RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM: The Sadhu Stree Mutt, the only mutt for Hindu women who preferred to take ‘sanyas’ after the demise of their spouse in the pre-Independence era, is on the path of reforming itself by easing some rigid restrictions. The mutt was set up at Veerabhadrapuram in Rajamahendravaram in 1920. Social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu advocated widow remarriage at that time. Only Brahmin women would be admitted and they should get their head tonsured and wear saffron colour sarees as per the conditions laid down by the mutt. The conditions were in force till now. Henceforth, all Hindu women can join the mutt and it is not mandatory for them to get their head tonsured and wear saffron colour sarees.
The mutt was founded by Ramalakshmi, who was married at a young age and lost her husband by the time she turned 15. She later changed her name to Sadhvi Sadhu Mathaji.
A contemporary of Veeresalingam Pantulu, Sadhvi spent a few years in Varanasi and took Sanyasini Deeksha. In the initial days, locals did not extend her cooperation. They did not even like to call the mutt by its name. It became popular as ‘Adavari Matham’.
After the Sadhvi’s death in 1964, locals objected to her burial at the place. They insisted that the mortal remains be consigned to flames as per the customs. Other Sadhvis in the mutt garnered the support of some people and buried her mortal remains. “Now, we mediate at the place where the Sadhvi was buried,’’ Sadhvi Gayatri Mathaji, caretaker of the mutt, told TNIE. She hails from Moparru village in Guntur district and joined the mutt in 1968.
‘Liberalised rules will enable more women join mutt’
The mutt, which turned 101 years, is exclusively for women who want to lead a saintly life after the demise of their spouse. The mutt once housed around 80 widows. A Muslim woman also joined the mutt after changing her name to Samishi Bhai.
After widow remarriages gained popularity, the number of women who embraced the life of sanyasini, had declined. The mutt has mere eight inmates now. Thota Subba Rao is the president of the mutt.
“The inmates ought to do ‘Anushthanam’ five times a day. The liberalised rules will be announced soon to enable more women join the mutt,” said Sadhvi Gayatri Mathaji.
MUTT SET UP BY A WIDOW IN 1920
The mutt was founded by Ramalakshmi who became a widow at the young age of 15.
A contemporary of Veeresalingam Pantulu, she changed her name to Sadhvi Sadhu Mathaji Women, who lost their spouse, joined the mutt, at the time of widow remarriage movement.