Kalady’s Rediscoverer & Rediscovery – Part 2
Continued from previous part …
While the Vedantic commentaries of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and some of His other works were well-known, there had been no comprehensive list of the complete works of the great philosopher. The Mahaswamiji also got published for the first time ever, the Complete Works of Adi Shankaracharya, titled the Shaankara Granthavali.
In spite of these achievements, the greatest gift of the Mahaswamiji to the world of Astikas is the rediscovery of the exact birthplace of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
The Rediscovery of Kalady
The Mahaswamiji’s reverence to Sri Adi Shankaracharya
Jagadguru Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji was intensely devoted to Sri Adi Shankaracharya and had unparalleled reverence towards Him.
This became manifest in His early twenties. He started personally performing special Puja to Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s idol, which was originally only one among a group of idols worshipped at Sringeri. In the 1880’s, the Mahaswamiji placed Adi Shankaracharya’s idol at Sringeri in a separate shrine1 with arrangements for daily worship.
The Mahaswamiji instituted the annual festival of Sri Shankara Jayanti in memory of Sri Adi Shankaracharya commemorating His birth. The Celebrations were directed to be commenced on the first day of the bright fortnight of the Vaishakha month (Vaishakha Shukla Pratipat) and concluded on the fifth day, the anniversary of the Master’s birth (Vaishakha Shukla Panchami). During these five days, Mahanyasa Poorvaka Rudra Abhisheka followed by Archana to the image of the Master, along with the Parayanam of His great Bhashyas, were organized in the mornings. The Mahaswamiji Himself gave lectures in the evenings in simple, easy style on the teachings of the master. That the Celebrations of Shankara Jayanti take place today throughout India, and even abroad, is to be credited to the Mahaswamiji’s vision.
Seeds sown for the rediscovery
During His Vijaya Yatras, the Mahaswamiji had observed with frustration the conspicuous absence of reverence and dedication towards Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya. After His return to Sringeri, the Mahaswamiji was thinking of what should be done to check the drifting away of the people of the land from their old moorings. More than a millennium ago, Sri Adi Shankaracharya had found the country in utter chaos due to conflicting creeds, diabolic superstitions and abominable practices in the name of religion; and with His indefatigable vigour, intelligence and charisma had brought about a renaissance of Sanatana Dharma. The Mahaswamiji now sought the great master’s support and guidance to repeat the same.
While these thoughts were revolving in His mind, the then Diwan of Mysore, Sri K. Seshadri Iyer, a very close disciple of Mahaswamiji came on a visit to Sringeri to pay his respects. The Guru then broached the subject to him.
- This shrine at Sringeri is presently being transformed into a beautiful large temple under the direction of the present Acharya, Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji
To be continued …