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Sri Kashimutt Saunsthan

The Spiritual Yearning of Cochin Mahajanam
There is a thickly woven history of Cochin Mahajanam and Sri Kashi Mutt Samsthan. The Kashi Mutt (Varanasi) was established and built at the initiative of Cochin Mahajan about four centuries ago. Thus it can be said that the very origin of Samsthan is the fulfilment of the deep spiritual yearning of the then Cochin Mahajanam. The second and third pratishtha at Tirumala Devaswom Temple of Cochin were done by the auspicious hands of the Mathadhipatis of respective periods.
The swamijis from time to time have visited, camped, conducted Chaturmasya Vrita etc. on a number of occasions and blessed and guided the Mahajanam in the right path. Mathadhipatis of different periods have even composed many melodious keertans hailing the Glory of Gosripuresa. During the Thirteenth Century AD, the great philosopher saint Srimad Ananda Thirtha popularly known as Srimad Madhvacharya preached Dwaita philosophy or dualism and had many followers. The Gauda Saraswat Community of Goa too accepted this philosophy and they affiliated themselves to the Uttaradhi Mutt, one of the four Mutts established by Srimad Madhwacharya.
During 16th Century AD, there was a split in the Uttaradi Mutt resulting in the birth of Kumbhakonam Mutt. The Gowda Saraswat community which had migrated from Goa to Cochin became followers of this latter Mutt. About the same time, Sri Vittalacharya, a very learned person among the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin community of Cochin, acquired ‘Vairagya’ and choose to become a disciple of the great Vyasaraya, the royal pontiff of Vijayanagara Empire. He was initiated into sannyasa and was named ‘Vidhyanidhi Thirtha’ by the the great Vyasaraya. The name was choosen to symbolify his vast knowledge. Read on for more information

Sree Kashi Mutt Samsthan and the swamijis, has always been the source of inspiration for the Gauda Saraswat Brahmin community. However, the very birth of Kashi Mutt itself was the fulfilment of deep spiritual yearning of the then Mahajanam of Cochin. The origin of Kashi Mutt is also closely related to the advent of the Idol of the Lord Venkatesvara to Cochin. The Mutt at Kashi, Varanasi which is considered as the head quarters of Kashi Mutt, was built by the Mahajanam of Cochin.

Kashi Math (or Kashi Mutt) is one of the four spiritual schools followed by the Goud Saraswat Brahmins. Members of the Goud Saraswat community predominantly live along the west coast of India, from Mumbai in the north to Kerala in the south. Other Maths followed by Goud Saraswat Brahmins are Gokarna Math (Vaishnava), Kavale math (Smarta) and Chitrapur Math (Smarta). It is one of the 24 Maths (or Hindu monasteries) of the Dvaita order. Headquartered in Brahma Ghat, Varanasi, Kashi Math has followers all over the Konkan belt, prominently in Udupi, Mangalore, Cochin, Alleppey and other parts of Kerala and Karnataka.

The Kashi Math was founded in the year 1542 AD.

Kashi Math, Walkeshwar branch, Mumbai.
Before the Kashi Math was established, most of the Vaishnava Gowd Saraswat Brahmins were followers of Shri Kavindra Math of Sriman Madhwacharya. During the 15th century, Sri Ramachandra Tirtha of Moola Math (Jagadguru Sriman Madhwacharya Moola Maha Samsthana) initiated two sishyas to sanyasa–Sri Vibhudendra Tirtha and Sri Vidyanidhi Tirtha. The latter started a new math called- Uttaradi Math and became head of the same. Whereas Sri Vibhudendra Tirtha continued the Parampara of Sri Ramachandra Tirtha, the main parampara of Sriman Madhwacharya, now named Sri Raghavendra Math (Mantralaya) after Sri Raghavendra of Mantralaya. Due to their proximity to South Kanara and Kerala.

Later, when Surendra Tirtha became the head of the Math at Kumbhakonam (Moola Matha), one of his disciples, Vijayindra Tirtha undertook a Chaturmasya (a religious event lasting four months) at Cochin in 1539–1540. Here, he selected Sri Hanumantha Bhaktha and was given deeksha as Yadavendra Tirtha. Yadavendra Tirtha went on to become head of the new Kashi Math at Varanasi established in 1542 AD. Shri Kumbhakonam Math gave two idols of Shri Vyasa and Shri Rama (Raghupati) to Shrimat Yadavendra Tirtha along with the rights to guide the Gowd Saraswats.Many others still believe that this Math was formed after it split away from the Shri Pejavara Math at Udupi initiated by Shimad Ananda Theertharu (Madhwacharya).

The Math has branches and establishments at Prayag, Bhatkal, Basrur, Hemmady, Bantwal, Dahisar (Mumbai), Panambur (Suratkal), Freshwater, Rameshwaram, Karkala, Kota, Nayampalli which is near Udupi, Bhagamandala (Kodagu), Bandora (Goa), Walkeshwar which is also one of the oldest maths near the Banaganga Tank), Ambalamugal (Kochi-Kerala), Pallipuram (near Cherai, on Vypeen Islands, Kerala), Manchakal, Naravi (near Belthangady), Alleppey (Kerala), Konchady (Mangalore), Hangarakatte, Tirumala (Tirupathi), Bangalore, Nashik, Vashi ( New Mumbai), Cochin, Calicut, Nagpur and many more places across India.

The headquarters is located in Varanasi (Shri Kashi Math, 22/86 Brahma Ghat, Varanasi-221001).

The Mathadhipathi (head of the Math) is supposed to offer daily prayers to the charaprathishta (literally, a moving installation) idols of Lord Shri Veda Vyasa and Lord Shri Rama (Raghupati) also popularly known as Shri Vyasaraghupati.

The great Maharshi Bhagavan Vedavyasa was an incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu.The avatara of Vedavyasa took place with dual purpose of bestowing “Jana and Abhaya” to the human race on the earth. He showered grace on the world by classifying the vedas and writing the puranas,the Mahabharatha and the Brahmasutras.These, Mahaparopakaras, done by Vedavyasa in the interest of humanity is worthy of worship by the whole world. He is the spiritual teacher of the world.His contribution for the welfare of the mankind is so immence that one person cannot do it in several births that He has done in His life time,which is supernatural indeed. We owe for this blessings to the Great lineage of Vaishnava Guruparampara of Shri Kashimath. In 1998 at Kalpi near Kanpur{U.P] the birth place of Vedavyasa a beautiful temple has been built to symbolise and propagate the universal philosophy of Shri Vedavyasa.There is no one higher than Guru.

The Kashi Math follows a “Guru” system, wherein the head of the Math appoints a “shishya”, who succeeds the Guru. According to the Math’s tradition, the shishya should be unmarried, and is selected at a very young age.

Shri Kashi Math are followers of the Dwaita school of Vaishnavite philosophy founded by Madhwacharya.
(We thank Sri. Girish Prabhu K for pointing out and correcting us in this above write-up we appreciate his efforts)

Guru Parampara
1.Yadavendra Tirtha
2.Keshavendra Tirtha
3.Upendra Tirtha
4.Yadavendra Tirtha II
5.Raghavendra Tirtha
6.Devendra Tirtha
7.Madhavendra Tirtha
8.Jnaneendra Tirtha
9.Yadavendra Tirtha III
10.Upendra Tirtha II
11.Rajendra Tirtha
12.Surindra Tirtha
13.Vishnu Tirtha
14.Vibhudendra Tirtha
15.Sumateendra Tirtha
16.Vasudendra Tirtha
17.Bhuvanendra Tirtha
18.Varadendra Tirtha
19.Sukrateendra Tirtha
20.Sudhindra Tirtha
21.Samyamindra Tirtha

The spiritual head, or the mathadhipathi is also the administrative head of the math and its properties. As a math specific to the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins (sometimes spelt “Gouda Saraswat Brahimins”), the mathadhipathis seldom mingle with members of other communities. The mathadhipathi is not a mere spiritual head of the community. In the past, the mathadhipathi exercised powers over secular matters of the community too. There have been occasions when the mathadhipathi has excommunicated members for violation of his edicts. The current Mathadhipathi of Sri Kashi Math Samsthan is H.H. Srimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji and their official Shishya Swamiji is H. H. Srimad Samyameendra Tirtha Swamiji (“Shishyathwa” on 20th June, 2002). Previously, H. H. Srimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji gave “Shishyathwa” to Raghavendra Tirtha in 1993 and ousted him on on 19th July, 2000, from the “Mutt”.

Source : Kashimutt websites / Wikipedia