Various programmes are organized in different places and allGSB people fail to get report of such activities. These reports may be uploaded in this section which will help other GSB groups to undertake such noble activities.
SRIMAD SAMYAMINDRA TIRTHA SWAMIJI
ASCENSION AS MATHADIPATHI
Shri Kashi Math Samsthan, Varanasi is a Dharma Peetha of the Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) community – a religious institution with glorious traditions and a hoary past. The GSBs are those Saraswats who migrated from Goudadesha, known as Trihothrapura in the Puranas. The Peetha has been occupied and adorned by great Yatis who radiate spirituality and divinity.
‘To know modern times one must know antiquity.’ Historic continuity with the past is both a duty and a necessity. One should have a sense of history as well as an awareness of it. Without it life would be humdrum and prosaic. Human existence is not just animal existence but a yearning and preparation for better and higher things, the attainment of which would not be possible without adherence to Dharma-Dharma which protects those who adhere to it and that would be possible only with the help and guidance of a Dharma Guru.
All institutions are the result and expression of the accumulated experience of ages. Change is the law of nature-but there are certain things and ideas which are immutable and unchanging. The old order, it is true, changes, yielding place to the new, but it always leaves to its successor a large legacy of ideas and habits, which in their turn become the nucleus of fresh acquisitions, each generation leaving its mark on succeeding generations. All human institutions have all the centuries in them and like the organic world obey the law of evolution by which they are gradually transmuted. We cannot rightly interpret or understand the present without some knowledge of the past.
We GSBs have our distinct customs and traditions, language and culture. All this makes up the personality of a person. Tradition, it is said, is an enormous magnifier. But it is not like instant coffee. Every generation would have to cherish it and defend it and carry it forward. It is imperative for us as for any other race or community to cherish and preserve our culture and heritage. The hallmark of India is no doubt unity in diversity. While we mingle with the rest of the society we cannot allow our identity to be lost. Existence without identity would not be ‘life’ or ‘living’- it would not be worthwhile. The institutions of temples and Maths help us and guide us to preserve and nourish all this. Thus their need and importance.
The Rishi Parampara of ancient times which imparted religious and spiritual knowledge and guidance and tended the people gave way to Yati Parampara since the time of Shri Adi Shankara. Maths have been the centres for religious and spiritual guidance for the laity. The Guru is the head of the Math and it is settled that in all religious and spiritual matters his judgement is final. The Maths have been the bastions of Hinduism- of our religion and culture through the ages.
A Math Samsthan like Shri Kashi Math Samsthan means and includes the Mathadhipathi- Swamiji, the disciples, their temples and everything connected with them, all the GSBs, the entire community all these cumulatively constitute the Samsthan. The father’s allegiance to a particular Math is perpetuated by his progeny. Mathadhipathi is not just a person, so also Mathadhipathya- it is a representative position. Shri Kashi Math Samsthan is the ultimate authority in matters of Dharma pertaining to temples coming under its purview.
It is of interest and significance that His Holiness Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji expressed this idea :
“The Guru Parampara is the Math which is the Dharma Peetha. Dharma Peetha came into existence for the Dharmic uplift and progress of the Samaj and to ensure that there is no deterioration or decline of Dharmic values and for establishment of Dharma. That means the Samsthan exists for the purpose of Dharma and not for the purpose of performing Daiva pooja only. It is enough to have temples for the performance of poojas. There is no need for a Mathadhisha for that purpose only. The Mathadhishas are there for the purpose of establishing of Dharma (Dharma Prathishtapana). Our Samsthan came into being on account of the earnest desire and prayers of the Cochin Mahajan that our Samaj should have a Dharma Peetha and Dharma Guru of its own for Dharma Prathishtapana. That is how the Samsthan came into existence. For us, Madhwas, Daiva pooja is an absolute necessity and it is our belief that even the Brahmadika Devas perform pooja to the Lord. So, we have to perform Daiva pooja and the deities (Shri VyasaRaghupathy and others of the Samsthan) are for Swamiji’s aradhana (worship). The Samsthan was founded not for the performance of Daiva pooja only but for Dharma Prathishtapana. The Dharma Prathishtapana has to go on eternally. So the Samsthan has to be there all the time. “
There are four types of sanyasis – Kuteechaka, Bahoodara, Hamsa and Paramahamsa- in the ascending order. The Swamijis of Shri Kashi Math Samsthan are Paramahamsas. All are sanyasis but because these sanyasis head a Samsthan the functions are also administrative. The Paramahamsa sanyasis are not supposed to wear gold and jewels but because our Swamijis are Mathadhishas with royal functions and digvijaya they do wear jewellery and silk for the sake of the Samsthan’s Vaibhava(grandeur). Some Mathadhipathis (like Shringeri Shankaracharya) even wear a crown during Durbars and Digvijayas.
The position and life of a Mathadhipathi unlike an ordinary sanyasi is a very difficult one, it is like wearing a crown of thorns. It carries with it heavy responsibilities and obligations and many times irreconcilable duties and functions. As the Mathadhipathi, Swamiji has to accept all royal honours that go with the Peetha and partake in its glory and grandeur. These include wearing silk and gold, having seemingly grand Bhiksha and phalahar in silver plates and vessels, having royal umbrella and such other regalia. But for a sanyasi such honours and paraphernalia are not permissible. Swamiji being essentially a sanyasi and also a Mathadhipathi these two positions have to be reconciled. This has to be done with more japa and anushtana and the awareness that the honours given are not for the individual (vyaktitva) but for the institution-Peetha. In Shriman Madhwacharya’s ‘Yati Pranava Kalpa’ it is stated that it is the primary duty and obligation of a sanyasi to establish the supremacy of Vishnu. How much more is it the obligation of a Mathadhisha!
The genesis of Shri Kashi Math Samsthan is well known. The position of the Cochin Thirumala Devaswom Temple and the Cochin Mahajan and their relation with the Samsthan is both important and unique. Shri Kashi Math Samsthan was founded on the earnest request of the Cochin Mahajan. The Vigraha of Lord Venkatapathy in the Cochin temple was also given by the Samsthan.
The history and evolution of our Math Samsthan unfolds a procession of great personages from Shrimad Vijayindra Tirtha Swamiji believed to have been a GSB, the progenitor of the Samsthan and Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Swamiji, the first Yati and Matadhipathi to Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji the 20th Guru who had the longest reign as Mathadipathi and attained Mukti on January 16, 2016. Apart from scaling rare peaks of excellence in religion and spirituality, they are models of good, simple living and great thinking, showing us how to live a life of promise and fulfilment made possible by ceaseless striving, devotion and dedication backed by the grace of the Almighty. They exemplified what is said in the Chandogya Upanishad: Yadeva vidyaya karothi, shraddaya, upanishada, tadeva viryavattaram bhavati- Whatever is done with vidya (knowledge), shraddha (faith and conviction- the totality of positive attitudes) and upanishad (deep thinking- contemplation) becomes supremely efficient. Of each of these stellar spiritual giants it may be said “his is truly clarum et venerable nomen”(an illustrious and venerable name).
How to reconcile the ever changing Nature ( Prakruti) and the enduring values and verities is a daunting task. Every institution and society has to adapt itself and be resilient so as to be relevant and purposeful to meet from time to time the altering conditions of a changing world with its shifting emphasis and differing needs . It is here we are guided by the Dharma Guru. The Mathadisha – Dharma Guru occupies a pivotal position and has a significant role.
In the Guru Parampara the 19th Guru Shrimad Sukrathindra Tirtha Swamiji was a great saint , a sage non-pareil the radiance of whose spirituality continues to inspire and bless us. He is verily a Kalpataru whose very name sanctifies both those who chant and those who hear. His greatest blessing to the community was his Sishya –Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji.
Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji was truly a divine person whose gracious and bewitching smile attracted and captivated one’s soul and drenched one in the ocean of divine love. Having deep and abiding faith in God and the Guru he always maintained an equipoise. He impressed upon us not to engender aversion and animosity even if you cannot generate love and empathy. What Swamiji endeavoured and achieved was expansion without diminution or dilution of the core. Swamiji’s journey through life from the purvashram and from the banks of the Shambhavi in Mulki on his initiation in 1944 to the banks of the Ganga in Haridwar in 2016 has been a story of our times and the onward march of the community.
The Guru Parampara reflecting the genius of the human race and the spiritual ethos of our great seers has moved with unbroken continuity through the ages. Shrimad Samyamindra Tirtha Swamiji, the 21st Guru, has now ascended the Peetha of Shri Kashi Math Samsthan. His Holiness was born on Sunday, September 12, 1982, under Ardhra nakshatra, in Bhadrapada of Dundubi Samvatsara, sh. sh. 1904 at North Parur, as the son of Shri Surendra Mallan and Smt. Nindila, of Vaccha Gotra . Their Kuladevata is Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath. The younger of the two sons in the family, his purvashram name was Umesh Mallan. He was religiously inclined even from younger days and as a young boy was very much liked by Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji. He was studying for the B.Com Degree in Lakshmi College, North Parur when Destiny came calling and the course of his life completely changed.
Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji was on the lookout for initiating a suitable vatu to continue the parampara. The process began in September 2001 with Swamiji’s rayasa to Cochin Tirumala Devaswom reminding the Cochin Mahajan of the special historic ties between them and the Samsthan and as per usage calling upon them to get the horoscopes of Brahmacharis from Cochin and the nearby samoohams for selecting a suitable vatu for initiation into sanyasashrama to perpetuate the holy Guru Parampara of the Samsthan. After seeing a number of horoscopes the choice fell on Umesh Mallan who was in his 20th year. It was a defining moment. He was the chosen of Providence. A new journey began. After the preliminary tirtha yatra and other requisite ceremonies he was initiated into sanyas ashrama at Haridwar, on Thursday 20th June 2002, the day of Ganga Avatara- Jyesta Shudha Dasami of Chitrabanu Samvatsara ,sh. sh. 1924. He was named Shrimad Samyamindra Tirtha. The name signifies one having complete control over the indriyas- senses.
Guru and Sishya were together at Haridwar for some months , including the Chaturmasa of 2002. The initiation into the religious lore began. In May 2003 he moved to Walkeshwar, Mumbai. The 2003 Chaturmasa was observed there. In January 2004, the camp was shifted to Ambalamedu and studies continued on a more serious note. The Chaturmasas of 2004, 2005, 2006 were observed there. The year 2004 marked the 60th year of Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji’s sanyas ashrama. In January 2007 both Guru and Sishya performed Kanakabhisheka to Lord Venkatpathi at Kochi to mark the 125th anniversary of the Tritiya Pratishta. That month also saw the Sahasra Chandra Darsana function of the Guru Swami.
April 2007, His Holiness moved to Bangalore Shri Kashi Math for further prosecution and completion of studies in Shastra and Vedanta. The Chaturmasas of 2007, 2008 and 2009 were observed in Bangalore. In January 2009 Guru and Sishya Swamijis were at Bhatkal for the 400th Punyathiti Aradhana of the first Swami- Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Swamiji. After a vigorous study and rigorous training befitting a Swami, Samyamindra Tirtha Swamiji performed the Sudha Mangala on Sunday, 24th January 2010 – Madhwa Navami- Magha Shudha Navami of Virodhi Samvatsara sh.sh. 1931 . It was the first in the community after Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji’s Sudha Mangala in 1955. Sudha Mangala is the successful completion of the study of Nyaya Sudha of Shrimad Jaya Tirtha –Tikacharya . It is a commentary on Shrimad Madhwacharya’s works and is considered the ultimate in the study of Madhwa Sidhanta. That demonstrates Swamiji’s scholarship.
On the occasion of the Sudha Mangala of Samyamindra Thirtha Swamiji, Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji wrote a rayasa patram to the Shishya in Sanskrit verse. Apart from the felicity of expression it reveals the richness of thought and brings out Swamiji’s own personality and outlook on life. His Holiness emphasised the need to be established in one’s swadharma and to propagate it, so also to be firmly self- disciplined and to inculcate discipline in others. He exhorted that you should not hurt anyone by thought, word or deed and that you should be compassionate and helpful to those who seek help and solace. There can perhaps be no greater philosophy of life- to be an integrated personality- with thoughts, words and deeds matching and pure, to be entrenched in swadharma and self discipline, to empathise and have compassion and render help.
It is a message for all and is a beacon especially for the Sishya showing the path and the goal and counselling how to go through the journey of life, particularly the very onerous life of a Yati and a Mathadipathi blended into one. Samyamindra Swamiji remembered and reminded himself of this on his ascending the Peetha.
After the successful completion of his studies Swamiji started undertaking tours and holding camps and conducting all other religious activities as a worthy representative of the Pontiff. The 2010 Chaturmasa of both the Swamis was in Haridwar. The Chaturmasa of 2011 was held at Hemmadi to mark the 300th Punyathiti of Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Swamiji II, whose Vrindavan is situated there. In January 2012 both Swamijis performed the Jeernodhara Prathishta and Kumbabisheka at Lord Venkataramana Temple, Mangalore. June 2012 witnessed the Parihara and Punar Prathishta Mahotsava of the Samsthan deities in Mangalore. Swamiji’s 2012 Chaturmasa with the Samsthan deities was observed in Haridwar. The year also marked the centenary of the Sanyasdeeksha of Shrimad Sukrathindra Swamiji. 2013 Chaturmasa was held at Bangalore and 2014 Chaturmasa at Walkeshwar, Mumbai. That also commemorated the centenary of Shri Varadendra Tirtha Swamiji’s Mukti. Swamiji also had a camp at Badri and at the Moola Math in Varanasi. A new Math at Tirupati was built and the Tirumala Math was fully renovated. All this was under the guidance and supervision of Samyamindra Tirtha Swamiji to whom the Guru Swamiji had delegated powers, functions and duties. In May 2015, His Holiness performed the Sahasra Shankabhisheka to Lord Venkatpathy at Gosripur, Kochi, the first of its kind in any of the GSB temples.
2016 heralded different events and ultimately a change of guard at the helm of the Samsthan. His Holiness entered sanyasashrama in difficult times. Over the 14 years since then he has matured and ripened into a great Yati. As certified by the Guru, Samyamindra Tirtha Swami has shown the right temperament and qualities of leadership worthy of the Peetha.
The times we live in are characterised by a loss of the sense of values. Just as continuity of memory is necessary for the sanity of an individual, continuity of tradition and culture is necessary for the sanity of the community. His Holiness as the 21st Guru, will be leading the community in the 21st century. It is our ardent hope and prayerful wish that the community will adhere to the right path and scale greater heights in the days to come under the leadership of the new Swami.