Located amidst the Western Ghats, the Maland region in Karnataka is famed for its natural beauty that comprises of thick forests, mountains and rivers. Sringiri, which is situated here in the foot of Sahyadris is regarded as a holy place by the Hindus at it is the site of the mutt established by Adi Sankaracharya.
Sringeri is situated on the left bank of the holy river Tunga. The water of this river is sweet and pure and nice. Sringeri is a short form of Rishyasinga giri, the hill named after the Sage Rishyasringa noted son of Sage Vibhandaka.
Sage Vibhandaka was on a ceaseless meditation, Devas got worried on the thejas he was acquiring. To disturb the tapas Devas had sent the Celestial beauty Urvasi to Sage Vibhandaka. Urvasi could stop the flow of mediation of the sage using her charm and in the process a son was born to them. The child was uncommon to have horn of the deer in the forehead and hence known as Rishyasringa. Having accomplished the task entrusted to her Urvasi left for Celestial. Sage Vibhandaka's experience with his sister-in-law and Urvasi had convinced his that women are not trust worthy. He thought that the easiest way to keep his son innocent of the worldly ways was to keep him in forest isolation. Rishyasringa matured into manhood in isolation and had never set eyes on any women.
The neighboring kingdom ruled by Romapada was undergoing severe famine. To rid of the scorching famine the king was advised by his ministers that the kingdom would be blessed with rains if sage Rishyasringa, sets his holy feet in his kingdom. With a prolonged persuasion sage Vibhandaka, agreed to send his son to the Romapada kingdom. On stepping in of Sage Rishyasringa into the kingdom there were rains. The people were happy and Romadada as a gesture of gratitude willingly gave his daughter, Santa, in marriage to the peerless saint.
Rishyasringa remained as honored guest in the kingdom of Ramapada, it was then he was requested to officiate in the Putrakaseshti yagnya by Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya. With the sages participation in the yagnya, Dasaratha was blessed with four sons eldest being Sri Rama. After some time the sage felt that he should go back to his holy nativity and get on with his penance.
When the sage Rishyasringa left his mortal coil, he entered the Linga he was worshipping as a symbol of formless Absolute. Linga can be seen even now in the temple at Kigga, a village about 10 Km from Sringeri. This Linga is seen with a horn on its head, is indicative of the truth that Rishyasringa had merged with the Absolute. This is the legend of the great sage who gave his name to this great place.
Divinity of the place has been reconfirmed by Adi Sankararacharya, Sri Bhagavatpada. He chooses to establish one of his peetas here because of the divinity he had seen in this holy place. Sri Bhagavatpada was reestablishing the dharma and was propagating Advaita doctrine, in the course he had entered on a debate with Sri Mandana Mishra disciple of Sri Kumarila Bhatta at Mahishmatipura.
Mandana Mishra was supposed to be reincarnation of Brahma and his wife Ubhaya Bharati, reincarnation of Saraswati Devi. They were ideal couple, each of them comparable to other in all branches of learning. Ubhaya Bharati had agreed to the judge for the debate, as they both sought her help expressing confidence in her impartiality. After eight days of debate with Sri Bhagavatpada, Mandana Mishra was convinced with the superiority of the Advaita doctrine. He then accepted Sri Bhagavatpada as his Guru. Mandana Mishra gave all his earthly belongings to the needy at the last Vedic ritual which he performed before he took sanyasa at the hands of Sri Jagadguru Shankara Bhagavatpada, with sanyashrama name of Sri Sureshwaracharya.
On her husbands observing the sanyasa, Ubhaya Bharati left the vision of her moral and took her celestial form of Saraswati Devi and said that she would follow them but stipulated that at the spot where Sri Bhagavatpada looked back, she would take her abode.
Sri Bhagavatpada took Sri Sureshwaracharya on his march from place to place to propagate the doctrine of Advaita. All the three reached Sringeri on an exceptionally hot noon. As they proceeded to the river Tunga for their ablutions, they saw a frog struggling in the blazing sun suffering from birth pangs to deliver its offspring. A cobra, the natural enemy of the frog, raised its hood to provide the frog with shelter and protection from the ravages of the tropical sun.
Sri Bhagavatpada was greatly moved by the sight. He saw that place is divine, the natural enemies like frog and cobra, tiger and cow lived in mutual amity and peace. Sri Bhagavatpada just turned round when, as she had already stipulated, Ubhaya Bharati, decided to stay for good at Sringeri on the banks of the sacred Tunga.
Sri Bhagavatpada installed Bharati, known also as Sarada, on the banks of Tunga. He had also established a mutt to pursue propagation of Advaita with Sri Sureshwaracharya as the head of the mutt.
Today Sringeri attracts millions of piligrims, seeking the blessings Goddess Sharada, and the divinity of Supreme Knowledge, consecrated by Sri Bhagavatpada- Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya Himself. Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, consecrated four deities in the four corners for the Sringeri. These Shrines, namely "Kalabhairava", "Vana Durga", "Kalikamba", "Kere Anjaneya" respectively are worshipped with great reverence. The deities of these temples have protected Sringeri from various invasions, as clearly seen in the historical records.
The only Anjaneya Swami consecrated by Sri Bhagavatpada - Jagadguru Sri Adi Ahankaracharya is housed in the temple in west corner of Sringeri. Sri Anjaneya swami of this kshetra is known as Kere Sri Anjaneya. Today if you go to Sringeri, the new bus stand had been constructed over the place where once a lake was there. In Kannada language 'kere' means lake. Since originally Sri Anjaneya Swami was consecrated on the banks of the lake He is known as Kere Sri Anjaneya.
A temple was constructed for Sri Kere Sri Anjaneya Swami consecrated by Sri Bhagavatpada on the banks of the lake. The temple is located just opposite to the Sringeri new bus stand. The temple is small, beautiful and well maintained. One has to claim twenty seven steps to have darshan of the Lord. Many of the devotees to Sringeri town first visit this temple of Sri Anjaneya, who is one of the guardians of this great divine town.
Sri Anjaneya of this kshetra is facing south and seen as walking towards east. Lord is holding a lotus flower in His left hand and with raised right hand gives blessings to all the devotees. His tail is raised above Him and there is a small bell on the end of the tail. He is wearing nupuram in His leg and keyuram in the hand. His glowing eyes showers glorious and gracious blessings to the bakthas mesmerising them.
The poojas for the Lord are in Vaidika mode by way of uttering Vedic mantras. Deepotsavam is conducted on a Saturday in the month of Kartika Krishnapaksha on a grand scale annually. The temple is open between 09 to 12 in the morning and 6 to 7 in the evening.
A visit to this divine kshetra Sringeri and worship of Kere Anjaneya consecrated by Sri Bhavatpada will make your rest of life happy, peaceful and pleasant.
[Ed. January 2008]
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