Govardhana Matha , Puri

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History

Adi Sankaracharya established `Purvamnaya matha`or the Govardhana Matha in Puri, in the 9th century A.D. It is also known as the Bhogo Vardhan Matha. At that time the Somavamsi kings ruled Orissa. According to a legendry illustration, Lord Jagannath appeared before Adi Sankaracharya in the form of Brahma of the Vedanta. Sankaracharya was so delighted by this incident that, it motivated him to write Bhaja Govindam Smara Govindam Govindam Bhaja Mudhamate.

Sankaracharya was known as a staunch Saiva. He came to apprehend his passion for Vaisnavism with his principles and ideologies, in the course of time. Vaisnavism is regarded for the worship of Lord Vishnu. To him Siva and Visnu are the same and one. As he quoted- “Yo Vai rudrah sa vai Visnu yo rudra visnu reba sah. Ubhayorantaram nasti Pavanakasayaoriv”.

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As a result he started worshipping Vishnu. After visualizing the eternal truth in the Darubrahma- Jagannath, he settled down in Puri. It was only after this realization. And Bhogas were inducted in the temple of the Lord Jagannath. In course a number of Bhogas in the Temple of Jagannath.

In due course of the time the Govardhana Matha or `Purvamnaya matha` in Puri represents one of the four Bhoga Vardhans or the Chaturdhamas of India and is an Advaita vadi Matha. Different saints like Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhava, Nimbarka, Vallabha, etc. established most of the Mathas of Puri.

During their lifetime, they had paid visits to this sacred place and established their seats here. Varieties of Mathas of different philosophies like the Advita Matha of Sankara, Visistadvaita Matha of Ramanuaja, Dvaita Matha, Acintyabhedabheda, Goudiya Matha and so on can be found in Puri therefore. Even the non Hindu Mathas like Kabir Matha and Nanak Matha were established here. This emphasized a very significant and the secular attitude of the religious centre of Lord Jagannath Dham.

The Govardhana Matha or `Purvamnaya matha` in Puri has a marble stone image of its founder Sankaracharya. This Matha also delivers some service to the rituals of Lord Jagannath. The tradition as per initiated by Adi Shankara, the Matha is in charge of the Rig Veda. Niscalananda Sarasvati is the current head of the Govardhana Matha. Now the Sankaracharya of Puri is regarded as an esteemed religious teacher of Hindu Philosophy.
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