The Math gets its name from Gaudapadacharya who was a great philosopher and Paramguru of Adi Shankaracharya. Unfortunately, with lack of records and references in history as also some conflicting reports, it is quite difficult to indicate an exact date of starting of our Math. There are two major schools of thought regarding the year when the Math was started.
One school relies on the following facts – Gaudapada has been quoted by many authors. Bhavaviveka a Buddist (500 A.D.) quotes from Gaudapada and as Gaudapada similarity of thoughts and expression with Nagarjuna (300 A.D.), Gaudapadas date is therefore placed between 300 A.D. and 500 A.D. The earliest Copper plate found in Goa at Shiroda mentions that king Devraj of Bhoj dynasty had donated land at Kuttali to Govind Swami. Experts place this period at the end of 4th Century A.D.
The second one relies on contemporary history. The Kanchi parampara also finds support from the history of the Gaudapadacharya Math or Kaivalya Math now called the Kavale Math of Saraswat Brahmins. It was founded by Swami Vivarnananda at the same time when the Adi Shankaracharya founded his Maths. Sri Gaudapadacharya’s disciple was Shri Govindacharya. The latter had two disciples the Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Vivarnananda. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of Kanchi records which give the date of Shri Shankar’s (Adi Shankaracharyas) birth as 2593th year of Kaliyuga era which corresponds to 509 B. C. and the year in which Kanch Kamakoti Math was founded as 482 B. C. The aforesaid date of Shri Shankar’s birth is also supported by some Jain compositions and the “Brihat Shankara Vijaya” by Shri Chitsukhacharya who was also a disciple of the Adi Shankaracharya. It therefore appears to be clear that our Math has its beginning around the same time. It would appeal that the Maths founded by the Adi Shankaracharya and the Kavale Math are the oldest monastic institutions in India.
Shri Gaudapadacharya was the preceptor of Shri Govindapada,the guru of Shri Vivaranacharya and Shri Shankaracharya. Shri Gaudapadacharya came to Gomantak and stayed in an ashram at Kardalya Van (Kelosi) on banks of river Gomati.After staying for a long time in Kelosi-Kushasthali ashram ,Shri Gaudapadacharya along with his disciple Shri Govindapadacharya left Gomantak and went on a tour to propagate Vedanta philosophy.
Shri Govindapadacharya consecrated two shishyas Shankaracharya and Vivaranandacharya of which Vivaranandacharya returned to Goa and continued to head the Gaud saraswat Brahmin Dharma Peetha,the Gaudapadacharya Math at the Ashram at Kelosi Kushasthali.
The GSBs had no religious organisation or institution till perhaps fourth or fifth century A.D ,when Shri Gaudapadacharya Math Sansthan ,now commonly known as Kavale Math, was established and its Swami came to be known as the Peethadish of all Gaud Sarawat Brahmins. For at least a thousand years Shri Gaudapadacharya Math was the only Gurupeeth for entire GSB samaj till the advent and spread of Vaishnavism. Throughout the ages of legend and of history ,until the emergence of Madhva Vaishnavism at the beginning of 13th century A.D , all Gaud Saraswat Brahmins were Shaivite Smarta.
In 1560 when Portuguese invaded Salcete, Maths and temples were destroyed, Swamiji migrated to Golvan Math (near Malvan) and from there to Kashi. It took 70 yrs till the math was rebuilt at Kavale and the followers requested Swamiji to return back to Goa. Shree Satchidanand Saraswati (63rd Pontiff)was the first Guruswami to head the Kavale Math in the year 1630. H.H. Shreemad Shivanand Saraswati the Peethadish of Kavale Math is the 76th pontiff in the hierarchy.
Shree Bhavanishankar has been the Aaradhya Daivat of the Math. Our Math believes in Advaita philosophy,propagated by Shree Gaudapadacharya. According to Adavaita philosophy we believe “ATMA” & ”PARAMATMA” are not different but one and the same. The philosophy is depicted by “AHAM BRAHMASMI” meaning “I am the Brahma”.
Shri Gaudapadacharya Math, Website