Kashi Math

 Kashi Math is one of the four spiritual schools followed by Goud Saraswat Brahmins or Gowda Saraswat Brahmins (GSB). Members of the Goud Saraswat community predominantly live along the west coast of India, from Mumbai in the north to Kerala in the south. It is one of the 24 mathas of the Dvaita order. Headquartered in Brahma Ghat, Varanasi, Kashi Math has followers all over the Konkan belt, prominently inUdupi, Mangalore, Kochi, Alappuzha and other parts of Kerala and Karnataka.


Kashi Math was founded in 1542 AD. Before the Kashi Math was established, most Vaishnava Gowd Saraswat Brahmins were followers of the Shri Kavindra Math of Madhvacharya. During the 15th century, Sri Ramachandra Tirtha of Moola Math (Jagadguru Sriman Madhwacharya Moola Maha Samsthana) initiated two shishyas as sannyasins: Vibhudendra Tirtha and Vidyanidhi Tirtha. The latter started a new math called Uttaradi Math and became head of the same, while Sri Vibhudendra Tirtha continued Parampara of Sri Ramachandra Tirtha, main parampara of Sriman Madhwacharya, now named Sri Raghavendra Math or RaghavendraMantralaya 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 (Mula Matha), one of his disciples, Vijayindra Tirtha undertook a Chaturmasya (a religious event lasting four months) at Kochi in 1539–1540. Here, he selected Sri Vittalacharya 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. Kumbhakonam Math gave two idols of Vyasa and Rama (Raghupati) to Shrimat Yadavendra Tirtha along with the rights to guide the Gowd Saraswats.Main Deities of Samsthan Kashi Math are charaprathishta (literally, a moving installation) idols of Lord Shri Veda Vyasa and Lord Shri Rama (Raghupati) also popularly known as Sree Vyasa Raghupathi.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 Maadhwacharya, but subtle differences exist between the Maadhwa Siddantha followed by Sri Kashi Math and the main-line Maadhwa followers.The spiritual head, or the Mathadipathi is the administrative head of the math and its properties. As a math specific to the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins , the mathadhipathi 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 20th Mathadhipathi of the Kashimath H. H. Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji enjoys iconic stature among his devotees and is a great scholar of the Vedas and ancient scriptures. He has sought to preserve protect and propagate the vedic heritage through His discourses over several years and the institutions found by Him. His illustrious predecessor Mahaswami H.H. Sukrateendra Thirtha attained Samadhi in 1949. Thereafter Shrimad Sudhindra Thirtha swamiji has been guiding the Samsthan and its devotees by travelling the width and breadth of India and beyond the Himalayas in Nepal by word and deed. There has not been a single day when the pujas to the presiding deities of Shri Vedavyasa and Shri Raghupathi [Lord Sreeram] were missed. Shri Vyasashram at Haridwar on the bank of sacred Ganga which was built in 1988 as monument to Lord Vedavyasa was dedicated by Swamiji for the welfare of the world. In 1998 at Kalpi near Kanpur (U.P) the birthplace of Vedavyasa a beautiful temple has been built to symbolise and propagate the universal philosophy of Shri Vedavyasa. As Per Tradition of math it was belived that the swamiji who is having paraphernalia and main deities of Sree Vyasa Raghupathi. Upto 19th Pontiff linage (ie. Up to H.H.Sukratheendra Thirtha Swamiji) of Kashi Math Guruparampara; Guru Swamiji was holding and offering Poojas & Prayer to paraphernalia and main deities of Sree Vyasa Raghupathi. Also Only After the Samadhi of Guru Swamiji, Shishya Swamiji was becoming Mathadhipathi.But on 04-11-1994,due to heath problems, H H Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji handed over the Administrative power of math along with paraphernalia and main deities of Sree Vyasa Raghupathi to H H Raghavendra Thirtha Swamiji and left to Haridwar for Swadhyaya and for writng a few compositions in Sanskrit.His Holiness RaghavendraThirtha Swamiji, is the 21st Pontiff of Shree Kashi Mutt Samsthan. H. H. Swamiji is the only shishya of H.H.Shrimad Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji and Utaradhikari of Kashi Math Samsthan.Shrimad Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji used to say the following statements in many congregations: We named our able successor as Shrimad Raghavendra Thirtha Swamiji like the Manthralaya Mutt Shrimad Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji named their able successor as Shrimad Raghavendra Thirtha swamiji. Manthralaya Mutt Shrimad Raghavendra Thirtha Swamiji earned fame by the powers they possessed.We Forsee the same in our sucessor Srimad Raghavendra Thirtha by seeing thier Natal Charts.Earlier,In Shree Kashi Mutt Samsthan too,We had one swamiji H.H. Shrimad Raghavendra Thirtha swamiji as the 5th Matadhipathi in the pontifical lineage. Their contribution to this Samsthan and the followers is enormous.Shrimad Vibhudendra Tirtha was the fourteenth Swamiji of the Kashi Matha Samsthan, initiated two shishyas into sanyasa namely Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha & Shrimad Vibhudendra Tirtha. Some time after the passing away of Shrimad Vibhudendra Tirtha Swamiji, a difference of opinion arose between his two Shishya-Swamijis. It went to such an extent that the younger Swamiji, Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha demanded the division of all the movable and immovable properties of the Kashi Matha as well as the followers of the Matha and filed a suit in the Calicut court to that effect. The two shishyas being the official and legal heirs of the entire Kashi Matha, the court agreed with the younger Swamiji and issued the necessary decree for the division of the Math. In the mean time Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha, selected a minor from his followers and initiated him into sanyasa on 1849 and accepted him as shishya, who was named shrimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha and attained samadhi in 1851. In the meantime Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha was camping in Shri Venkataramana Temple, Kundapura. He was about to get the decree enforced, thereby dividing the Matha into two Mathas and also to select a Shishya. It was at this time that news reached the Swamiji that his co-Shishya, Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha, attained Samadhi in Alleppey. His Shishya, being a minor, a question arose as to who would be his guardian. The minor promptly and with great foresight requested Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha to be his guardian.Now the latter obliged. Further, he gave up the idea of division of the Kashi Matha and even went a step further. He voluntarily and with a broad mind delegated all his rights to his share of the property of the Kashi Matha sanctioned to him earlier by the court decree mentioned earlier, to his ward, the minor Swamiji. He did not proceed with his plans regarding the initiation of some one into sanyasa and accepting him as his shishya.It is belived that in order to avoid similar conflict in Kashi Math in future, shrimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha have made an unchangeable Amendment in the constitution of Kashi Math. As per this Amendment Mathadhipathi of Kashi Math can initiate only one vatu into Sanyasa and he will be the Shishya Swamiji and the Utharadhikari of the Math. Mathadhipathi of kashi math cannot initiate more than one vatu into sanyasa.Hence as per Guru Parampara, Constituion of Math and Amendment by shrimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha Swamiji , Shrimad Raghavendra Thirtha Swamiji is the Shishya Swamiji and Utharadhikari of Kashi Math.

Guru Parampara

SL NoNamePurvashrama NameBirth (A.D)Ashrama SveekarSamadhiRefDatePlaceDateAgePlaceDateAgePlace1Yadavendra Thirtha - 1--Cochin1539-Banaras26-06-160880-90Bhatkal2Keshavendra ThirthaRama Bhat1583--27-02-167087Basrur-3Upendra Thirtha - 1Anantha Bhat---24-10-1674-Banaras-4Yadavendra Thirtha - 2Hanumanta Bhat1629--15-09-171182Hemmady-5Raghavendra Thirtha - 1Narayana Bhat1646--15-02-172579Banaras-6Devendra Thirtha----1740-Bantwal-7Madhavendra Thirtha----01-08-1775-Walkeshwar-8Jnaneendra Thirtha----1760-Nasik-9Yadavendra Thirtha - 3----10-03-1773-Honnavar-10Upendra Thirtha - 2----02-12-1791-Banaras-11Rajendra Thirtha----30-05-1799-Thuravur-12Sureendra Thirtha-04-01-1778--16-06-1831-Alappuzha-13Vishnu Thirtha------Banaras-14Vibhudendra Thirtha-21-03-1782--27-02-183452Manjeshwar-15Sumatheendra Thirtha-29-10-179815-03-18151631-01-185152Alappuzha-16Vasudendra ThirthaAbbaya Bhat1832--Manjeshwar16-05-1859-Manjeshwar-17Bhuvanendra ThirthaNarasimha Kammath21-06-1837Pallipuram25-1-185112Alappuzha26-11-188649Basrur-18Varadendra ThirthaGiri Mallya186606-06-187610Manjeshwar24-06-191448Walkeshwar-19Sukratheendra ThirtaSreenivasa Prabhu26-03-1897Cochin16-08-191215Tiruchirapalli10-07-194952Cochin-20Sudhindra ThirthaSadhasiva Shenoy31-03-1926Ernakulam24-05-194518MulkiPresent Mathadipathi-21Raghavendra Thirtha - 2Shivananda Pai05-08-1972Ernakulam07-07-198917BanarasUtharadhikari-

Internal strife in Kashi Math

1834 - 1851

Shrimad Vibhudendra Tirtha was the fourteenth Swamiji of the Kashi Matha Samsthan.The Swamiji had initiated a vatu into sanyasa and called him Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha on 15 March 1815. Later when the Guru Swamiji was camping in Manjeshwara in 1834, the Shishya-Swamiji was in Kochi. The Swamiji felt that his end was near and immediately sent for his Shishya Swamiji. However, due to the non-availability of suitable, rapid transport facilities, the Shishya-Swamiji could not come to Manjeshwara in time. In order to ensure the continuity of the pujas of the deities of the Kashi Matha Samsthan, the Guru-Swamiji initiated one Abbayya (perhaps Bhat), a scholarly vaidika of the retinue of the Swamiji and named him Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha and attained Maha Samadhi on 27 February 1834. His Vridavana is in the Kashi Matha premises in Manjeshwara.Some time after the passing away of Shrimad Vibhudendra Tirtha Swamiji in 1834, a difference of opinion arose between his two Shishya-Swamijis. It went to such an extent that the younger Swamiji, Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha demanded the division of all the movable and immovable properties of the Kashi Matha as well as the followers of the Matha and filed a suit in the Calicut court to that effect.The two shishyas being the official and legal heirs of the entire Kashi Matha, the court agreed with the younger Swamiji and issued the necessary decree for the division of the Matha. But before enforcing the different provisions of the decree two events happened, which prevented the changing course of the history of the Kashi Math.Firstly, the elder Swamiji, Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha, selected a minor from his followers and initiated him into sanyasa on 1849 and accepted him as shishya, who was named shrimad Bhuvanendra TirthaSecondly, the elder Swamiji, Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha, attained Samadhi on 31 st January, 1851 in Shri Venkatapati Temple, Alleppy, where his Vrindavana is situated. When this happened, Shrimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha was still a minor.In the meantime Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha was camping in Shri Venkataramana Temple, Kundapura. He was about to get the decree enforced, thereby dividing the Matha into two Mathas and also to select a Shishya. It was at this time that news reached the Swamiji that his co-Shishya, Shrimad Sumateendra Tirtha, attained Samadhi in Alleppey. His Shishya, being a minor, a question arose as to who would be his guardian. The minor promptly and with great foresight requested Shrimad Vasudendra Tirtha to be his guardian.Now the latter obliged. Further, he gave up the idea of division of the Kashi Matha and even went a step further. He voluntarily and with a broad mind delegated all his rights to his share of the property of the Kashi Matha sanctioned to him earlier by the court decree mentioned earlier, to his ward, the minor Swamiji. He did not proceed with his plans regarding the initiation of some one into sanyasa and accepting him as his shishya.
For reasons not fully known, serious differences between the Senior Pontiff Sudhindra Thirtha and the then Junior Pontiff Raghavendra Thirtha came to light around 2000-2001 amidst charges of the disciple’s insubordination and questions to his integrity for the role. On July 19 2000, the senior pontiff relinquished the junior of his position including all the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Math through a formal proclamation based on an earlier communication from Raghavendra Thirtha in 1999 November requesting relief from the tutelage.  Thereafter the tussle among the pontiffs turned into a dispute over the control of the Kashi Math and the ownership of the ‘parikaras’ (relics) of the Kashi Math including about 234 pieces of jewellery and silver articles and 27 idols including the the deity of main idol Vyasa Raghupathi that were in the possession of junior pontiff. After prolonged judicial proceedings, the District Court in Tirupathi gave the verdict favouring the senior pontiff. The court upheld the status of the senior pontiff as the ‘Matadhipathi’, accepted the junior’s abdication and directed him to return all belongings of the Math and refrain from interfering in its affairs. A petition seeking a stay on the order was dismissed by the Andhra Pradesh high court. The Supreme Court of India also confirmed the same on December 2, 2009 and upheld the High Court order recognizing Senior Swamiji Sudheendra Theertha as the legitimate head of the Math.  The Supreme Court of India in 2010 rejected the Special Leave Petition of Kashi Math Junior Swamiji Raghavendra Theertha and upheld the High Court order recognizing Senior Swamiji Sudheendra Theertha as the legitimate head of the Math.   After months of evading multiple court orders including the order of Hon’ble District Court, Ernakulam dated 19.8.2011 to surrender the ‘parikaras’, the junior pontiff Raghavendra Theertha absconded with the relics and was finally arrested at Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh in October 2011.  Thereafter in November 2011, the ‘parikaras’ were handed over to Sudhindra Thirtha, the senior pontiff and head of the Kashi Math.   In 2012, the junior pontiff Raghavendra Theertha has again made an appeal in the Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the Supreme Court Order.  

Branches/Ashrams under direct administration of Kashi Math

SL NoNameStateDistrictFounded
(A.D)FounderRenovated
(A.D)Renovator1Kashi Math - Varanasi
(Head Quarters)Uttar PradeshVaranasiCochin GSBs2Kashi Math - WalkeshwarMaharashtraWalkeshwar
(Mumbai)Madhavendra Thirtha1937Sukratheendra Thirtha3Kashi Math - Dahisar
(Vittal Rukumai Mandir)MaharashtraDahisar
(Mumbai)4Kashi Math - Vashi
(Sri Balaji Mandir)MaharashtraDahisar
(Mumbai)5Kashi Math - NasikMaharashtraNasik19946Kashi Math - NagpurMaharashtraNagpur7Kashi Math - Khed
(Shende Wadi)MaharashtraKhed
(Ratnagiri Dist.)8Kashi Math - Banglore
(Parthasarathi Mandir)KarnatakaBanglore9Kashi Math - Basrur
(Sri Venkataramana Temple)KarnatakaBasrur
(Udupi Dist.)Keshavendra Thirtha10Kashi Math -Hemmady
(Sri Gopinatha Temple)KarnatakaHemmady
(Udupi Dist.)Keshavendra Thirtha11Kashi Math - Karkala
(Sri Venkataramana Temple)KarnatakaKarkala
(Udupi Dist.)12Kashi Math - Kota
(Sri Gopalakrishna Temple)KarnatakaKota
(Udupi Dist.)13Kashi Math - Nayampalli
(Sri Gopalakrishna Temple)KarnatakaNayampalli
(Udupi Dist.)14Kashi Math - Hangarkatta
(Sri Ram Mandir)KarnatakaHangarkatta
(Udupi Dist.)15Kashi Math - Shirva
(Sri Mahalasa Narayani Temple)KarnatakaShirva
(Udupi Dist.)16Kashi Math - Naravi
(Sri Venugopal Krishna Temple)KarnatakaNaravi
(Udupi Dist.)17Kashi Math - BhatkalKarnatakaBhatkal
(U K Dist.)Yadhavendra Thirtha - 118Kashi Math - BantwalKarnataka
(D K Dist.)19Kashi Math - BantwalKarnataka
(D K Dist.)20Kashi Math - SurathkalKarnatakaSurathkal
(D K Dist.)21Kashi Math - Konchady
(Sri Venkataramana Temple)KarnatakaKonchady
(D K Dist.)22Kashi Math - BhagamandalaKarnatakaBhagamandala
(Kondagu Dist.)23Kashi Math - Ambalamedu
(Sri Kuladevata Mandir Complex)KeralaAmbalamedu
(Cochin)1992Sudhindra Thirtha &
Raghavendra Thirtha - 224Kashi Math - PallipuramKeralaPallipuram
(Cochin)25Kashi Math - Manjeshwar
(Anantheswar Temple)KeralaManjeshwar
(Kasaragod)26Kashi Math - Alappuzha
(Old Tirumala Temple)KeralaAlappuzha27Kashi Math - Calicut
(Sri Panduranga Mandir)KeralaWest Hill
CalicutRaghavendra Thirtha - 228Kashi Math - Rameshwaram
(Sri Kodanda Rama Temple)TamilnaduRameshwaram29Kashi Math - ChennaiTamilnaduChennai30Kashi Math - Goa
(Bandora, Ponda)GoaBandora, Ponda
Goa31Kashi Math - TirumalaAndra PradeshTirumala
(Upper Tirupati)

Branches/Ashrams under direct administration of Sri Sri Vyasa Prasana Raghavendra Charitable Trust

SL NoNameStateDistrictFounded
(A.D)FounderRenovated
(A.D)Renovator1Kashi Math - Elamakara
Dwaraka Kala MandhirKeralaErnakulam(Kochi)2004Raghavendra Thirtha - 2--

Branches/Ashrams under direct administration of Sri Vedavyasa Charitable Trust

SL NoNameStateDistrictFounded
(A.D)FounderRenovated
(A.D)Renovator1Kashi Math - Haridwar
VyasasramUttar PradeshHaridwarSudindra Thirtha2Kashi Math - PrayagUttar PradeshPrayag
(Allahabad)3Kashi Math - Kalpi
(Bala Vedavyasa Mandir)Uttar PradeshKalpi
(Jalaun Dist,)Sudindra Thirtha

Samadhi

Vrindavan

According to a custom followed in the Kashi Math , after Swamiji passes away, the mortal remains of the departed Swamiji are buried in the earth after suitably embalming the body with preservatives - salt, camphor, heaps of Tulsi leaves etc. - usually in the Math premises or in temples associated with the Math. Subsequently, a memorial structure is constructed over the site and an idol of Lord Hanuman is installed. A sacred Tulsi plant is then planted in front of the idol, the underlying principle being that the soul of the departed Swamiji reaches Lord Hari (supposed to have his divine presence near a Tulsi plant), through Mukhya Prana (Hanuman). The entire place is known as the Vrindavana or Samadhi of the Swamiji. Arrangements are made for the daily pujas in the Vrindavana and the Punya Tithi (death anniversary) of the Swamiji is duly celebrated with special pujas and prayers and Abhishekam to the Hanuman idol for his blessing to the Matha Samsthan and its followers.

Jala Samadhi

According to a custom followed in the Kashi Matha Samsthan, whenever a Swamiji attained samadhi at Kashi, a Vrindavana was not constructed as in other places. The mortal remains of the Swamiji would be placed in a box made of rock slabs and lowered into the holy river Ganga, who was born of Lord Vishnu's toe.Among Kashi Math pontiffs Upendra Thirtha (1) Swamiji, Raghavendra Thirtha (1) Swamiji, Upendra Thirtha (2) Swamiji & Srimad Vishnu Tirtha Swamiji had attained Jala Samadhi.

Jeeva Samadhi

Jeeva Samadhi is the tomb of a Hindu Spiritual Guru or a saint. It is believed that the saint's life force still exists in the tomb and prayers are offered to it.In this concept, by spiritual practices, life is not allowed to go out of the body. The seed cells in the body never get damaged. Such a person stops the functions of the body after completion of his or her mission by his or her own will. Gnani will fix his or her mind with the Almighty and stop functioning. The body is then buried. That body will never decay whether it is thousand or ten thousand years, because the magnetic force in the body itself acts as a life force in the body. As "unseen masters" or "invisible helpers" they guide the human race to wisdom.It is believed that this force remains forever and the time limit for the Samadhi status depends upon the saint's bio-magnetic strength, which may vary in terms of hundreds of years. Until then, the soul in samadhi stage will continue to bless the devotees. The place around such Jeeva Samadhi has very high spiritual magnetic force. It can be sensed by the gnana aspirant. If these places are maintained properly, they become energy banks supplying the needful.Madhavendra Thirtha Swamiji who was the seventh head of the Kashi Matha Samsthan, who founded the Kashi Matha premises in Walkeshwar, where ultimately he entered Jeevanta Samadhi. His Vrindavana is in the Matha premises in Bombay. A few stars shine in the spiritual firmament of India, the stars which have entered Samadhi while still alive. Madhavendra Thirtha Swamiji the only swamiji in the history of kashi math who had attained Jeevanta Samadhi.