Sunday, January 25, 2015

Photo Album - Before and After Sanyasa Sweekaara

Sringeri Jagadguru Sri. Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji announced the decision to annoint Sri. Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasad as his successor designate in a public meeting held on 4th January 2015 at Sringeri. The 36th Jagadguru Sri. Bharathi Theertha made the announcement as ordained by Goddess Sri. Sharada, continuing the unbroken tradition of Sanatana Dharma.  
Sri. Kuppa Venkatesha Prasada with Sri. Bharati Theertha Mahaswamiji

Brahmachari. Kuppa Sri. Venkatesha Prasada 

Sri. Kuppa Venkatesha Prasada studying at Sringeri

The Sanyasa sweekaara celebrations were held on Magha Shuddha Bidige (22nd Jan) and Magha Shuddha Tadige (23rd January) of  Jayanama Samvatsara (AD 2015) at Sringeri.

Kaashaya Vastra - Danda - Kamandala pradana during Shishya Sweekara Celebrations

Pada pooja performed by Sri. Vidhushekhara Bharathi Swamiji to Sri. Bharathi Theertha Swamiji

Kaashaya Vastra - Danda - Kamandala pradana during Shishya Sweekara Celebrations

Devotees attending Shishya Sweekaara Celebrations

Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati Swamiji - 37th Guru of Sringeri

Sri Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati Swamiji was born as Sri Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma on the auspicious Naga Panchami day — July 24, 1993 — in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.   Born as the second son of Sri Kuppa Shivasubrahmanya Avadhani and Smt. Seetha Nagalakshmi, He belonged to the Kaundinya Gotra and is a native of Anantavaram, Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh.  Kuppa Kaundinya Sharma is elder brother of Kuppa. KrishnaPriya is his sister.  His family has a long lineage of illustrious Vedic Pandits who were all ardent disciples of the Sringeri Jagadgurus. 

Family Background

In 1961, when the 35th Jagadguru of Sringeri, Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamiji visited the Anantavaram village, the Sri Prasada Sharma’s grandfather’s elder brother, Sri Bhairagi Shastri welcomed the Jagadguru with sincere devotion, performed Pada Puja and received His blessings. In 1985, Sri Shastri also had the good fortune of welcoming and serving the present Jagadguru of Sringeri. Sri Prasada Sharma’s grandfather’s elder brother, Sri Kuppa Venkatachalapati Somayaaji, embraced Sannyasa in 2002 with the permission of the Sringeri Jagadguru. He received Sanyasa Patta as Brahmananda Theertha and stayed in Vijayawada.

Sri Prasada Sharma’s grand father, Sri Kuppa Ramagopala Vajapeya-Yaaji is an eminent Vedic Pandit of the Krishna Yajur Veda and has performed the Shrauta Yaga of Vaajapeya. Deeply devoted to the Jagadgurus of Sringeri, Sri Vajapeya-Yaaji has participated in many Vedic ceremonies at Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

Sri Prasada Sharma’s father, Sri Kuppa Shivasubrahmanya Avadhani studied at the Jagadguru Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Shastra Samvardhini Pathashala in Hyderabad, that was established by Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji. He became an eminent Pandit in Veda and Veda Bhashya with great devotion to the Jagadgurus of Sringeri.  He is presently the Principal of the TTD Veda Vigjnana Peetham in Tirumala and Project Officer, S.V. Institute of Higher Vedic Studies, TTD.


From a young age, Sri Prasada Sharma developed a deep devotion towards Lord Krishna and visited the Krishna temple near his home, every day. Seeing his son’s devotion, Sri Shivasubrahmanya Avadhani performed his Upanayana (sacred thread ceremony) at the age of five.  His first lessons in Krishna Yajurveda were taught by his grandfather, Sri Kuppa Ramagopala Vajapeya-Yaaji. Showing rapid progress, Sri Prasada Sharma continued his studies up to Krishna Yajur Veda Krama under his father.

He grew up in an environment steeped in devotion to God and adherence to a Vedic way of living. Hamsaladeevi is a holy place in Andhra Pradesh where the Krishna river meets the ocean. There, on the banks of the river, is a beautiful temple dedicated to Venugopala Swamy. For the last 95 years, without a break, his family has conducted an annual Bhagavata Saptaha at this temple. Sri Prasada Sharma attended this sacred event from an early age. He also accompanied his father on pilgrimages to holy places such as Ayodhya, Haridwar, Hrishikesh, Kashi, Kalady, Madurai, Mathura, Pashupathinath (in Nepal), Rameswaram and Ujjain.

Education in Sringeri

Starting in 2006, when he was 13 years old, Sri Prasada Sharma began to accompany his father and grandfather who were participating in the Dharmic events at Sringeri Sharada Peetham. During his first visit, the Darshan of the present Jagadguru, Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji had a profound impact on him. He visited Sringeri again in 2008, and during his subsequent visit in early 2009, he expressed to the Jagadguru his desire to study Shastras under Him. Touched by the young boy’s sincerity and impressed with his intelligence, the Jagadguru blessed him and Sri Prasada Sharma took refuge under the Lotus Feet of the Jagadguru in June 2009.

Under the guidance of the Jagadguru, he rapidly gained mastery in written and spoken Sanskrit. Sringeri Vidwan Sri Tangirala Shivakumara Sharma taught him Sanskrit poetry and literature. He also learned the basics of Vyakarana Shastra under Sringeri Vidwan Sri Krishnaraja Bhat.

Observing his Guru Bhakti, humility, intelligence and dedicated application to his studies, the Jagadguru was pleased and decided to personally teach him the Shastras. The Jagadguru began to teach him the Tarka Shastra in 2011. Sri Prasada Sharma grasped the teachings quickly and the lessons moved at an intense pace. Even during the hectic Vijaya Yatra of 2012-13, the Jagadguru continued to teach him without missing even a single day. The Jagadguru soon transformed him into a great Tarka scholar. When he spoke at Sringeri Sharada Peetham’s prestigious Ganapati Vakhyartha Vidwat Sadas, an annual conference of the nation’s foremost Shastric Pandits, the attendees were taken by surprise at the young man’s scholarship.

Under the guidance of the Jagadguru, Sri Prasada Sharma also studied Mimamsa Shastra. He regularly attended the nightly Chandramoulishwara Puja performed by the Jagadguru. During this Puja, he also chanted the entire Krishna Yajur Veda Moola and the entire Yajur Veda Krama. Sri Prasada Sharma always had a pleasing and helpful demeanor. Stories about his intelligence and learning capabilities spread quickly. Soon, other students started seeking his help. While pursuing his own learning, he also began teaching the Vedas, Sanskrit literature and Tarka Shastra to other students. He subsequently began his studies in Vedanta under the Jagadguru.

Through these five and half years of intense study (2009-15) under the direct tutelage of the Jagadguru, Sri Prasada Sharma became steeped in the Vedic tradition and blossomed in many ways as a student, scholar, teacher and devotee. The Jagadguru was pleased by his Guru Bhakti, devotion to God, deep immersion in his studies, scholarship and respect towards elders. He was beloved by all and had developed a strong inner core of dispassion and discrimination for pursuing a spiritual path.

Shishya Sweekaara Celebrations of Jayanama Samvatsara at Sringeri

Sringeri Jagadguru Sri. Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji announced the decision to annoint Sri. Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasad as his successor designate in a public meeting held on 4th January 2015 at Sringeri. The 36th Jagadguru Sri. Bharathi Theertha made the announcement as ordained by Goddess Sri. Sharada, continuing the unbroken tradition of Sanatana Dharma.  When establishing this Peetham about 1200 years ago in Sringeri, Sri Adi Shankaracharya consecrated the idol of Goddess Sharada (the Goddess of Learning and Knowledge) and invoked Her divine presence and blessings to ever preside over this Peetham. Since then, the Jagadguru Shankaracharyas of Sringeri have always announced their successor only after Goddess Sharada’s divinely ordained-will is revealed to them.  The Sanyasa sweekaara celebrations were held on Magha Shuddha Bidige (22nd Jan) and Magha Shuddha Tadige (23rd January) of  Jayanama Samvatsara (AD 2015) at Sringeri. 

Sri. Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasad, a Brahmachari, son of Ved. Br. Sri. Kuppa Shiva Subramhanya Avadhani hailing from Andhra Pradesh is proficient n Vedas and Shastras and is tradition bound.  Sri. Bharathi Theertha recognized his interest and ability to adhere to Shastras and  tradition, and his innate dispassion  towards worldly affairs before considering him for ordaining into Sanyasa.

The programme on Bidige started at morning 8.00am with Gurudarshana, Sri. Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma visiting Sri. Bharathi Theertha and taking his blessings.  Then he proceeded to participated in poornahuti of Mahaganapathi Homa at Sharada temple. Sri. Kuppa visited all Sannidhis at Sri Math-temple complex to pay obesience to the previous Peethadhipathis of Sringeri.  He performed inital oblations, Kruchracharane, and Ashtashradhadigalu connected with Sanyasa Sweekaara at Adhishtanam.  Sri. Kuppa was on fast all day and jhagarane (not sleeping in the night of Bidige) and performed Japa throughout the night.

At 8 am, the successor-designate, Brahmachari Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma first had Darshan of the Jagadguru Mahaswamiji in Guru Nivas, Narasimha Vanam andoffered Guru Vandanam. After receiving the Jagadguru’s blessings, the Brahmachariaccompanied by Vedic Pundits proceeded to the northern banks of the Tunga and entered the temple of Goddess Sharadamba. Inside the temple, the Brahmachari participated in the Poornahuti of the Mahaganapati Homa held near the Shakti Ganapati shrine. He then had Darshan of Goddess Sharadamba. CEO & Administrator of the Peetham, Dr.V R Gowrishankar and senior devotees then accompanied the Brahmachari for Darshan at the temples of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Torana Ganapati, Sri Kodanda Rama Swami, Malayala Brahma, Sri Sureshwaracharya, Sri Vageeshwari Vidyaranya, Sri Vriddha Narasimha Bharati Samadhi, Sri Janardana Swami (along with Sri Anjaneya andSri Garuda), Sri Vidyashankara, Sri Balasubrahmanya Swamy and Sri Sakshi Ganapati (inside the Yagashala). He then returned to Narasimha Vanam and had Darshan at the Adhishtanam shrines of the 33rd Acharya, Jagadguru Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji; the 34th Acharya, Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamiji and the 35th Acharya, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji.

The Brahamchari then performed Krichraacharana where he made offerings of Vastra, Hiranya, Dhaanya and Aajyam. The Brahmachari then performed the Ashta-Shraadha ceremony. This ceremony is performed to free oneself of the three debts towards the Devas, Rishis and Pitrus. As part of the ceremony, the Brahmachari made offerings to 18 Vaidika Brahmanas and sought their blessings. The Brahmachari will spend the day in Upavaasa (fasting) and Jagarane (staying awake all night performing Japa and Parayana).

The programme on Tadige were commenced in the morning 7.30am with Purusha Sukta Homa and Viraja Homa.  After performing the homas, Sri. Kuppa proceeded towards banks of the river Tunga. He performed Preyshochaarana Poorvaka Sarva-bhuta-abhaya-pradhana.  This is a vow of non-violence towards all beings. Then, he renounced white robes, upaveeta, and his tufts in the water as a pre-requisite for Sanyasa.  Sri. Bharathi Thertha provided Sri. Kuppa Kaashaya Vastra, Dhanda and Kamandala accepting to initiate him to Sanyasa.  The Guru and Shishya Swamiji then proceeded to the Samadhi Shrine of Jagadguru Sri Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamiji. There, as per the ancient tradition established by Sri Shankaracharya, the Jagadguru then gave the Shisya Swamiji the Pranava Upadesha and Mahavakhya Upadesha. Thereafter, the Jagadguru and the Shisya Swamiji crossed the Tunga river and proceeded towards the Goddess Sharada Temple. Then, the Shisya Swamiji performed the Paryanka Shaucha ceremony on the northern side of the river.

The new pontiff was brought to the north bank of the river in a specially-decorated boat. More than 500 Sumangalis (married women) offered aarathi to both the swamijis at the entrance of Narasimhavana where the Sringeri seer resides. The new pontiff’s mother and other family members participated in the rituals.  Paryanka Soucha was performed with sacred soil and water at another specially-built mantap.   The new Seer then entered the Sharadamba Temple followed by a large number of devotees shouting slogans and Vedic pundits chanting mantras.

At the temple, the Jagadguru seated the Shishya Swamiji on the Vyaakhyaana Simhasana (throne of Transcendental Wisdom), placed a Saligrama on His head and worshipped it.The Jagadguru then blessed Him with the Yogapatta of Sri Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati. Afterwards, the Jagadguru adorned the Vyaakhyaana Simhasana and the Shishya Swamiji performed Puja to the Lotus Feet of the Jagadguru.

The Sanyasa Deeksha  and Shishya Sweekara rituals concluded with both the seers offering prayers to Goddess Sharadamba and the deities at all the temples in Sringeri.   Sri Mahasannidhanam and Sri Sannidhanam then emerged from the Goddess Sharada Temple to bless an over joyous and overflowing crowd of devotees, and had Darshan at all the temples of the Math. Later, they returned to Narasimha Vana on the southern side of the river.   Many Shishyas, including representatives of Governments, erstwhile Rajas, Mutts and other institutions offered Kanike to the both Swamijis.  Representatives from the Kerala and Andhra Pradesh governments, judges of different High Courts and industrialists from South India were among the devotees. Both Guru and Shishya visited all Sannidhis at Sri Matha Complex.

In the evening,  a Maha Sabha was organized where Vedic Scholars were honored.  Over 40,000 people from all corners of the country and abroad, descended upon the sacred town of Sringeri to witness this rare event. Several dignitaries from all walks of life also attended this occasion. A host of dignitaries, including Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar, Legislative Council Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy, former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Lokayukta Y. Bhaskar Rao, Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra, state Ministers Abhayachandra , MP Shobha Karandlaje, MLA Jeevaraj  attended the events. Chennai Super King’s owner N. Srinivasan also made a personal visit.

In the evening, Bharati Theertha Swami and Vidhushekhara Bharati delivered spiritual discourses. They were taken on golden and silver palanquins after 9 pm.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Unbroken Sanatana Tradition is set to continue

Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, the 36th Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the unbroken lineage of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham Sringeri, has announced His divinely ordained decision to nominate Brahmachari Sri Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma as His successor, according to a press Release dated 6th January 2015 released by Chief Executive Officer of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri. 

The announcement was made in a  public  function  organised  in  Sringeri  on  January  4, 2015 by the Jagadguru in his Anugraha Bhashanam given during the culmination of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of His Peetharohanam.  The Jagadguru would  initiate Brahmachari  Venkateshwara  Prasad  Sharma  into  Sannyasa  on  Jan  23,  2015,  to continue  the  Guru  Parampara  of  the  1200  year  old  unbroken  lineage  that stretches back to Sri Adi Shankaracharya.

Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya rejuvenated Sanatana Dharma and spread the Advaita  philosophy  of  the  Upanishads.  To  sustain  and  propagate  Sanatana Dharma,  He  established four  Amnaaya  Peethams  in  the  four  directions  of  our nation  of  which  the  first  and  foremost  Peetham  is  the  Dakshinamnaya  Sri Sharada  Peetham  at Sringeri.  The  Peetham  has  been  adorned  by  an  unbroken chain of illustrious Jagadgurus known for their erudition and penance.

Jagadguru  Shankaracharya  Sri  Sri  Bharati  Tirtha  Mahaswamiji,  the  presiding Acharya  of  the  Peetham  and  the  thirty - sixth  in  the  Guru Parampara,  is  a scholar nonpareil.  Since becoming the Peethadhipati in 1989, the Jagadguru has propagated and spread the tenets of Sanatana Dharma and the Vedanta philosophy.  The  Jagadguru  has  consecrated many  new  temples  and  renovated dilapidated ones. He has undertaken several Vijaya Yatras across the country.  Known for His ease in giving discourses in various languages, the Jagadguru has been  expounding  Dharma  to  people  in  a  simple,  yet  profound  manner.

The Jagadguru has fostered Vedic learning by establishing traditional  Pathashalas.  Under his direction, many  new  branches  of  the  Math  in  India  and  abroad  have been established to serve as centres of Dharma. With His blessings and guidance, the Peetham has undertaken a number of social causes in the fields of Education 
and Healthcare.

Amidst His various duties as a Peethadhipati, the Jagadguru has upheld His Sannyasa Dharma like His illustrious predecessors.On January 4, 2015 ,devotees assembled in large numbers in Sringeri to celebrate the  silver  jubilee  of  the  Jagadguru’s  Peetharohanam.  During  this  historic  event, the   Jagadguru   announced   His   decision,   as divinely   ordained   by   Goddess Sharadamba,to Accept Brahmachari     Sri     Kuppa     Venkateshwara     Prasada 
Sharma as His successor - designate.

Brahmachari Sri  Kuppa Venkateshwara Prasada Sharma was born in Tirupati in  1993  to  Sri  Kuppa  Shivasubrahmanya  Avadhani  and  Smt.  Seetha  Nagalakshmi. He  belongs  to  the  Kaundinya  Gotra  and  is  a  native  of  Anantavaram,  Guntur District,  Andhra  Pradesh.  The  Brahmachari  had  his Upanayanam  at  the  age  of five and began his first lessons in Krishna Yajur Veda under his grandfather and Yajur  Vedic  scholar, Sri  Kuppa  Ramagopala  Vajapeyayaaji.  He  continued  his Vedic education up to Krishna Yajur Veda Kramanta under his illustrious father,  who is currently serving as Principal of TTD Veda Pathashala in Tirumala and as Project Officer in Dharma Prachara Parishad managed by TTD.

Born  in  a  family  of  disciples  of  the  Sringeri  Jagadguru,  the  Brahmachari  had accompanied  his  father  while  the latter  had  come  to  Sringeri  to  participate  in Dharmic activities in the years 2006, 2008 and 2009.  The Darshan of Jagadguru Sri  Sri  Bharati  Tirtha  Mahaswamiji  during  these  visits  made  a  profound  impact on the Brahmachari. The Brahmachari expressed his desire of studying Shastras  directly  under  the  Jagadguru  in  early  2009.  With  the  blessings  and  consent  of Jagadguru  Mahaswamiji,  the  Brahmachari  took  refuge  under  His  Lotus  Feet  of the   in   June   2009.   Under   the   tutelage   of   the   Jagadguru,   the   Brahmachari mastered   the   Sanskrit   language.   Then,   the   Jagadguru   Himself   taught   the Brahmachari  the  entire  Tarka  Shastra. The  Brahmachari  is  endowed  with  Guru Bhakti,   scholarship   in   the   Vedas   and   Shastras,   adherence   to   tradition   and dispassion.

The Shishya Sweekara ceremony will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of January 2015  at  Sringeri.  The  Jagadguru  will  initiate  the  Brahmachari  into  Sannyasa on 23rd January 2015.