Chandrasekhara Bharati III
|Sri Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati III Mahaswamiji|
|ಶ್ರೀ ಶ್ರೀ ಚಂದ್ರ ಶೇಖರ ಭಾರತೀ ಸ್ವಾಮೀಜಿಗಳು|
October 16, 1892
|Died||September 26, 1954
|Title||Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham|
Period in office
|Predecessor||Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati Swami|
|Successor||Shri Abhinava Vidya Theertha Swamigal|
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Chandrashekara Bharathi III (1892–1954), born Narasimha Shastri, was the Jagadguru (literally, teacher of the world, in Sanskrit; assigned to heads of Hindu mathas) of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham during 1912–1954. He was one of the most significant spiritual figures in Hinduism during the 20th century. He was known to be a Jivanmukta (Sanskrit for one liberated while alive).
Chandrashekhara Bharati Swaminah was born to pious parents in Sringeri on Ashvayuja Shukla Ekadashi (the eleventh day of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashwayuja) in the Hindu lunar year Nandana (corresponding to October 16, 1892). His father was Gopala Sastri and mother, Lakshmamma. He was the last of 12 children born to this couple and the only one who survived past infancy. A notable feature of his life was that his birth, upanayanam, sannyasa and videha mukti (death), all happened on Sundays.
The childhood days of Narasimha Sastri (as he was named by his parents) were passed in Sringeri. He was an introvert and had little attraction for the objects of the world. He was lodged in the house of Srikanta Sastri, the then administrator of the Sringeri Matha. His parents performed the Choodakarma (a rite performed as one of the sixteen saṃskāras that enables one to go to school). He was then sent to the local Anglo-vernacular school run by the government.
Narasimha, after his twelfth year, changed over to Sadvidya Sanjivini Pathasala in Sringeri under the express wishes of Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Swaminah, the then head of the matha. The Swami kept a close watch over the progress of his ward.
Higher studies at Bangalore
The then Acharya of the Sringeri Matha had established in 1910 an institution of higher Vedantic training- Bharatiya Girvana Prouda Vidya Vardhini Shala in Bangalore. Narasimha Sastri was chosen to be a disciple at that institution. Narasimha Sastri moved to Bangalore in 1911 with his parents and plunged into his studies. Mahamahopadhyaya Vellore Subrahmanya Sastri and Mimamsa Shiromani Vaidyanatha Sastri taught him Purva Mimamsa by texts such as the Bhatta Dipika. Mahamahopadhyaya Virupaksha Sastri taught him Vedanta. Even in Bangalore there was no change in Narasimha's inwardness. He spent his free time in the peaceful environs of the Gavigangadhareshwara Temple in Gavipuram, Bangalore.
In 1912, Acharya Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Swaminah decided to name Narasimha Sastri as his successor to the Sharada Peetham. A devotee, Rama Sastri, was entrusted with the task of personally carrying the Acharya's letter carrying the naming of his successor to the Peetham to Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore. Before Narasimha could arrive in Sringeri, the Acharya had attained Videha Mukti. So, on April 7, 1912, Narasimha Sastri was initiated into Sannyasa by Sri Satyananda Sarasvati Mahaswami and given the yoga patta  of Chandrashekhara Bharati. He received the saffron robes, the sacred staff and the kamandalu (water pot) from the Mahaswami. He was thus ordained in the dashanami tradition of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
Kumbhabhishekam and Digvijayam
In 1916, the Kumbhabhishekam (consecration) of the Sharada Temple in Sringeri was performed by Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswami. In 1924, he left Sringeri on his first Digvijayam (tour). He first reached Mysore and consecrated a temple at the house of his Guru. It was named Abhinava Shankaralaya. Then, from Mysore, the Mahaswami proceeded to Satyamangalam via Nanjanagud and Chamrajanagar. He then toured the southern parts of the Tamil country including Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari. He then toured Thiruvananthapuram and Kaladi in Travancore. At Kaladi, in 1927 he established a Vedanta Pathashala (an institution for higher studies in Vedanta). He then returned to Sringeri after visiting a few more places in Karnataka and Travancore.
An interesting incident happened in Sathyamangalam, Tamil Nadu. Swamiji's mother tongue was Telugu, native language was Kannada, learnt English and Sanskrit while schooling. Innocent devotees of Sathyamangalam forced the officials of Math to request Swamiji to deliver the lecture in Tamil. When officials told them that His Holiness did not know Tamil, they pressed for at least few words in Tamil. When Swamiji came to know of this request, He smilingly agreed to their request for a lecture in Tamil. Math officials were so scared thinking of the embarrassment to be faced in front of gathering that the Sarvadhikari of the mutt, Shri Srikanta Shastri skipped that evening lecture.
Later, to everybody's astonishment, Swamiji gave a beautiful lecture in such a pure and unparalleled Tamil, that not only commoners but also great scholars were shaking their heads in praise and tearful eyes. All the officials of the Math were shocked to hear that as they could not trace the source of Swamiji's Tamil knowledge, except for the blessings of Goddess Sharada, the Giver of divine wisdom.
Avadhuta Sthiti and naming his successor
After returning to Sringeri, the Mahaswami assumed the Avadhuta Sthiti (the state of being an Avadhuta). He was absorbed in the inward bliss of the Atma. To enable himself to spend more time in meditation and contemplation of the Self, he named a successor to the Peetham: a boy named Srinivasa Sastri. On May 22, 1931, he initiated Srinivasa Sastri into Sannyasa and gave him the yoga patta of Abhinava Vidyatirtha. In 1938, he undertook a yatra (pilgrimage) to Bangalore, Mysore and Kaladi. After returning to Sringeri, he resumed his classes on Vedanta and wrote thought-provoking and erudite articles in Asthikamathasanjeevini,a journal published by the Matha. He granted interviews to genuine seekers and gave darshan to the public.
Final years and Videha Mukti
After 1945, the Mahaswami gradually withdrew from all activities. However, his fame had spread far and wide. On August 24, 1954, the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, visited Sringeri to pay homage to the Jagadguru. Mahaswamiji had sent a golden 'pallaki' to invite the President. How ever when Dr.Rajendra Prasad came to know that the pallaki sent for him was in service for Maha swamiji, he politely removed his foot wear,prostrated the pallaki and said, as it is in service to Mahaswamiji, it is so sacred that it would be wrong for him to sit in it. The President then proceeded to walk alongside the pallaki to reach the temple.
The President, a pious man having deep faith in the Hindu scriptures, discussed with the Mahaswami on Dharma and other allied subjects. The discussion was with both the gurus and all sat on floor on wooden peethas as per tradition.
On September 26, 1954 (the day of the Mahalaya Amavasya festival), the Mahaswami took a bath in the Tunga River, which ran in Sringeri. Afterwards, he sat in padmasana posture and attained Videha Mukti on the banks of the river. His body was discovered floating in the river. His assistant Ramaswami jumped in the water and with the help of Kehavachari brought the body to the shore. The face was calm and peaceful as it used to be daily. There was no symptoms of any struggle for breath nor water had entered inside. It was very clear that the great guru had shed His body at His own will. The Jagadguru's body was then interred  by Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha, his successor to the Sharada Peetham. His body was buried beside his Guru's samadhi (shrine) and a samadhi was constructed for him. A Shiva Linga was consecrated over it. It is worshipped today and is called Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Linga. After the videha mukti of Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswami, another shrine was constructed and the Mahaswami was buried there beside Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswami's shrine.
Chandrashekhara Bharati Swaminah composed a few poems and wrote a famous commentary. His main works are:
- Gururaja Sukti Malika containing 36 compositions in about 400 pages. Printed in Sanskrit and Tamil
- Bhashya (commentary) on Vivekachoodamani of Sri Adi Shankaracharya
- Sringeri Sharada Peetham
- Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham
- Advaita Vedanta
- Adi Shankara
- Anatman (Hinduism)
- Hindu peethadipathis (peethadipathis are heads of Hindu Mathas) are addressed respectfully as Swaminah or Mahaswami or Jagadguru. In this article, the same convention is followed
- Mahamahopadhyaya is a title acquired by Sanskrit Pundits after completing their studies
- The name one receives after taking Sannyasa (ascetic vows) in Hinduism
- In the Hindu tradition, bodies of Sannyasis are buried whereas, those of non-Sannyasis are cremated or buried depending on the family custom
- Sages of Sringeri, A Tattvaloka Publication, Shri Sharada Peetham, Shringeri, 2005. http://www.tattvaloka.com
- His Holiness Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamin, by A.R. Natarajan, Published by Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning
- Guru Krupa Vilasam
Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati
|Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham
Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha