Shri Gaudapadacharya MathShri Gaudapadacharya Math , also known as Kavaḷē maṭha , located in Kavale, Ponda, Goa is the oldest matha of the South Indian Saraswat Brahmins. It was founded byGauḍapāda around 740 AD, whose student was Govinda Bhagavatpada, the guru of Adi Shankara, a highly influential figure in Hinduism. There is also a belief that Gauḍapāda himself established the Shri Gaudapadacharya matha when he lived in Gomantak (Goa). Thus, the matha came to be known as Shri Saunstan Gaudapadacharya matha. Unlike other mathas, Shri Gaudapadacharya matha is not a polemical center established to influence the faith of all Hindus, its jurisdiction is limited to only Dakshinatya Saraswat Brahmins. The Peetadhipathi "head monk" is Śrī Gauḍapadācārya. Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins and Smartist Goud Saraswat Brahmins are its main disciples.
Śrī Sansthāna Gauḍapadācārya Maṭha was founded in 740 AD at Kushasthali near Keloshi (Quelshim) in Goa by Shri Vivarananda Saraswati, who along with Adi Shankara was a disciple of Govinda Bhagavatpada, who in turn was Gaudapada's disciple. There is also belief among people that the matha was established by Gaudapada.During the Portuguese rule in Goa in 15th and 16th century, Hindus were forcibly converted to Christianity, and many Hindu temples and mathas were destroyed. In 1564, the Gaudapadacharya matha at Keloshi was destroyed by the Portuguese. Challenged by the Portuguese atrocities, to safeguard the tradition, legacy of the matha and the Sanatan Dharma, 57th guru Shrimat Purnananda Saraswati Swami Gowdapadacharya had to leave Goa and find shelter at the Golvan matha ashram. 58th Guru Shrimat Sahajananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya and 59th Guru Shrimat Vidyananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya also stayed at the Golvan matha. 60th Guru Shrimat Ramananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya stayed in Chinder matha. 61st Guru Shrimat Sadananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya left for Varanasi along with his disciple the 62nd Guru Shrimat Bhavananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya, as the hostile situation in Goa did not improve for Hindus.Later as the peace returned to Goa, Shri Vittal Shyama Sharma Shenavi Ranganekar of Kaundinya Gotra from Kushasthali along with a group of Saraswats went to Varanasi to persuade the 62nd Guru to return to Goa from Varanasi. During those times, it used to take 6 months or more to reach Varanasi and return to Goa. The guru listened to the plea's to return to Goa, but politely refused to oblige due to his old age and his desire to spend his remaining life in sacred place of Varanasi, abode of god Shiva. This forced the group of people to return to Goa; however, Ranganekar decided to remain with the guru and serve him in order to get some more time to persuade him to return to Goa. Unrelenting, Ranganekar later one day threatened to go on fast-unto-death if the guru would not return to Goa. When several requests of the guru to Ranganekar to reverse his decision did not yield any results, in presence of several important Hindu religious leaders and Sants and Sadhus of Varanasi, performed the religious rituals and gave Sanyasa deeksha to Ranganekar and made him his disciple and renamed him Shrimat Sachidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya.After giving diksha, Shri Bhavananda Saraswati ordered Shri Sachidananda Saraswati to return to Goa and perform the duties of dharma guru of Saraswats according to the Śrī Sansthāna Gauḍapadācārya Maṭha’s tradition. In his journey, on the way to Goa Shri Sachidananda Saraswati Swamiji was felicitated and assisted to make his journey comfortable by the kings and general public. Mean time news of Ranganekar taking sannyasa diksha spread among Saraswat Brahmins in Goa, but some people refused to believe that as truth which led to division of Saraswat Brahmins into 2 groups.There was couple of reasons why people refused to believe because as per the tradition, only a brahmacharin can take sannyasa diksha and Ranganekar was a Gamanashrama and the sannyasa diksa was not performed in presence of the disciples from Goa. So some people believed that Ranganekar is trying to enjoy the special status and power of being Peetadipathi and thereby own the property of the matha. Moreover Shrimat Sachidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya was not carrying any documents signed by Shri Bhavananda Saraswati authenticating his new status.All these developments forced Shrimat Sachidananda Saraswati swami Gauḍapādāchārya to return to Varanasi in mid-way and appraised Shrimat Bhavananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya about the situation. Then Shrimat Bhavananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya invited the religious leaders of Varanasi to a gathering at Mukthi Mantap to discuss the matter and wrote a letter stating that Shri Sachidananda Saraswati swamij Gauḍapādāchārya was indeed his disciple and Uttaradhikari of Shri Saunstan Gauḍapādāchārya matha in Goa and he would be the spiritual guru of Saraswat Brahmins of Gomantak region and which was signed along with other religious leaders gathered there and handed over to Shrimat Sachidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya.Shrimat Sachidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya then decided to stay few more days with his guru Shrimat Bhavananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya in Varanasi and later returns to Goa where a grand welcome awaited him and he stayed in Sonavade Matha in Ratnagiri.As peace prevailed in Goa region, in 1630 new Matha building was built in Kavale, Ponda, Goa, which in those days was a part of Sonde Kingdom, under Hindu rule. The land for this matha was gifted by then ruler Shri Basavalinga Soundha. After the Math building was built, Shrimat Satchidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya who was staying in Sonavade matha moved to this new matha and became the first Peetadhipathi to stay in this matha and it was made the headquarters of the Shri Saunstan Gauḍapādāchārya Matha.The group of Shenavi Saraswat Brahmins who still refused to acknowledge Shrimat Satchidananda Saraswati Swami Gauḍapādāchārya as the new Guru split from larger Saraswat community and later founded new matha called Chitrapur Math in 1708.Since the matha was established, all Dakshinatya or southern Saraswat Brahmins were the disciples of this matha and all Saraswat Brahmins were followers of Smartism. In 12th Century A.D.Madhvacharya propagated the Dvaita philosophy and promoted Bhakti movement centred around god Krishna which gave fillip to Vaishnava sect and a large section of Saraswat Brahmins converted to Vaishnavism. Later in 1476 A.D. Gokarna Math and in 1542 A.D. Kashi Math was founded under Vaishnava sampradaya and those Saraswat Brahmin converts to Vaishnavism started following these new mathas.In Kali Yuga Sri Gaudapadcharya is the first preceptor to imbibe the Vedanta Wisdom and imparted it to his disciples, thus he is the first historical exponent of Advaita Vedanta. He is the guru of Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya (the guru of Adi Shankaracharya), thus he is the grand guru of Adi Shankaracharya.Gauḍapādāchārya authored Ma-n.d.ukya Ka-rika- which is known by several names such as Gaud.apa-da Ka-rika-, Mandookya Vartika, Mandukopanishad Gaudapada Vakyan, Aagama Granth, Upadesha Granth and also by the name A-gama S'a-stra a commentary on Mandukya Upanishad. Gauḍapādāchārya describes the subtle meanings locked in the mantras of Mandukya Upanishad, one of the shortest but most profoundUpanishads, or mystical Vedas, consisting of just 13 prose sentences. Although it is a small book by its length, its philosophical contents are very profound and far reaching, and it is considered one of the greatest works of fundamental philosophy by all scholars. Gaud.apa-da Ka-rika- is an example of the rational epistemics of ultimate reality and it is the earliest known systematic exposition of Advaita Vedanta. That is why this book is also known as 'Vedanta Moola' meaning the basis of Vedanta philosophy. He explained the illusionary nature (maya) of the world and the reality of the Parabhrahman. Gaudapadcharya wrote commentary on Sāṁkhya Kārikā of Iśvarakṛṣṇa (3rd century), and his other works included Anurgeeta-bhasya, Uttargeeta-bhasya, Chidananda Kelivilas. Adi Shankaracharya at the end of his famous commentary to the Gaud.apa-da Ka-rika- addresses the following salutation to Gauḍapādāchārya as his 'Parama Guru' (grand teacher) and compliments him for recovering Advaita Vedanta from Vedas. That verse in Sanskrit goes like this Prajnā-vaishākha-vaighashrubhit-Jalanidhe-vaidn-āmnontarastam |Bhutānyālokya magnānya-virat-janan-agrahdhore samudre |Karuna-yadudhrdh-dharamrat-amidam-marairdhurlabham bhuthetoho |Yastam poojyābhipujyam paramaguru-mamun pādpatairnimāmi ||In English it means: 'I prostrate before the Master of my Master (ParamaGuru), the most venerable among the venerable who, seeing the beings immersed in the ocean of this world, ocean infested by frightening sharks such as birth and death, has given, out of compassion towards all beings, this nectar difficult to drink even by the gods and that is hidden in the depths of the great sea of the Vedas, Vedas that he reveals by the power of his enlightened intellect'.Though there is not much written details about Gaudapadcharya's past life, according to a legend Gaudapadacharya was born to Shri Vishnudatta and Gunavathi in a devout Saraswat Brahmin family at Bhupalam near Vitta in the present district of Sangli, and his name was Shukadatt. He renounced his life at a very younger age and went to the nearby hill forest in quest of spiritual wisdom. There he was instructed by God through Nabhovani (inner voice) to march towards North to fulfill his spiritual wisdom. Dattadeva received the wisdom of Vedanta through the grace of Lord Narayana and the blessings of Shri Vedavyasa at Badrikashrama.Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya ( Govinda Bhagavatpāda) was the Guru of the Advaita philosopher, Adi Shankara, and it is mentioned in all the traditional accounts (Shankara Vijayams). He is also mentioned in the very first verse of Shri Adi Shankaracharya's Prakaraņa grantha (treatise) Viveka Chudamani. Shri Adi Guru Gaudapadacharya was his Guru (Teacher). In around 780 AD, Adi Guru Shri Gauḍapādāchārya was on a pilgrimage to Kashi (Varanasi) with his Sishya Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya, and they stayed at a tapovan where he established an ashram inside a cave on the banks of the Narmada River. At the same time, a boy called Shankara who was in search of a Guru, learnt from people about Shri Gauḍapādāchāryaas a great Yogi living in a cave on the river bank in deep meditation. Shankara soon reached the ashram and stood before the entrance of the cave singing some verses. Hearing the verses Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya asks from the cave who was standing near the cave and Shankara reples in the form of 10 slokas ending with the refrain "Sivahkevaloham". These ten slokasconstitute the famous Dasasloki of the Acharya. After some conversations Shankara expressed his desire to be initiated into Sanyas and Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya conveyed it to his Guru Shri Gauḍapādāchārya.Shri Gauḍapādāchārya from his power of Tapasya found out that this Shri Shankra was an incarnation of Lord Shiva and born to uplift the Vedas and thus Sanatana Dharma and instructs hisSishya Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya to give deeksha to Shri Shankara and later Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya initiated Shri shankara into Sanyasa and named him as Shri Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya. After giving deeksha, Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya instructed Shri Shankarachaya to write a commentary on the Brahma Sutras and propagate the Advaitaphilosophy. Shri Shankarachaya stays with his Guru for some more years and mastered the Vedanta.Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya also gave deeksha to another vatu and named him Shri Vivarananda, who returned to head Shri Gauḍapādāchārya matha at Keloshi in Goa.Bhavanishankar, an aspect of Shiva is the aradhya devata (tutelary deity) of the matha. Daily trikal (Morning, Afternoon, and Evening) Puja is offered by the Mathadipati (head monk) to Bhavanishankar along with deities Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha according to Smarta tradition of Panchayatana (five deity) puja system.Vivarananda Swami founded the matha's tradition that the name of every Swami of the line should carry the suffix 'Anand', honorific 'Saraswati', designation 'Swami' and the name of his grand guru Gaudapadacharya as the matha is also named after him. Similar to how a King is addressed when he enters the royal court with his Birudāvali (Title), Mathadhipatis of the matha are also addressed in Sanskrit. The Birudāvali of Shree Swami goes like this.Shrmat-paramhans-parivrājak-āchārya-pādvākya-pramān-parāwar-parin yam-niyam-āsan-prānāyām-pratyāhar-dhyān-dhārana-samādhya-ashtānga yog-anushtān-nagarishtha-nishthān-ādi-guru-paramparā-prapt nigam-āgam-sār shruti-mārg-prakāshak sarva-tantra swatantra shrimajjmad-agni-tanuj tapah-swadhyāyā-adyārtha vinirmit shuparik mahākshetra gomant-achal gomati-tir-sannihit kushasthali-nagar mahāmuth-ādi-pratistāpana-āchārya sakal-sur-mukut-mani-neerājit divya-shri-bhavāni-shankar-pād-aravind-arādhar shreemat-atmānanda-saraswati-kar-kamal-sanjāt shreemat-poornānanda-saraswati-anugrahit shreemat-satchitānand-saraswati shree-padai ||The name of Shree Swami and his guru and grand guru mentioned in above Birudāvali will change depending on the Swami addressed.The following well-known 'Parampara-stotra' among Smarthas in Sanskrit has the list of early Advaita teachers in their order and that is recited at the beginning of the study of Commentaries, Nārāyanam Padmabhuvam Vasishtam shaktiæ ca tatputraæ Parāsharam ca |Vyāsam Shukam Gaudapāda Mahantam Govindam Yogindram athasya shishyam |Shri Shankarāchārya mathasya Padmapādam ca hastamalakam ca shishyam |Tam trotakam vartika karamanyan asmad guru-nsantat-amanato ’smi ||It means: 'To Narayana, to the lotus-born Brahma, to Vaśiṣṭha, to Shakti Maharshi and to his son Parashara, to Vyasa, to Shuka, to great Gaudapada, to Govinda-Yogindra and to his disciple Sri Shankaracarya, then to his disciples Padmapada, Hastamalaka, Totraka and Vartikakara [Suresvara], to these our Masters we pay our respectful obeisance now and forever'.From this verse we can understand that, first teacher being Lord Narayana himeself and line of descent from father to son up-to Sri Shuka Acharya. From Lord Narayana to Sri Shuka Acharya the line of succession is known as 'Vamsarsi-parampara' and from Sri Gaudapadcharya starts the descent of Sanyasins and known as 'Manava-Guru-Shishya-parampara'. To bifurcate Acharyas according to the Yuga A) In Satya or Krata Yuga1) Lord Narayana / Lord Sadashiva and 2) Lord Brahma.B) In Treta Yuga1)Vasishta Maharishi 2)Shakti Maharishi and 3) Parashara Maharishi.C) In Dvapara Yuga1) Veda Vyasa and 2) Sri Shuka AcharyaD) In Kali Yuga1) Acharyas start with Sri Gaudapada Acharya. Lord NarayanaLord SadashivaLord Brahma