Thursday, June 24, 2010

Adhishtanams of the Kanchi Periyavas- The main features

I have had the good fortune of visiting a few adhistanams (final resting places) of the previous acharyas af the Kanchi kamakoti peetam. I thought I would share some features of the same.
Certain important points to remember:
It is said that the sanyasis themselves decide on the site of their adhishtanams whether they want a brindavanam built over it and also what ishta devatha needs to be installed on it, and also the type of pooja to be conducted. It is also very likely that many acharyas did not want their adhishtanams glorified . As per our mutt’s accounts, There have been 70 acharyas and 68 adhishtanams so far but very few adhistanams have been identified .Under the blessings of the acharyas' daily pooja’s are being conducted here and aradhanas performed.
All of us are of course familiar with the adhishtanam at the Kanchipuram mutt itself where we can see the adhistanams of Sri.Sureshwaracharya (Mandana mishra) and Shri .Chandrashekara saraswathi ( Maha periyava). The next one is the Adishankara Statue in the Kamakshi temple. It is believed that the place is the adhistanam of adi sankara ( debatable as legends say he vanished into Kailasa).There are a set of stone sculptures in the hall way next to this which chronicle the life of Adishankara and next time please do visit this when you come to the Kamakshi temple at Kanchipuram( these were put up at the directions of mahapeiyava by my father in law Dr.S.Kalyanaraman and his father Dr.V.Subramanian).
It is beleved that there are a lot of adhishtanams in the mutt complex itself and also in the kanchi kamakshi temple. These are as of now un identified. The various acharyas in chronological order and their history, contribution and place of Samadhi can be accessed from the kanchi kamakoti website link

Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada : On reaching Kanchi, after the digvijaya tours, Sri Sankaracharya settled down at Kanchi, established a Math for his own residence in that city, gave sanyasa deeksha to a very young boy of Thambaravarni valley, gave him the name Sarvajnatman, nominated him as successor Acharya of the Kanchi Sankaracharya Math and put him under the care of Sri Suresvaracharya. A long line of unbroken erudite and pious Acharyas have adorned the Kamakoti Peetham. Some of the most famous in this line of Acharyas are Sri Krpa Sankara, Sri Muka Sankara, Sri Abhinava Sankara, Sri Paramasivendra Saraswati, Sri Bhodhendra Saraswati and the world renowned 68th Acharya, Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal (Maha Periyaval), a benign soul who illustrated to us, through His universal tolerance, lofty nobility, profound erudition, towering spirituality and child like simplicity, like what the great Bhagavatpada Himself
Adi Sankara took to sanyasa directly from Brahmacharya asrama. The same order is being followed till now where the Head of the Matham is selected from Brahmacharis only. The Acharyas of Kamakoti Peetham have the title "lndra-Saraswati". The Acharyas themselves perform daily tri-kala pooja to Sri Chandramauleesvara.