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A maţha (also written math, matha or mutt) is a term for monastic and similar religious establishments of the Hindu tradition.[1] A maţha is usually more formal, hierarchical, and rule-based than an ashram.


Advaita Maţhas

The oldest such institutions follow the Advaita tradition, where the head of a maţha is called a Shankaracharya, a title derived from Ādi Śankara. Śankara was a prominent religious teacher of the eighth century, from whose philosophies originate the environment of popular modern Indian thought.[2] Ādi Śankara established the following mathas, with each of his four main disciples in charge: Sureshwaracharya, Hastamalakacharya, Padmapadacharya, and Totakacharya respectively. The four Āmnāya maţhas founded by Ādi Śankara, all of the Smarta tradition, are:

In addition, these Advaita mathas also claim they were founded by Ādi Śankara:

Sri Vaishnava Mathas

In the Sri Vaishnava tradition of Ramanuja:

Madhva-sampradaya Mathas

Dvaita philosophy was profounded by Shri Madhvacharya.He established 8 mathas directly and several other Mathas were also established by him and also by his disciples.

Only the pontiffs of these Mathas have the right to perform pooja to Lord Udupi Shri Krishna. They assume the right to perform pooja to Lord Krishna at Udupi one after the other. Each pontiff right to perform pooja to Lord Krishna expires every 2 years and this is called Paryaya.


  1. ^ Britannica Online Encyclopedia, matha. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 22 Jan. 2009.
  2. ^ Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Śankara. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 22 Jan. 2009 .

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