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Propagation of Sanatana Dharma

Sri Sharada Peetham at Sringeri undertakes propagation of Sanatana Dharma through a number of channels.

The Peetham’s Veda Poshaka Sabha established 3 decades ago by Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji conducts exam in higher Vedic studies. A number of students appear for the examinations conducted during the Shankara Jayanti Celebrations. Every year about 20 highly qualified students in Krama and Ghana are certified by the Sabha and honoured in the presence of the Sringeri Jagadgurus.

In 1992, the present Shankaracharya of Sringeri, Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji instituted the Shastra Poshaka Sabha to foster the study of Shastras. Any scholar and student can affiliate themselves to the Sabha and receive a monthly stipend for a period of 5 years. The student is required to pass with distinction an examination conducted by the Sabha every 6 months. The final examination is conducted by the Sringeri Jagadguru during the Mahaganapati Vakyartha Vidwat Sabha. The successful candidates are awarded the title “Vidwat Pravara” during the Valedictory function of the Sabha. Over the last decade and a half, 50 new scholars have been generated. It is a joy for all that due to the efforts of the Shastra Poshaka Sabha, the percentage of young scholars participating in the prestigious Mahaganapati Vakyartha Vidwat Sabha has been increasing over the years.

The Peetham takes great interest in promotion of Sanskrit, the language of the Shastras. The Pathashalas run by the Peetham lay stress on Sanskrit education. The Sadvidya Sanjeevini Samskrita Mahapathashala at Sringeri has a specialized 4-year course in Samskrita Sahitya that prepares the student for the study of Shastras. The Sabha has 5 courses taking a student from elementary Sanskrit to being proficient in understanding Sanskrit literature and writing in Sanskrit. The Sabha conducts examinations twice a year, in January/February and July/August.

The present Shankaracharya, Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji effected the establishment of a Sanskrit University in Kalady, the birthplace of Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The efforts of the Mahaswamiji also brought to Sringeri and Karnataka a deemed University to propagate Sanskrit Studies – The Rajiv Gandhi Kendriya Samskrita Vidya Peetham of the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi.

In 2001, the Mahaswamiji inaugurated Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre at Narasimha Vanam in Sringeri. Established with the primary objective of bringing out rare and unpublished works in the Shastras, the Reseach Centre has brought to date 10 publications (9 in Sanskrit and 1 in English). The proceedings of the annual Mahaganapati Vakyartha Vidwat Sabha are being published by the Research Centre since 2005. The Research Centre houses the ancient manuscript library of the Peetham and undertakes preventive conservation and digitization of manuscripts. Manuscripts are also accepted from the public for conservation and digitization. The Centre welcomes people who may have manuscripts to donate them. The Centre also houses a Sanskrit library that is open to all. The Research Centre also undertakes publishing  Anugraha Bhashanams (benedictory discourses) of the Jagadguru Mahaswamiji and has brought out six Volumes to date.

In the early 1990’s, the Veda Vedanta Gurukula Mahavidyalaya was instituted in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh with the Blessings of Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. The Mahavidyalaya functions with an emphasis on Vedic learning, its preservation and propagation and has produced hundreds of scholars in the Vedas and Shastras. It runs a traditional Pathashala called Bharadwaja Vedalaya.

During the 56th Vardhanti Celebrations of Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, the Gita Jnana Yagna was launched under which anyone who chants the 18 chapters of Srimad Bhagavad Gita from memory would be awarded Rs. 11,000. Later it was decided to grant Rs. 5,000 for anyone chanting at least six chapters and Rs. 21,000 for anyone who chants all the 18 chapters. Since the inception of the Yagna, about 350 persons have participated and received rewards. All are welcome to participate in the Gita Jnana Yagna. Participants are examined on the last Sunday of every month at Sringeri. Successful candidates will be personally examined by the Jagadguru Shankaracharya and be a recipient of His Blessings and the Grace of Goddess Sharada to guide them further along the spiritual path.

The Bhagavan Nama Yagna scheme launched by the Peetham encourages all to write the divine names of the Lord. As part of the scheme, books for writing divine names are distributed freely to all.

While emphasizing the preservation of ancient temples, the Peetham extends support to the construction of new temples. Since the later part of the 20th century, the Sringeri Jagadgurus have consecrated hundreds of newly built temples.

Since the 16th century, the Jagadgurus of Sringeri in the course of their Vijaya Yatras established a number of Shakha Maths (a branches of the Peetham) and installed Heads for these Maths (Shivaganga and Avani are two such ). The establishment of these institutions enabled the local community to have easy access to a Sannyasi in the tradition of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. These Maths began functioning independently while the Heads of such Maths, referred to as Mathadhipatis, often seek guidance from the Sringeri Jagadgurus to this day.

Sri Sharada Peetham has over 130 branches (generally called Sringeri Shankara Maths) throughout the country. Most of these branches were established by the Jagadgurus during the Vijaya Yatras. Some of the oldest branches include those at holy centres such as Nasik and Varanasi and are a couple of centuries old. The branches at metropolitan cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata serve a large section of devotees. A significant number of these branches exist in small towns and villages. The branches of the Peetham exist in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, New Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Goa.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the Peetham took a big step towards propagating Sanatana Dharma overseas and established its first affiliate organization outside India in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Named as Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation, the organization now has a full-fledged temple for Goddess Sharada and has conducted two Ati-Rudra Mahayagas and Sahasrachandi Mahayagas. In 2005, a similar foundation was instituted in Toronto, Canada.

Sri Sharada Peetham has brought out a number of publications towards the propagation of Sanatana Dharma. The publications appear in various languages and as books, DVDs and CDs. A separate section on currently available publications has been put up on this website.

With the Blessings of the Sringeri Jagadguru, magazines in English (Tattvaloka), Kannada (Shankara Kripa), Telugu (Shankara Kripa) and Tamil (Amman Darshanam) are brought out every month.

A number of Trusts functioning under the guidance of the Sringeri Jagadguru Shankaracharya are also engaged in propagating Sanatana Dharma.

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