Saturday, 23 January 2021

A journey to Sringeri Mutt

 

Sri Sharadamba Temple, Sringeri

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Sri Sharadamba Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Saraswati in the holy town of Sringeri in Karnataka, India. The Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri (Shringa giri in Sanskrit) is an 8th-century temple, founded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It housed a sandalwood statue of Shardamba in a standing posture, which was installed by Adi Shankarachaya until the Vijayanagara rulers and Sri Vidyaranya (12th Jagadguru) installed a seated gold statue of Sri Shardamba in the 14th century.

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Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the four mutts established by Adi Shankara in different parts of the country.  The Sringeri Sharada Peetha or Mutt is located South of the Sri Sharadamba temple, across the Tunga river, in Narasimha Vana. A foot bridge, called Vidyatheertha Setu connects the two sides.

Adi Shankaracharya was an Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.

Sri Sharadamba Temple is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi, located in the temple town of Sringeri on the banks of River Tunga. The word Sringeri is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Shrunga giri’ where Shrunga means the apex, peak or summit. It is an 8th-century temple, founded by Shri Adi Shankaracharya. Shankara on his way to propagate Dharma across the country, established four mutts in the four corners of India. They are Badrikasham Jyotirpeetha in North, Dwaraka’s Sharada Peetha in the West, Puri’s Govardhan Peetha in East, and Sringeri Sharada Peetha in South.

The ancient temple of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of Sringeri has a glorious history that begins with the setting up of the Dakshinamnaya Peetham by Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. Originally it was an unpretentious shrine with the statue of Sharada made of sandalwood, installed over the Sri Chakra that Sri Adi Shankara carved on a rock. Subsequently Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya had a temple built in the Kerala style, with timber and tiled roof. Sri Bharati Krishna Tirtha substituted the sandalwood idol with the present gold statue of seated Sri Sharadamba.

Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati raised the present structure in granite with polished granite wall round the sanctum and Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati consecrated the new temple in May 1916. Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha made several improvements in the temple. The Mahamandapam has huge stone pillars exquisitely carved with deities like Durga, Raja Rajeshwari, Dwarapalakas and Devis which are all sculpted according to the Shilpa Sastras practised in Tamilnadu.

The legend of this temple says that Sringeri is a place where Shankara saw a snake cowled as an umbrella to protect a pregnant frog from the hot sun. As a piece of evidence to this, today, one can see a sculpture called Kappe Shankara on the footsteps to the river Tunga.

It is believed that Lord Shiva gave a crystal Chandramouleshwara Linga to Shri Adi Shankaracharya in the form of a blessing. Even today, Chandramouleshwara Pooja is performed to the linga, every night at 8:30. The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Sharadambika who is believed to be an incarnation of Saraswathi, also worshipped as Ubhaya Bharathi. The faith here says that by worshipping Ubhaya Bharathi, one can receive the blessings of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.

The temple is also famous for Aksharabhyasa. It is a sacred ritual followed here where a kids in the age of 2-5 years are initiated to learning.The parents of kids in the age of 2-5years are given a slate and chalk or alternatively, a plate of rice on which they pray to Goddess Saraswati and the Guru to impart good knowledge and education to their children.

Another major attraction of Sringeri temple is its sacred Sringeri Mutt, also referred to as Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham. The mutt follows the practices of Smartha tradition and the head over here is known as Jagadguru. A person who sits in the divine Peetha of Mutt carries the name Shankaracharya as a title.

In the year 1999, the present Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, dedicated to Goddess Sharada a Golden chariot worth Rupees one crore. On the event of golden jubilee Vardhanthi (Birthday) of the Jagadguru, golden doors were installed and inaugurated at the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Sharada temple. The gold covering to the door worth rupees twenty four lakh is a marvelous piece of art. The eight panels have the figures of Ashta Lakshmi inscribed on them.

Sringeri also hosts over 40 temples. The important ones are Stambha Ganapathi, Sri Vidyashankara temple, Janardhan temple, Harihara temple, and Kalabhairava temple to the East. The Vidyashankra temple located next to Sharada temple is a perfect example of architectural marvel. One can see 12 Zodiac pillars inside of it, called as Rishi Stambhas where 12 divisions of the Zodiac are engraved.

The Shringeri Sharada Suprabhatha was adopted by the Shringeri matha in the late 1970s by Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha swamiji. The very famous Sree Sharada Suprabhata Stotram was composed by Veda Brahma. Turuvekere Subrahmanya Vishweshwara Dikshith (also known as Sri. T. S. Vishweshwara Dikshith) for the divine Shringeri Sharada maata (God Mother).

Veda Brahma. T. S. Vishweshwara Dikshith was born in Turuvekere, a small town in Tumkur district, and was the Sanskrit professor in Maharaja College in the Royal kingdom of Mysore and resided at Mysore. He was the Aasthana Vidwan of Alankaara Shasthra of King Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur. Dikshith was a learned Sanskrit scholar in several Vedas (Yajur Veda in particular) and specialised in Ghana Krama — the essence of the Vedas. He composed the Sree Srikanteshwara Suprabhata and Sree Chandramoulishwara Suprabhata of Lord Srikanteshwara of Nanjangud and Sri Chandramoulishwara temple in V. V. Mohalla, Mysore respectively along with Sree Sharada Suprabhatha of Sringeri Sharada Peetham. He was a Ghana Pathi and had mastered several shastras such as Alankara Shastra, Jyothishya Shastra (astrology), Tarka, and Vyakarana (grammar) to name a few. He received several awards and accolades from the Maharaja of Mysore and the pontiffs of Sringeri Sharada Peetham and Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam respectively for his contributions to Sanskrit literature.

Since Sringeri is situated in the heart of Chikmagalur district, it is naturally blessed with rich flora, greenry and water bodies. The nearby attractions are Sirimane falls and Hanumanagundi Falls, a tourist spot. Mangalore is the prominent city close to Sringeri.  Deevotees can easily travel from Mangalore to Sringeri. Distance between Mangalore and Sringeri by road is about 108 km. The nearest airport is Bajpe in Mangalore. Tourist taxis are available and it takes about two-three hours to reach this place.

Also read: Mangaladevi Temple  *   Dharmashtala

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