Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji
Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji travelling is the twentieth head of the Kashi Matha Samsthan. In the purvashrama (before being initiated into sanyasa by the previous Swamiji), he was known as Shri Sadashiva Shenoy, son of Shri Ramadasa Shenoy, a trustee of Shri Venkataramana temple in Ernakulam. He was born at Ernakulam on 31st March, 1926. He completed his Pre-University education in Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam and selected Natural Science, Physics and Chemistry as his main subjects. From an early age he had shown inclination towards a religious life. The noble traits of his character, his devotion to God, his desire to serve his fellow men, his integrity, his honesty and his love for Hindu Dharma were remarkable. When Shrimad Sukriteendra Tirtha Swamiji was camping at Ernakulam, this young boy attracted his attention. The Swamiji had the intuition to choose the right man and was divinely inspired to select this boy to be his fittest successor, later to head the Kashi Matha Samsthan. The father’s consent was obtained for the transformation of the college student into a sanyasi, eventually to lead a sizeable portion of Vaishnava Goud Sarasvata Brahmana community in the righteous path of Vaishnava Dharma. The Guru-Swami took him to Mulki and on 24th May 1944 initiated him into sanyasa in the divine presence of Lord Venkataramana, Lord Narasimha and Lord Bindu Madhava in Mulki and renamed him as duties earnestly and enthusiastically and led an austere life. He felt the need of equipping himself with all the knowledge of the Dharma Shastras. He mastered Sanskrit at the Bhuvanendra Sanskrit College, Karkala. The scholarly teachers of the college were appointed to impart the necessary education in Dharma Shastras. He was camping in Shrinivasa Ashrama in the College premises. In those days he was very fond of animals. There were many pets including a deer and a tiger cub in Shrinivasa Ashrama.
Endowed with excellent grasping power, wonderful memory and extraordinary intelligence and plenty of God’s grace and Guru’s blessings, he completed his study in a short time. The Brahma Sutra, The Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads (Prasthana Traya) and other works were studied in great detail. He became a great scholar in Dwaita philosophy, as propounded by Shri Madhvacharya.
He learnt the methods of worshipping God according to Agama Shastra. He went with the Guru to various places and picked up his duties well. He sat at the feet of the Guru and learnt the traditions of the Kashi Matha.
After the Guru-Swami passed away in Kochi in 1949, he bore the loss with courage and took the reigns of the spiritual chariot of the followers of the Kashi Matha Samsthan in his able hands and has been leading the chariot since then.
He traveled widely from Kanya Kumari to Badrinath, meeting his disciples, exhorting them to lead a life of morality and religion, conducting the pujas to Shri Vyasa-Raghupati with unbounded devotion and single-pointed concentration and praying at all times for the welfare of the community. Kindness, compassion, generosity and breadth of vision are the strong traits of his way of work. He visited many places of pilgrimage including Nasik, Ujjain, Kurukshetra, Mathura, Ayodhya, Prayag, Kashi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badri, Tirupati, Srirangam, Madurai, Palani, Kumbhakonam, Rameshwaram and Kanya Kumari.
In order to mark the Golden Jubilee of the annual Bhajana Saptaha at Shri Lakshmi Venkatesha Temple, Kasaragod, it was decided to conduct a Yajna by writing Shri Rama jai Rama jai jai Rama, 52 crore times. Special books were prepared for the purpose and members of the community residing in different parts of the country contributed their share by writing the divine name as many times as they could. The Yajna was conducted in a grand manner under the able direction of the Swamiji.
The year 1963 was a red letter day not only in the history of Karkala but also in the history of Goud Sarasvata Brahmana community. It was in that year that the heads of the three Mathas Shrimad Dwarakanatha Tirtha Swamiji (Gokarna Partagali Jeevottam Matha), Shrimad Sudhindra Tirtha Swamiji (Kashi Matha) and Shrimad Sachhidananda Sarasvati Swamiji (Kailvalya Matha) observed their annual Chaturmasya Vrita in Shri Venkataramana Temple, Karkala. Perhaps such an event had never occurred in the history of these Mathas earlier.
On another memorable occasion the Swamiji was responsible for conducting a Utsava in which the Lord of Tirupati was seated on golden Garuda. The Swamiji also participated in the divine procession, with the accompaniment of recitation of Vedas, instrumental music, singing of Bhajans etc.
One of the major achievements of the Swamiji is the founding of Shri Kashi Matha Welfare Fund in Udupi. This concept was thought of in 1956, when the Swamiji was camping in Shri Lakshmi Venkatesha Temple, Udupi, for observing the Chaturmasya Vrita. With the noble idea of founding an organization, which would try to banish the social and economic ills afflicting the community, a meeting of the leaders of the community residing in South Kanara was convened in the temple on 26th August 1956. Three years later a draft constitution was approved by the community members, blessed by the Swamiji and the institution was registered on 6th June, 1959. This provided for a Direction Committee, consisting of twenty members (all nominated by the Swamiji) to implement the various activities outlined in the constitution.