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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rediscover Dharma: the four Mathas established by Bhagwan Adi Shankaracharya

Bhagwan Adi Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara) walked the earth at a time when Hindu Dharma was being challenged by Jain, Buddhist, and other avedic (non-Vedic) faiths totalling 72. He is credited with having reformed and revived Hindu Dharma. He propagated Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic philosophy). He also unified Bharat by spreading his Vedic teachings across the length and breadth of Bharatvarsh.

He established four Mathas in the four cardinal directions of Bharat for spreading his teachings. These Mathas have played an essential role in keeping Hindu Dharma intact.

The four Mathas are as follows:

Jyotirmath: It is located in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli District. Shri Totakacharya was the first Shankaracharya of this Math. This peeth is associated with Atharvaveda. This Matha is the Uttaramnaya or the northern peeth and headquarters of the Giri, Parvat, and Sagara sects of the Dasnami sects. Giri, Parvat, and Sagar are used as the titles/suffixes by the peethadipatis. Ayamatmanam Brahma (Atman is supreme being) is the Mahavakya (Vedantic mantra) of the Jyotirmath. Bhagwan Narayana and Purnagiri Devi are worshipped here. It follows the Nandavala sampradaya.

Adi Shankara
PC: Temple Purohit

Shringeri Math: Shringeri Sharada Peeth is the southern peeth located in Karnataka’s Chikkamagalur district on the banks of the River Tunga. Shri Sureshvaracharya was the first Shankaracharya of this Math. This peeth has authority over Yajurveda. Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahma) is the Mahavakya of the Shringeri Math. It houses the Vidya Shankara Mandir dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva and Shardamba Mandir dedicated to Devi Saraswati. Saraswati, Puri, Bharati, Aranya, Tirtha, Giri, and Ashrama are the titles/suffixes of the peethadipathis. Bhagwans Malahanikara Linga and Varaha and Devi Sharada are worshipped here. It follows the Bhurivala sampradaya.

Adi Shankara
PC: Wikiwand

Govardhan Math: The Math established by Bhagwan Adi Shankara in Odisha’s Puri is the Govardhan Math. It is the eastern peeth and has authority over Rigveda. The regions from Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh to Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, North Eastern states, Telangana, and up to Prayag in Uttar Pradesh fall under this Math. Shankaracharyas of this Math uses the suffix, Aranya. Prajnana Brahma is the Mahavakya of the Govardhan Math. Shri Padmapadacharya was the first Shankaracharya of this peeth. Bhagwan Vishnu/Jagannatha and Vrsala Vimala Devi are the chief deities here. Bhagwan Adi Shankara also consecrated the murtis of Bhagwans Govardhananatha Krishna and Ardhanareshvara Shiva. Peethadipathis use Aranya and Vana as titles/suffixes. It follows the Bhogavala sampradaya.

Adi Shankara
PC: Hindustan Times

Dwarka Math: The western peeth established by Bhagwan Adi Shankara in Gujarat’s Dwarka is known as the Dwarka Sharada Peeth. It is also known as the Kalika Math. Shri Hastamalakacharya was the first Shankaracharya of this Math. Tattvamasi (Thou art that) is the Mahavakya of this Math and it has authority over Samaveda. Teerth and Ashram are the adjectives/suffixes used for the Shankaracharyas of this Math. Bhagwan Siddheshwara and Maa Bhadrakali are worshipped here. It follows the Kitavala Sampradaya. 

Adi Shankara
PC: Wikimedia commons

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A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.


  1. thank you so much for this very informative article. I was not aware that each Math corresponds to a Veda and that there are Mahavaakyas associated with each.

    • Aabhar for your encouraging comment. Reading and bringing to the fore such lesser-known aspects has helped me learn Hindu Dharma better. Encouragement such as this inspires us to do better in bringing Hindu Dharmic aspects to the readers.


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