18 Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha
Birth Place : Mudgeri/Shiveshwar(Karwar)
Name given at birth : Ganesh Vitthal Bhatta Mathkar
Birth Date : Saka 1731 Shukla Samvatsara Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi, Wednesday (13/09/1809)
Sannyasa Deeksha : Saka 1746 Tarana Samvatsara Chaitra Shukla Paurnima, Tuesday (13/04/1824) at Shri Jivottama Matha, Gokarna
Guru : Shri Ananda Tirtha (17)
Accession : Saka 1750 Sarvadhari Samvatsara Shravan Krushna Panchami, Friday (29/08/1828)
Shishya : Shri Padmanabha Tirtha (19)
Mahanirvan : Saka 1801 Pramathi Samvatsara Jyeshtha Shukla Dviteeya, Friday (23/05/1879)
Vrundavan Place : Partagali Matha
Period as Shishya : 04 years 04 months 17 days
Period as Guru : 50 years 08 months 29 days
Period in service of matha : 55 years 02 months 11 days
Age : 69 years 09 months 11 days
Matha Construction : Cuncolim 1880CE Shri Vira Vitthala Stone Idol
History of Swamiji
पीत्वा सम्यक्सुधासारं चरित्वा वसुधातलम् ।
वादिवारा जिता येन पूर्णप्रज्ञगुरुं भजे ।।
Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha was born as Ganesh Bhatta Mathkar, the second son of Shri Vitthal Bhatta Mathkar was stationed at the Mudgeri Matha in Karwar taluk. He was initiated into Sannyasa and named Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha at the Gokarna matha by Guru Shri Ananda Tirtha. He acceded to the Gurupitha in Saka 1750 after his Guru Shri Ananda Tirtha entered vrundavana and thus began his highly illustrious reign as Guru which lasted for over 50 years.
Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha was a scholar par excellence who spent a great deal of time studying. He had excellent command over the Brahmasutra Bhashya of Madhvacharya. He had also studied other works of Madhvacharya and taught them to many students.
He was renown in his day for his erudition & detachment from material pleasures. He learned first under Shri Ananda Tirtha Svamiji himself, later under a scholarly pundit from Kashi and later on he expanded the horizons of his knowledge through self-study. But this abundance of knowledge did not make him ego-centric. He was always conscious of his responsibility as a representative of a sect & the leader of an entire community. Hence, he spent his time imparting knowledge to many students. He did sahasra-brahmana-santarpana at the Parashurama Temple in Poinguinim in Saka 1799. He had a bridge built on the creek behind the Nirakar Temple at Mashem and another one on the river near the Narayana Temple in Poinguinim.
He spent some time at pilgrimage places. In one pilgrimage, which lasted for about 3 years, he travelled across almost the entirety of India. Records indicate that he was in Pune in the month of Margashirsha in Saka 1784 which would suggest that his journey must’ve begun around Saka 1781-1782.
He first visited the pilgrimage centres of Shri Shaila, Tirupati, Kanchi, Rameshwaram, Kannyakumari, upto Trivandrum in the south & following the west coast, covering pilgrimage centres, he returned to Partagali. Next he proceeded northward. Going first to Kolhapur to visit Ambabai, he proceeded to Prayag via Nashik. Having bathed at the sangam, he went to Kashi & stayed in the matha’s building which was originally built by Shri Narayana Tirtha. While there he would bathe in the Ganga thrice a day. He did sahasra-brahmana-bhojana in the matha & kept sufficient amount as a permanent deposit with the king of Kashi such that from its interest alone, 12 brahmins could be fed each day. He invited all scholar Brahmins of Kashi, had discussions with them & gave them dakshina.
In the 5 decades of his reign, he was greatly helped in his work by his shishya Shri Padmanabha Tirtha. It appears from available documents that the Guru Svami may not have concerned himself much with the quotidian administrative and financial matters. Many lands were purchased during his reign but barring 3 of those, it appears that all other lands were purchased by the Shishya Svami.
Any applications, complaints, or official correspondence with government departments relating to land ownership, finances, etc., had always been done by either the reigning Svamiji or by someone he had given the power of attorney to throughout the matha’s long history. However, about 5 decades after the establishment of Portuguese rule in Canacona, the government tried to intervene in the affairs of the matha by creating doubt over the ownership of the matha. It seems that someone suggested to the government that the rightful owners of the matha were its mahajanas, and a investigative probe was ordered by the government. On 17 May 1752, the government announced through its gazette that it had appointed 2 committees to look after the matha’s administration. Further more problems were created after the enactment of new temple laws in 1766. After several rounds of back & forth cases, the matter was finally escalated to the concerned ministry in Portugal which eventually ordered in favour of the Svamiji and the matha. However, by then Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha had already entered vrundavana and his shishya Shri Pamanabha Tirtha had come to the throne.
Shri Poornaprajna Tirtha entered samadhi on Saka 1801 Pramathi Samvatsara Jyestha Shuddha Dviteeya.