Mangalore, Nov 28, 2011: In what is considered by many to be the final decisive victory for Sudhindra Thirtha Swami, it has been reported that the magistrate of the Kadaba Court in Andhra Pradesh has today ordered that all the 28 idols seized by the Andhra Police be handed over to Sudhindra Thirtha, the senior pontiff and head of Sri Kashi Math Samsthan. The order was passed based on a petition filed in the Supreme Court some 15 days back by G. G. Prabhu of Mumbai, who holds the power of attorney of the senior swami.
The idols had been confiscated from Raghavendra Tirtha Swami, the disowned former disciple of Sudhindra Thirtha on 29th October this year when he was placed under house arrest by the Andhra Pradesh police at Indiranagar in Kadaba. Subsequently the idols were kept at the Kadaba District Treasury.
In his ruling, the magistrate ordered that the idols are to be handed over to Sudhindra Thirtha subject to provision of a surety of Rs. 2 lakh, two local guarantors and a personal bond given by G. G. Prabhu. The swami will also have to acknowledge receipt of the same to the court.
The restoration of the idols to the senior swami seems to be the last hurdle in the resolution of the Kashi Math controversy which has haunted the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) community for over a decade and a half now.
Sri Kashi Math Samsthan is a 400-year old religious order of the GSB community and Sudhindra Thirtha Swami has been heading it for the last 62 years as the Matadhipathi (supreme head) after succeeding his Guru Sukritheendra Thirtha Swami in 1949. In order to groom the future leadership for the Math, Sudhindra Thirtha had adopted Raghavendra Thirtha as his disciple and future successor on 7th July 1989. However problems began to crop up during the succession process which led to an open rebellion by the latter, eventually to land the revered math in the law courts in year 2000.
Though Raghavendra Thirtha had staked a claim that he was the legitimate head of the math, the courts found enough evidence to recognize the senior pontiff as the legitimate leader. Moreover the majority of the community people had rallied behind Sudhindra Thirtha and the junior’s following was miniscule.
However Raghavendra Thirtha had a trump card with him in the form of the sacred ‘Vyas Raghupathi’ idol and other important religious paraphernalia. Sage Vyas Raghupathi is the patron deity of the Sri Kashi Math Samsthan and the legitimacy of the position of Matadhipathi is identified with the possession of this idol. Even after losing the legal battle, Raghavendra Thirtha had stubbornly refused to part with the idol and had evaded seizure of the same by the court authorities.
So when the Andhra Police raided his house last month after some neighbours complained of suspicious activity there, little did they know the magnitude of their catch. The subsequent turn of events have led to the restoration of deities to the Math, and by all accounts, the beleaguered junior swami seems to have been delivered with the coup de grace. Sudhindra Thirtha Swami has also adopted a new disciple Samyamindra Thirtha, who is acceptable to the community as his successor. It is hoped that this brings to a closure a sordid chapter in the history of the GSB community.
The news of restoration of the idols spread like wild fire among the GSB community members and jubilant youngsters organized a victory celebration in the city and sweets were also distributed.