By Swami Harshananda
Monasteries are also known as maṭhas. The maṭhādhipatis, have played an important role in preserving religion and culture. The bedrock of their spiritual activities are:
One of the maṭhas of recent origin and perhaps less known than its counterparts is the Āṇḍavan Maṭha of Srīraṅgam (Tamil Nadu). The Maṭha belongs to the Srīvaiṣṇava tradition and follow the principles of Vsiśiṣṭādvaita school of Vedānta, originating from Srīmad Gopālācārya Mahādeśikan, also called Tirukkuḍandai Deśikar, during the middle of the eighteenth century, in Kumbhakoṇam (of Tamil Nadu).
He was a man who practiced severe austerities and was known for his great scholastic learning. His three disciples, continued the tradition of this great savant without break. Srinivāsa Mahādeśikan (also known as Periyāṇdavan), the second of them, was as much a yogi of great powers as he was a monk of austerity and learning. The present pontiff, Sri Vedānta Rāmāmija Mahādeśikan (Tirukkuḍandai Āṇdavan) the eighth in the order of succession, was ordained in 1963 and was working hard to spread the message of his predecessors.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore