Sannyasis have an interesting origin. Sri Sankaracharya had set up four Maths at
Sringa-Giri, Dwarka, Shri Kshetra (Puri) and Badarikashram (8th-9th century). There
were four principal disciples of Shri Sankaracharya, namely, Padma Pad, Hathamalak, Mandan
and Totak. Padma pad had two disciples, namely, Tirtha and Ashram. Similarly,
Hasthamalak had two disciples, namely, Ban and Aranya.
Mandan and Totak had three disciples each namely, Giri, Parbat, Sagar, Saraswati,
Bharat and Puri. It is these 10 disciples of the four Mathacharyas that had given rise to
the Dasanami Sannyasis. Another famous monastery of the Dasanami Saiva Sannyasis in
Bengal is the one at Tarakeshwar.
As observed by Gour Das Basak: "The Bhot-bagan math now remains a solitary monument
of the genius and of a special policy of the first Governor-General of India, of the piety
of Tashi Lama as exhibited in Bengal, of the work of Puran Gir, and of the Tibeto-Bengal
trade, which flourished centuries ago and was restored, though in a stifled form, a
hundred years ago".4
4 Gaurdas Byscak, Buddhistic Monastery at
Bhot-bagan, March 1890.