अविद्यारण्यकान्तारे भ्रमतां प्राणिनां सदा ।
विद्यामार्गोपदेष्टारं विद्यारण्यगुरुं श्रये ॥
To souls that wander in utter dismay in the dense woods of mental ignorance, He shows the path of true wisdom; Homage to the great Saint Vidyaranya!
Sri Vidyaranya coming five centuries after Shankara Bhagavatpada was the 12th Jagadguru of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham from 1380 to 1386 A.D. He brought fame and glory to the Mutt by his dynamic leadership and unique contributions to spiritual and Vedantic thought.
Sringeri, a cluster of hermitages, became a spiritual imperium with state jurisdiction during his pontificate. To the Vyakhyana Simhasana (throne of transcendental wisdom) in the Sharada Peetham was added secular authority over the newly created Samsthanam, which served to enthuse a courageous spirit of unity and self-confidence among the people of South India.
Sri Vidyaranya was a great force in the regeneration of our spiritual, moral and cultural values. He built temples at Sringeri and Hampi and established Mutts to propagate Vedanta. He was not only a sage and empire builder, but also a savant and a scholar par excellence. His works constituted the greatest treatises in post-Shankara Advaitic literature. His marvellous interpretative skills reconciled many apparent differences in philosophic texts.
No other thinker or writer has acquired a reputation close to that of Adi Shankara in spreading the truths of Advaita. Special importance has been given to two of Vidyaranya’s popular works on Vedanta – Panchadasi and Jivanmukti Viveka. As invaluable treatises to the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) and sanyasi, they are famous for their clarity of thought and abundance of quotations from well-known texts.