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.
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.