Hyder Ali's Relations with Sringeri Mutt
The renowned Sringeri Math in Mysore, founded by the revered Adi Sankaracharya, is one of the oldest Hindu monasteries in India. This Math (or Mutt) has been graced with patronage from many rulers, including the Vijayanagar Rayas, Keladi Nayakas, Marathas, Adil Shahis of Bijapur, Nizam of Hyderabad, Wodeyars of Mysore and British Commissioners. As a token of their appreciation, these rulers have gifted the Math with jewelry, palanquins and even land grants.
Among the sanads are twenty-six from Ikkeri Nayakas, one from Peshwa Baji Rao, two from the Nizam of Hyderabad, eight from Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, one from Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII, thirty (some authors say forty-six) from Tipu Sultan, thirty-eight from Purnaiya and sixty-seven from Krishnaraja Wodeyar III.
|Sri Sacchidananda Bharati III (1770-1814), Jagadguru of Sringeri Math|
It is truly remarkable that even Muslim rulers sought the blessings of the Sringeri Jagadgurus. The letters written by the Mysore Nawabs Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan are of great interest, as they occasionally sent valuable cloths for the goddess Sarada and shawls for the Swamis, many of which were illuminated with gold.
There are four letters by Hyder Ali.
In one of the letters Hyder Ali requests the Swamiji Sri Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati (1741-1767) to pay a visit to Peshwa Raghunatha Rao: "You are a great and holy personage. It is nothing but natural for every one to cherish a desire to pay respects to you. As Saheb Raghunatha Rao desires me to send you to him so that he may pay his homage to you, I request that you will accordingly undertake the journey and pay him a visit. For your journey I have sent by Ramaji an elephant, 5 horses, a palanquin and 5 camels, gold cloth for the goddess, 5 pieces of silk cloth for the standard, a pair of shawls for your use and 10,500 rupees for expenses. Two pairs of cloth have also been sent", writes Hyder.
The Nizam, Peshwa and the British had one aim in common: to crush the growing power of Hyder Ali. It is surprising that all these rulers had in common a very high esteem for the Sringeri Swamis.
In the second letter written between 1768-1770 Hyder Ali acknowledged the receipt of the Asirvada Patrike (letter of benediction) and the presents sent from Sri Abhinava Narasimha Bharati (1767-1770) of the Mutt and informed him that he had ordered his officials to respect and maintain the time-honoured inams of the Mutt. This letter was accompanied by presents to the Mutt.
Another letter reveals the ecstasy of Hyder Ali on hearing about Sri Sacchidananda Bharati Swamiji's (1770-1814) intention to perform Chaturmasya Sankalpa at Hirikeri. Hyder wished the Swamiji to return to Sringeri and perform penance. He acknowledged the receipt of clothes sent with blessings by the Swamiji and in return, he sent two shawls to the Guru.
In February 1780, Hyder issued a nirupa to killedars and parupatyars ordering them, not to prevent the agents of the Sringeri Mutt from collecting the time honoured Sri charana kanike, agratambula, diparadhane kanike and maintaining achara-vyavahara among the disciples.
Sringeri By Praktana Vimarsa Vichakshana Rao Bahadur R. Narasimhachar
The Records of The Sringeri Dharmasamsthana By A. K. Shastry