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The Sringeri Sarada Peetham has the distinction of

maintaining an unbroken line of succession since Adi


Sankara. The present Jagadguru of Sri Sarada Peetham is His
Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal. He is popularly
known as Sri Mahasannidhanam after he formally ascended to
the title in 1989. He is the 36th in the line of succession from
Adi Sankara.

Sri Mahasannidhanam was born to Smt. Anantalakshmamma


and Sri Venkateswara Avadhani of Alugumallepadu, Guntur, Sri Bharati Tirtha
on April 11, 1951 (Chaitra Shukla Shasti of the year Khara in (since 1989)
the Indian calendar). His purvasrama name was Sri Sitarama
Anjaneyalu.

Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu's spiritual inclinations were revealed at a very young age. He would
watch his parents perform puja with avid interest. He began learning Sanskrit at the tender age of
five from Sri Pratapagiri Sivarama Sastri, and spoke the language fluently by age seven.

In His seventh year, Sri Venkateswara Avadhani performed his son's upanayana. Sri Sitarama
Anjaneyulu pursued Vedic studies with great vigor. He meticulously implemented the Sastraic
dictates meant for a brahmachari: he maintained a tuft, wore a simple dhoti, smeared vibhuti on
his forehead, learnt all the Anushthana mantras, sincerely performed his daily sandhyavandana,
samidadhana, and brahmayajna at appropriate times. He began learning the Veda from his father
who was a Vedic scholar of repute. Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu was a Ekasanta grahi (he grasped
anything taught just once), who attained complete mastery over the Samhita, Brahmana, and
Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur Veda very quickly. He completed the Guntur District
Vedapravardhana vidwat pariksha with honors.

In 1961, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal of Sringeri visited Vijaywada. Sri Sitarama
Anjaneyalu paid his respects to His Holiness who asked the ten year old boy to speak in Sanskrit.
The enchanting articulation that followed struck a responsive chord in Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha
who smiled compassionately, spoke encouragingly, and blessed him with a shawl. Sri Sitarama
Anjaneyalu's mind experienced a holy transformation, and he felt he had found his own guru in
the person of His Holiness Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha. Five years later, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha
Mahaswamigal was observing the chaturmasya vrata at Ujjain. Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu walked
all the way from Guntur to Ujjain, prostrated before his Guru, and sought his tutelage. The very
next day, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Swamigal began teaching him Tarka Sangraha. After the
chaturmasya period, Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu accompanied his Guru to several other places over
a two year period. After returning to Sringeri, Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu lived for eight years as an
antevasin, engaged in learning and tapas. Seeing his devotion and his eminent capability to be
the future Sankaracharya of the hallowed Sringeri matha, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswami
decided to formally take him on as his chosen disciple. Just as he himself had been taught by his
great guru, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha bestowed great affection on Sri
Sitarama Anjaneyulu, and felt that his prayers to Goddess Saradamba for obtaining a worthy
successor had been answered.
In 1974, Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Swamigal announced His successor-designate by informing
Sri Venkateswara Avadhani, "As per Saradamba's orders, I have decided to designate Sri
Anjaneyalu as the successor Peethadhipathi of our matha after initiating Him into sannyasa.
Please inform your wife about this. You have another son who will take good care of you in your
old age. My blessings are ever there for you." Both parents were overjoyed, and felt grateful for
this great blessing conferred on their son.

On November 11, 1974, Sri Sitarama Anjaneyalu completed the sandhyavandanam, after which
he performed the Purusha Sukta Homam and the Viraja Homam. He was twenty-three years old
at the time. The Sishya designate then entered the River Tunga, and having had a bath stood in
waist deep water where he discared his clothing and sacred thread. His Guru then gave him the
saffron robes (vastra), a bamboo staff (danda), and a vessel (kamandalu), and named his disciple
"Bharati Tirtha". The guru and sishya then proceeded to the temple of Sri Saradamba, where the
young sannyasi ascended the Vyakhyana Simhasana (Throne of Transcendental Wisdom). A
Salagrama (a symbol of Lord Vishnu) was placed on his head and worshipped by Sri Abhinava
Vidyatirtha Swamigal. From this day onwards, he was the designated future Jagadguru of the
Sringeri matha. For fifteen more years, he lived with his Guru, and ascended to the title in
October 1989.

In keeping with the conditions prescribed for the pontificate by


Sri Adi Shankara - Suchi (unimpeachable character), Jitendriya
(conqueror of senses), and Vedavedaantangaadi Vichakshana
(well-versed in the Vedas, the Vedangas, Vedanta and other
Shastras), Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha's choice of successor was
eminently qualified in all respects. Sri Bharati Tirtha's
unswerving devotion to his Guru is a shining example of
sadhana as prescribed by the Sruti. Those who saw the two
Gurus together fondly recall the natural reverence which Sri
Bharati Tirtha Swamigal demonstrated to his Guru.

As per his Guru's directions, H. H. Sri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal


began undertaking independent tours since 1983, traversing the
length and breadth of India. Speaking Telugu, Tamil, Kannada,
Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi and English fluently, His Holiness
captured the hearts and minds of devotees all over. Besides being such an astonishing linguist,
His Holiness is also a poetic genius. His elegant compositions, Dharma Sasta Stavam, Sri Guru
Dhyanam, Sarada Pancharatna Stuti, and Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Aksharamala Stotram show
the ease and felicity with which His Holiness handles the Sanskrit language.

His Holiness has continued with his Guru's initiatives in improving the existing facilities at the
Sringeri Sarada Peetham. The tradition of the Sankaracharyas is primarily a tradition of gurus,
and many young students come from all over the country to the matha for pursuing Vedic
studies. His Holiness devotes great time and attention to his teaching responsibilities. The
amenities at the Veda patashalas have improved considerably, offering free food, books, and
accomodation to students. Advanced students are personally evaluated by His Holiness, and
competent scholars are appointed to teach the students. Aware of the increasing inflow of
pilgrims to Sringeri, a new guest house called Sri Sarada Krupa has been built. This is a
significant addition to the existing boarding facilities at the matha. Under his guidance, an
advanced Sanskrit learning center was established at Sringeri, in the year 1992. The Sadvidya
Sanjivani Pathashala was rebuilt as part of its centenary celebrations in 1995, and His Holiness
has recently established the Veda Vedanta Gurukula Mahavidyalaya in Guntur district, Andhra
Pradesh.

To address the needs of devotees residing in the Western world,


Sri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal blessed the creation of a non-profit
organization in the United States - Sringeri Vidya Bharati
Foundation which has established the Sringeri Sadhana Center in
Stroudsburg, PA. Besides building a shrine for Sri Ganesha, Sri
Saradamba, and Sri Adi Shankara, this Sadhana Center is also
planning on regular community events, meditation retreats, etc.
In 1997, the Sringeri Sadhana Center organized an Atirudra
Mahayajnam in Stroudsburg, PA. This was the first time that
such a Vedic yajna was held outside India.

Sri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal, who adorns the great throne of Transcendental Wisdom
(Vyakhyana Simhasana), is a beacon of light to spiritual aspirants. In addition to continuing the
Sringeri matha's tradition of Vedic teaching, His Holiness keeps himself fully conversant with
modern developments in education, science and technology. Under his guidance, the Sringeri
Sarada Peetham will continue to be one of the most celebrated centers of Advaita Vedanta in the
coming century.

Read some of His Holiness's discourses in Madras: (from The Hindu)

An interview with Swami Bharati Tirtha

June 5, 1995
June 8, 1995
June 10, 1995
June 15, 1995
June 16, 1995
April 3, 1996
April 22, 1996
November 2, 1996
April 16, 1997
May 13, 1997
April 16, 1998
May 01, 1998