Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Dec 7 17:13:47 CST 1998

On Mon, 7 Dec 1998, Ravisankar Mayavaram wrote:

> || bhava sha.nkara deshikame sharaNam.h  ||
> I think we have to look at this issue deeply.


> 1) First of all, bhagavAn shrI shankara founded 4 AmnAya
> (traditional)  maTha-s. My question is why then the sannyAsa
> order was classified into 10 groups. Will not 4 be suffice? To
> identify the sannyAsis initiated from each of these maTha-s? If
> there was a need to identify them.

Once Vidyashankar recommended to me a book called "Society and Sannyasin:
A History of the Dasnami Sannyasins" which was written by an insider,
Swami Sadananda Giri.  There was another book on the subject by A.S.
Ghurye whose name I've forgotten.  Both were available at the New York
Public library.  Maybe you could get hold of them by interlibrary loan or

Anyway I believe the Swami stated that the four disciples had ten
disciples of their own called Giri, Aranya etc. and that's why there are
10 orders.  I don't know how much of this is true or legend but that was
the tradition the author knew.

> 2) To start with on what basis the sannyAsis where assigned to an
> appropriate order, say tIrtha or AraNya?

As far as I know, the order of a sannyasi depends only on the order of his
dikshaguru.  Sometimes even the first name is made this way.  E.g. all the
Sannyasis of Kanchi Matha are *indra Saraswati.

> And to what orders did
> the 4 chief disciples belong to?

That I couldn't tell you.  If the tradition mentioned above is true, it
would appear to be none.

> Unless we understand the purpose and significance of the
> institution, we cannot say it is a guru-shiShya system or a
> society  for sannyAsis. What were the rules of the structure
> created will also determine whether one has violated it or not.

If it is not a guru-shishya relationship then why do dvaita sannyasis
continue to have the name Tirth?  They do not seem to have any ideological
need to do so.

> If you can give an answer supported by some authorities
(like > statements of shankarAchArya-s of one of the maTha-s), it will be
> more convincing.

> About your comments about shrI ananda tIrtha. He is one of the
> great teachers of vedanta and definitely deserves respect and
> veneration. We may not agree with him, that is a different issue.
> shrI ananda tIrtha has written bhAShya-s on prasthAna trayI and
> established a system with a proper basis. If you say something so
> strong, you should support your statements with some form of
> authority.

I don't doubt his talents but it is completely non-controversial that his
guru was an Advaitin (Achyutapreksha Tirth) and he later repudiated that
doctrine. (See http://www.dvaita.org/madhva/AnandaT_1.html)  No doubt the
Dvaitins have some justification for this behavior but I've drawn my

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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