Hyder Ali's Relations with Sringeri Mutt

The Sringeri Math in Mysore founded by Adi Sankaracharya is one of the oldest Hindu monasteries in India. The Math [Mutt] received patronage from many rulers like Vijayanagar Rayas, Keladi Nayakas, Marathas, Adil Shahis of Bijapur, Nizam of Hyderabad, Wodeyars of Mysore, British Commissioners etc. The gifts received by the Math include jewelry, palanquins as well as land grants.

Among the sanads can be found 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 really interesting to note that even the Muslim rulers sought the blessings of the Sringeri Jagadgurus. The letters by the Mysore Nawabs Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan are of great interest. Hyder and Tipu occasionally sent valuable cloths for the goddess Sarada and shawls for the Swamis. Many of their letters are 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. 

Reference:

Sringeri By Praktana Vimarsa Vichakshana Rao Bahadur R. Narasimhachar

The Records of The Sringeri Dharmasamsthana By A. K. Shastry

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