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Encyclopedia > Sringeri Sharada Peetham

Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the important Hindu Advaita maṭhas. The heads of the maṭha are known as Shankaracharyas. It is believed to be one of the original maṭhas started by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. A Hindu (also spelt Hindoo) is an adherent of philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, also known as Sanatan (सनातन) Dharma, the predominant religious, philosophical and cultural systems of Bharat (India) and Nepal and the island of Bali A popular name for India is Hindustan, or Land of the Hindus. ... Advaita Vedanta is probably the best known of all Vedanta schools of Hinduism, the others being Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita. ... A maá¹­ha (also written matha and mutt) is a term for monastic and similar religious establishments of the Hindu religion. ... Sri Adi Sankara Shri Shankaracharya, Adhi Shankaracharya, or Adi Shankara (the first Shankara in his lineage), reverentially called Bhagavatpada Acharya (the teacher at the feet of Lord), Shankara (approximately 509- 477 BC) [1] was the most famous Advaita philosopher who had a profound influence on the growth of Hinduism through... Adi Shankara (Åšaá¹…kara, Shri Shankaracharya, Adhi Shankaracharya, Ä€di Åšaá¹…karācārya; the first Shankara in his lineage), reverentially called Bhagavatpada Acharya (the teacher at the feet of Lord) (very approximately 788–820 C.E., but see below) was the most famous advaita philosopher, who had a profound influence...

Contents


Location

The maţha is located in the temple town of Sringeri (also spelled as Shringeri), on the banks of river Tunga located in the Chikmagalur district of the Karnataka state, India. It is located 190 km from Mangalore. From Sringeri, the river Tunga flows about a hundred kilometers and then it meets river Bhadra at Kudali Sringeri, which is at a distance of about 10 KM from the town of Simoga, the head quarters of the district of Shimoga in the Karnataka state. Only thereafter the downstream river is known as Tungabhadra. In the Sarada Bhujanga Prayat Stotra the Sarada Devi is addressed as looking at the Tungabhadra river. This refers to the Sarada temple located at Kudali Sringeri. Therefore the Kudali Sringeri Math claims that it is the original math established by Adi Sankaracharya. It seems Bharati Tirtha (Bharatikrishna Tirtha) and Vidyaranya, the Guru of Hukka ( Harihara I ) and Bukka, who were the founders of the Vijayanagara empire, shifted to present Shringeri and erected a new Sarada temple there with a gold idol in the sitting position. The original wooden idol in a standing position, made by Adi Sankaracharya, is said to be in the Kudali Sringeri math. Vastu pandits believe that the deity in a sitting position is more benign than in the standing position. It is also believed that idol made from gold is more effective and long lasting than the one made from any other material. Moreover the Sringeri matha enjoyed the patronage of the vijayanagara empire. Could this be the reason for the popularity of the Sringeri maṭha? This however may not necessarily be the only reason for there were also great seers and saints like Jagatguru Sri Satchidananda Bharathi, Sri Ugra Narasimha Bharathi, Sri Satchidananda Sivabhinava Narasimha Bharathi, Sri Chandrasekara Bharathi, who made Sringeri popular by their scholarship and austere life . Sri Vidyaranya also erected a temple of Vidyasankara in the new Sringeri. There was already a temple of Vidyasankara in Kudali Sringeri. Kudali Sringeri is at a distance of about 100 Km from the new Sringeri.Incidentally Swami Vidyaranya erected another Sarada temple in the Virupaksha matha in Hampi, where the idol is in the sitting position.


History

The origin of the maṭha is described in Sankara Vijaya, written by Madhava, brother of Sayana. He was different from Vidyaranya, an ancient seer of the maṭha, though Vidyaranya's purvashrama name was also Madhava. There are many inaccuracies in the Madhaviya Sankaravijaya. For example there is mention of an encounter of Adi sankaracharya with one great tantric called Abhinavagupta of Kamarupa. In fact there was one such famous tantric called Abhinavagupta in Kashmir, who wrote the Tantraloka and Tantrasar and not in Kamarupa.


Along with Vishwarupa and his wife Ubhay Bharati ( Vishwarupa was vanquished by Sankaracharya in a debate and after that Sankaracharya passed the test taken by Ubhay Bharati) Sankara was going towards south. In that test Ubhay Bharati asked him as to how could he be sure that he had overcome his passion as he had no experience of conjugal life. To prove his mastery over the passion he left his body in the care of his disciples and entered the body of a king, who just died, in order to live a householder's life. He could not have gone to the life of a householder with his own body, to prove his point, as he was a sanyasi. It was a very intelligent ploy of Bharati to defeat Adi Sankaracharya. Before he did this, he told his disciples not to worry as he would be able to preserve his brahmacharya, being adept in the Vajrauli mudra. But he became engrossed in the worldly matters and almost forgot to return to his own body and could not have met the challenge of Ubhay Bharati. But fortunately for him his disciples found him in time and sang before him the verses of Bhaja Govindam to remind him to return to his body and present himself before Ubhay Bharati. Ubhay Bharati, who was none other than an incarnation of Goddess Sarasvati, agreed to follow Adi Sankaracharya but stipulated that at the spot where Sankara would look back at the pair, she would take her abode.


There is an anecdote which says that Sankara and the pair reached Kudali Sringeri on an exceptionally hot noon and as they proceeded to the river Tunga for their ablutions, they saw a frog struggling in the blazing sun to be delivered of its offspring. A cobra, the natural enemy of frog, raised its hood to provide the frog with shelter and protection from the ravages of the tropical sun. Sankara was greatly moved by the sight. If there was paradise on earth, here it was, where the lion and the lamb, the tiger and the cow, the cobra and the frog lived in mutual amity and peace. He just turned round when, as she had already stipulated, Bharati, known also as Sarada, decided to stay for good at Kudali Sringeri on the banks of the sacred river Tunga, just a few metres away from the confluence of the rivers Tunga and Bhadra at Kudali Sringeri.


Vishwarupa, assuming the name of Suresvaracharya, was installed here as the successor of Sankaracharya before the latter resumed his tour to found his three pithas at Puri, Dwaraka and Badrinath.


Thus the maṭha traces its lineage from Suresvaracharya. All the Acharyas of the Math till the 8th century were addressed as Sureshwaracharyas in addition to their names. The custom of addressing the Acharyas of the maṭha as Sankaracharya came into practice from the time of Vidyaranya. The traditional year of birth of Adi Sankaracharya was accepted by the Sringeri maṭha in the 19th century as 44 BC. Only in the 20th century some historians of Sringeri math attempted to change it to the 8th century in order to fall in line with the chronology of Indian history suggested by Max Muller and which was then followed by the subsequent western historians. Max Muller's bias to show that the Old Testament of the Bible as the earliest scripture in the world has been exposed, once his letters to his wife became available from the British archives. As the first five chapters (the Pentateuch) of the Old Testament of the Bible was composed by the prophet Moses in 1500 BC Max Muller wanted to show that Rigveda and all Indian scriptures were composed subsequent to 1500 BC. In collusion with Sir William Jones, he invented the hypothesis of 'Aryan Invasion' and showed that the date of Chandragupta Maurya was in the 4th century BC instead of the 16th century BC. It will be good for India and the world if those people, who wrongly calculated Adi Sankaracharya's date as in the 8th century CE, correct that now. Archaeological finding of the lost Sarswati river, which disappeared in 2500 BC, provided concrete proof that MaxMuller was wrong and there was no Aryan invasion. The Max Muller's chronology has since been discarded by the modern scholars of Indian history. But there are some neophobes, who are still clinging to the Max Muller's version. The year 44 BC was fixed as the birth year of Adi Sankaracharya on the basis of the Jaina Yudhisthira era as the influence of Jainism was very much there in the Karnataka in those days. Adi Sankaracharya was born in 2164 of Jaina Yudhisthira era, which actually coresponds to 2629 of Yudhisthira era ( This era started with the coronation of the eldest of the Pandavas in the year 3138 at the end of the Mahabharata war). Thus Adi Sankaracharya was born in 509 BCE ( 3138-2629 ) and not on 44 BC. Recently in 2003 CE the Sankaracharyas of Puri, Dwaraka and Joshimath jointly declared that Adi Sankaracharya was born in 509 BCE. Yet there are many modern Indologists and historians, who do not believe that Adi Sankaracharya was born in 509 BCE.


The Sringeri maṭha records its history from the 8th century onwards. It thus claims that Adi Shankaracharya lived during that time. But the Kudali Sringeri matha has record of the matha from 509 BCE. The recent Sringeri maṭha sources reported that Sankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of Vikramaditya. Some believe him to be the Vikramaditya II of the Western Chalukya Dynasty, which ruled from Badami in Karnataka. Others believe him to the Vikramaditya of the 1st century BC. The history of the Sringeri Matha since the period of Sri Bharathi Tirtha (I) and Sri Vidyaranya onwards is well documented. The names of the Acharyas preceding Sri Bharathi Tirtha (I) are based on the ancient traditions of the matha. This is because when Vidyaranya and his younger brother, Bharati tirtha, who though younger became the pontiff before Vidyaranya, moved from Kudali Sringeri to Sringeri and a lineage of Acharyas continued in the Kudali Sringeri. Kudali Sringeri had the most authentic record of the chronology of the maṭha as when Vidya Shankara swami returned he had all the past records with him and these records were not available to Bharati Tirtha and Vidyaranya swami, who moved away from the parent maṭha. What Vidyaranya swami could do was to record back up to only the 8th century. Most of the names from the Sringeri lineage up to Vidyaranya are also found in the Sri Guru Charitra, a 15th century Marathi work by Gangadhara Saraswathi.


The maṭha continues in existence even to this day, and governs many institutions.


Head of the maṭha

The head of the maṭha is usually a Brahmachari,educated in the Vedas. The Existing head of the maṭha decides upon a worthy disciple ,initiates him into Sanyasa,and appoints him as the head. T he present head of the maṭha is Sri Bharati Theertha Swamigal. Brahmachari is a sacred word in India. ... Sanyasa symbolizes the conception of the mystic life in Hinduism where a person is now integrated into the spiritual world after wholly giving up material life. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Philosophy and Traditions of the maṭha

The maṭha Gurus follow the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. As per the tradition initiated by Adi Shankara, the matha is incharge of the Yajur Veda (the Black Yajurveda is more popular in south India). The Gurus of the maṭha believe in all the demigods (devas), described in the Vedas and the Puranas, to be mundane manifestations of the same One Cosmic Spirit, called Brahman. They suscribe to the Vedic phrase "Aham Brahma Asmi",which means that "I am the Universal spirit". The Gurus wear ochre robes, smear their forehead with Sacred ashes or Vibhuti and worship God for many hours everyday. They practice intense penance and meditation, which they believe helps in the control of the mind. They sustain themselves on optimum diet and minimal sleep. They meditate on the Rudraksha beeds and worship Shiva Linga everyday. To an Advaitin, Shiva is Vishnu and Vishnu is Siva. Both are one and the same. The Sringeri Gurus advocate that an individual must not merely revere a Guru and listen to his teachings, but imbibe the good habits of the Guru in their own life. Some of the things advocated by the Gurus are: Advaita Vedanta (IAST ; Devanagari ; IPA []) is probably the best known of all Vedanta schools of philosophy of Hinduism, the others being Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita (total six). ... The Yajur Veda यजुर्वेद is one of the four Hindu Vedas; it contains religious texts focussing on liturgy and ritual. ... Deva (देव in devanagari script) is the Sanskrit word for god, deity. It can be variously interpreted as a spirit, demi-god, angel, deity or any spernatural being of high excellence. ... The religion of the Vedic civilization is the predecessor of classical Hinduism, usually included in the term. ... The Puranas (Sanskrit पुराण, purāṇá ancient, since they focus on ancient history of the universe) are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss varied topics like devotion to God in his various aspects, traditional sciences like Ayurveda, Jyotish, cosmology, concepts like dharma, karma, reincarnation and many others. ... Here the underlined vowels carry the Vedic Sanskrit udātta pitch accent. ... Vibhuti is the name for sacred ash used in religious worship in Hinduism, especially connected with Lord Shiva. ... Rudraksha is commonly used to mean the seeds of the rudraksha tree, Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb. ...

  1. Satvic habits which include vegetarianism, cleanliness, discipline, etc.
  2. Regular Worship of God and development of Bhakti.
  3. Giving Importance to learning and Knowledge.
  4. Good Conduct, Honesty, Generosity and adherence to scriptures.
  5. Austerity and Simplicity.
  6. Love, respect and responsibility towards one' family or community.
  7. Destruction of Pride and Ego.

Much of the examples and advices of the Gurus are inspired from Ancient Vedic Wisdom. They would never advise anything contradictory to scriptures, as they hold the ancient Vedas as God inspired Truth. The material world is considered as 'Maya',or temporary, which is like a dream, so they believe that one should be involved in the material world only in order to fulfill one's responsibility. Even as they adhere to the teachings of Adi Shankaracharaya, they read other secular and religious works. They however do not advocate Religious Conversion and believe that individuals must follow the religion of their own birth properly and correctly. With regard to many ideas, they are still very conservative. Some people criticize them since these gurus do not accept widow remarriage, divorces, women devoting to career ( at the cost of family life) etc — although their condemnation of extra marital affairs and animal sacrifices are definitely praiseworthy. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into guna. ...


Followers of the maṭha

Normally people of all castes visit the Shankaracharya. But the majority of devotees are Smartha Brahmins of South India and Maharashtra.The maṭha has huge following especially among the Vedic community, who recite the vedas even to this day. The succeessor of the maṭha is himself chosen from the Vedic Brahmanas. // Introduction The term Smartha refers to those who accept and profess the Advaitha or non-dualistic philosophy propounded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. ... Young Indian brahmachari Brahmin A Brahmin (less often Brahman) is a member of the Hindu priestly caste. ... A map of South India, its rivers, regions and water bodies. ... Maharashtra (महाराष्ट्र in Devanagari) is Indias third largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population after Uttar Pradesh. ... The Vedas (Sanskrit:- वेद), collectively refers to a corpus of ancient Indo Aryan religious literature that are considered by adherents of Hinduism to be revealed knowledge. ... The Brahmanas (Brahmin Books) are part of the Hindu Shruti; these religious scriptures focus on sacrifice -- particularly that of horses and soma. ...


Activities of the maṭha

Much of the maṭha activity is centered around religious institutions. A number of Vedic Schools and Temples are maintained by the maṭha. Besides this the maṭha also runs a hospital, and a few colleges. It has established branches in many parts of India. The Sharadambal Temple at Sringeri is managed by the Sringeri maṭha. There is also a spectacular library in Sringeri, with rare Sanskrit Volumes ,which is managed by the maṭha. The environment in Sringeri is highly unpolluted and beautiful. The maṭha has also played an important role in preserving the natural beauty of the Place. Sanskrit ( संस्कृतम्) is a classical language of India and a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. ...


Relationship with other maṭhas and Institutions

The maṭha has enjoyed patronage from many Kings and Rulers. Its sage Vidyateertha was contemporary to the founders of Vijayanagar Empire. The maṭha was given lavish grants of land by the Vijayanagar Kings.Vidyaranya another maṭha head, was himself the advisor to the Vijayangar King. Tipu Sultan,the famous Muslim ruler of Mysore,also respected the Sringeri Acharyas, and helped it to sustain itself. Even in modern times the maṭha has had good relationship with the State and Central Governments, as it has strived to be politically neutral and non controversial. But in Independent India, with the coming of Land reforms, it has lost many of its traditional land, and was struggling to maintain itself. With the Increase in donation of NRIS, things have turned for the better. Vidyaranya is variously known as being a king maker, patron saint and high priest to Hakka and Bukka, the founders of the Vijayanagar empire. ... Tipu sultans summer palace Tipu Sultan, also known as The Tiger of Mysore (December 10, 1750, Devanhalli – May 4, 1799, Srirangapatnam) was the second son of Haider Ali by his second wife, Fatima or Fakr-un-nissa. ... Mysore is the second largest city of the Indian state of Karnataka. ...


The maṭha also enjoys good relationship with three other mutts, believed to have been Started by Adi Shankaracharya. These mutts are located in Puri, Dwaraka and Badrinath. These four mutts are considered by many historians as the four most important mutts established by Adi Shankracharya.


There is also one another maṭha in Kanchi, Kanchi Kamakoti matha ,which is also highly regarded by the Smartha Brahmins and other Hindus. Its abbot claims to be the fifth Sankaracharya, although most Hindus recognize only four. This maṭha has slightly different traditions from these mutts. Though it is not officially recognized by the four above mutts, it has maintained its own traditions and influence. This maṭha is equally popular among people and has done a lot of Social work as well. Some people believe that this maṭha was originally a branch of the Kudali Sringeri maṭha but due to the politically compelling reasons ie. due to the animosity between the Tanjore kings ( in whose kingdom the Kanchi maṭha was there) and the Mysore king ( in whose kingdom the Kudali Sringeri maṭha was located ) the Kanchi maṭha became independent. This probably happened at the time of Vidyashankara Swami as he had to leave the maṭha in a hurry and go to a safe place in the North with all the important documents and the shastras of the maṭha so that the Muslim invader Malik Kafur would not be able to seize and destroy them. The Sringeri maṭha devotees disagree with the date of Adi Shankracharya proposed by the Kanchi maṭha. The Kanchi maṭha claims that it originated in 509 BC. Adi Sankarackarya ascended the Sarvajna-peetha at Kanchi. Kanchi is also known from the ancient times as one of the seven holiest cities ( Sapta puris) of India. It was appropriate that Adi Sankaracharya spent his last days in Kanchi and before he passed away he installed a young seven year old disciple there to worship Kamakshi Amma regularly and asked Sureshwaracharya of Kudali Sringeri maṭha to look after him. Thus at the starting this maṭha appeared to become a de facto branch of the Kudali Sringeri maṭha. As the Sarvajna-peetha was already existing in Kanchi there was no need to establish a separate peetha or matha there. After sometime due to some political unrest in the Kanchi region this Kanchi maṭha had to shift temporarily to Kumbhakonam. Later on it shifted back to Kanchi when the political atmosphere became congenial. The devotees of the two mathas have been arguing and showering insults on each other for almost a century now, and there are already many books that have come out on this issue.


Besides the Kanchi maṭha, there is also a Kudali Sringeri maṭha which claims that it is the Original Sringeri maṭha. This maṭha is located in Kudali,where the rivers Tunga and Bhadra meet. It claims that a particular Guru of the maṭha, Swami Vidyasankara, had left Kudali Sringeri, presumably for Kashi, during the invasion of Malik Kafur in 1310 AD, in order to escape from the wrath of the invader. In fact Swami Vidyasankara was already very old and nearing 100 years of age at that time as he became the Acharya of the Kudali Sringeri matha in 1229 CE and had been the Acharya of the matha for 81 years till 1310 CE, when Malik Kafur invaded that area. As Swami Vidyasankara did not return for many years Swami Bharati Tirtha, the younger brother of Vidyaranya, became the officiating new Acharya in 1328 CE and he shifted the matha to a politically safe place at Sringeri. As long as Swami Vidyasankara was presumed to be alive the Sringeri matha was considered as a branch of the Kudali Sringeri maṭha. As swami Vidyashankara did not return till 1330 CE a new Acharya was installed at Kudali Sringeri according to the tradition. The claim of Bharati Tirtha as the natural successor to Swami Vidyasankara was ignored. Thus Bharati Tirtha stayed back at Sringeri and in 1333 CE he too declared himself as the true successor of Swami Vidyasankara, saying that for three years from 1330 to 1333 CE Swami Vidyasankara was in Lambika Yoga in Sringeri. When Bharati Tirtha took samadhi in 1380 CE Swami Vidyaranya became the Acharya of the Sringeri maṭha. At the time of Vidyaranya the new Srngeri maṭha prospered and gained eminence due to royal patronage from the Vijayanagar empire. The claims of the Kudali Sringeri maṭha is supported by the Kanchi maṭha, but not accepted by the maṭha at Sringeri. Tunga may refer to: A river in India An artist from Brazil This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... In Hinduism, Bhadra is a goddess of the hunt and one of Shivas servants. ...


Guru Parampara

The list of Gurus given here, is as taken from the Official site of Sringeri maṭha. The dates refer to the period during which the maṭha was governed, by that particular Guru.


Guru Parampara (the lineage of Sringeri Jagadgurus)

  1. Adi Shankaracharya AD 788-820 (videhamukti)
  2. Sureshvara 820-834
  3. Nityabodhaghana 834-848
  4. Jnanaghana 848-910
  5. Jnanottama 910-954
  6. Jnana Giri 954-1038
  7. Simha Giri 1038-1098
  8. Ishvara Tirtha 1098-1146
  9. Narasimha Tirtha 1146-1229
  10. Vidyashankara Tirtha 1229-1333
  11. Bharati Tirtha (I) 1333-1380
  12. Vidyaranya 1380-1386
  13. Chandrashekhara Bharati (I) 1386-1389
  14. Narasimha Bharati (I) 1389-1408
  15. Purushottama Bharati (I) 1408-1448
  16. Shankara Bharati 1448-1455
  17. Chandrashekhara Bharati (II) 1455-1464
  18. Narasimha Bharati (II) 1464-1479
  19. Purushottama Bharati (II) 1479-1517
  20. Ramachandra Bharati 1517-1560
  21. Narasimha Bharati (III) 1560-1573
  22. Narasimha Bharati (IV) 1573-1576
  23. Narasimha Bharati (V) 1576-1600
  24. Abhinava Narasimha Bharati (I) 1600-1623
  25. Sacchidananda Bharati (I) 1623-1663
  26. Narasimha Bharati (VI) 1663-1706
  27. Sacchidananda Bharati (II) 1706-1741
  28. Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati (I) 1741-1767
  29. Narasimha Bharati (VII) 1767-1770
  30. Sacchidananda Bharati (III) 1770-1814
  31. Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati (II) 1814-1817
  32. Narasimha Bharati (VIII) 1817-1879
  33. Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati 1879-1912
  34. Chandrashekhara Bharati (III) 1912-1954
  35. Abhinava Vidyatirtha 1954-1989
  36. Bharati Tirtha 1989-

Adi Shankara (Śaṅkara, Shri Shankaracharya, Adhi Shankaracharya, Ādi Śaṅkarācārya; the first Shankara in his lineage), reverentially called Bhagavatpada Acharya (the teacher at the feet of Lord) (very approximately 788–820 C.E., but see below) was the most famous advaita philosopher, who had a profound influence... He was known as Mandana Mishra in his Purvashrama. ... He was one of the greatest Shankaracharyas of Sringeri Mutt. ... Vidyaranya is variously known as being a king maker, patron saint and high priest to Hakka and Bukka, the founders of the Vijayanagar empire. ... Chandrashekara Bharati (III) was the head of Sringeri Sharada Peetham from the year 1912-1954. ... Abhinava Vidyathirtha (or Sri Srinivasan; 1917 – 1989) was the Shankaracharya (the head) of one of the important Hindu Advaita Mathas in India, the Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham. ... Shri Bharati Theertha Swamigal is the Jagadguru and Shankaracharya of the Advaitic Sringeri Sharada Peetham. ...

External links

  • http://www.sringeri.org - Official Website of Sringeri Sharada Peetham
  • http://www.tattvaloka.com/ - Monthly magazine of Hinduism published by Sringeri Sharada Peetham
  • http://www.karnatakatourism.com/coastal/sringeri/index.htm - Karnataka Tourism website on Sringeri
  • http://www.sanskrit.org/Shankara/shankar2.html - A brief overview of the controversy surrounding the Date of Adi Shankaracharya
  • http://www.kamakoti.org/ -Website of Kanchi maṭha which has contrary claims on Shankaracharya
  • http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0003/ET14-5679.html - A website which has interesting Information in support of Kanchi maṭha's claim

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Sharada Peetham (739 words)
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