasa under the holy title of Shri Krishnashram.

During the auspicious reign of Shri Krishnashram, the affairs of the Math were set right. Most of the disciples were brought round from Vaishnava practices, fresh land was purchased and reforms introduced. The Rath Utsava (chariot festival) was started during His auspicious regime. He was an acclaimed scholar in Sanskrit and the shastras. The disciple ordined by him was Shri Pandurangashram.

Shri Pandurangashram was the Eighth saint and hailed from the Nagarkar family. He was ordained into Sanyasa at 12 years of age and was trained under the Guruswami for five year. His reign on the Holy Peetha was quite long. The greater part of the Math was rebuilt and all the Samadhis of His predecessors were reconstructed with silver under this tutelage. He carried out several developmental activities in the village, such as building of a school, a post office and other structures of necessity.

It is said that he had immense powers and once he showed in himself the entire frame of Lord Dattatreya, by the dint of this powers. He was a great scholar of Vedic astrology and the Vedas. He attained Samadhi in 1915 A.D.

The peetha was then ascended by Shri Anandashram Swamiji, who hailed from the Haridas Family was ordained hardly 8 days prior to the Mahasamadhi of Shri Pandurangashram Swamiji. Since his initiation in Sanyasa took place at very tender age, he was deprived of being personally guided by the Guruswami. Yet he sought knowledge from all quarters. His pleasing persona and intense discourses won over the community who started coming back into the folds of the Math again. He managed to correct the financial position of the Math which had dwindled during his early years by making payments of Vantiga(Donation) almost mandatory. He reigned for 51 long years and traveled widely to bring the members of the community closer to the Math. He attained Samadhi in Bangalore in 1966.

After 1950

A disciple was adopted by Sri Anandashram Swamiji in 1959, once again, from the Shuklakar family. Shrimat Parijnanashram-III was the nomenclature of this illustrious boy (shown in the photo above is the young shisya and the older GuruSwami). He was an intelligent boy with a great interest in Vedic as well as technical studies. The Rathotsava was restarted by him since it had been discontinued by previous Swamis on account of poor economic reasons. The illustrious Swami collected antiques and artifacts to set up a Museum. He started a school for the handicapped in Bolinj at Virar near Mumbai, which is regarded as a unique institution of its kind.

Swami Parijnanashram-III attained MahaSamadhi in Bangalore in 1991 and His Samadhi is located at Karla near Lonavla in Maharashtra. The samadhi enclave also contains a temple of Goddess Durga and Shree Ganesh just like the other Swamijis.

HH Swami Sadyojat Shankarashram, eleventh Guru of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin community of India.
The previous Swamiji had not adopted a disciple (shisya). Thus, the community faced a similar crisis as it had faced earlier. It was then that some members of the community found out that a certain Saraswat youth had taken Sannyas and was in Mount Abu. They requested him to ascend the illustrious Peetha.

Upon his agreement and subsequent ascension to the peetha, he now stands as the 11th Guru of this glorious Guru-Parampara
Lineage of Swamijis

The lineage of all Swamis of this Math is called Guru Parampara.
H.H. Parijnanashram-I Swamiji (1708–1720)
H.H. Shankarashram-I Swamiji (1720–1757)
H.H. Parijnanashram-II Swamiji (1757–1770)
H.H. Shankarashram-II Swamiji (1770–1785)
H.H. Keshavashram Swamiji (1785–1823)
H.H. Vamanashram Swamiji (1823–1839)
H.H. Krishnashram Swamiji (1839–1863)
H.H. Pandurangashram Swamiji (1863–1915)
H.H. Anandashram Swamiji (1915–1966)
H.H. Parijnanashram (III) Swamiji (1966–1991)
H.H. Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji (1997-)
Source : Wikipedia/Mutt’s website