(Last Updated on : 25/06/2014)
Back to the heavenly days of Hindu rule of Kanara by the chiefs of Nagar in Mysore
(1560 - 1768), the History of Shri Chitrapur Math
lies beneath. In the services of this kingdom, the Smartha Saraswats were holding high positions on account of their loyalty, integrity and intelligence. With this the other people became jealoused. They complained to the king that Saraswats did not have a guru and hence no "spiritual existence of their own". So, a decree was issued by the King to them stating that unless the community showed them their guru, they would be heavily penalized. This might included forcing out them from their present administrative posts.
The elders of the community,in a state in which all hope is lost, started praying to Lord 'Mahabaleshwar' at Gokarn. The God Mahabaleshwar in His mercy appeared to them and ensured them that a sanyasi would appear at the banks of the Kotiteerth, the temple tank, the following day. He would be their Guru.
At the given hour on the given day, a sanyasi appeared at the banks of Kotiteerth. A Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmin, who had h a dream about coming to the said location by Lord Bhavanishankar himself. An idol of Lord Bhavanishanka, He was carrying in his cloth pouch. The sight of this saint with the idol of their Kula-devata, all the people in the community started rejoicing at Gokarn in 1708, He was formally ordained as Swami Parijnanashram at the 'Sri Vishveshvar VitthalTemple'.
The Guru Parampara of the Chitrapur Saraswats was started. Parijnanashram-I Swamiji, the first guru and Mathadhipati of the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins. This Kashmir Saraswat Brahmin was a Sanyasi and was a man of great spiritual grace. The first matha of the community was established by Him at Gokarn.
In order to follow the order of the King of Nagar, Swami Parijnanashram went to Sringiri to have a consent of His existance from Jagadguru Shankaracharya
of Shringeri. But the temple officials of the temple of goddess Sharadamba was not very much with this decision. So they restricted His entry simply by locking the doors of the temple. Swamiji started praying at the doorsteps.
The prayer was so intense that Jagadguru Shankaracharya vision where at the callousness of the temple officials, Goddess Sharadamba was irked. Shankaracharya called the Swamiji and was very amazed with the in-depth knowledge he owned in the scriptures,his mysticism and his yogic abilities. By offering the 'Adda Palaki', 'Birdu' and 'Bavali', He immediately gave consent to Him. After He offered Swami Parijnanashram his letter of consent, Swamiji has been officially declared as the Guru of the Saraswats.
Swamiji wanted to go back to his 'sannyasa', formerly after the crisis over the community was over. He gracefully consented, after much imploring from the community members. Thus the Sri Vishveshvar Vitthal Temple of Gokarn became the domicile of the swamiji. This temple became known as the Adi-matha("first community monastery") of the Chitrapur Saraswat Community.
As the devotees wanted the 'Guru parampara' to continue, they bespoke the ageing Swami Parijnanashram to accept a shishya or disciple who will succeed him as the new Mathadhipati. By accepting a shishya, the Guruji in a graceful manner palliated their concerns. 'shishya sweekar' ceremony of His was performed on the Shudha Poornima day in the month of Chaitra in the year 1720 and it was the son of Krishna Kulkarni who became "the chosen one". As Shankarashram
, Swami Parijnanashram ordained his new shishya.
Swami Parijnanashram's health was deteriorating with years. Only 14 days after, he attained Maha-samadhi(passed away). His last words to Shankarashram were(translated to English from:"Lead the devotees on the spiritual path and unto the Lord's grace. Lord Bhavanishankar will always protect you when you face obstacles". Thus the Swami Shankarashram I was ordained as the next Mathadhipati.