Acharyas who adorned the Peetham between 1706 and 1770
Sri Sacchidananda Bharati II (1706 – 1741)
सच्चित्ताम्बुजमित्राय सच्चरित्रयुजे नमः ।
सच्चिदानन्दभारत्यै सच्चिदानन्दमूर्तये ॥
The lotus in the heart blossoms due to this Sun whose sacred life do distinguised poets sing, and who is the Truth-Knowledge-Bliss embodied I bow to that saint, Sacchidanada Bharati!
Sri Sacchidananda Bharati honoured Basavappa by visiting his capital. He later visited Kigga, Subrahmanya, Velapura, Uppinangadi, Nandavaram (the head quarters of a chief). He also worshipped Sri Narasimha installed at Haladi and proceeded to Kotishwara, Barakura, Bhatkal, Honnavar and Gokarna.
Sometime after returning to Sringeri, the Acharya set forth on another pilgrimage to Gokarna.
The active association of the Maratha ruling houses with the Sringeri Mutt began during the reign of this Pontiff. The Maratha rulers, Shivaji II, Shambu Chatrapathi of Kolhapur line, Peshwa Baji Rao Ballal Pradhan were all great devotees of the Acharya and were firmly enforcing the supremacy of the Guru in all socio-religious matters.
Sri Krishna Raja Wodeyar II of Mysore sent from Srirangapatnam elephants, silk cloth and other offerings to the Acharya, whom he described as ‘the ruler of the Yoga empire seated on the jewelled throne of Sringapura’. The Acharya founded a Mutt at Belur.
The Acharya had a marked devotion to Sri Mahabaleshwara of Gokarna and to Sri Mookambika of Kollur, who was also the tutelary deity of the Keladi Nayaks. His ‘Mookambika stotra’ and his ‘Sharada stotra’ commemorating a Navaratri celebration are two gems of poetry. He conducted festivals in the Sringeri temples on a lavish scale, to which, among other chiefs, the Sethupati of Ramanathapuram also sent offerings. He had a linga, by name Vidyashankara, installed in Rameshwaram.
The benign influence of ‘The jewelled throne of Dharma’ in Sringeri was shed on all alike. Visiting scholars were lavishly rewarded. By their personal conduct and teachings the Acharya lessened the acerbities born of the conflict of contending philosophies and sects.
The pilgrimage of the Acharya and the temple festivals afforded opportunities for all classes of people to approach the Jagadguru for guidance and instruction for their spiritual betterment. The Samsthanam was only an ancillary to the Sharada Peetham, the primary aims of which it was meant to subserve. The resources of the Samsthanam also helped to maintain yatis , temples, Annadana and other charities as well as support sadhakas and scholars in their endeavours.
Sri Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati I (1741 – 1767)
सच्चिदानन्द भारत्यै नव्यायास्तु नमोऽनिशम् ।
By radiating blessed Self-knowledge, He annuls ignorance in all beings; Abhinava Sacchidana Bharati, Him I adore as my Master Supreme
When the new Swami ascended the Vyakhyana Simhasana, Basavappa Nayak II was on the throne of Bidanoor. After him Channa Basavappa ruled for two years and was succeeded by Rani Virammaji. The Rani invited the Acharya to her capital, offered him a Spatika Linga and an image of Krishna set in rubies and lands valued at three hundred pagodas. Later the King Somasekhara Naik in 1762 exempted from taxation all articles that were taken to Sringeri for the Navaratri festival of Sri Sharada Devi.
Krishna Raja Wodeyar II was the then ruler of Mysore with his capital in Srirangapatnam. He invited the Acharya with the belief that his presence in his State would bring in the much-needed rains for the country and granted Belavadi and its hamlets.
His government rendered the necessary help to the Sringeri Samsthanam in the collection of dues and contributions, in the maintenance of order in the villages and in the achara vicharas . Lands granted to the Samsthanam by private parties were also ordered to be treated as sarvamanyam (taxes were not levied).
Venkatadri Nayak of Belur sent offerings to the Acharya. Veerappa Udeyar, ruler of Coorg, granted the village of Kodalimande and bore the expenses of the Puja on the Vijayadasami day in the temples at Sringeri.
Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao Pradhan (1740 – 1761) sent from his camp on the banks of the Krishna, valuable offerings to Goddess Sharada and the Acharya.
Peshwa Madhava Rao Ballal Pradhan instituted an annual grant for agrapuja (first puja to be offered) to the Jagadguru. In response to an invitation from the Peshwa’s uncle Ragunatha Rao, the Acharya went to Poona in 1760-1761. From Poona, the Acharya went to Nasik where he attained Videha mukti.
Sri Nrisimha Bharati VII (1767 – 1770)
मारमातङ्गपञ्चास्यं मदसर्पद्विजर्षभम् ।
नृसिंहभारतिं वन्दे जिताक्षतुरगं सदा ॥
The elephant that quells vital passions, the eagle that kills the snake of mental pride, He is also the one who controls the seeds of wild senses; I always adore that seer, Nrisimha Bharati!
In 1766, Peshwa Madhava Rao and Nizam Ali were at war with Hyder. A brief respite helped Hyder to regain his lost territories. Notwithstanding troubles at home caused by Ragunatha Rao, the Peshwa again made war with Mysore, and both sides being exhausted, peace was arrived at only in 1770. Under such circumstances Sri Nrisimha Bharati VII could not take charge of the Mutt in Sringeri. Hyder, however, wrote to the Acharya assuring that his officers would see to the proper maintenance of the charities and the protection of the Samsthanam’s lands. The Acharya attained Videha mukti in Nasik.
For about ten years, Nasik was the centre from which the Jagadgurus of Sringeri propagated the message of Dharma. Between 1761 and 1772, Madhava Rao gradually enhanced the annual State grant to Sringeri Mutt from two hundred rupees to fifteen hundred rupees.