Shankaracharyas' view on Dharmashastras

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 12 18:44:45 CST 1999

>I hope Vidyashankar will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he was
>referring to the Rajarajeshwari Peetham in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
>This was (is?) run by female sannyasis.  However the various vaidik karmas
>were performed by a Pandit, a certain Shri Janakirama Shastriji from
>Andhra if I recall correctly.  So there is no deviation from Shruti and

Yes, I was talking about the women Sannyasins at the Rajarajeshwari Peetham.
The first head of this institution was ordained by a visiting Sannyasin from
India, and she and her disciples later travelled to India, and obtained the
blessings of the Sringeri Acharya.

Also, to clarify things, Sannyasins do not perform Vaidik karmas, whether
they are male or female. They may be simply present during the rituals, and
occasionally offer suggestions or direct that some homa may be done, but
without active participation. Any rituals associated with the running of a
traditional Matha are conducted by householder pundits associated with the
institution. It may also be noted that according to the old codes, study
(adhyayana) of the karmakanda of the Vedas is not allowed for Sannyasins,
and the question of gender does not arise.

By the way, the lineage of women renouncers in the Rajarajeshwari Peetham
has since gone defunt, and the organization had many financial problems a
few years ago. Some devotees of the Sringeri Jagadguru in New York and New
Jersey have got together and acquired the land of the old Rajarajeshwari
Peetham, and this is the site of the Sringeri Sadhana Center, with plans to
build a temple for Goddess Sharadamba there.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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