Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya established His first and foremost Peetham, the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham at Sringeri for the sustenance and propagation of Sanatana Dharma. Since then, the Peetham has been adorned by an unbroken chain of Acharyas who have been erudite scholars and dispassionate saints.
The 33rd Acharya of the Peetham, Jagadguru Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji (1879-1912) was a great yogi, a repository of Shastraic knowledge, an expert in Mantra Shastra and an epitome of compassion.
One is able to see several striking similarities between the great master, Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya and the Mahaswamiji when one reads about their respective lives and accomplishments. No wonder, the Mahaswamiji was extolled as ‘Abhinava Shankara’, a reincarnation of the great master Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
It was the Mahaswamiji who rediscovered the birthplace of Sri Adi Shankaracharya at Kalady. If India and the world today celebrate Shankara Jayanti commemorating the birth of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, it is solely due to the Mahaswamiji who instituted this celebration way back in the late 19th century. It is again due to the Mahaswamiji’s efforts that we have with us in print form, the complete works of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
The Mahaswamiji was indeed an epitome of dispassion but emotions poured out of His heart when worshipping or beholding the various forms of the Divine. Melodious Sanskrit verses flowed from His mouth whenever He stood transfixed before a deity, whether He was at Sringeri or touring the country on a Vijaya Yatra. The Mahaswamiji also penned a few short essays to convey the essence of Vedanta and the goal of human life.
His works, short and crisp, yet pregnant with Vedantic import and devotion, were in accordance to the needs of the times. They reflect His astounding nature as a great philosopher, scholar, poet, and a devotee par excellence just as Sri Adi Shankaracharya Himself.
All his poetic compositions and works were first published under the name “Bhakti Sudha Tarangini” by an eminent disciple, Sri T K Balasubrahmanya Iyer, Sri Vani Vilas Press, Srirangam in 1913.
With the Blessings of the presiding Acharya of the Peetham Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, Viravanallur Sri V.G.Sundaram and Smt. Sarada Sundaram wished to get this book reprinted. Our thanks to their children, Sri V.S. Murali, Dr. V.S. Lakshmanan and Smt. Sankari Ramasubban, who have dutifully executed this noble task and sponsored this edition.
Our thanks to Smt. Sharada Ramanan, Smt. Srilakshmi Vishwanath and Kum. Bharati for their tireless efforts to correctly reproduce the book. Thanks also to M/s Abhinav Offset, Chennai who have assisted in typesetting the book.
It is very apt that this book is getting reprinted and released by Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, on the special occasion of the Centenary Celebrations of the rediscovery of Kalady and the Kumbhabhishekam of the temples of Adi Shankaracharya and Goddess Sharadamba.
We offer our humblest pranams to the Jagadguru whose blessings, inspiration and guidance has made this work possible. We are sure that the reciting the Stotras, reading the essays and contemplating on them will bring about Shreyas.
Sri Sachchidananda Sivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Swamigal was the unfamiliar name of that most familiar, magnificent and divine Personality that gracefully adorned the throne of the famous Sringeri Mutt on the banks of the pure Tunga. He was well known among His disciples as the simple “Sringeri Jagadguru”. Born of highly learned and pious parents He inherited at His very birth all the learning and piety and the religious fervour of His father Kunigal Rama Sastrigal the famous Vidvan at the court of the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodayar III of Mysore and the favoured disciple of the renowned Tryambaka Sastrigal of the Court of the Peshwas of Poona. Even as an infant of two years old He lisped in the Stotras repeated by His father and danced with him in his agnihotra house. Even then He used to smear himself with holy ashes and play with the children at worshipping the Gods. The child was the father of the man and even at a very early age He exhibited traces of all the characteristics that went in later years to make Him the greatest of all mortals. At the age of eight He was invested with the sacred thread by His elder brother the well-known Lakshmi Nrisimha Sastrigal and soon after, He was initiated into the Sannyasa Asrama by the then Jagadguru of the Sringeri Mutt Sri Nrisimha Bharati Swamigal, and this was the signal for the exhibition of His greatness. On the very day He became a Sannyasin it was rather late in the evening when all the necessary rites were finished and when the Sringeri Jagadguru found this young boy of only eight years of age naturally tired, He asked him to retire and when our marvelous young Swami went to sleep He uttered in His sleep the following grand truth for the realisation of which the most learned people yearn in vain viz., Sarvoham thus giving out for the first time a glimpse of His universality. Since then, day by day, He became the cynosure of all eyes. His winning personality, His smiling countenance, His many- sided learning, His broad sympathy, His child-like simplicity, His charming innocence, His eager thirst for knowledge, His intense solicitude for the welfare of all, His devout piety, His religious zeal, His earnest belief in the Sastras, His rigorous penance, His innate purity, His easy accessibility, the nobility of His mind, the breadth of His views, the magnanimity of His temper, His universal kindness, His engaging conversation, His retentive memory, and last though not least His munificent generosity-all these attracted towards Him every living soul that came into contact with Him. None approached Him in vain. None went back disappointed. People flocked to Him in crowds and waited at His doors for hours together just to get a glimpse of that divine countenance shedding luster all round. The moment they got a sight of it they considered themselves the happiest of all human beings. What was it that made them so? It was nothing but the divine luster that shone in His face. It was nothing but the universal sympathy that beamed on His countenance. It was nothing but the marvelous superhuman milk of kindness that flowed from His heart-the heart that always melted in divine ecstasy ever desirous of universal happiness. It was this characteristic that was most peculiar in Him and that asserted His divinity to a great extent. He was always perfectly impartial. Everyone was equal in His eyes. He cared not for riches. He cared not for position. No-nothing but Bhakti could attract people to Him. Rich or poor, high or low, everybody had to go through the portal of Bhakti to approach His august presence. Everyone that came to Him, He loved as Himself thus exhibiting His divinity. Everyone who had even two minutes conversation with Him went out of His presence with the full conviction that He was the object of some special love for His Holiness. Who but a divine person could be thus universally beloved? And who but a divine incarnation could thus infuse universal love into the minds of all?
Of such a divine personage it is impossible to draw a sketch. His activities were many-sided. His knowledge was omniscient. His devotion was intense. His sympathy was universal and His purity contagious. No man was ushered into His holy presence who did not go back full of noble resolve to lead thence-forward a purer and a more exalted life. To hear of Him was a pleasure. To see Him was a privilege. To speak to Him was a real blessing and to be granted a special interview - Ah! That was the acme of happiness which people coveted most in all earnestness. The magnetic force of His wonderful personality was such that one word, nay one smile or even one look was quite enough to convert the most indifferent of persons into His most ardent and obedient of disciples.
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