His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, the 33rd pontiff of Sringeri Sharada Peetham, was a divine personality who was the very personification of spiritual grace.
Born to a devout family with the Purvashrama name Shivaswami, His Holiness displayed an acute tendency towards divinity. One such example was when His Holiness Sri Narasimha Bharati Mahaswami, the 32nd Pontiff of Sringeri, at the time of wanting to choose a successor designate called upon the young Shivaswami who visited Sringeri to pay his respects to the Guru. The Guru, seated the young Shivaswami by His side and asked him what he wanted. The young Shivaswami quoted a verse from a prayer to the Lord Shiva, one among the many that establishes that the Guru is God in human form. This greatly impressed His Holiness who was impressed at the keen spiritual inclination of the young Shivaswami at the age of eight years and that reinforced without a doubt that He had found His successor designate in the young Shivaswami.
Having taken up Sannyasa in the year 1866 at the tender age of eight and given the Diksha name of Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, His Holiness quickly ascended deeper into the spiritual doctrines and quickly established Himself as a matchless Yogi and an exalted being. On 27th june 1879, His installation ceremony took place. Universally hailed as an avatar of the great Adi Shankaracharya Himself, it was His Holiness who established irrefutably, Shankaracharya’s birthplace as being Kalady. He was also responsible for starting the celebration of the Shankara Jayanthi festival in India and through His efforts that the collected works of Adi Shankaracharya were published as the Shaankara Granthavalli.
During the course of His reign as Pontiff, His Holiness undertook several tours to pilgrimage sites in and around Karnataka and different parts of India. Gokarna, Nanjangud, parts of Rameshwaram, etc. His Holiness was held in high esteem by the rulers of the various parts of India such as the Maharaja of Mysore and the Raja of Ramnad and the rulers, for their part were extremely blessed to have had an opportunity to contribute towards the causes of the math and thus secured His Holiness’ grace in abundance.
His Holiness’ keen sense of poetry and evocative hymns towards the various deities and His infinite capacity for Bhakti towards the Supreme cannot be understated. He was also an ardent devotee of Sri Sadashiva Brahmendral and composed hymns revering the Supreme Yogi. His Holiness’ varied and beautiful hymns, shining through in spiritual splendour, can be found as part of the collection of His works titled Bhaktisudha Tarangini.
श्री सच्चिदानन्दशिवाभिनव्य नृसिंहभारत्यभिधान्यतीन्द्रान् ।
विद्यानिधीन् मन्त्रनिधीन् सदात्मनिष्ठान् भजे मानव शंभुरूपान् ॥
Salutations to Shri Sacchidananda Shiva Abhinava Nrisimha Bharati who is Shiva in human form, ever immersed in the Atman, a treasure of vedic learning and of mantric lore, Verily is He the king among sages.
Well known for His extraordinary mastery of the shastraic arts, His erudite wisdom, His captivating demeanor and His infinite compassion to every single one of His devotees, people from various parts of the world travelled to Sringeri to secure His grace. He shed His mortal coil on March 20, 1912 but His infinite grace and compassion will always be with those who think about Him with devotion.
A wonderfully detailed biography of His Holiness’ life and teachings, is available in the Sringeri website for everyone interested in learning more about this esteemed saint of Sringeri.