Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha Swamiji
He was was the first Swamiji of the Kashi Matha Samsthan. The Matha Bhavan had been built by the Kochi Goud Sarasvata Brahmanas around A.D. 1540. While he was touring Bhatkal, one Jog Mallya, son of Ananta Mallya of Bhatkal, donated a temple to the Kashi Matha Samsthan in 1606. A document known as “Jogan Mallya’s Deed” is in the Matha records.
Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha camped in Bhatkal till his end, which occurred on Wednesday 22nd June 1608 (Ashadha Bahula Panchami of Keelaka Samvatsara Sh. Sh. 1530) at a ripe old age of about 80-90 years. Earlier, he had initiated a vatu and named him Shrimad Keshavendra Tirtha and accepted him as his heir.
According to a custom followed in the Matha Samsthan a Swamiji initiates a worthy vatu into sanyasa and accepts him as his heir (Shishya-Swami). After the Guru-Swami passes away, the Shishya Swami assumes control over the Matha and looks after the affairs of the Matha. Meanwhile, the mortal remains of the departed GuruSwami are buried in the earth after suitably embalming the body with preservatives – salt, camphor, heaps of Tulsi leaves etc. – usually in the Matha premises or in temples associated with the Matha. Subsequently, a memorial structure is constructed over the site and an idol of Lord Hanuman is installed. A sacred Tulsi plant is then planted in front of the idol, the underlying principle being that the soul of the departed Swami reaches Lord Hari (supposed to have his divine presence near a Tulsi plant), through Mukhya Prana (Hanuman). The entire place is known as the Vrindavana or Samadhi of the Swamiji. Arrangements are made for the daily pujas in the Vrindavana and the Punya Tithi (death anniversary) of the Swamiji is duly celebrated with special pujas and prayers and abhishekam to the Hanuman idol for his blessing to the Matha Samsthan and its followers. The Vrindavana of Shrimad Yadavendra Tirtha is in Bhatkal.
According to the traditions of the Matha Samsthan, the Swamiji (Mathadhipati) is a Brahmachari (observing celibacy) and leads a life of renunciation and follows all the rules and regulations of life, food and daily routine prescribed by usage and custom. He is conversant with the Vedas, Puranas, Shastras and the customs and usages to be followed by his followers.