To celebrate the birth anniversary of Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada, Shankara Jayanti was observed all over the country on Vaishakha Shukla Panchami on the 4th of May 2014.
Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji observed the Shankara Jayanti Celebrations of the Jaya Samvatsara at Sri Adi Shankaracharya temple in Sringeri. The Shankara Jayanti Celebrations at Sringeri began on 30th April 2014. Puja with Mahanyasa Poorvaka Shatarudrabhisheka was performed daily at the shrine of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Parayana of the four Vedas, the Prasthanatraya Bhashya, Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya – the biography of Sri Shankara’s life, was performed daily. The Mahaswamiji was present at noon for the Mahamangalarati and engaged in Bhashya Parayana and Upanishad Parayana (the Taittiriya, Mahanarayana, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka and Aitareya Upanishads were chanted in the presence of the Mahaswamiji). The Ashtottara of Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada was chanted by all devotees when the Archana was taking place.
Vedic scholars from all over India took part in the Veda Sammelan conducted on the occasion in the Jagadguru Mahaswamiji’s presence. Examinations were conducted for advanced students of the Vedas by the Peetham’s Veda Poshaka Sabha.
On all the days, the Jagadguru presided over the evening Sabha at the Pravachana Mandiram. As part of the Sabha, Madhaviya Sankara Digvijaya Parayana took place and summaries of the Sargas (chapters) were given by Sringeri scholars. Upanyasas on Sri Adi Shankaracharaya’s life and teachings by eminent scholars took place. The scholars who rendered upanyasas in the Jagadguru’s presence this year were Vidwan Mahabaleshwar Bhat of Channanahalli, Vidwan Narayana Desai of Mysore, Vidwan Ganesha Ishwara Bhat of Sringeri, Vidwan Shivarama Agnihotri of Bangalore and Asthana Vidwan Mahabaleshwara Bhat of Sringeri. This was followed by Mangalarati, Ashtavadhana Seva and the chanting of the Sri Shankaracharya StutiH composed by the Mahaswamiji on Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Murti of Sri Adi Shankaracharya was taken in a procession along the streets of Sringeri by the Vidyarthis of the Sringeri Pathashala.
On 4th May, Shankara Jayanti day, the Jagadguru Mahaswamiji performed an elaborate Puja to Sri Adi Shankaracharya in the afternoon. The Mahaswamiji concluded the Puja with the grand ‘Kanakabhisheka’ to the Vigraha of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Immediately after the Kanakabhisheka, there were a few drizzles in Sringeri as if to signify the divine blessings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya on the devote occasion.
In the evening function, the Jagadguru in His Anugraha Bhashanam spoke on the lucidity and grandeur of the Brahma Sutra Bhashyam written by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Jagadguru then released the Advaita Sharada Project containing an online version of the Prasthanatraya Bhashyam of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Project, a combined effort of the Peetham’s Sri Shankara Advaita Research Centre and M/s Sriranga Digital Software Technologies (headed by Prof. Yogananda of Mysore), can be accessed at http://advaitasharada.sringeri.net. The Jagadguru also released three books on the occasion titled “Svatmaniroopanam” a Vedantic Prakarana text penned by Sri Adi Shankaracharya (with English translation by Swami Jnanananda Bharati), a Tamil book titled “Kaladiy Kasetra Mahimai” and a book containing Vishnu Sahasranama in Sanskrit with large typeface.
At Pravachana Mandiram on the morning of May 5th (Vaishakha Shukla Shashti), the Mahajanas of Sringeri reverentially extended a formal invitation to the Jagadguru to come and conduct the Adi Shankaracharya Maharathotsava. With the Utsava Murti of Sri Adi Shankaracharya placed on the Maharatha, the grand Maha Rathotsava of Sri Adi Shankaracharya took place along the main Bharathi Street of Sringeri with the Vedic scholars jubilantly chanting the four Vedas, and the Jagadguru Himself chanting Yajur Veda with the Ghanapathis chanting in tandem. The scorching Sun seemed immaterial for the scholars in front of the soothing breeze of the Grace of Jagadguru Mahaswamiji. Even after the Ratha reached its final point, the Jagadguru Mahaswamiji stood and waited for the Ghanapathis to complete the Yajur Veda Krama Parayana before He left for Narasimha Vanam. This filled all the devotees and scholars with a deep sense of gratitude towards the Lokaguru Sri Shankarabhagavatpadacharya.
In the evening, the Valedictory function of the Veda Poshaka Sabha was held in the divine presence of the Jagadguru. Gold rings were then awarded to Vedabrahmasri K. Ramesha Ghanapati of Sringeri in Rig Veda, Vedabrahmasri Gullapalli Dattatreya Ghanapati of Rajahmundry in Krishna Yajur Veda, Vedabrahmasri K Dandapani Ghanapati of Chennai in Shukla Yajur Veda and Vedabrahmasri Ravinarayana Pande of Aurangabad in Sama Veda.
A total of 62 advanced students appeared for the exams in Krishna Yajur Veda, Shukla Yajur Veda (Kanva and Madhyandina Shakhas) and Sama Veda (Kauthuma and Ranayani Shakhas). 12 of these successfully passed the Ghana level examination (Uttara bhaga in the case of Sama Veda) and 33 passed the Krama level examination (Poorva bhaga in the case of Sama Veda).
All the Vedic Scholars were then felicitated in the function. Those under the Ghanapatha scale included 12 Ghanapathis in Krishna Yajur Veda, 11 Ghanapathis in Rig Veda, 11 in Shukla Yajur Veda Kanva Shakha, 3 in Shukla Yajur Veda Madhyandina Shakha, 13 in Samaveda Kouthuma Shakha, 3 in Samaveda Ranayaniya Shakha. Those under the Kramapatha scale included 13 Kramapathis in Krishna Yajur Veda, 5 Kramapathis in Rig Veda, 7 in Shukla Yajur Veda Kanva Shakha, 1 in Shukla Yajur Veda Madhyandina Shakha, 12 in Samaveda Kouthuma Shakha, 6 in Samaveda Ranayaniya Shakha and 1 in Atharva Veda.
The Shankara Jayanti Celebrations ended with Mangalarati and Ashtavadhana Seva to the Utsava Murti of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.