Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam ?

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 16 16:43:53 CST 1999

This is regarding Vidya's reply to my query about the Kanchi Matham.
Ofcourse, this is rather late in the day :-), but there's something I
would like to point out.

Vidya makes a reference that Brahmananda Sarasvati, doesn't mention a
Shankara matham in Kanchi. But it has to be noted that the current
Kanchi Kamakodi Peedam itself was moved to Kanchi, only early this
century. It's originally supposed to have existed in some other place in
Tamil Nadu (it's actually a pretty famous town in TN, but at this point
it escapes me! Could somebody else can provide the name?).

Plus, when I was in Madras a few months back, I read in an article in
the Hindu, that it's only Kanchi where it can be authentically
established that Shankara himself taught. The author seemed to be a
reputed scholar, for he was reviewing a work on Advaitam.

Another thing to be considered is that, Kanchi in the olden days was a
very prominent Bauddha stronghold and probably the most famous
scholastic centre in the South. It's said scholars from various
displines routinely turned up there to debate against each other.

And even in Hindu mythology, Kanchi is considered one of the five holy
cities in India.

So it's inconceivable that Shankara who was from Kerala, would have not
gone to Kanchi. Whatever may be the veracity of the claim of the Kanchi
Matham, there's hardly any doubt that Shankara taught  in Kanchi.

Plus there is the Kamakshi Amman temple where legends say that Shankara
restricted the Amman from going out of the temple. And that is the only
temple I've seen where Shankara worshipped as a deity.

The strongest evidence I would think is the existing parampara. The
smarthas of TN are staunch followers of Shankara. Such a following could
not have cropped up from nowhere and all of a sudden. And the reputation
that the Kanchi Matham enjoys is public knowledge. This could not have
been build without a solid base.

Anyway, whatever be the value of the matham in being personally
established by Shankara, it remains that Kanchi is one of the leading
centres of Advaitam in India today, where the traditional standards in
terms of choosing the guru are still maintained - of which the same
cannot be said for the three mathams other than Shringeri.

But I'm no scholar and am just making points :-)

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