By Swami Harshananda
Parakāla Maṭha is one of the prominent maṭhas or monastic centers belonging to the Śrīvaiṣṇava sect of Vaiṣṇavism. The original center was started by Brahmatantra Svatantra Parakāla Svāmin, a monastic disciple of Vedānta Deśika, at Kāñcīpuram in Tamil Nadu in A. D. 1359. It was later on shifted to Tirupati, Melkote, Śrīraṅgapaṭṭaṇa and finally to Mysore. The pontiff of this maṭha was accepted as the Rājaguru or royal preceptor by Yadurāya, the first king of Mysore.
The presiding deity of this monastery is Lakṣmī-Hayagrīva. The image of this deity is said to have been given to Rāmānuja by the goddess Sarasvatī. The same was handed over by a succession of teachers to Vedānta Deśika from whom the first pontiff got it. Till now there has been an unbroken series of pontiffs, the present head, Vāgīśa Brahmatantra Parakālasvāmi, occupying the seat since A. D. 1992.
Though most of them proved to be great teachers, mention may be made of Vāgīśasvāmin who was endowed with yogic powers and Abhinava Raṅganātha Svāmin who was the head for 41 years from A. D. 1925 to 1966, in whose period there was a tremendous expansion of intellectual activity.
- He lived in A. D. 1286-1386.
- He lived in A. D. 1268-1369.
- He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.
- He was the pontificate from A. D. 1915 to 1925.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore