It is a well known fact that Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra Parakala Swami Mutt is one of the foremost institutions of Srisampradayam, the origin of which enjoys its time podium with that of the vibhavam of our paramacharya Swamy Deshika himself. With the niyamanam and anugrahams of Swamy Deshika, this samsthanam was established at Kanchipuram in the year 1338 ACE, by Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra jeeyar, who was one of the foremost disciples of Swamy Deshika. It may also be noted that the establishment of the mutt at Kanchipuram also coincided with the sanyasa sweekaram of Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra Swamy.
This is an established fact and is in full force as per the parama-vaidika Srivaishnava Srisampradayam of Swamy Bhagavad Ramanuja. All the acharyas of this samsthanam right from the very first jeeyar have unequivocally attested to this fact in their works invariably. The details of these vaibhavams are also enshrined in the ancient and avichchinna Guruparampara records dated as old as 13th century ACE.
Several of these facts are also immortalized in many stone and copper inscriptions that are found in the temples of Varadaraja and elsewhere. The most important of these inscriptions are the ones that are found on the northern wall of the second prakara of Sri Varadarajaswamy temple in Kanchipuram. These inscriptions delineated in traditional Tamil script mixed with Sanskrit are very important in the history of Srivaishnavism, as it stands a witness to the Srivaishnava history of those days.
The inscription does not appear to refer to the reign of any king, but purports to have been issued directly by the deity Himself. The inscription begins with a mangalacharanam and continues to state that on the representation made by Perumaltatan, who supervises the sacred business of the temple and the koil bhattacharyas, the Lord, while seated in an imperial bearing along with his divine consorts in the abhisheka mantapa of the temple under the canopy of Ariyenavallan-pandal, enjoying the divine chanting of the songs of Shathakopa, was pleased to confer a holy dispensation (padi) on a Vaishnavadasa by name Sri Brahmatantra-Swatantra-Jiyan, who had received this sobriquet from the Lord earlier, and to put him in charge of the matha established there and its properties, to enable him to conduct the worship of the deity unhindered, to maintain the library of works that he had collected and to enable him to propagate the tenets of Ramanuja-darshanam to Vaishnava populace. It was ordained that the Jeeyar was to be accepted and supported in this initiative by the followers of Ramanuja till date and by the disciple-fold that was to come in future.
The holy dispensation to be bestowed upon the Jeeyar as per the divine order was three- fold. It included the flowers worn by the Lord, the clothes adorned by Him and the sandal paste and unguents offered to Him. A phrase at the end concludes that this divine order of Devadhiraja was engraved on stone by the temple-accountant and the year of inscribing was sakabdam 1282, vikaari samvatsaram and mesha maasam shuddha prathama tithi in the constellation of Ashvati, which would correspond to 1359 ACE, Friday March 29th.
Elsewhere in another inscription in Kanchipuram Varadarajaswamy temple, it is stated that by the divine order of the deity Varadarajapperumal, many villages were gifted as ‘sarvamanya madappuram’ to Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra jeeyar. The gift was made along with income from taxes – tiruppudiyadu, eduttalavu and viruttupadi. Tiruppudiyadu means the first fruits paid as homage to the temple, eduttalavu is tax paid on articles measured by weight and viruttupadi means nominal tax.
Other inscriptions that support these and provide further information can be found in the temples of Southern Arcot, Thirunelveli district during the 14th and 15th centuries. It has been established well that this matham described in the inscription is indeed the Brahmatantra Swatantra Parakala Swamy Matham whose first yatishvara acharya was Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra jeeyar, the donee of the divine dispensation in the inscription. The Ramanuja darshana pravartanam done by Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra Jeeyar has also been immortalized in another inscription as –
हस्तीशं लोकविख्यातं कौण्डिन्यं विदुशां वरम्। रामानुजार्यसिद्धान्तस्थापनाचार्यमाश्रये॥
The religious line of Vedanta Deshika through Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra Swamy has continued uninterruptedly in this Mutt for close to 700 years now. The holy seat has so far been adorned by thirty-six pontiffs, each of whom have been highly erudite and venerated scholars of their time and who have ushered themselves under the shadow of the lotus feet of our paramacharya Swamy Sriman Nigamantha Maha Deshika.
Epigraphica Indica (Orignal version)
Following is the extract of the stone inscription as published by the Epigraphica Indica. This inscription clearly delineates the origin of Sri Brahmatantra Swatantra Matham and its original allegiance to Kanchipuram divya kshetram as already discussed above.
The granthaksharams are changed to Roman script here for the benefit of readers. For scripts in Tamil and Kannada, see Vageesha_priyah_Guru_parampara_vaibhavam.pdf (pages G17 andG18).
Etat surAsurAdhISa mouLiratnaprabhAruNaM | SrImat hastigirISasya dEvadEvasya SAsanam ||* vikAri samvatsarattu mESha nAyiRRU pUrva pakShattu prathamaiyum veLLikkiLamaiyyum peRRa Asvati nAL abhishEka maNtapattu vIravallALan simhAsanattu AriyenavallAn pandalkIzh nAmum nam pendugaLudan SaThakOpan pAttukkELaniRka nam vIDu karumam kEtkum perumAL tAtanum nam bhattarkaLum collakkEttu brahmatantraswatantra jIyan enRu nAm pEr kuDutta vaiShNava dAsanukku nAm kuDuttapaDi [|] ivanukku uNDAna maThamum maThattai nOkki varum kShEtramum samArAdhanamum adukku vENDum muttukkaLum ivan tEDina postakangaLum vENDum upakaraNangaLum nam rAmAnujan darSanam naDakkaikkAga ivanukku pinbum ivan niyamitta ivanudaiya SiShyargaL paramparaiyAga ivaiyiRRaikkaikoNDu naDattippODakkaDavargaL Agavum [|] ivanai nam rAmAnujam uDaiyArum nam samayattil uLLArum kai kkoNDu naDattippOdachchonnOm [|*] ichcheydiyaikkallilum Sempilum vettikkoLLumpaDi ivanukku nAm muDittapaDiyum uDuttapaDiyum pUSinapaDiyum kuDuttOm ippaDikku ttiruvAymalarndaruLinapaDikku kOyilkkaNakku pEraruLALapriyan ezhuttu ittirumugam ezudina SakAbdam Ayirattu iru nURRu enbattiraNdAvadu.
The details provided above are as per “Epigraphica Indica”, Vol. XXIV, part vii, July 1940, pp, 318-326 No. 34
After its inception, thirty five eminent scholars and sages had adorned its Holy Seat before the 36th Acharya, the Present Peethadhipati Sri Lakshmi Hayavadana Divya Paduka Sevaka Srimad Abhinava Vageesha Brahmatantra Swatantra Parakala Maha Desikan, was coronated in 1992. The Acharya, now in his late eighties continues to look after the religious, spiritual and administrative aspects of the Mutt and to bless the shishyas.