Jamadagni (or Jamdagni, Sanskrit: जमदग्नि) is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the seventh, current Manvantara. He is the father of Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu. He was a descendant of the sage Bhrigu, one of the Prajapatis created by Brahma, the God of Creation. Jamadagni had five children with wife Renuka, the youngest of whom was Parashurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Jamadagni was well versed in the scriptures and weaponry without formal instruction.
A descendant of sage Bhrigu, Jamadagni literally meaning consuming fire, was born to sage Richika and Satyavati, daughter of Kshatriya king Gaadhi. Growing up he studied hard and achieved erudition on the Vedas.He acquired the science of weapons without any formal instruction. His father, Richika had guided him though. The Aushanasa Dhanurveda which is now lost, is about a conversation between Jamadagni and Ushanas or Shukracharya on the exercises of warfare. He went to King Prasenjit, of solar dynasty or Suryavansha, and asked for his daughter Renuka’s hand in marriage. Subsequently, they were married, and the couple had five sons Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, Brutwakanwa and Rambhadra, later known as Parshurama.
According to the Mahabharat, Jamadagni once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. Surya then appeared before the rishi as a Brahmin and gave him two inventions that helped mankind deal with his heat – sandals and an umbrella. 
Renuka was a devoted wife and a power of her chastity that was manifest. Such was her chastity, that she used to fetch water from the river in a pot made of unbaked clay every day, held together only by the power of her devotion to Jamadagni.
One day while at the river, a group of Gandharvas passed by in the sky above in a chariot. Filled with desire for only a moment, the unbaked pot that she was carrying dissolved into the river. Afraid to go back to her husband, she waited at the river bank.
Meanwhile, Jamadagni noticed that his wife had not yet returned from the river. Through his yogic powers, he divined all that had taken place and was filled with rage. Jamadagni called his eldest son, told him what had happened and asked him to execute his mother. Horror-stricken, his son refused to perform this deed. He then asked all of his sons, and as they refused, he turned them one by one to stone. Finally only his youngest son, Parashurama, was left. Ever-obedient and righteous, Parashurama beheaded his mother with an axe.
Pleased, Jamadagni offered two boons to Parashurama. Parashurama asked that his mother’s head be restored to life and his brothers to be turned from stone back to flesh. Impressed by his son’s devotion and affection, Jamadagni granted the boons. His brothers and mother were reformed from stone without having the memory of experiencing death as an additional wish of Parashurama. The purpose of this trial was to demonstrate the dharma (“rightful duty”) of a son towards his father.
Jamadagni was later visited by the Haihaya king Kartavirya Arjuna (who was said to have thousand arms/hands), who he served a feast using a divine cow called Kamadhenu. Wanting the animal for himself, the king offered wealth to Jamadagni which he refused. Then the king forcefully took the Kamdhenu with him asking Jamadagni to take it back if possible, but by the means of war, which Jamadagni was not willing to.
Knowing this fact and enraged, Parashurama killed the king, and retrieved the Kamdhenu by killing all of the army of the king Kartavirya Arjuna by himself alone. Later, three sons of the king killed Jamdagni because he was the father of Parashurama who had killed their father, that felt them the proper revenge of eye-for-an-eye. They first stabbed Jamdagni twenty-one times and then sliced his head.
Again enraged, Parashurama killed all three brothers and retrieved the head of his father for cremation, and ultimately enacted a genocide on the kshatriya caste throughout the world for the next twenty-one generations since his father was stabbed by kshatriya twenty-one times.
Innumerable studies and interpretations of the Upaniṣads had already taken place in different periods, in the past.
Our study, however, is different from all these conventional ones in that our focus was on unravelling the rational thoughts which are presented in the Upaniṣads with mythological encryption. We decoded all such encryptions and reached at the pure rational conceptions within. And, what did we see? The finest and the most sublime discovery that mankind has ever made on the existence of universe; it is the concept of Ātmā, the ultimate of all that exists. We found that Ātmā is only a principle, the constitution of which is SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA. This principle is the driving force and the ruler of the whole universe. Any movement occurring anywhere in the universe is in furtherance of the urge impelled by this principle. In fact, SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA is only an abstraction of the manifold activities in the universe into three basic urges namely, (i) to exist, (ii) to know and express and (iii) to derive happiness; these urges are respectively SAT, CHIT and ĀNANDA, which when merged together, like various colours in sunlight, are known as SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA or Ātmā. We further saw that this Ātmā is the only God and Lord of all, pervading all, and without any sign or idol. Ātmā projects the phenomenal world by invoking its power of Prakṛti or Māyā. With Prakṛti invoked, Ātmā is called Puruṣa; the Prakṛti-Puruṣa combine is Brahma, which, on expansion, projects the universe.
To put specifically, our study identified i) the precise nature of Ātmā, Puruṣa, Prakṛti and Brahma, (ii) the subtle difference between Ātmā and Brahma, (iii) the fact that the principle of SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA is only an abstraction of all activities in the universe, (iv) the fact that Thalamus, the centre of consciousness within, is the Heart revealed in scriptures as location of Ātmā in beings, and above all, (v) the existence of consistency and mutual corroboration of thoughts in all the eleven Upaniṣads. It is these findings that make our study distinct from conventional interpretations done in the past by enlightened Sannyasins and learned scholars. We have unfailingly conformed to these findings, all through our study. We also took particular care in presenting the study in a logical format so as to facilitate easy understanding.
Perception of Ātmā as the only God and the only Lord is the fundamental spiritual philosophy of the Upaniṣads. It is not another spiritual philosophy, but the ultimate one. It is the science of spirituality; for, it is purely rational, not based on unfounded beliefs or blind faith. All other spiritual philosophies, moral codes, social laws and all are derivatives of this philosophy, often expressed with varying degrees of adulteration effected by dogmas.
If the rational spiritual philosophy of the Upaniṣads also finds practical expression as a religion, as is usual with any other spiritual philosophy, it must be known as the ‘Religion of the Upaniṣads’. What is now being practised as the Hindu religion is only a highly corrupted version of this religion. Hindu religious practices have to undergo thorough reformation to live up to the most scientific spiritual philosophy of the world which constitutes their essence.
The religion of the Upaniṣads is the religion of ultimate freedom, a religion that promotes personal liberty. It does not require anybody to invariably follow a particular faith or to uphold any specified belief or to observe any prescribed rite or discipline; it is absolutely devoid of such demands and dictates. You are at liberty to ponder over whatever is preached to you and then accept only that which is felt reasonable; no dogmatism and no authoritarianism. This religion does not recognise the services of priests and mediators; it also does not recognise any differentiation between the God and the worshipper or between the leader and the follower. All is One; there is only ‘I’, all in One.
Religion of the Upaniṣads asserts unity of origin and unity of essence of all beings. It is all about transcending the diversity of external appearances and characteristics and attaining to the unity of inner essence. The spirit of this inner equality makes it devoid of all kinds of discrimination and hatred. It is the universal religion. What it presently lacks is proper dissemination of its principles. Effort to inculcate these principles in the minds of all has to start at the very stage of childhood. This is essential to illumine their future lives with positive values and broader vision of universal oneness.
All known religions possess various sets of prescriptions on rites and observances as a means to practise their distinct spiritual philosophy. These prescriptions mostly aim at appeasing the God of their perception, for favours of physical well-being. This appeasement is made by singing praises to that God, visualised in human form, and by offering presents in the form of money, gold and other valuables; this is akin to bribing some power-wielding, greedy mortals for securing protection and favours. In contrast, Religion of the Upaniṣads does not approve of this notion of appeasement. For, it does not consider God as a glorified being in human form, amenable to appeasement and inclined to deliver favours in return; moreover, it does not recognise acquisition and arrogation of physical possessions as a goal of spiritual pursuit. Religion of the Upaniṣads, on the other hand, holds that durable happiness is obtained only by living the life in conformity with the principle of Ātmā. An action that is in conformity with this principle is known as puṇya karma and the opposite as pāpa karma. When a puṇya karma is done, the doer feels contented and enriched, since it resonates well with his inherent essence which is SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA. On the other hand, when a pāpa karma is done, the doer is upset internally as it is repugnant to his very essence. This contradiction between the inner essence and the outer expression throws him into a chaos which diminishes his strength and culminates in his total ruin. In the social front, when pāpa karmas become rampant threatening the peace and well-being of the society, the ultimate ruling principle, SAT-CHIT-ĀNANDA, intervenes by churning out sufficient opposite forces to contain the adverse impacts and to finally assert itself. This is what Gīta says ‘saṃbhavāmi yuge yuge’ (4.8). Pāpa karmas are like obstructions to natural flow of water in a river; when they reach an intolerable level, water musters sufficient force and thrashes away all the obstructions with a violent sweep.
All self-centred pursuits for physical yields will end up in retaliations and entanglements. Only by abiding with the principle of Ātmā that one can secure hassle-free, durable happiness. We should therefore get enlightened about that principle. That is why Upaniṣads say that only by knowing the Ātmā one can attain bliss. Gīta prescribes this knowing as the only one goal deserving to be pursued, not too many, as would be the case with physical benefits (Gīta 2.41 to 2.44).
Everybody knows that we are not isolated beings here; we are part of a magnificent whole. We consist of all that is here; we together constitute the whole. Therefore, our happiness is the happiness of the whole; we have no separate happiness. As such, we have to work for the happiness of the whole; our happiness is involved in that happiness. All our actions should comply with this understanding. This is the practical implication of being in conformity with the principle of Ātmā.
We have already seen that ‘knowing’ Ātmā, according to Upaniṣads, is not simply understanding; it is but experiencing also. Then, the question is how to experience it. Actually we are always experiencing Ātmā; but we don’t recognise that fact. We enjoy pudding, laddu, etc. Sugar is the main constituent in them; without sugar there is no pudding and no laddu. Because of ignorance of this truth we don’t recognise that we are enjoying the sweetness of sugar. We simply say, “O, the pudding is good” or “laddu is good”. We don’t say that we have known the sweetness of sugar. Experiencing sugar is achieved by recognising its presence and consciously feeling it. Like this, experiencing Ātmā is achieved by recognising it in everything and consciously feeling it. This state of conscious feeling is achieved by meditation.
Having already known what Ātmā is, we are now concerned with meditation. It is really the lone spiritual practice under the Religion of Upaniṣads, apart from gaining simple knowledge about Ātmā. We shall see here how it can be done; this is only a model, not an inviolable prescription.
In a peaceful place and time, sit erect on a firm seat with the legs folded and hands placed on the thighs. The intention is to sit in a very comfortable posture. Close the eyes; concentrate on the upper tip of the nose between eye-brows; slowly move the attention backwards horizontally to touch the cross line that passes through the head at level with the ears. It is approximately at this point the Thalamus or the Heart which is the centre of consciousness within the body, is situated. Thalamus has two halves of bulb-shaped masses, each half having a length of about 3 cm. Praśna says that to this Heart, 101 main nerves are connected, out of which one projects upward. Each of these 101 nerves branches into 7.2 million secondary and tertiary nerves. Heart is the centre of consciousness, the light of Ātmā; from the Heart consciousness spreads to all parts of the body through nerves. Concentrate attention on the Heart and feel the flow of consciousness from the Heart to all parts of the body, like water from a perennial spring. Contemplate that every cell of the body is filled with the splendour of pure consciousness and that the whole body is drenched in it. Feel yourself as being inundated with that splendour. Remain in this position as long as possible; it will refresh you with new energy. By constant practice, you will feel like being in that splendour constantly. While being in that position you will have no more prayers to be made to any external agent; for, at this state, there is no ‘another’ to pray to. Your prayers will therefore be converted into wills. You may will anything to be done.
What we saw here is only a beginning. Constant practice will stabilise you in the splendour of consciousness. This is the highest goal of the Religion of Upaniṣads; such identification with Ātmā makes one immortal. Though the instances of reaching that goal are very rare, we should not abstain or discontinue. Any effort, however small it may be, will be helpful in bringing about inner enrichment to a proportionate level; it takes us closer and closer to the ultimate principle. Moreover, such efforts never produce any opposite effect; there is also nothing to lose by discontinuance (Gīta 2.40).
What we have seen above is the two facets of spiritual enlightenment, social and individual. That means, spirituality guides man to live a meaningful and ideal social life, on the one hand, and on the other, it enriches him to attain to the highest state of being.
Transformation of prayers into wills is exemplified by the Peace Invocations (Śānti Mantras) of Upaniṣads; no Deva or Lord is addressed therein for securing anything. The only exception is the Upaniṣads under Atharva Veda, namely Praśna, Muṇḍaka and Māṇḍūkya; note that Atharva is a later compilation. Śānti Mantras appear in the beginning and end of the Upaniṣads. The same Śānti Mantra appears in all the Upaniṣads under a particular Veda. Since Yajerveda has two branches, namely the Kṛṣṇa and Śukla Yajurvedas, separate Śānti Mantras are used in each of them. Thus there are five important Śānti Mantras; we shall have a look at them all.
Let us first see the Śānti Mantra of Aitareya Upaniṣad, the only Principal Upaniṣad under Ṛgveda.
ॐ वाङ्मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता | मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम् | आविराविर्म एधि | वेदस्य म आणीस्थः| श्रुतं मे मा प्रहासीरनेनाधीतेनाहोरात्रान् संदधामि | ऋतं वदिष्यामि सत्यं वदिष्यामि | तन्मामवतु तद्वक्तारमवतु | अवतु मां अवतु वक्तारं अवतु वक्तारम् ||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
vāṅme manasi pratiṣṭhitā; mano me vāci pratiṣṭhitaṃ; āvirāvirma edhi; vedasya ma
āṇīsthaḥ; śrutaṃ me mā prahāsīranenādhītenāhorātrān saṃdadhāmi; ṛtaṃ vadiṣyāmi satyaṃ vadiṣyāmi; tanmāmavatu tadvaktāramavatu; avatu māṃ avatu vaktāraṃ avatu vaktāram.
om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
Word Meaning: vāk- speech (utterance); me- my; manasi- in mind; pratiṣṭhitā- established; manaḥ- mind; vāci- in speech; pratiṣṭhitaṃ- established; āvis- evident, manifest; āvirāvis- more and more evident; ma- to me; edhi- enlarged, more clarified or apparent; vedasya- of Veda, of learning; ma- to me, my; āṇī- instruments, means, agents; sthaḥ- (you two) are; śrutaṃ- whatever learned; me- to me; mā- not; prahāsīḥ- be lost; anenādhītena- by that learning; ahorātrān- day and night; saṃdadhāmi- I shall unite; ṛtaṃ- SAT, the ruling principle of the world; vadiṣyāmi – I shall speak of; satyaṃ Satyam; tat- that; mām- me; avatu- may protect; vaktāram- the expounder, teacher; avatu māṃ – may I be protected; avatu vaktāraṃ – may the teacher be protected.
śāntiḥ- peace, calmness.
Mantra Meaning: My speech (utterance) is established in my mind; my mind is established in my speech. (May everything) be more and more evident and clarified to me. (O, speech and mind), you two are my instruments for learning. May what I have learnt be never lost. I shall unite day and night by that learning. I shall speak of SAT and Satyam; May that protect me and the teacher. May I be protected; may the teacher be protected.
The Mantra states that the mind and the speech are established in each other. What one speaks is what there is in his mind; what there is in one’s mind is what he learned by repeated recitation (by speech). This is the implication of the statement. It is obvious here that mind and speech are the instruments of learning. It is through them that one acquires correct and clarified knowledge. The prayer seeks that the acquired knowledge is never lost. The phrase ‘uniting day and night by the learning’ implies perseverance and constant effort throughout day and night. Ṛtaṃ is SAT which indicates Ātmā, the ruling principle of the universe; Satyam indicates, as we know, Brahma. ‘I shall speak of Ṛtaṃ and Satyam’ means ‘I shall study about Ātmā and Brahma’. ‘May that protect’ implies ‘may such study’ protect. Upaniṣads repeatedly declare that knowing Ātmā and Brahma makes one immortal. This declaration is relied in this Mantra.
Śānti is peace or calmness of mind obtained by alleviation of miseries; the word is repeated three times aiming to alleviate all the three kinds of miseries affecting humans.
The next Mantra is seen in Upaniṣads belonging to Śukla Yajurveda; Īśa and Bṛhadāraṇyaka are the two Principal Upaniṣads which use this Mantra.
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते | पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते||
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
om pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate; pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate.
om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
Word Meaning: pūrṇam- Pūrṇam, that which is full, complete, absolute, saturated, whole, ultimate; adaḥ- that; idaṃ- this; pūrṇāt- from Pūrṇam; udacyate- emitted out; pūrṇasya- to the Pūrṇam; ādāya- having taken, having merged; pūrṇameva- Pūrṇam alone; avaśiṣyate- be left out, remains.
Mantra Meaning: That is Pūrṇam, this is Pūrṇam. Pūrṇam emerges from Pūrṇam. Pūrṇam on having merged to Pūrṇam, remains as Pūrṇam alone.
This Mantra, though short in size, actually presents one of the important basic tenets of Upaniṣadic philosophy. Upaniṣads say that this universe emerged from the ultimate principle, Ātmā and that it will finally merge into Ātmā. In other words, the universe is only an expression of Ātmā. It is well settled that Ātmā is absolute, ultimate and the whole; that means it is Pūrṇam. The words ‘that’ and ‘this’ in the Mantra indicate worldly objects there and here or far and near. All worldly objects are said to be body parts of Ātmā; they are manifestations of Ātmā. They are pervaded by Ātmā; they are actually Ātmā itself appearing in those forms. So, both are Pūrṇam; ‘that’ and ‘this’ are Pūrṇam. They emerged from Ātmā, the Pūrṇam; from Pūrṇam, only Pūrṇam can come out. So, it is said: ‘pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate’. What happens if all these merge into Ātmā? It will remain as such, as Pūrṇam only. Hence the Mantra declaration, “pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate” (Pūrṇam on having merged to Pūrṇam, remains as Pūrṇam alone).
Now we go to the next Mantra which is seen in Upaniṣads belonging to Samaveda (Kena and Chāndogya). This Mantra is an expression of an earnest wish to become one with Brahma.
ॐ आप्यायन्तु ममाङ्गानि वाक्प्राणश्चक्षुःश्रोत्रमथो बलमिन्द्रियाणि च सर्वाणि।
सर्वं ब्रह्मोपनिषदं माऽहं ब्रह्म निराकुर्यां मा मा ब्रह्म निराकरोद् अनिराकरणमस्तु अनिराकरणं मेऽस्तु। तदात्मनि निरते य उपनिषत्सु धर्मास्ते मयि सन्तु ते मयि सन्तु।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥
Oṃ āpyāyantu mamāṅgāni vākprāṇaścakṣuḥ śrotramatho balamindriyāṇi ca sarvāṇi;
sarvam brahmaupaniṣadam mā’haṃ brahma nirākuryāṃ mā mā brahma nirākarodanirākaraṇamastvanirākaraṇam me’stu. tadātmani nirate ya upaniṣatsu dharmāste mayi santu te mayi santu.
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.
Word Meaning: āpyāyantu- may be(come) strong, powerful; mama- my; aṅgāni- body parts; vāk- speech; prāṇa- breath; cakṣuḥ- eyes; śrotram- ears; athaḥ- and, further; balam-stamina; indriyāṇi- senses; ca- and; sarvāṇi- all; sarvam- all this; brahma- Brahma; upaniṣadam- declared in the Upaniṣads; ma- not; aham- I; nirākaroti- negate, separate off; mā’haṃ brahma nirākuryāṃ – may I not negate Brahma; mā mā brahma nirākarot – may Brahma not separate me off; anirākaraṇam- non-negation; astu- may there be; me- to me; tat- that; ātmani- within; nirate- attached, linger; ya- ye- which; upaniṣatsu- in Upaniṣads; dharmaḥ- ordinances, principles; te- they; mayi- in me; santu- may there be.
Mantra Meaning: May my body parts be strong; may my speech, breath, eyes, ears, stamina and all senses be powerful. All this (present here) is Brahma declared in the Upaniṣads. May I not negate (defy) Brahma; may Brahma not negate me. May there be non-negation; may there be non-negation to me; may that (non-negation) linger within (me). May the ordinances of Upaniṣads be always present in me.
The first yearning in this Mantra is for a strong body; this is because, without a strong and healthy body, sustained pursuit of the ultimate knowledge is not feasible. The second yearning is that there may not be any mutual negation of Brahma and the current seeker. This implies his earnest desire to be one with Brahma; he wants that this desire must constantly reverberate within him. Finally, he wants to bear in mind all the ordinances of the Upaniṣads; for, these ordinances are leading lights in the pursuit of spiritual realisation.
We shall now see the Mantra that is found in Upaniṣads of Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda. It expresses a wish jointly made by the disciple and the master. They want the process of learning and teaching to be a smooth one without room for any prejudices. See the Mantra below:
ॐ सह नाववतु | सह नौ भुनक्तु | सह वीर्यं करवावहै | तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥
Oṃ saha nāvavatu; saha nau bhunaktu; saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai; tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai.
Om śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.
Word Meaning: saha- together; nāvavatu – nau + avatu; nau- both of us; avatu- may be impelled, promoted, protected; bhunaktu- may be hungry; vīryaṃ- energy; karavāvahai- may we utilise; tejasvi- brilliant; adhītam- learning; astu- may it be; mā- not; vidviṣāvahai- may we cause to dislike each other.
Mantra Meaning: May both of us be impelled together; may we be hungry together. May we utilise our energy together. May our learning be brilliant; may we both not cause any dislike to each other.
The teacher and the student pray for being motivated together and for being hungry together. Motivation is for study; hunger is for imparting/receiving knowledge. To achieve this goal, they have to utilise their energy together. Such united effort is essential to ensure a brilliant output. Finally, the process of learning should not result in mutual dislike. There is a possibility of dislike in the absence of simultaneous inspiration and joint effort; that justifies the beginning part of the Mantra.
The last of the popular Śānti Mantras in the Upaniṣads is given below; it is found in Upaniṣads belonging to Atharva Veda. This Mantra is different from those given above, in that the prayers here are directed to various Devas.
ॐ भद्रं कर्णेभिः श्रुणुयाम देवाः भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः|
स्थिरैरङ्गैस्तुष्टुवांसस्तनूभिः व्यशेम देवहितं यदायुः।
स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।
स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्यो अरिष्टनेमिः स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु |
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥
auṃ bhadraṃ karṇebhiḥ śruṇuyāma devāḥ bhadraṃ paśyemākṣabhiryajatrāḥ;
sthirairaṅgaistuṣṭuvāṃsastanūbhiḥ vyaśema devahitam yadāyuḥ;
svasti na indro vṛddhaśravāḥ svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavedāḥ;
svasti nastārkṣyo ariṣṭanemiḥ svasti no bṛhaspatirdadhātu.
auṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.
Word Meaning: bhadraṃ- auspicious, excellent; karṇebhiḥ- by ears; śruṇuyāma- may we hear; devāḥ- Devas; paśyema- may we see; akṣabhiḥ- by the eyes; yajatrāḥ- worshipful ones; sthirairaṅgaiḥ- (sthiraiḥ + aṅgaiḥ) with determined mind; tuṣṭuvāṃsastanūbhiḥ- with a satisfied or healthy body; vyaśema- spend, consume; devahitam- allotted or assigned by Devas; yadāyuḥ- life as (alloted); svasti- blessing, prosperity; naḥ- to us; indraḥ- Indra; vṛddhaśravāḥ- ancient glory; pūṣā- Pūṣa (the great nourisher); viśvavedāḥ- all-knowing; tārkṣyaḥ- Garuda; ariṣṭanemiḥ- one who wards off evils; bṛhaspatiḥ- Bṛhaspati (Lord of prayer); dadhātu- bestow.
Mantra Meaning: O Devas, may we hear the auspicious with our ears. O worshipful ones, may we see the auspicious with our eyes. May we spend our life time allotted by Devas, with determined mind and healthy body. May Indra, the ancient glory and Pūṣa the all-knowing, Garuda, the one who wards of evils, and Bṛhaspati bestow blessings on us.
Finally, we shall look into a comment made by some readers regarding the oldness of Upaniṣads mentioned in the introduction to this series. They objected to specifying the period of the ten most ancient Upaniṣads to be between 1500 BC and 600 BC. Their reason was that Upaniṣads are divine (apauruṣeya) and their age cannot be so specified. In this regard, it is to be clarified that all knowledge is apauruṣeya; even the simple arithmetic “2 + 2 = 4” is so. This is because such knowledge is not the invention of any particular individual; it is only a discovery by some person at some point of time. The time of such discovery is what we give as the date of that piece of knowledge. It may be seen that each sukta in the Veda Samhita is known in the name of some renowned Sage. Upaniṣads also are mostly presented as expounded by some Ṛsis. As such, there is nothing wrong in mentioning the period of revelation of the Upaniṣads. Dispute exists only in respect of the correctness of the period assigned.
It is clear from the above facts that nobody has any proprietary or tenancy right over any knowledge. Spiritual knowledge, like any other knowledge, is a universal property and every person has the right of access to and utilisation of that property. Let everybody realise this fact and come forward to get enriched in exercise of that right. It is everybody’s right and duty to acquire knowledge and rise up to the ultimate awakening. For, peaceful co-existence demands it.
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Sringeri is a geographically small but spiritually lofty place in the regions of Sahyadri Mountains.This place got its name from Sage Rishyashringa who practiced severe penance in this region. Rishyashringa was the son of the great sage Vibhandaka. Sage Vibhandaka was originally from the region now known as the modern Bihar. He had kept his son totally away from the company of women. Having undergone ill treatment at the hands of his wife and sister-in-law, he had developed a kind of aversion towards the women. His father trained Rishyashringa in Veda, Shastra and penance. In no time, he mastered all branches of learning and became famous as a great sage. In those days, there was a severe drought in Bihar. The royal priest advised Romapada, the king of Anga, that bringing Sage Rishyashringa to his kingdom would bring rains to his kingdom. Shanta, the daughter of Romapada decided to accomplish the task of bringing Rishyashringa to her father’s kingdom.
When Shanta arrived at Vibhandaka’s Ashrama, she was surprised to see the young and handsome Rishyashringa there. Vibhandaka had gone elsewhere to perform severe austerities. Rishyashringa, who had never seen a woman before, was captivated by Shanta’s beauty. He followed Shanta to her kingdom and this brought huge rains to Anga desha. The overjoyed king Romapada gave his daughter Shanta in marriage to Sage Rishyashringa. Sage Rishyashringa stayed for some time in Anga and then visited Ayodhya as per the requests of king Dasharatha. He performed Ashwamedha and Putrakameshti Yagnas there as a result of which Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna were born to Dasharatha.
After several years of Lokasamgraha, Maharshi Rishyashringa and Shanta Devi returned to the Ashrama of sage Vibhandaka. Pained with his son’s behavior, sage Vibhandaka had left the Ashrama and had migrated to the south. Rishyashringa and Shanta, after searching for long, were finally able to locate the great sage on the banks of river Tunga, in the region of Sahyadri Mountains. The couple served the elderly sage and after he shed his mortal body, established a Shiva Linga on his Samadhi. This Linga came to be known as Sri Malahanikeshwara. Rishyashringa then continued his penance in a nearby place called Kigga. After his Siddhi, a Linga called Rishyashringeshwara was established on his Samadhi. Shanta Devi’s Samadhi is also located in Kigga. Sage Rishyashringa is the Rishi for the tenth mandala – 136th Sukta of Rig Veda. The greatness of this sage is illustrated in the Rishyashringopakhyana of Ramayana’s Balakanda. His story is also detailed in the Vana parva of Mahabharata (Chapter 111-114) and the 23rd chapter of the ninth Skandha of Bhagavata. The Linga that we see today in Kigga is ancient and resembles a Rudraksha. It has a Shringa (horn) on the head. It is said that the left part of the Linga represents Shanta Devi. Even today, when there is drought in the area, worshipping Rishyashringeshwara brings rain. This amazing occurrence has been observed and documented several times.
Thus, the region in which sage Rishyashringa performed great penance came to be known as Rishyashringagiri, Sringagiri and later as Sringeri. Later, in the age of Kali, when Dakshinamurthy incarnate Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada came to Sringeri, the weather here was extremely hot. A pregnant frog was in labor on a heated rock on the banks of river Tunga. Acharya was surprised to see a snake open its hood and offer shade to the suffering frog. He immediately decided that the place where even natural enmity between creatures was replaced by love and compassion was indeed the best suitable one for establishing his very first monastery.
Sri Sureshwara, the first Acharya of Sringeri Sarada Peetham was known as Mandana mishra in his Purvashrama. Because he was the most respected of Acharya’s disciples, the other three amnayas also hold great regard for Sringeri Peetham. Acharya established Sri Saradambal on Srichakra Peetham and named Sureshwaracharya as the Jagadguru of this Peetham. Sri Sureshwara is the author of many works like naiShkarmya Siddhi, mAnasollAsa – a commentary on Acharya’s Dakshinamurthy Stotra, Vartikas on Acharya’s Taittariya and Brihadaranyaka Bhashyas and Panchikarana Vyakhyana. He lived as the head of the Peetham for more than seventy years and propagated the knowledge of Advaita in all directions. He also had many disciples from northern India. He attained Siddhi in A.D. 773. His Samadhi is located to the right of the present Sarada temple and an idol of Sureshwaracharya has been placed on the Samadhi.
Sri Sureshwara gave Sanyasa to a disciple Brahmachari and gave him the title Sri Nityabodhaghanacharya. He was the Jagadguru of the Peetham from 773 to 848 A.D. He was a great scholar of Nyaya and Vedanta.
Sri Jnanaghanacharya became the next Acharya of Sarada Peetham. He has written a work called Tatva Shuddhi, which has 46 chapters and is a commentary on Advaita Siddhanta. During his time, Shankara Vedanta branched into two streams, advocated by Vachaspati Mishra (author of Bhamati) and Prakashatman (the author of Panchapadika Vivarana).
The next Acharya in the lineage was Sri Jnanottamacharya. He held the office from 910 to 953 A.D. He originally belonged to Gouda country. He has written a commentary named Vidyashri on Acharya’s sutra Bhashya. Vijnanatman (author of Tatparyadyotini) and Chitsukhacharya (author of Tatvapradipika) were his chief disciples. His disciples held him as the very incarnation of Vyasa, Shankara and Dakshinamurthy.
The lineage continued with Sri Jnanagiri Acharya (949 -1038 A.D.), Sri Simhagiri Acharya (1038 -1098 A.D.), Sri Ishwara Tirtha (1098 -1146 A.D.) and Sri Nrisimha Tirtha (1146 -1228 A.D.). All of them were great saints who championed the cause of Sanatana Vaidika dharma. There is an Agrahara named after Simhagiri Acharya in the southwest of Sringeri. This is now known as old Sringeri and it houses a small temple of Chaturvidyeshwara. Sri Ishwara Tirtha has authored a work called Shatashloki or Vairagya Prakarana.
The next Acharya of the Peetham, known as Abhinava Shankara or Sri Vidya Shankara, was Sri Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamigal. He was the Jagadguru of Sarada Peetham from 1228 to 1333. He was a practitioner of Lambika Yoga and entered Jiva Samadhi in 1333. It is said that he was originally from the Baalaganchi village of Channarayapatna of Karnataka. It is also said that Madhwa, the founder of Dvaita philosophy, made an unsuccessful attempt to debate with Sri Vidya Tirtha in Tiruvananthapuram. Acharya gave Sanyasa to two brothers Madhava and Bhoganatha with the titles Bharati Tirtha and Vidyaranya. Sri Vidyaranya began to perform penance in the Matanga Parvata in Hampi in Karnataka. Bharati Tirtha remained in Sringeri to serve his guru Sri Vidya Tirtha. The political situation in the country was bad in those days. The entire land was looted and destroyed frequently by Muslims. As per the orders of Sri Vidya Tirtha, Sri Vidyaranya began to train Hakka and Bukka, who belonged to the Sangama Vamsha. By the grace of Sri Rajarajeshwari, he established a Hindu kingdom and named it Vidyanagara. This later came to be known as the Vijayanagara Empire. Some ignorant people claim that Sri Vidyaranya came from Tamil Nadu and resurrected the empty Sringeri mutt. Various scholars have disproved this senseless claim.
When Sri Vidya Tirtha assumed Lambika Yoga Samadhi, his age had crossed 150! On the northern banks of river Tunga, he entered an underground chamber and attained Samadhi. Lambika yoga involves the practice of Khechari Mudra where the Yogi stretches his tongue upwards to block Randhras and manipulate Lalata, Lalana and Golata Chakras so as to obtain Kulamrita. The technicalities of this Kriya, which are extremely complex, should be learnt directly from a Guru. I shall refrain from discussing the details of this complex subject to avoid encouraging people from trying it themselves. In these days when a complex and sacred subject like Srividya can be taught as an year’s course to raise funds for some temple complex, it is best to remain mum about traditional secrets and avoid commercialization of the same!
In old Sringeri, the Linga in the Chaturmurtishwara temple is one of its kind. It is in the form of a pillar and is about four feet tall. In front of it, a meditating Yogi is depicted. Beside him, there are two prostrating Yogis. These Yogis are Sri Vidya Tirtha, Sri Bharati Tirtha and Sri Vidyaranya respectively. The background has the picture of Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha. The Linga has Hiranyagarbha on its left, Maheshwara to the right and Narayana at the rear. The edge of the pillar has a Shiva Linga with the Peetham. This Linga represents Sri Dattatreya Bhagavan. This Chaturmurtishwara Linga is one of its kind in the entire world. It is believed that the Linga was established before Sri Vidya Tirtha assumed Lambika Samadhi. He entered an underground cave and said, After twelve years, my body will transform into a Linga similar to the Chaturmurtishwara Linga. Till then, do not enter this cave- But some curious men entered the cave before the specified date. They did not find the body of Sri Vidya Tirtha but found only a Linga. It had still not developed completely into the Chaturmurtishwara form. Later, the present Vidya Shankara temple was constructed over the underground cave.
Sri Vidyaranya was a scholar par excellence. He was a master of all Indian philosophies, scriptures, medicine, mantra Shastra, music and other branches of learning. True to his name, Vidyaranya was a treasure house of knowledge. His written works are large in number. He organized a massive workshop in Sringeri, which was attended by Vedic scholars from all over the country. They stayed in Sringeri for many decades and completed the task of writing commentaries on the Vedas. This huge task was accomplished under the leadership of Sayanacharya. Sri Vidyaranya began to reestablish idols in temples, which had been looted and destroyed by Muslim invaders. He resurrected the temples at Kanchi, Rameshwaram, Madurai and Srirangam. He then undertook a pilgrimage to Kashi and remained in Kashi for many years. The emperor of Vijayanagara requested the Acharya profusely to return to Sringeri as a result of which Sri Vidyaranya returned to Sringeri in 1360.
There were many Brahmacharis who studied under Sri Vidyaranya. He had given Sanyasa to a young man with the yoga title Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati. This Sanyasi became the Jagadguru of Sarada Peetham after the Siddhi of Sri Vidyaranya. He attained Videha Mukti in 1389 after which Sri Narasimha Bharati Swamigal became the Jagadguru of the Peetham. During his Sanchara, Swamigal visited Hampi, Gokarna and established Sri Nrisimha idol in a village called Haladi in south Canara. He is still respectfully referred to as Haladi Wodeyarin these regions. He also established a Shankara mutt at a place called Avani near Kolar in Karnataka. He attained Siddhi at a place called Hajape in Karnataka in 1408. His Samadhi is located in this place and can be seen even today. Sri Narasimha Bharati had two disciples: Chandrashekhara Bharati (second) and Sri Purushottama Bharati. After the Videha Mukti of Swamigal, Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati (second) assumed the seat of the Jagadguru of Sri Sarada Peetham. He established Srichakras in Someshwara temple of Shivanasamudra, Agastyeshwara temple in Tirumakudalu and Prasanna Parvati temple in Nanjangud. He attained Siddhi in Tirumakudalu in 1418. Sri Purushottama Bharati, who became the next Jagadguru, established a Shiva Linga on his Samadhi and performed the Aradhana of the departed Acharya. He gave Sanyasa to a Yati who came to be called Madhava Bharati. This Yati established a Shankara mutt in Gokarna. Sri Purushottama Bharati Swamigal attained Siddhi in 1448. A poet named Vishnu has written a Kavya called Purushottama Bharati Charitram-which describes the life of Swamigal.
The next Acharya of the sacred Peetham was Sri Shankarananda Bharati Swamigal. During his Sanchara, he visited the Sringanatha temple in Kanakatti near Arasikere and stayed there for long, immersed in Samadhi. The pillar, near which he was seated in Tapasya for years, bears an inscription mentioning his name. He attained Siddhi in 1454 and was succeeded by Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati (third). Probably this Swamigal did not undertake any Sanchara. He appears to have spent all his time immersed in Samadhi in Sringeri and is known to have attained Mukti in 1464. The next Jagadguru in this illustrious lineage of Sages was Sri Narasimha Bharati (third). During his time, the Yoganandeshwara Mutt of Edatore came into existence. He attained Videha Kaivalya in 1476.
Sri Purushottama Bharati (second) was the 16^th Acharya of Sarada Peetham. Krishnadevaraya, the emperor of Vijayanagara was a disciple of Sri Swamigal and by his blessings won many battles. After the Siddhi of Swamigal in 1517, Sri Ramachandra Bharati Swamigal ascended the Vyakhyana Peetham. He was widely respected by the Jains. During his Sanchara, he visited Karkala and stayed in a Jain temple. While he was performing the Pooja of Lord Chandramouleshwara, the Jaina idol there appeared as Lord Ananta Padmanabha. The temple of Lord Ananta Padmanabha may be seen in Karkala even today. He established a township named Purushottamapura in remembrance of his Guru and donated the lands in the village to scholars. After the Siddhi of Swamigal in 1560, Sri Nrisimha Bharati (third, 1560 – 1573) and Sri Nrisimha Bharati (fourth, 1573 – 1599) held the high office of the Jagadguru of Sri Sarada Peetham. Sri Nrisimha Bharati (fourth) established an Agrahara near Vasisthapura in remembrance of his Guru. In 1599, Sri Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Swamigal ascended the Vyakhyana Peetham. He established the Rameshwara Temple in Rudrapada in memory of his Parameshthi Guru Sri Ramachandra Bharati. He was a great scholar, renunciate, Yogi and a knower of mantra Shastra. In the Malahanikeshwara Temple on Mallikarjuna hill, there was no temple dedicated to Ganesha. On a pillar, which stood facing the north, Swamigal drew a picture of Heramba with turmeric and worshipped it. To everyone’s surprise, an actual figure of Ganesha protruded from the pillar. This is worshipped as Stambha Heramba in Sringeri.
He also established a mutt in Shiva Ganga and nominated a shishya as its head. Sri Abhinava Nrisimha Bharati has written a wonderful Sanskrit commentary on Shiva Gita. He gave Sanyasa to an Andhra Brahmachari and gave him the title Sri Sacchidananda Bharati. After the Siddhi of Mahaswamigal, Sri Sacchidananda Bharati ascended the Vyakhyana Simhasana. He was only eighteen then! He was known as Narasimha in his Purvashrama and belonged to the Gargya Gotra of Yajusshakha. His parents were Alakadri Bhatta and Tirumalambal. He visited Sri Mukambika and worshipped her for a long time. It is believed that Devi conversed with him every night. A Jain ruler named Bhairarasa began to attack Sringeri frequently and loot the temple. Sri Swamigal performed a severe penance in Vaikunthapura as a result of which his army had to return back to Karkala defeated. Swamigal was a gifted poet. He composed many works like Minakshi Shataka, Sri Guru Stuti Shataka, Kovidashtaka and a Mahakavya called Ramachandra Mahodaya. The poem Guru Stuti Shataka has description of Acharyas from Adi Shankara to Abhinava Nrisimha Bharati and is of great historical importance. He also established Sri Bhavani Devi in Mallikarjuna hill and initiated the practice of celebrating Girija Kalyana. He attained Siddhi after handing over charge to Sri Narasimha Bharati (fifth) in 1663.
Sri Nrisimha Bharati (fifth) was the Acharya of Sarada Peetham for forty-two years, from 1663 to 1705. In the Akshaya year (1686) when there was a severe drought in Karnataka, Swamigal fed thousands of people for months in the mutt in Sringeri. He constructed a temple for the Samadhi of his guru Sacchidananda Bharati and developed an Agrahara named Sacchidanandapura. The next Jagadguru of the Peetham was Sri Sacchidananda Bharati (second). He held the high office from 1705 to 1741, for a period of thirty-six years. During his Sanchara, when he visited Subrahmanya Kshetra, the Madhwas tried to prevent him from entering the temple but failed miserably. However, in Udupi, the center of Madhwa philosophy, the Madhva seers respectfully received him. He had the Darshan of Lord Krishna and stayed in Udupi for some time enjoying the hospitality of the courteous Madhwa Yatis. As per the request of his disciples, he established a Shankara mutt in Subrahmanya. This mutt may be seen even today within the temple complex. When Swamigal was touring in Tulu Desha, a Lingayat minister constructed a Veera Shaiva mutt in the heart of Sringeri and began to create tension in the region. Pained by this, Swamigal did not return to Sringeri. He stayed back at Haladi. Many rulers of Karnataka and also Bajirao, the Peshwa of Maharashtra came to know of this incident. They urged the Lingayat minister to vacate Sringeri at once. Unable to oppose the powerful forces of the Marathas, the minister had to get the Lingayat Mutts vacated.
Sri Swamigal also established a Mutt in Belur in Karnataka. He traveled till Rameshwaram and established Sri Vidyashankara Linga in Rameshwaram. Sri Swamigal was a gifted poet and composed several hymns dedicated to Sri Saradambal and Sri Mookambika. He supported hundreds of scholars and greatly encouraged learning. Kashi Lakshmana Shastry, who was the court poet during that time, composed the great Kavya, Guruvamsha Kavya This poem describes the glorious lineage of Acharyas of Sringeri, starting from Adi Shankaracharya till Sri Sacchidananda Bharati Mahaswamigal (second). Due to its historical importance, it is widely followed to this day. Swamigal attained Siddhi in 1741.
Sri Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati Mahaswamigal ascended the Vyakhyana Peetham in 1741. After preaching Sanatana Vaidika dharma all over south India, he attained Videha Kaivalya in Nasik in 1767. The Peetharohana ceremony of Sri Narasimha Bharati (sixth), the next Acharya of Sarada Peetham, was held in Nasik. Due to a war that took place between Hyder Ali and the Peshwas, Swamigal chose to remain in Nasik and attained Mukti in 1770. Before his Siddhi, he had initiated a Brahmachari into Sanyasa with the yoga title Sacchidananda Bharati, who later ascended the Vyakhyana Peetham. He was called Subbavadhani in his Purvashrama and belonged to Haritasa Gotra. By then, Hyder Ali was constantly pressurizing Swamigal to return to Sringeri. Finally, Sri Sacchidananda Bharati (third) returned to Sringeri in 1780.
In 1790, the Maratha soldiers of Parashurama Bhave and Harpanth attacked Srirangapattana. They also attacked Sringeri, massacred hundreds of Brahmanas and looted the jewels of Saradambal. Swamigal, who was on Sanchara, cut short his tour and returned to Sringeri immediately. Tippu Sultan, the then ruler of Srirangapattana, expressed his serious concern and got the temple of Sarada repaired immediately. He also requested Swamigal to perform Sahasra Chandi Japa to save the land from a severe drought. With the divine blessings of Mahaswamigal, the rains in Karnataka were amazingly good that year and for several years to come, people of Karnataka lived in abundance. A disciple of Swamigal had settled in Kumbhakonam. He later took Sanyasa and attained Videha Mukti. With the support of the rulers of Tanjore, a branch of Sringeri mutt was started in Kumbhakonam and a new lineage of Acharyas, who were the successors of the Yati, came to be recognized.
Sri Sacchidananda Bharati (third) had two chief disciples, Narasimha Bharati and Veera Raghava. Narasimha Shastry left for Varanasi for higher studies. Swamigal initiated Veera Raghava, who belonged to the Kaundinya Gotra, into Sanyasa with the title Abhinava Sacchidananda Bharati. After the Siddhi of Swamigal, the young Acharya, who was only eighteen, ascended the Vyakhyana Peetham. He established a Srichakra in Jnananandeshwara Temple on the banks of Manikarnika. Due to his failing health, he gave Sanyasa to his Saha Shishya Narasimha Shastry and attained Siddhi in 1817. Narasimha Shastry, who later came to be revered as Sri Vriddha Nrisimha Bharati or Ugra Nrisimha Bharati all over the country, belonged to the Bharadwaja Gotra, Yajusshakha. He had studied under the great scholar Vancheshwara Shastry of Kashi. When he ascended the Peetham, he was only nineteen. The Mutt was also in a bad financial state. He spent many years on Narasimha Parvata, practicing and perfecting Upasanas of Srividya and Ugra Nrisimha. His mantra Siddhi was enormous and beyond comparison. People held him to be the very manifestation of Lord Ugra Nrisimha. From the age of forty, he began to eat only bitter gourd for food. He had completely given up sleep.
British chief commissioner Bowring came to hear about the spectacular power of restraint of Mahaswamigal. When Swamigal was in Bangalore, Bowring silently came to visit him one midnight. When he peeped through a window, he was amazed to see Acharya absorbed in Pooja of Lord Chandramouleshwara. He fell at the feet of Swamigal and sought his blessings. Swamigal undertook a great pilgrimage from Rameshwaram in the south to Badari in north. He was followed by thousands of scholars and devout people all through the journey. He was a great linguist and could discourse fluently in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit. When Swamigal visited Nagpur, the king of the city showed disrespect to Mahaswamigal. The effect of his misbehavior was severe. He began to face hundreds of problems and finally realized that it was due to Guru Droha. He fell at the feet of Mahaswamigal, took Mantropadesha and freed himself from problems. A few writings of Mr. Bowring indicate his immense respect for Mahaswamigal.
During his Sanchara, Mahaswamigal visited Gujrat. A Gujrati gentleman had constructed a new house, spending lakhs of rupees. But he was unable to live in that house because of a Brahma Rakshasa, which was haunting the house. Without telling anyone about this incident, he invited Mahaswamigal to stay in his newly constructed house. That night, when Swamigal was busy in Srichakra Pooja, he noticed a figure leaning against a pillar and staring at him. The man looked like a well-read scholar. Swamigal signaled him to come and sit in front of him but the man showed no response. Swamigal immediately realized that the man was no mortal. He took some water in his right hand, chanted the Ugra Nrisimha mantra and threw it on the Brahma Rakshasa. Due to the immense power of the mantra, the Rakshasa began to scream fire, fire!-and jumped into the well located behind the house. All the people who had fallen asleep woke up due to his screams. When they looked into the well, the clothes, which the Brahma Rakshasa had been wearing, were floating on the surface. Mahaswamigal assured that the house was fit for residence and that he had freed it from the Brahma Rakshasa.
Swamigal was once camping the in the Kalyana Mantapa in Madurai Minakshi temple complex. As per the tradition of Shankara Mutt, he entered the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Minakshi and began performing Pooja to Ambal. The priests of the temple gathered there in groups and opposed Swamigal’s Pooja. Displeased with their behavior, he immediately attracted Goddess Minakshi into two coconuts and placed it outside the temple in front of Garuda Stambha. He said, Å¢mba has graciously agreed to accompany me. You need not go all the way into the temple to worship her. She is right here in these coconuts. You may worship her right here- From then on, no one visited the sanctum sanctorum of Minakshi. Thousands of people began to worship the Goddess in the coconuts. The idol of Amba became lifeless and the priests of the temple began to suffer in many ways. They realized their mistake and fell at the feet of Mahaswamigal. The compassionate sage, Sri Vriddha Nrisimha Bharati forgave them and reinstalled the deity into the idol of Sri Minakshi. To this day in Sringeri, Naivedya is offered to Sri Minakshi and Sri Sundareshwara during Chandramouleshwara Pooja.
In 1838, he visited Rameshwaram. A group of Brahmanas called Arya Brahmanas, who mainly acted as priests to the non-Brahmins, lived in Rameshwaram. People who visited Rameshwaram generally take bath in all the Tirthas there and finally in Koti Tirtha. They also carry the water of this Tirtha home and distribute it to friends and family. The Arya Brahmanas had constructed a door to Koti Tirtha and had kept it under lock and key. When Swamigal visited Koti Tirtha, they insisted that only they could fetch water from the Tirtha and even charged some money for the same. He immediately went to another Tirtha nearby called Sarva Tirtha and declared, It is enough if you bathe in this Tirtha. It has all the other Tirthas in itself, including the Koti Tirtha- He himself took bath in Sarva Tirtha and returned to Sringeri. For a period of forty years, as per Mahaswamigal orders, no one visited Koti Tirtha or took bath in it. People began to keep away from the Arya Brahmanas because the Jagadguru had cursed them. The water of Koti Tirtha became stale and filled with worms. Realizing their mistake, the Arya Brahmanas visited Sringeri and asked Swamigal to sanctify Koti Tirtha and make it fit once again. Swamigal agreed to their request, visited Rameshwaram and sanctified the water of Koti Tirtha with the water of Sarva Tirtha.
One night, when Sri Swamigal was in Ekanta Pooja, a beautiful Suvasini appeared before him and said, Åeave your place- Swamigal at once realized that it was time to choose his successor. He chose a Brahmachari Shivaswami as his successor in 1866 and attained Videha Mukti in 1879.
Born of highly learned and pious parents, Shivaswami inherited at his very birth all the learning and piety and the religious fervor of his father, Sri Kunigal Rama Shastrigal, the famous Vidvan at the court of the Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodayar III of Mysore and the favored disciple of the renowned Tryambaka Shastrigal of the Court of the Peshwas of Poona. Even as an infant of two years, he lisped out the Stotras repeated by his father and danced with him in his Agnihotra house. Even then he used to smear himself with holy ashes and play with the children at worshipping the Gods. The child was the father of the man and even at a very early age he exhibited traces of all the characteristics that went in later years to make him the greatest of all mortals. At the age of eight he was invested with the sacred thread by his elder brother the well known Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha Shastrigal and soon after he was initiated into the Sanyasa Ashrama by the then Jagadguru of the Sringeri Mutt Sri Ugra Nrisimha Bharati Swamigal, and this was the signal for the exhibition of his greatness.
It is said that due to intense Upasana of Bhagavan Narasimha, the very form of the elder Swamigal seemed like that of Sri Nrisimha. He initiated Shivaswami into Sanyasa as per the orders of Sridevi who had appeared to him as a Suvasini, with the Yoga title Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati reiterating the Truth Shiva-Vishnu Abheda. On the very day he became a Sanyasin it was rather late in the evening when all the necessary rites were finished and when the Sringeri Jagadguru found this young boy of only eight years of age naturally tired, he asked him to retire and when our marvelous young Swami went to sleep he uttered in his sleep the following grand truth for the realization of which the most learned people yearn in vain viz.,`Sarvoham` thus giving out for the first time a glimpse of his universality. Since then, day-by-day, he became the cynosure of all eyes. His winning personality, his smiling countenance, his many-sided learning, his broad sympathy, his child-like simplicity, his charming innocence, his eager thirst for knowledge, his intense solicitude for the welfare of all, his devout piety, his religious zeal, his earnest belief in the Shastras, his rigorous penance, his innate purity, his easy accessibility, the nobility of his mind, the breadth of his views, the magnanimity of his temper, his universal kindness, his engaging conversation, his retentive memory, and last though not least his munificent generosity – all these attracted towards him every living soul that came in contact with him. None approached him in vain. None went back disappointed.
His learning was not only deep but also many sided. He could break a lance with any adversary in any of the Shastras. There was no branch of knowledge, which he did not know. He was Mantra Shastra personified. Mantras were at his finger’s ends. He knew Nadi Shastra, a Shastra quite unknown now a days perfectly well. He was equally learned in Vaidya Shastra. He knew very well the medicinal value of all kinds of herbs. In Tarka and Vedanta nobody could even understand the arguments put forth by him without much labor and thought. With all his learning he was perfectly simple in his expositions. The highest truths he would expound to the tyro in language easily understandable by him. The most knotty points he would unravel in a marvelously easy way to the intense admiration of his audience. The Shastras were his playground. He would revel in them as often and as much as he could. Besides the Shastras he was an adept in Kavya and dramas also. It may be fairly said without fear of contradiction that he had gone through every branch of Sanskrit Literature and retained most of it in his memory. It was a very favorite pastime with him to repeat what are known as Antadi Shlokas. More than half-a-dozen pundits may range together against him and still he would be a match to them all. He would repeat from memory Shlokas by thousands. All his opponents would exhaust all their stores but he would be inexhaustible. Ramayana was his favorite poem.
He would oftentimes read it and while reading it merge himself in its scenes and laugh or weep as occasion demanded. It was an exceedingly rare privilege and pleasure to hear him read those excellent scenes so excellently portrayed in the Ramayana. Most of the book he knew by heart and when he read them the hearer would feel as though transported to the actual scenes and would be carried away by emotions suited to the occasion. He was a very good poet as will be clear from the pages of the Bhakti Sudha Tarangini. But all his powers of composition were directed towards praising the gods and invoking their blessings on mankind. When he entered a shrine he would involuntarily begin to repeat Shlokas. He cared not for ornate flourishes in his poems. They were the outpourings of an exuberant soul. Genuine flow of Bhakti could be traced in each of his poems. He wrote not for name or fame. He would muse on the deity and would quite unexpectedly fall into the poetic vein and repeat Shlokas after Shlokas the force and pathos of which pierced through the hardest heart and brought tears even to eyes that never before wept under the influence of religion. Similarly while teaching his disciples any work of Shastra, he would all of a sudden begin to lecture lucidly and eloquently on the most abstruse points and on several of these occasions no notes were taken and thus `full many a gem of purest ray serene’ has been lost to the world.
He was intensely earnest in his Bhakti. He never considered himself as other than human. He would pray to God ardently that his human shortcomings might be rectified. His method of performing Pooja was a sight to see. None could hurry him in his Pooja. He may have some one hundred idols before him. Each idol must be separately worshipped. Each must have its allotted sandal, akshata, kumkuma and flower. Each must be praised. Each must be meditated upon. Of course Sri Chandramouleshwara and Sridevi occupied the foremost place in his mind. They stood apart and he was never satisfied with doing Pooja to them, but inwardly they never left his mind. He used to converse with them freely and even quarrel with them at times as though they were his playmates. He would never think of them as images but would feel their living presence. He would not give them any Naivedya (offering) either too hot or too cold. He would try his best to make them eat whatever he offered them. He would repeat Stotras with all the enthusiasm of a devotee and at times dance for joy. Above all his Bhakti towards his Guru was something beyond description. He would talk for days together about the greatness of his Guru. All his talk, all his deeds, in short everything of his, he would dedicate to his Guru. His Guru was ever a living presence to him. He would consult him on each and every occasion. Without his express permission he would never do anything. He would be never tired of worshipping his Guru. His Guru also was equally attached to him. He called our Swami as the aurasaputra – own son of Sri Sarada Parameshwari. He told him that he would enjoy all the blessings of his lifelong penance. Even after his departure he appeared to his disciple and told him that he was always near him. This intense guru Bhakti, this refusal to leave the Guru alone even after his departure from this world was a thing unknown in the annals of modern discipleship. Every day he would first worship his Guru’s sandals. His Guru Paduka Stotra will clearly indicate the qualities he attributed even to the sandals of his Guru. There need not be any doubt about the sincerity of his utterances. They need not be attributed to poetic exaggeration. He not only fully believed in what he said but he knew full well that they were all true.
His kindness knew no bounds. To one and all that approached him he was uniformly kind. Harshness was a thing unknown to him. Hatred was a word not to be found in his vocabulary. He was always kind. Even to his servants he was nothing but kind. Real anger was really foreign to him. Even feigned anger was but the passing mood of a moment. Kind words, kind deeds and kind thoughts he spread all around. Always with a smiling countenance full of benevolent intentions he would warmly welcome everyone that approached him, tenderly enquire after their welfare as though he were a member of their family and by words and deeds relieve their distress whatever that may be. He would never forget faces, but remember people once seen even after the expiry of thirty years. He would never rest content with having done a kindness to his bhakta. He would always be eager to do him more. He would shower blessings on him one after another in quick succession. He was ever ready not only to alleviate the physical and mental distress of his innumerable disciples but was equally prompt in teaching them the required mantras, in initiating them into the path of knowledge and Dhyana and in showing them the means to liberation. He knew instinctively what a person wanted and would teach him just the thing required. In short every one who approached him returned not only perfectly satisfied but also overwhelmed with his kindness. He was an extremely pleasant conversationist. His conversations were always full of sparkling wit and wisdom. He would always have the right word to say at the right moment. His arguments would be not only quite convincing but also splendid home thrusts. For instance, a certain person who had not much of faith in our Shastras but who was still attracted by the tremendous magnetic force of his Holiness approached him and asked him as follows: “What is the use of the Shraaddha ceremony? Is it not mere superstition? Is it not absurd to say that by offering some things here in a prescribed way, the forefathers are satisfied? The rice we offer is still in our presence and yet how could we say that our forefathers have partaken of it and are hence content? Can absurdity go further?” His Holiness smiled and replied, “Listen My dear. You are perfectly right in your doubt. If I show you a parallel example where by observing certain prescribed rules and forms, a person who is not in your presence is satisfied, will you accede that it is not so very absurd as it at first seems to you? Take for example the system of Telegraphic Money Orders. If you conform to those rules and forms and take the money to the Post Office, the money you paid lies on the table in your presence, the person to whom you intended it to benefit is actually benefited. While human agencies can thus satisfy the cravings of people at a distance is it impossible for divine agencies? Only you should do it as it is prescribed. In the instance of the Telegraphic Money Order also it is so. Unless you strictly follow the prescribed rules and forms no effect will be produced. Similarly your forefathers who had eyes of wisdom foresaw the methods by which they could be pleased after their departure from this world and prescribed the rites and rules accordingly. If you follow them you would certainly please them. Why do you doubt it?” The hearer was quite struck with the force of the argument and went away thoroughly changed in his mind. Thus, words and arguments came to him of their own accord at the requisite moment.
The poet Bhavabhuti’s saying “Rshiinaam punaraaryaanam vaachamarthonudhaavathi” was quite true in his case. His words never went empty. As he was full of anugraha he scattered his blessings far and wide. He was a great Yogi and a Siddha of a very high order. Nothing was impossible to him. The great Rajayogin Sri Sadashivendra Sarasvati (known popularly as Sadashiva Brahmendra, the great Avadhoota) was his ideal. But he more than realized his ideal. The only difference was, the one roamed freely wherever he willed whereas the other was bound down to a mighty Seat by the command of his Guru and accordingly had to restrain himself within his limitations. But numerous were the occasions when his yogic powers were much in evidence. In the midst of a very large concourse of people, amidst the din and noise of a huge crowd, when different kinds of musical instruments were at their loudest, when Brahmins loudly chanted the Upanishads, when the temple bells pealed with loud ringing noise, in the midst of so much hubbub and confusion he would restrain his breath, and go into a trance. Suddenly his form would become motionless, his eyes would be more than half closed and he would go into transcendent Samadhi for even hours together. None could rouse him up from that trance. Who could fathom the depth of that insensibility? Everything would have to wait until he returned of his own accord to the world.
Once while crossing the Tunga, his foot slipped from the sandal and he had a nasty cut right across his sole. The servant who accompanied him supporting his palm was likewise cut in his foot and when both reached the shore the servant could not walk even a single step and his Holiness observing this enquired of him the cause of it. But the servant noting the free flow of blood from the sole of his Holiness was much shocked and pointed it out to him. But he simply passed his hand over the sole and said that nothing was the matter with him and lo! The servant was surprised to find the sole quite hale without any sign of any cut. Then the servant was given some Prasadam and was advised to stay at home till his foot healed. His mastery of Yoga and Mantra Shastra deserves a special mention. Once when he was busy doing the Srichakra Pooja, a snake appeared in the room and the gathered crowd began to feel frightened. But H H assured them that it was Sridevi who had come to bless them and lo! The snake vanished into the form of Srichakra.
It was during his time that Srividya Upasana reached its zenith. A Siddha Purusha arrived from Andhra Desha as per the orders of H H and guided the eligible Brahmins of the Peetham in Srividya Upasana. Sri Swamigal also personally trained Sri Mahamahopadhyaya Virupaksha Shastrigal in Srividya and Mantra Shastra. It is said that Swamigal would explain Saundaryalahari’s first Shloka in more than a hundred ways! He could be present in several places simultaneously. Once while at Rameshwaram, he wanted a particular disciple who was away at Tiruchinapalli to go to him. On receipt of the wire the disciple ran in all haste to Rameshwaram which he reached at about 9 O’ clock in the night, but found that his Holiness was at Dhanushkoti. The disciple wanted to go to Dhanushkoti at once but no sort of conveyance could be had then. Neither a single cart nor a palanquin was available. As for boats they were not to be thought of, since the winds were unfavorable. While in this plight the disciple prayed to his guru to take him to Dhanushkoti and wonder of wonders! At about one O’clock three boatmen came to the disciple of their own accord, took him to a boat and hoisted the mast. The wind was quite favorable, the disciple saw his guru also accompanying him and chatting pleasantly the journey to Dhanushkoti was accomplished within one hour. On alighting there the disciple lost sight of his guru who had accompanied him all along and when he was ushered into his presence at the Mutt the guru smiled and the disciple wept for joy. The boat that took the disciple in the dead of night could not return but had to drift for a month on account of unfavorable wind.
On another occasion he wanted a particular disciple who was 250 miles away to go to him. He sent a mental message and the disciple who was then fully engrossed in his business heard all of a sudden the clarion call of his guru and he immediately started to his holy presence. When he reached, the first greeting of his guru was “Did you receive this message (touching his heart) that I sent you”. Instances like this could be multiplied but space forbids. Above all he was a true Sanyasin. Never for a moment did he swerve even one-thousandth of an inch from the rigorous path ordained for that most noble and most difficult of all Ashramas, the Sanyasa Ashrama. None had mastered its rules so well and none followed them so closely as he. In spite of his manifold duties as the head of the most influential Mutt, in spite of his innumerable disciples who did not allow him even a single moment’s leisure and in spite of the various calls on his attention he was most faithful to the duties of his Ashrama. His was true renunciation. In the midst of strife he knew the abiding Peace. He was right in the midst of the world but still quite beyond it. He was thoroughly unattached to anything worldly, though he appeared extremely attached to every one of his disciples. He was thoroughly selfless though he was always meditating on the Self. He was a triumphant example, a living realization of the complete conquest of all dvandvas or pairs of opposites. He did not care a straw for all the gold or all the fame that is in this Universe. He held the world but as a world, as a stage where every one had to play a part. He had thoroughly controlled his flesh. He was full of soul, full of the reality of religion, full of joy and full of blessed purity. In short, he was undoubtedly a very great Mahatma but without any mysteries or occultisms. Was he not God incarnate – a living and walking God on earth? Was he not then, in the language of the Sruti, beyond the reach of words? Then who at all can attempt a sketch of him? He was Infinity and infinite were his qualities. How can anyone adequately describe in words this vast storehouse of knowledge, this boundless ocean of Bhakti, this original fountainhead of mercy, this undefiled source of purity, this personal embodiment of all virtues and this perfect type of rigorous renunciation. Even the mind refuses to fathom the depth of the all-round greatness of this mighty personage. What need be said about the poverty of words? He was unique with none to approach him even as second. His spotless holiness, his deep piety, his unspeakable blessedness, his endless wisdom, his childlike peacefulness and his universal affection beggar all description. His was a life of resolute good, unalterable will and quenchless desire of Universal happiness. While it came to performing His duties, he was as meticulous as a modern-day technocrat-cum-manager. He paid attention to the minutest detail of the job on hand, whether it was the performing of a shodasopachara Pooja (worship with 16 different services to a series of murtis of the Hindu pantheon, or the offerings of Naivedya (eatables, including cooked items) to placate the gods, or any other religious or administrative matter that had to be seen through.
Once a certain Brahmin poet of a village in Kerala approached the Jagadguru with the prayer that his dumb boy should be cured. The Swamigal felt pity for the poor boy and asked the Brahmin to visit Him with the boy at the next camp. There He taught a certain mantra to the Brahmin and ordered him to magnetize a vessel of water with the intense repetition of the mantra every day for three months and sprinkle it on the boy and make him drink a spoonful with faith. This the Brahmin did; the boy’s dumbness gradually decreased; he began to speak a few words and in course of time got cured.
He had a truly simple living style. His needs were few and elementary, so he missed nothing. With such simple openness of manner He was easily the most accessible of all religious heads, even to the ordinary man on the street His unshakeable faith in the traditional values of Hinduism coexisted with a rather unusually forward-looking open-mindedness while dealing with people of different religious, geographic, linguistic or cultural persuasions. It was a tradition that during the Navaratra festivities a thousand sheep used to be offered to the Goddess attached to the palace of the Raja of Ramnad. The very idea of such a sacrificial offer was repugnant to Sri Narasimha Bharati Swamigal. Even as He was thinking over the matter, the Raja himself came to the Swamigal to consult Him about the propriety of such a reprehensible act. Instead of making an off-handed pronouncement on a matter established by tradition, the Swamigal said that His say in the matter would be made known the following day. The daylong prayer for divine guidance bore fruit in a dream that night. Herein He saw a woman attired in soiled clothing, holding a cup of drink in one hand and a broomstick in the other declaring, ” I leave this place”. Immediately after He saw a gracefully adorned Brahmin lady announcing “I have come to stay”. Having discerned the message of the dream, under the advice and benign guidance of the Mahaswamigal a new shrine outside the palace precincts was built, the Srichakra, the most efficacious of all yantras consecrated and the idol of the Goddess was shifted to this new shrine. The Raja arranged for the daily Pooja at this shrine in Vaidika style and for this purpose the Swamigal deputed two Brahmins of the Sringeri Sarada Peetham. A village yielding an annual revenue of Rs.12,000 was set apart for the maintenance of the Shrine.
Sri Swamigal had thousands of disciples. Some important disciples were Sri Bharati krisha Tirtha, the Shankaracharya of Govardhana Puri, Sri Vidyabhinava Valukeshwara Bharati Mahaswamigal, the Acharya of Kudali Shankara Mutt, Sri Sacchidanandendra Saraswati of Holenarasipur, Uppinabetageri Krishna Shastry, Kurtukoti Bhagavatar, K. Ramachandra Iyer, Siddhavalli Malai Sacchidananda Swamigal, Seshachala Swamigal, Tembe Maharaj, Brahmachaitanya Swamiji, Balagangadhar Tilak, Bapu Saheb (son of Jnansi Rani Lakshmi Bai) and others. For the Shanku Sthapana of a Kala Mandir in Benares Hindu University, as per the request of Sri Madana Mohana Malaviya, Mahaswamigal had sent his Sri Paduka. People all over the country held him as the very incarnation of Adi Shankara.
Mahaswamigal was instrumental in initiating Shankara Jayanti celebrations. He then visited Perambavur, five miles away from Kaladi. While he was staying there, a lady appeared in his dream and ndicated that she was living under an Ashoka tree. Immediately Swamigal realized that Aryamba, Adi Acharya’s mother, was indicating the place where her last rites were performed by Adi Shankara. A temple was also constructed in that place. He constructed a grand temple dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya and Saradambal in Kaladi, the birthplace of Adi Acharyal. Having accomplished deeds of no small magnitude, the Jagadguru resolved to nominate the devout celibate Sri Narasimha Shastry as successor-designate for the exalted Peetham. Accordingly He arranged for the Brahmachari to be brought to Sringeri from Bangalore. But even as this bidding of His was being fulfilled, the Jagadguru, while seated in meditation after His morning bath, appeared to have fallen into a trance. Though He declared this as a dip in the ocean of Atmic bliss, He had no relish for food the whole day and lay fasting. Next morning having had His bath as usual, He was seated in meditation till nine. Then came a violent fit of coughing; the Swamigal was still seated coughing, with His head bent down and at 11.30 AM His Soul merged into the Supreme Light, leaving behind the bright smile alone which, as ever before, was irradiating His face. It was Chaitra Shukla dwiteeya in the year Paritapi (March 1912). The divine light of Sri Swamigal is continuing to guide earnest seekers to this day. Many of my personal experiences bear testimony to this statement.
His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal, a world-renowned Jivanmukta, adorned the Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sarada Peetham as its 34th pontiff. Each and everyone who had the fortune of His Darshan unanimously agree as to His extreme detachment, mastery over senses, concern for the devotees and knowledge of the Shastras. Many came to Him with problems of various kinds and, on several occasions, He used to provide answers even before the problem was stated. His compassionate look was sufficient to transform a confirmed atheist to a sincere spiritual seeker. The morning of Sunday, October 16, 1892 witnessed the birth of a holy saint. He was a native of Sringeri itself and was born to Sri Gopala Shastry and his devoted wife Lakshmi Ammal. Sri Gopala Shastry was himself a very learned pundit and the only son of his father Sri Subba Shastry. The latter was a great scholar and the Asthana pundit of the Sringeri Mutt and was blessed and honored by His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, the then Jagadguru who was famous as much for His erudition as for His yogic powers. Gopala Shastry had 14 children but such was God’s will that only this boy, Narasimha by name, survived. The parents felt that they were being pursued by an inexplicable and relentless fate, which deprived them of their children and hoped that at least by separating the boy from themselves for sometime, he might escape the fate of his brothers and sisters. In response to this, Brahmasri Srikantha Shastry, the then agent of the Mutt, took the boy under his protection and treated him as one of his own household. The boy was admitted into the local Middle School where both Kannada and English were taught. He easily topped the list of students and endeared himself to his teachers. By a strange good fortune he was brought in his 12th year to the benign notice of His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal, the then Jagadguru, who at once discerned the aptitude of the boy and foresaw the future greatness that awaited him. He was asked to give up the secular school and join the Sadvidya Sanjeevani Pathasala attached to the Mutt. His Holiness took great interest in that Pathasala and visited it frequently and had genuine pleasure in seeing for himself the answer papers of several students of the Pathasala. He was very much impressed with the great clearness of thought and expression apparent in the answers of Narasimha and selected him for a special course in Tarka. In January 1907 His Holiness started on a tour throughout the Southern districts for consecrating a temple at Kaladi in North Travancore which was the birthplace of Sri Shankaracharya. Even while on tour He had arranged for the examination answer papers being sent to Him with the result that He was able to steadily watch the rapid progress that Narasimha was making in his studies. On His way back to Sringeri He founded the Shankara Mutt Pathasala at Bangalore for higher studies in Mimamsa and Vedanta. Realizing that a good grounding in Mimamsa was essential to a student of Vedanta, He asked Narasimha to join the Meemamsa section in the Bangalore Pathasala. That he had the special attention and blessing of His Holiness is quite apparent from the four verses, which His Holiness addressed to Sri Sarada. The refrain in all of the verses ran as follows: “Sarvajnam Srinrsimham kuru Sivadayite Sattvaram Madvinamram” (Bhaktisudhatarangini P. 445).
During this period, there were several indications to show that His Holiness had decided to choose Sri Narasimha as His successor to the Sringeri Sarada Peetham. Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal returned to Sringeri in 1911. Early in 1912 He felt that His life work was finished and that it was time for Him to free himself from His mortal coil. He instructed one of His intimate devotees Brahmasri Kunigal Rama Shastry to go to Bangalore and take Narasimha with him to Sringeri and also inform His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore about His intention to nominate Narasimha as His successor-designate to the Peetham. His Highness promised all help in the matter. The father of the boy also agreed, though very reluctantly, to accede to the wishes of His Holiness but the mother flatly declined to part with the only surviving one of her 14 children. Narasimha himself had to plead with his mother to obey His Holiness’ behest on the main ground that he himself had no intention at all of becoming a householder and that, if he was a Sanyasi staying as the Head of the Mutt at Sringeri, his mother might have the satisfaction of knowing about his welfare and of occasionally seeing him. These advantages could not be had if he was an ordinary Sanyasi going about from place to place. The mother thereupon had to agree and Brahmasri Rama Shastry started with Narasimha for Sringeri. But just the day previous to their reaching Sringeri, namely, on March 20, 1912, His Holiness had attained freedom from all embodiments. After the ceremonies were all over, Narasimha Shastry was duly given Sanyasa on April 7, 1912 and installed on the Sringeri Peetha the next day under the name of Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamigal. His Holiness, the new Acharya, conscious as He was of the fact that He had in abundance the gracious blessings of His guru, was nevertheless sorely grieved at not having had the opportunity of being trained and guided by the latter. His ambition was to follow rigidly the footsteps of the previous Acharya and justify the latter’s selection of Himself as His successor. In the course of about three years He completed His studies in the Vedanta under the able guidance of Mahamahopadhyaya Vidyanidhi Brahmasri Virupaksha Shastrigal, a veteran scholar who later on became the Head of the Kudli Mutt assuming the title Sri Vidyabhinava Valukeshwara Bharati Mahasannidhanam. The latter used to say that the deep knowledge and learning of the Acharya was out of all proportion to his own teaching and could be accounted for only as due to divine grace.
His Holiness felt that the renovation of Sri Sarada Temple which had been started by His Guru must be completed as early as possible and that a temple should be erected over the Samadhi of His Guru. These constructions took more than three years and it was only in the middle of 1916 that the work was complete and the Kumbhabhishekams of both the temples were duly performed. Splendor and pomp characterized the festivities especially as His Highness Sir Krishnaraja Wodayar, the Maharaja of Mysore, was there in person as also representatives of His Highness, the Gaikwar of Baroda, and representatives from other States. But the chief attraction of the great and the small, the learned and the laity, the young and the old, was the simple and enchanting personality of His Holiness the young Swamiji Himself. He radiated about Him an atmosphere of peace and joy. This did not clash with the pomp and splendor, the noise and bustle that was present due to the presence of dignitaries and a large congregation of people from all parts of the country. After the consecration was over, His Holiness steadily set His mind on the practical realization of the truths learned by Him through His exhaustive studies and, though He continued to expound the scriptures and the commentaries to deserving students, He spent more time in contemplation and Tapas. He felt that He must seek the grace of Sri Sarada and His Guru intensely and qualify Himself to the utmost for the seat of spiritual eminence, which He had been called upon to occupy. His intensive devotion to His Guru and the steady perseverance, which characterized His efforts, led Him in course of a few years to such an exalted state of erudition and self-realization as could not ordinarily be reached in several lives of genuine effort. He stands unrivalled in learning and stands equally unrivalled in the realization of the goal of the Vedanta. His predilection for contemplation naturally marked Him out from other people who could possibly have no conception of the supernormal experiences had by Him. It may be mentioned in parenthesis that His Parents were justly proud of their son and had the supreme satisfaction of seeing for themselves the spiritual eminence which He had attained. In or about 1923, His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore requested His Holiness to go over to Mysore and confer blessings on himself and the other members of the royal family. In deference to that request His Holiness left Sringeri on the January 18, 1924 and proceeded to Mysore. Arrangements had been made for acquiring for the Mutt, the house in the old Agrahara at Mysore in which the previous Acharya was born and also some extensive adjoining it. Thanks to the kindness of His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore and the good services of Brahmasri Kunigal Rama Shastry and Srikantha Shastry, it was possible to raise thereon a magnificent stone structure containing a shrine for a beautiful marble image of His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal. His Holiness had the supreme pleasure of consecrating this new shrine at Mysore in holy memory of His Guru. In accordance with His instructions, Vedanta classes were being held there daily. The earnest representatives of the disciples in the southern districts made His Holiness agree to extend His tour as far south as Kanyakumari.
After a magnificent reception in Mysore, His Holiness descended the Mysore Plateau by the Sathyamangalam ghat. He was well versed in Telugu, His mother tongue, Kannada, the language of the land of His birth and Tamil, from contact with the Tamilian disciples who visited Sringeri in huge numbers. The visit to Sathyamangalam was really His first contact with the Tamil districts. While there, He was requested to give some words of advice to His disciples and to the great surprise of all including those most intimate with Him, He began to give discourses in such chaste and fluent Tamil as would evoke the admiration of any born Tamilian. Since then throughout the Tamil districts, His discourses were all in Tamil except in special gatherings of pundits, which He addressed in His own characteristic style of very simple and expressive Sanskrit so natural to Him. His admonitions and advices, coming as they did from a sincere heart longing for the welfare of the world, had their own inimitable effect in converting many a skeptic and in strengthening the faith of many a believer. After visiting Rameshwaram, His Holiness toured throughout the Madura and Tirunelveli Districts, had a fitting reception at Tiruvananthapuram and then proceeded to Kalady, the birthplace of Sri Adi Shankara. His Holiness Sri Sacchidananda Siva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal had after great difficulty and with the hearty help of the then Maharaja of Travancore acquired an extensive site there and built there a temple for Sri Adi Shankara and another for Sri Saradambal in 1912. His Holiness felt that this place must be improved further so as to become a center for learning. He accordingly directed the formation of an Agrahara (street) there for the residence of the temple employees and others and also the building of a Veda Pathasala for the education of young Brahmin boys who desired to learn the Vedas. In 1927 when He personally visited the place, He inaugurated a Vedanta Pathasala also for advanced students in Vedanta. The students were given a house to live in and also a decent stipend to cover their expenses.
From Kaladi His Holiness returned via Palghat and Coimbatore to Nanjangud in the Mysore State. There He founded another Pathasala and proceeded to Mysore. His Holiness returned to Sringeri towards the end of 1927. He was greeted with a magnificent and devoted reception. He showered divine blessings on all those who came in contact with Him. Four years of busy touring was followed by a long period of practical seclusion from the outside world. The Acharya gave Himself up to intense Tapasya oblivious to His surroundings. But the affairs of the matham required attention. Under inspiration from Sri Sarada, the Acharya designated Sri Srinivasa Shastry, as His successor. He was a youth of remarkable intelligence and potential for spiritual eminence. The Acharya gave Him Sanyasa on May 22, 1931 with the name of Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha. The Junior Swami soon became highly proficient in learning and took over the spiritual and secular affairs of the matham, giving considerable relief to the senior Acharya. Seldom did the Acharya receive disciples while in retirement. On the few occasions that He did, for which hundreds would be waiting, a smile or a significant nod proved more efficacious and illuminating than a sermon. It would fill their souls with blessedness. By dint of introspection and Tapasya, His consciousness appeared sublimated into an all-radiating spirit. In 1938, the Acharya yielded to the prayers of the disciples to visit Bangalore and stay there for a few months. Facing the shrine of Shankara another shrine had been built for Sri Saradambal in Shankara Matham. The Acharya consecrated this temple. From Bangalore He went to Coimbatore and then to Kaladi. The Acharya returned to Sringeri in 1940 and again went into retirement in the Narasimha Vana. Though He was not accessible, thousands who prayed for His blessings in their troubles got relief. Many others were blessed even without any conscious attempt on their part to solicit His grace. His Holiness seldom came out of His seclusion and on the few occasions He did, He used to perform Sri Sarada Chandramouli Pooja meticulously. He fully demonstrated in His life the qualities of a Sthita Prajna as enunciated by Sri Krishna in the Gita. Although externally engaged in worldly actions, His Holiness, whenever He returned to bahirmukha (the state of normal activity), Had no attachment to any object whatsoever. His conduct did not annoy anybody. He behaved like an ideal friend of all. Enjoying the Supreme Bliss, He moved sometimes like an ignorant one, sometimes with royal magnificence, sometimes full of auspiciousness, sometimes unmoving like a python, sometimes evoking respect, sometimes getting derided and sometimes unknown to anybody.
When numerous disciples approached the Acharya for permission to celebrate the 60th anniversary of His birth that fell in October 1952, He sternly discouraged the idea. When it was suggested that the funds collected would be spent in performing Atirudra and Sahasra Chandi homas He approved. The homas were conducted in April 1953. A large concourse of people from distant places gathered to witness this unique function and to get the blessings of the Acharya. The Acharya came out of His retirement for a few weeks after the homas had concluded, resumed His normal routine and received disciples. On August 24, 1954, President Rajendra Prasad paid a visit to Sringeri and was received by both the Senior and Junior Swamis with whom he spent some hours in intimate and soulful conversation. The Rashtrapati’s innate humility, piety, godliness, and respect for saints much pleased the two Gurus, who showered their blessings on him. His Holiness had enormous compassion for the struggling souls. None went away from Him empty handed. His faith in the limitless power and mercy of God was such that if He gave Vibhuti (holy ashes) or Kumkuma (saffron), it acted as an immediate panacea for all human ills. He played as a child in the company of children, as a youth among the young and acted as an old man in the company of the aged ones sharing their joy and sorrow. Many have been the incalculable benefits derived by those who had the good fortune to come in contact with Him. Not only He showed Himself head and shoulders above all scholars in the several branches of learning and commanded their admiration and reverence but He made even the humblest of men realize that they had a sincere friend and guide in His Holiness. His love was quite catholic and universal. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the laity, the Hindu and the Christian, the Mohammedan and the skeptic, all received the same kind treatment from Him and all of them returned home the wiser and the better for the few minutes of contact which they were fortunate enough to have with Him.
The commentary written by His Holiness in Sanskrit on Bhagavatpada’s Vivekachudamani is a monumental work. It is an epitome of His Holiness’ erudition, experience, and deep knowledge of Advaita Vedanta. Paying a glowing tribute to His Holiness who was His Guru, Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamigal said, “My Acharya was an eminent Tapasvin, a scrupulous observer of Sastric injunctions, a knower of the Atman and a rare Jivanmukta”. Having seen Him, having heard about Him, having met Him and having remembered Him, all creatures feel delighted. The very remembrance of Him will bring all round prosperity and blessedness, for it is said: “The knower of Brahman verily becomes Brahman.” That is why to such a seer even the Devas offer their worship. One lesser-known aspect of Sri Swamigal is his Srividya Upasana, in which he had attained great heights. Though he was not really regular in external Pooja owing to his natural state of Samadhi, the internal Srichakra Pooja went on without a second’s break. Sri Swamigal was a Srividya Upasaka even from his Purvashrama. This great Jivanmukta (liberated while living) was mistaken for a mad man by the ignorant. He danced and cried in divine bliss. He worshipped himself, ate the Naivedya and declared `Sarvoham’.
He was verily of the form of Sri Rajarajeshwari and Sri Chandramouleshwara. A mere repetition of the Divine Mothers name would be enough to send him trance. One Subba Narasimha Bhatta was appointed to do Pooja in the shrine of Adi Shankara in the Mutt complex at Sringeri. Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Who came to that shrine looked at the new archaka, then turned to Narahari Bhatta who was accompanying His Holiness and asked him to initiate the archaka into Sri Dakshinamurti mantra before he was allowed to perform Pooja to Sri Shankara. Only then did the others become aware of the fact that Subba Narasimha Bhatta did not have that Mantropadesha, which was necessary for one to do Pooja to Sri Shankara. The Jagadguru thus rectified the mistake committed by the Mutt officials in His own benevolent way. His Holiness was extremely patient and compassionate in His dealings with disciples and never declined to help an earnest devotee if His help was sought, in ever so insignificant or absurd a manner. The following incidents indicate this. A gentleman had a daughter who had been given in marriage. In spite of being twenty years old, she had not yet attained puberty. Her in-laws despaired of the girl coming to their home and decided to get the boy another wife. The girl’s father was very poor and had more daughters to marry and was naturally upset. Unable to do anything else, he met His Holiness and expressed his helplessness. His Holiness listened to him patiently and took a small quantity of butter, sanctified it by some mantra and gave it to the father with instructions to give it to the girl that night. His instructions were duly followed and early next morning the girl attained puberty.
Mahaswamigal attained Siddhi in 1954 by taking Yoga Samadhi in river Tunga. Years after the passing of this great sage, every grain of sand in Sringeri still speaks of the Acharya’s presence there. His wisdom and Chaitanya continue to guide us.
The chief deities of Sringeri Sarada Peetham are Sri Sarada and Sri Vidya Shankara. Both the deities have separate temples. Other than these, Sri Chandramouleshwara Linga, Sri Nrisimha Salagrama and Sri Ratnagarbha Ganapathi are worshipped by the Acharyas of the Peetham. On the northen banks of river Tunga in Sringeri, Acharya constructed a Srichakra on a stone and established a sandalwood idol of Saradambal. This original idol may be still seen in the Vidya Shankara temple of Sringeri. Acharya, who was the knower of all tantras and agamas, prescribed Srividya Upasana as the most suitable means of attaining Nirguna Brahma Vidya. Though initially Shakta Tantra in India was in its pristine pure form, it later got corrupted due to foreign invasion. Pancha Makaras became a reason for people to indulge in sensory pleasures. The Varna and Ashrama rules were forgotten in the name of Kaula. People began to indulge in Kaula Sadhana without considering if they were qualified for the path. Acharya rejected the Vama Marga, which was unsuitable for most and prescribed Dakshinachara as the means to realize Brahman. He initiated his disciples into Srividya and Srichakra Upasana. He established Srichakra in Mookambika Sannidhi in Kodachadri, in Sringeri and Kanchipuram. In Sringeri, he established Sarada on Srichakra as the very form of Brahma Vidya. India has been the center of Shakti worship from time immemorial. The Srichakra represents the four Shakti Pithas: Oddyana Peetha in the Swat valley, Purna Giri Peetha in Badari, Jaalandhara Peetha in Punjab and Kamarupa Peetha in Assam.
Shakta Acharas have been very popular in Kashmir, Kerala and Kamakhya in Assam. Samayachara was advocated by Kashmirachara, Dakshinachara by Keralachara and Vamachara by Kamarupachara. Srimadacharya devised a method of Upasana which involved Keralachara in the initial stages, leading gradually towards Kashmirachara. The Purva Kaulas use the five Makaras in a symbolic way. They use tender coconut for wine, Lehya etc. for fish, Tila for meat, a garland of flowers for copulation etc. the five Makaras actually represent the five Tatvas and the Sadhana of Panchamakaras is basically prescribed for Tatva Shuddhi. If one practically observes, most people claiming to practice Kaulachara hardly are even aware of the significance of Tatva Shuddhi. Thus, the literal or symbolic Sadhana of Panchamakaras is the lowest way to achieve Tatva Shuddhi. It can be achieved faster and more effectively by other secret practices of Yoga, which do not cross the Vedic boundary.
The Sharada temple built during Adi Acharya was a small stone construction. It was later renovated once by the Vijayanagara emperors and once again by the rulers of Keladi. Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrisimha Bharati Mahaswamigal initiated the third reconstruction of the temple. A grand temple was built during the rule of Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal. And the Kumbhabhishekam took place in 1916. During the time of Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Swamigal, a beautiful Gopuram was constructed. Sri Bharati Tirtha Swamigal, the present Shankaracharya of Sringeri, has dedicated a golden chariot and golden doors to Saradambal’s temple.
Sarada temple has been constructed on the lines of Dravida style of architecture. The temple has the main entrance in the east, two entrances in the south and one to the north. One finds platforms on either side while entering the temple from the eastern entrance. In the Navaranga Mantapa outside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, there are four pillars on either side. Beautiful sculptures of eight-handed Durga or Chamunda, Rajarajeshwari and other deities adorn these pillars. The sanctum sanctorum of Sri Sarada Parameshwari has splendid idols of Dwarapalikas on either side. Outside the sanctum sanctorum, there are platforms all round. The southern platform has a silver Mantapa, which houses the idol of Sri Bhuvaneshwari. This Mantapa is called Vyakhyana Peetham and there is a Srichakra installed on it. The younger Acharya of the Peetham, seated on this Peetham, receives Diksha from the senior Acharya. The coronation of the new Acharya of the Peetham is also performed on this Vyakhyana Simhasana Peetham. The platform in the southwestern corner of the temple has the Sannidhi of Sri Shakti Ganesha. In the southeastern corner, one may see the silver chariot of Sri Saradambal. The new golden chariot of Saradambal may be seen in the northeastern corner of the temple. Outside the temple, there is a single-stone pillar, which is over thirty feet in height. It may be recalled that Sri Bhaskararaya, the celebrated Shakta of South India, had visited Sringeri and had the Darshan of Sri Sarada Parameshwari and Sri guru. The then Guru, Sri Purushottama Bharati Mahaswamigal had gifted him with a gem-studded white umbrella and had named him as the agent of Sringeri Mutt in the country. This incident of Bhaskaracharya’s visit to Sringeri is well documented in the great Shakta’s biography.
The other main deity of Sringeri is the Sri Chandramouleshwara Linga. This is worshipped in the Mutt thrice every day. This crystal Linga is worshipped with Abhisheka, Naivedya and Archana, by a priest in the morning and by the Swamigal in the evening and night. People are allowed to witness this auspicious Pooja in the mornings and evenings. Similar Lingas may also be found in the other four Amnaya Shankara Mutts. It is believed that Adi Shankara worshipped these Lingas himself and later handed them over to his four main disciples, who became the heads of the Amnaya mutts. Shiva Rahasya describes that Lord Parameshwara gave the Lingas to Acharya when he astrally traveled to mount Kailasa. This incident occurred when Acharya was in Varanasi. Some people believe that Acharya established the fifth Linga in Chidambaram.
Virashaivas or Lingayats have time and again propagated that one Revana Siddha or Renukacharya, a Lingayat guru, gave the Chandramouleshwara Linga (present now in Sringeri) to Adi Shankaracharya. But an examination of historical facts reveals that Renukacharya existed in the 12^th century. The Acharya however, incarnated in the sixth century. So it is logically quite impossible that Renukacharya traveled ahead in time to give the Linga to give the Linga to Acharya, who existed centuries before him! Also, all that is claimed by the Lingayat mutts is that Renukacharya gave one Linga to Acharya. Then where did the other three Lingas in the other Amnaya mutts come from? Also, it is not quite possible that Renukacharya, a Shaiva, gave a Linga to Acharya, who was not a Lingadhari. Acharya himself disproves the authenticity of Pashupata and other Shaiva doctrines in his Bhashya. So it is also quite impossible that he accepted a Linga from a Virashaiva, who was a Pashupata. Unlike what is propagated by many Lingayats, no Shaiva mode Pooja is performed to Lord Chandramouleshwara in Sringeri. The Pooja performed is completely based on the Vedic lines. Also, it must not be forgotten that Srichakra and Nrisimha Salagrama are also worshipped along with the Linga. Salagrama is placed with the Linga even during Abhisheka and other rituals. Thus, it is totally foolish to establish any kind of relationship with Sringeri, Adi Shankara, Chandramouleshwara Linga and the Lingayat saints. Well! Lord Nrisimha’s presence would not allow that!
The Linga of Sri Chandramouleshwara is always present with the Swamigal. Even during his Sanchara, the Linga is carried along. There is a special feature in this Linga, not seen in ordinary quartz Lingas. There is a bright lunar digit in the upper part of the Linga, formed naturally. Chandra represents knowledge and joy. The Linga is the symbol of the formless supreme. The quartz Linga has no color. It reflects the color of the object placed close to it. Thus, it is verily the symbol of Parabrahman, grasped by great men as the essence of the liberating knowledge and limitless joy. The Peetha, Somasutra and the Linga, which constitute the three parts of the Linga, represent respectively Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Thus, it becomes clear that the Brahman, though formless and without attributes, assumes the form of the trinity to shower his grace on the devotees.
The Nrisimha Salagrama worshipped in Sringeri is also said to be one of its kind. The lion-face of the Lord signifies the Brahman and the human-body symbolizes Jivatman. Thus, Upasana of Nrisimha is aimed at realizing the unity of the Jiva and the Brahman. Sri Nrisimha is the Sankarshana Murti of Paramatman, who represents involution of the cosmos in the self. There is no difference between Nrisimha and Parameshwara. It is described that the form of Nrisimha, composed of the trinity like the trinity, has a dominance of Shiva Tatva. He is of a golden white complexion, like Shiva who is adorned with pure white Bhasma. He also is three-eyed like Shiva. Nrisimha controls time, which is represented by the Chakra, held in his hands. Ananta, who represents the infinite energy of Paramatman, is both the Asana and Chatra (seat and umbrella) to the Lord. The Acharyas of Sringeri are great Upasakas of Srividya, Sri Dakshinamurthy and Sri Nrisimha.
Sri Vidya Shankara temple is unique because of its architectural brilliance and sanctity. Its design is said to resemble the Bascillica of Rome. It is completely resembles the Meru form of Srichakra. The temple is constructed as per both Hoysala and Dravida styles of architecture. There is a splendid platform around the temple with six steps. The main entrance is towards the east. The sanctum sanctorum houses the Linga of Sri Vidya Shankara. The other deities in the temple are Sri Vidya Ganesha and Sri Mahishamardini. Vani -Brahma, Lakshmi -Narayana and Uma -Maheshwara are also present in the temple. The temple has six entrances representing the six amnayas. These entrances have Shiva, Shakta, and Vaishnava Dwarapalas, corresponding to the six respective amnayas. There is also an idol of Sri Kala Bhairava near the Sannidhanam of Sri Durga. The Vidya Shankara temple is located on top of the cave in which Sri Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamigal remains eternally immersed in Lambika Yoga Samadhi. He guides Sadhakas and Mumukshus even today. Many Sadhakas have experienced his grace over the ages. The Acharyas of Sringeri and its branch mutts offer special Pooja to Sri Vidya Shankara during Chaturmasya. All official activities of Sringeri are carried out in the name of Sri Vidya Shankara.
Sri Chaturmurtishwara temple is located in Simhagiri near Sringeri. The idol in this temple represents Lord Dattatreya and is a proof to the fact that Sringeri is the original seat of even Dattatreya guru Parampara. Simhagiri is also known as the old Sringeri. Before the construction of the present Agrahara on the northern banks of river Tunga during the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14^th century, Simhagiri was the place, which was the residence of the Acharyas of the Peetham. Sri Vidya Tirtha Swamigal, the guru of Sri Vidyaranya is said to have installed the idol of Lord Chaturmurtishwara. This idol made of Salagrama stone, is in the form of a pillar.
Sri Malahanikeshwara temple, also known as Sri Mallikarjuna temple is located on a hill in Sringeri. This is the place where sage Vibhandaka had performed severe penance. A Shiva Linga was established on his Samadhi and a temple was built around the same. This temple did not have any shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Sri Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal of Sringeri wrote a figure of Heramba Ganesha on a pillar in the temple with turmeric and the form of Ganesha emerged out of the pillar. This Ganesha, known as Stambha Heramba, may be seen in Malahanikeshwara temple. Sri Sacchidananda Bharati (second) started the Magha and Kritika Utsavas in this temple. Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha Swamigal renovated the temples of Sri Malahanikeshwara and Goddess Bhavani in 1983 and performed the Kumbhabhishekam. The temple houses the idols of Chandra, Narasimha, Virabhadra, Anjaneya, Kaliyamardana Krishna, Durga, Ramachandra, Shanmukha and Venugopala. Shrines dedicated to Subrahmanya and Bindu Madhava are also located in the temple premises.
Kigga is a place located five miles from Sringeri. This is the place where Sri Rishyashringa Maharshi performed austerities and attained Siddhi. Temples of Rishyashringeshwara and Shanta Devi are located in this place. The temple also houses idols of Mahishamardini and Ganesha.
Sri Janardana temple is located to the left of Vidya Shankara temple. Sri Jnanaghanacharya established this temple in 900 A.D. On either of this temple, beautiful idols of Garuda and Anjaneya may be seen. This shrine also houses an ancient Sudarshana Chakra. There is a shrine dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya nearby. A shrine dedicated to Sri Sureshwaracharya is located to the right of Sarada temple. It has an ancient Shiva Linga and a marble statue of Sureshwara. There is a shrine dedicated to Sri Bala Subrahmanya near the bathing Ghat of Tunga. Sri Vidya Tirtha Mahaswamigal has installed this idol of Subrahmanya. To the west of Vidya Shankara temple, the Adhishthanas of some of the previous Acharyas of the Peetham are located. Sringeri has four guardian deities namely Durga, Anjaneya, Kali and Kala Bhairava respectively in the south, west, north and eastern directions.
The Acharyas of Sringeri worship Sri Chandramouleshwara Linga, Sri Nrisimha Salagrama, Srichakra and the idols of Sri Sarada and Sri Ratnagarbha Ganesha. Poojas are performed in all the four quarters of the night during Shiva Ratri, Narasimha Jayanti, Vamana Jayanti and Krishna Janmashtami. Navavarana Pooja is specially performed during the two Navaratras. The Chaturmasya Diksha starts with the Pooja of Brahmavidya Acharya on Ashada Pournami. None of these practices are seen in Revana Siddha Sampradaaya. During Chaturmasya Diksha, Pooja is offered to Sri Vedavyasa and his disciples Paila, Vaishampayana, Jaimini and Sumanta. Also, Pooja is offered to Sri Krishna Panchaka, which includes Sri Krishna, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatsujata, Sanatana and Sanatkumara. Pooja is also offered to Shankaracharya Panchaka, which includes Adi Shankara and his four chief disciples. The others worshipped include Dravida Panchaka (Dravidacharya, Gaudapaadaachaarya, Govinda Bhagavatpada, Sarvajnatma Muni and Sri Chitsukhacharya), Guru Panchaka (one’s Guru, Paramaguru, Parameshthi Guru, Parapara Guru and Paratpara guru). Scholars recite Taittariyopanishat and Mahanarayanopanishat during the Pooja.
The Hakenkreuz is a symbol used by the Nazi Party in Germany, and later by the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler chose it as the symbol of the German Workers Party after he joined. Before Hitler, members had already worn swastika armbands. Hitler was responsible for its red, white and black coloring.
Most English-speakers call it the swastika, even though there’s no relation with the Hindu Swastika.[source?] The German name comes from the way the arms of the cross (German: kreuz) were crooked, or at an angle (German: haken).
The Hakenkreuz was usually shown at an angle and forward facing. The design creates a dynamic image inside a static box. It was sometimes shown squared, especially earlier.
The Hakenkreuz is at an angle. This design was used as the symbol for National Socialism.
So, its clear that the creation of such symbol by Nazis was to show the the Bright Sun of the 21st century, i.e India & its belief in bad light. Now, let us see Why ? (italics because it related to ROme) of this answer.
At some point in time, the Vatican always wanted to be the seat of power. But, the movements like Renaissance and French independence struggle of 1914, Russian revolution of 1917 broke its back. So, a grand plan was made with the help of European loyalists of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican (often shortened to ‘the Vatican’). The plan was to take the world by storm. By any means, by Hook or Crook. So, they devised a plan which is What Kali (the melechh on whom this yuga is named) would do.
“Hitler, attempting to appeal to the German masses during his political campaign and leadership, sometimes made declarations in support of religion and against atheism. He stated in a speech that atheism (a concept he linked with Communism and “Jewish materialism”) had been “stamped out”, and banned the German Freethinkers League in 1933. Hitler was born to a practising Catholic mother, and was baptised in the Roman Catholic Church (as a teenager, he stated that he did not wish to be confirmed into the church, but eventually acquiesced to his mother’s wishes and was confirmed). In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches prior to and in the early years of his rule, he affirmed a belief in Christianity.”
The plan was play brother against brother. Let me explain, In the few years just before Anna Domino (A.D), Aryans on the other side of Indus migrated to different parts of: central Asia (say, the Caccus), Iran, Iraq, Russia, Israel, Coastal France and Eastern Europe. Now, this is even before the Gypsy migration (Gypsys were Indians who migrated to Europe). Among them were sages like Bharadwaja and Vishwamitra. Hence, Eastern Europeans are ARYANS, so are other Indian migrants.
Coming back to Nazis, the Vaticans well aware of these facts laid plans that were to make Aryans fight among themselves. Hence, made Russians fight Germans. There is a devilish beauty to this plan that whichever party wins. The Vatican WILL win. But, Thanks to the Jewish Home-land rebellion which thwarted such plans. The Vatican knew thia ability of Jews. Hence, they decided to first annihilate Jews. The end of WW-2 saw Jewish independence & freedom from colonialism which again attribute to Ben Gurian & Co. (Why & How is no secret for the learned). But, there were Vatican moles all around (like today) who still divided 2 great traditions based on false grounds of religion. One was India and other was Israel. However, there were also other Arabic tribes who wanted independence. But, they were not granted the same. Instead they were inspired for Jihad by the Vatican moles in the British and French government. It meant more violence to the world.
Here we shall not blame the The Holy Bible or Islam in the original form in which it was conceived. But, Wahabis and certain Bhishops in the Vatican who perpetrate and are still perpetrating devilish changes in the society. Some times by destabilizing governments, pitting societies against one another. Proving World hegemony through corporate. Feeding wrong things in the name of education. Promoting false practices.
After All, This is How the notorious Melech-Kali establishes himself.
The swastika (as a character 卐 or 卍) is an ancient religious icon used in the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and Southeast Asia, where it has been and remains a sacred symbol of spiritual principles in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. In the Western world, it was historically a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck, but in the 1930s, it became the main feature of Nazi symbolism as an emblem of Aryan race identity, and as a result, it has become stigmatized in the West by association with ideas of racism, hate, and mass murder.
The swastika is an icon widely found in human history and the modern world. It is alternatively known in various European languages as the Hakenkreuz, gammadion cross, cross cramponnée, croix gammée, fylfot, or tetraskelion, and in Japan as the Manji. A swastika generally takes the form of a rotationally symmetrical arrangement (a cross) with four equally spaced legs of identical length each bent at 90 degrees in a uniform direction to create a pattern akin to a four-armed spiral. It is found in the archeological remains of the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia, as well as in early Byzantine and Christian artwork.
The name swastika comes from Sanskrit (Devanagari: स्वस्तिक), and denotes a “conducive to well being or auspicious”. In Hinduism, the clockwise symbol is called swastika symbolizing surya (sun) and prosperity, while the counterclockwise symbol is called sauvastika symbolizing night or tantric aspects of Kali. In Jainism, a swastika is the symbol for Suparshvanatha – the 7th of 24 Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers and saviours), while in Buddhism it symbolizes the auspicious footprints of the Buddha.
The swastika was adopted by several organizations in pre–World War I Europe and later, and most notably, by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany prior to World War II. It was used by the Nazi Party to symbolize German nationalistic pride. To Jews and the enemies of Nazi Germany, it became a symbol of antisemitism and terror. In many Western countries, the swastika is viewed as a symbol of racial supremacy and intimidation because of its association with Nazism. The reverence for the swastika symbol, in some cultures in contrast to the stigma in others, has led to misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and mutual accusations.
Etymology and nomenclature
The word swastika has been in use in English since the 1870s, replacing gammadion (from Greek γαμμάδιον). It is alternatively spelled in contemporary texts as svastika, while in the 19th- and early 20th-century, alternate spellings such as suastika were occasionally used. It was derived from the Sanskrit term (Devanagari: स्वस्तिक), which is transliterated svastika under the commonly used IAST transliteration system, but is pronounced closer to “swastika” when letters are used with their English values. The first attested use of the word swastika in a European text is found in 1871 with the publications of Heinrich Schliemann, who while crudely digging the Hisarlik mound near the Aegean Sea coast, for the lost history of Troy (Trojan war), discovered over 1,800 ancient samples of the swastika symbol and its variants. Schliemann linked his findings to the Sanskrit swastika.
The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit root swasti which is composed of su, meaning “good, well”, and asti meaning “it is, there is”. The word swasti occurs frequently in the Vedas, and it means “well, good, auspicious, luck, success, prosperity”. Swastika is a derived word and connotes a form of welcome or a sign of something “associated with well-being”. According to Monier-Williams, a majority of scholars consider it a solar symbol, and in the ancient Indian texts the base swasti is equivalent to “may it be well with thee! hail! health! adieu! so be it!”. The sign implies something fortunate, lucky or auspicious, and when applied to entrances, doors, mandalas or object it denotes or reminds of auspiciousness or well-being.
The earliest known textual use of the word swastika is in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, where it is used to explain one of the Sanskrit grammar rules, in the context of a type of identifying mark on cow’s ear. Most scholarship suggests Panini lived in or before mid 4th-century BCE (floruit), possibly in 6th or 5th century BCE.
Other names for the symbol include:
- hooked cross (German: Hakenkreuz), angled cross (Winkelkreuz) or crooked cross (Krummkreuz).
- cross cramponned, cramponnée, or cramponny, in heraldry, as each arm resembles a Crampon or angle-iron (German: Winkelmaßkreuz).
- fylfot, chiefly in heraldry and architecture.
- gammadion, tetragammadion (Greek: τετραγαμμάδιον), or cross gammadion (Latin: crux gammata; French: croix gammée), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ (gamma).
- tetraskelion (Greek: τετρασκέλιον), literally meaning “four-legged”, especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare triskelion [Greek: τρισκέλιον]).
- whirling logs (Navajo, native american): can denote abundance, prosperity, healing, and luck.
Although all swastikas are bent crosses based on a chiral symmetry, they appear with different geometric details: as compact crosses with short legs, as crosses with large arms and as motifs in a pattern of unbroken lines. One distinct representation of a swastika, as a double swastika or swastika made of squares, appears in a Nepalese silver mohar coin of 1685, kingdom of Patan (NS 805) KM# 337 
- left-facing (卍) and right-facing (卐);
- left-hand (卍) and right-hand (卐).
The left-facing version is distinguished in some traditions and languages as a distinct symbol from the right-facing “swastika”, and is more correctly called the “sauwastika“.
The compact swastika can be seen as a chiral irregular icosagon (20-sided polygon) with fourfold (90°) rotational symmetry. Such a swastika proportioned on a 5 × 5 square grid and with the broken portions of its legs shortened by one unit can tile the plane by translation alone. The Nazi Hakenkreuz used a 5 × 5 diagonal grid, but with the legs unshortened.
Broken sun cross
The sauwastika were adopted as a standard character in Sanskrit. “卍” (pinyin: wàn) and as such entered various other East Asian languages, including Chinese script. In Japanese the symbol is called “卍” (Hepburn: manji) or “卍字” (manji).
The sauwastika is included in the Unicode character sets of two languages. In the Chinese block it is U+534D 卍 (left-facing) and U+5350 for the swastika 卐 (right-facing); The latter has a mapping in the original Big5 character set, but the former does not (although it is in Big5+). In Unicode 5.2, two swastika symbols and two sauwastikas were added to the Tibetan block: swastika U+0FD5 ࿕ right-facing svasti sign, U+0FD7 ࿗ right-facing svasti sign with dots, and sauwastikas U+0FD6 ࿖ left-facing svasti sign, U+0FD8 ࿘ left-facing svasti sign with dots.
Hypothesis of origin
The swastika is a repeating design, said to have been created by the edges of the reeds in a square basket-weave. Other theories attempt to establish a connection via cultural diffusion or an explanation along the lines of Carl Jung‘s collective unconscious.
European hypotheses of the swastika are often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the sun cross of pagan Bronze Age religion. Beyond its certain presence in the “proto-writing” symbol systems, such as the Vinca script, which appeared during the Neolithic, nothing certain is known about the symbol’s origin.
There are a number of speculative hypotheses. One hypothesis is that the cross symbols and the swastika share a common origin in simply symbolizing the sun. Another hypothesis is that the four arms of the cross represent four aspects of nature – the sun, wind, water, soil. Some have said the four arms of cross are four seasons, where the division for 90-degree sections correspond to the solstices and equinoxes.
According to Reza Assasi, the swastika is a geometric pattern in the sky representing the north ecliptic pole centred to Zeta Draconis. He argues that this primitive astrological symbol was later called the four-horse chariot of Mithra in ancient Iran and represented the centre of Ecliptic in the star map and also demonstrates that in Iranian mythology, the cosmos was believed to be pulled by four heavenly horses revolving around a fixed centre on clockwise direction possibly because of a geocentric understanding of an astronomical phenomenon called axial precession. He suggests that this notion was transmitted to the west and flourished in Roman mithraism in which this symbol appears in Mithraic iconography and astrological representations.
Carl Sagan in his book Comet (1985) reproduces Han period Chinese manuscript (the Book of Silk, 2nd century BC) that shows comet tail varieties: most are variations on simple comet tails, but the last shows the comet nucleus with four bent arms extending from it, recalling a swastika. Sagan suggests that in antiquity a comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet’s rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world. Bob Kobres in his 1992 paper Comets and the Bronze Age Collapse contends that the swastika like comet on the Han Dynasty silk comet atlas was labeled a “long tailed pheasant star” (Di-Xing) because of its resemblance to a bird’s foot or footprint, the latter comparison also being drawn by J.F.K. Hewitt’s observation on page 145 of Primitive Traditional History: vol. 1. as well as an article concerning carpet decoration in Good Housekeeping. Kobres goes on to suggest an association of mythological birds and comets also outside China.
In Life’s Other Secret (1999), Ian Stewart suggests the ubiquitous swastika pattern arises when parallel waves of neural activity sweep across the visual cortex during states of altered consciousness, producing a swirling swastika-like image, due to the way quadrants in the field of vision are mapped to opposite areas in the brain.
According to Mukti Jain, the symbol is part of “an intricate meander pattern of joined up swastikas” found on a late paleolithic figurine of a bird, carved from mammoth ivory, found in Mezine, Ukraine and dated to 15,000 years old. These engraved objects were found near phallic objects, which states Jain may support the idea that the meandering pattern of swastika was a fertility symbol. However it has also been suggested that this swastika may be a stylized picture of a stork in flight and not the true swastika that is in use today.
Some of the earliest archaeological evidence of the swastika in the Indian subcontinent can be dated to 3,000 BCE. Investigators have also found seals with “mature and geometrically ordered” swatiskas which date from prior to the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 BCE). Their efforts have traced references to swastikas in the Vedas at about that time period. The investigators put forth the theory that the swastika traveled from India via Tartar trade routes through Kamchatka to the Americas, where it appeared in both Aztec and Mayan civilizations. It also moved westward, according to these researchers, from India to Finland, Scandinavia, the British Highlands and other parts of Europe.
Swastikas have also been found on pottery in archaeological digs in Africa, in the area of Kush and on pottery at the Jebel Barkal temples, in Iron Age designs of the northern Caucasus (Koban culture), and in Neolithic China in the Majiabang,Majiayao, Dawenkou and Xiaoheyan cultures.
Other Iron Age attestations of the swastika can be associated with Indo-European cultures such as the Illyrians, Indo-Iranians, Celts, Greeks, Germanic peoples and Slavs. In Sintashta culture‘s “Country of Towns“, ancient Indo-European settlements in southern Russia, it has been found a great concentration of some of the oldest swastika patterns. Chief archeologist Gennady Zdanovich identifies the swastika as a “symbol of the universe”.
The swastika is also seen in Egypt during the Coptic period. Textile number T.231-1923 held at the V&A Museum in London includes small swastikas in its design. This piece was found at Qau-el-Kebir, near Asyut, and is dated between AD 300 and 600.
The Tierwirbel (the German for “animal whorl” or “whirl of animals”) is a characteristic motif in Bronze Age Central Asia, the Eurasian Steppe, and later also in Iron Age Scythian and European (Baltic and Germanic) culture, showing rotational symmetric arrangement of an animal motif, often four birds’ heads. Even wider diffusion of this “Asiatic” theme has been proposed, to the Pacific and even North America (especially Moundville).
In Asia, the swastika symbol first appears in the archaeological record around 3000 BCE in the Indus Valley Civilization. It also appears in the Bronze and Iron Age cultures around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. In all these cultures the swastika symbol does not appear to occupy any marked position or significance, but appears as just one form of a series of similar symbols of varying complexity. In the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, the swastika was a symbol of the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation.
It is one of most common symbols found on Mesopotamian coins.
The icon has been of spiritual significance to Indian religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. The use of the swastika by the Bön faith of Tibet, as well as Chinese Taoism, can also be traced to Buddhist influence. In Thailand, the word Sawaddi is normally used as a greeting which simply means “hello”; Sawaddi-ka (feminine) and Sawaddi-krup (masculine). Sawaddi derives from the Sanskrit word swasti and its meaning is a combination of the words prosperity, luck, security, glory, and good.
The swastika is an important Hindu symbol. The word is ancient, derived from three Sanskrit roots “su” (good), “asti” (exists, there is, to be) and “ka” (make) and has meant a “making of goodness” or “marker of goodness”. The icon connotes and reminds the viewer of something “conducive to well-being”, “make good”, prosperity and dharmic auspiciousness. The swastika symbol is commonly used before entrances or on doorways of homes or temples, to mark the starting page of financial statements, and mandala constructed for rituals such as weddings or welcoming a new born.
In the diverse traditions within Hinduism, both the clockwise and counter-clockwise swastika are found, with different meaning. The clockwise or right hand icon is called swastika, while the counter clockwise or left hand is called sauvastika. The clockwise swastika is a solar symbol (Surya), mirroring the motion of Sun in India (the northern hemisphere) where it appears to enter from east, then south, exiting to the west. The counterclockwise sauvastika is less used, connotes the night and in tantric traditions it is an icon for goddess Kali, the terrifying form of Devi Durga. The symbol also reminds and symbolizes activity, karma, motion, wheel, lotus in some contexts. Its symbolism for motion and sun may be from shared prehistoric cultural roots, according to Norman McClelland.
The Arya Samaj is of the opinion that swastik is ‘OM’ written in the ancient Brahmi script.
In Buddhism, the swastika symbol is considered auspicious footprints of the Buddha. It is an aniconic symbol for the Buddha in many parts of Asia, states Adrian Snodgrass, but also a homologous with the dhamma wheel. The shape symbolizes eternal cycling, a theme found in samsara doctrine of Buddhism.
The swastika symbol is common in esoteric tantric traditions of Buddhism, along with Hinduism, where it is found with Chakra theories and other meditative aids. The clockwise symbol is more common, and contrasts with the counter clockwise version common in the Tibetan Bon tradition and locally called yungdrung.
In Jainism, it is a symbol of the seventh tīrthaṅkara, Suparśvanātha. In the Śvētāmbara tradition, it is also one of the aṣṭamaṅgala or eight auspicious symbols. All Jain temples and holy books must contain the swastika and ceremonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar. Jains use rice to make a swastika in front of statues and then put an offering on it, usually a ripe or dried fruit, a sweet (Hindi: मिठाई miṭhāī), or a coin or currency note. The four arms of the swastika symbolize the four places where a soul could be reborn in the cycle of birth and death – svarga “heaven”, naraka “hell”, manushya “humanity” or tiryancha “as flora or fauna” – before the soul attains moksha “salvation” as a siddha, having ended the cycle of birth and death and become omniscient.
East Asian traditions
The paired swastika symbols are included, at least since the Liao Dynasty (AD 907–1125), as part of the Chinese writing system (卍 and 卐) and are variant characters for 萬 or 万 (wàn in Mandarin, man in Korean, Cantonese, and Japanese, vạn in Vietnamese) meaning “all” or “eternity” (lit. myriad). The swastika marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures. In East Asian countries, the left-facing character is often used as symbol for Buddhism and marks the site of a Buddhist temple on maps.
In Chinese, Japanese, and Korean the swastika is also a homonym of the number 10,000, and is commonly used to represent the whole of creation, e.g. “the myriad things” in the Dao De Jing. During the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Empress Wu Zetian (684–704) decreed that the swastika would also be used as an alternative symbol of the Sun.
When the Chinese writing system was introduced to Japan in the 8th century, the swastika was adopted into the Japanese language and culture. It is commonly referred as the manji (lit. “Man-character”). Since the Middle Ages, it has been used as a mon by various Japanese families such as Tsugaru clan, Hachisuka clan or around 60 clans that belong to Tokugawa clan. On Japanese maps, a swastika (left-facing and horizontal) is used to mark the location of a Buddhist temple. The right-facing swastika is often referred to as the gyaku manji (逆卍, lit. “reverse swastika”) or migi manji (右卍, lit. “right swastika”), and can also be called kagi jūji (鉤十字, literally “hook cross”).
In Chinese and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, comprises left- and right-facing swastikas joined by lines. As the negative space between the lines has a distinctive shape, the sayagata pattern is sometimes called the key fret motif in English.
As a pottery graph of unknown provision and meaning the swastika-like sign is known in Chinese Neolithic culture (2400–2000 BCE, Liu wan 柳湾, Qinghai province).
In Armenia the swastika is called the “arevakhach” and “kerkhach” (Armenian: կեռխաչ)[dubious ] and is the ancient symbol of eternity and eternal light (i.e. God). Swastikas in Armenia were founded on petroglyphs from the copper age, predating the bronze age. During the bronze age it was depicted on cauldrons, belts, medallions and other items. Among the oldest petroglyphs is the seventh letter of the Armenian alphabet – “E” (which means “is” or “to be”) – depicted as a half-swastika.
Swastikas can also be seen on early Medieval churches and fortresses, including the principal tower in Armenia’s historical capital city of Ani. The same symbol can be found on Armenian carpets, cross-stones (khachkar) and in medieval manuscripts, as well as on modern monuments as a symbol of eternity.
Swastika shapes have been found on numerous artifacts from Iron Age Europe – Armenian arevakhach (Armenian: Արևախաչ, արև arev “sun” + խաչ xač “cross”, “sun cross”), Greco-Roman, Illyrians, Etruscan, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic.
Svastika on a Roman mosaic in Pula, Croatia
Svastika on a Roman mosaic in Veli Brijun, Croatia
Swastiska on the Snoldelev Rune Stone, Denmark.
Ancient Greek architectural, clothing and coin designs are replete with single or interlinking swastika motifs. There are also gold plate fibulae from the 8th century BCE decorated with an engraved swastika. Related symbols in classical Western architecture include the cross, the three-legged triskele or triskelion and the rounded lauburu. The swastika symbol is also known in these contexts by a number of names, especially gammadion, or rather the tetra-gammadion. The name gammadion comes from its being seen as being made up of four Greek gamma (Γ) letters. Ancient Greek architectural designs are replete with the interlinking symbol.
In Greco-Roman art and architecture, and in Romanesque and Gothic art in the West, isolated swastikas are relatively rare, and the swastika is more commonly found as a repeated element in a border or tessellation. The swastika often represented perpetual motion, reflecting the design of a rotating windmill or watermill. A meander of connected swastikas makes up the large band that surrounds the Augustan Ara Pacis.
A design of interlocking swastikas is one of several tessellations on the floor of the cathedral of Amiens, France. A border of linked swastikas was a common Roman architectural motif, and can be seen in more recent buildings as a neoclassical element. A swastika border is one form of meander, and the individual swastikas in such a border are sometimes called Greek keys. There have also been swastikas found on the floors of Pompeii.
The bronze frontispiece of a ritual pre-Christian (c. 350–50 BCE) shield found in the River Thames near Battersea Bridge (hence “Battersea Shield“) is embossed with 27 swastikas in bronze and red enamel. An Ogham stone found in Anglish, Co Kerry, Ireland (CIIC 141) was modified into an early Christian gravestone, and was decorated with a cross pattée and two swastikas. The Book of Kells (ca. 800) contains swastika-shaped ornamentation. At the Northern edge of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire, there is a swastika-shaped pattern engraved in a stone known as the Swastika Stone.
Germanic Iron Age
The swastika shape (also called a fylfot) appears on various Germanic Migration Period and Viking Age artifacts, such as the 3rd-century Værløse Fibula from Zealand, Denmark, the Gothic spearhead from Brest-Litovsk, today in Belarus, the 9th-century Snoldelev Stone from Ramsø, Denmark, and numerous Migration Period bracteates drawn left-facing or right-facing.
The pagan Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, England, contained numerous items bearing the swastika, now housed in the collection of the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.[not in citation given] The swastika is clearly marked on a hilt and sword belt found at Bifrons in Kent, in a grave of about the 6th century.
Hilda Ellis Davidson theorized that the swastika symbol was associated with Thor, possibly representing his hammer Mjolnir – symbolic of thunder – and possibly being connected to the Bronze Age sun cross. Davidson cites “many examples” of the swastika symbol from Anglo-Saxon graves of the pagan period, with particular prominence on cremation urns from the cemeteries of East Anglia. Some of the swastikas on the items, on display at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, are depicted with such care and art that, according to Davidson, it must have possessed special significance as a funerary symbol. The runic inscription on the 8th-century Sæbø sword has been taken as evidence of the swastika as a symbol of Thor in Norse paganism.
The swastika was widespread among the Illyrians, symbolizing the Sun. The Sun cult was the main Illyrian cult; the Sun was represented by a swastika in clockwise motion, and it stood for the movement of the Sun.
According to painter Stanisław Jakubowski the “little sun” is an Early Slavic pagan symbol of the Sun. It was engraved on wooden monuments built near the final resting places of fallen Slavs to represent eternal life. The symbol was first seen in a collection of Early Slavic symbols and architectural features drawn and compiled by Polish painter Stanisław Jakubowski, which he named Prasłowiańskie motywy architektoniczne (Polish: Early Slavic Architectural Motifs). His work was published in 1923, by a publishing house that was then based in the Dębniki district of Kraków. The symbol can also be found on embroidery and pottery in most Slavic countries.
In Russia before World War I the swastika was a favorite sign of the last Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. She placed it where she could for happiness, including drawing it in pencil on the walls and windows in the Ipatiev House – place of execution of the royal family, and, without dating, on the wallpaper above the bed, where obviously slept the heir. It was printed on some banknotes of the Russian Provisional Government (1917) and some sovznaks (1918-1922). In 1919 it was approved as insignia for the Kalmyk formations, and for a short period had a certain popularity amongst some artists, politics and army groups. Also it was present on icons, vestments and clerical clothing but in World War II it was removed, becoming by association, a symbol of the German occupation.
In modern Russia some neo-Nazis and neopagan followers of pseudohistory argue that the Russian name of the swastika is Kolovrat (Russian: Коловрат, literally “spinning wheel“), but there are no ethnographic sources confirming this. In the traditional vernacular the swastika was called differently; for example, “breeze” – as in Christianity, the swastika represents a spiritual movement, descent of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the “wind” and “spirit” – a word with one meaning. Or “geeses”, “ognevtsi” (dialect. “little flames”), “hares” (towel with a swastika was called as towel with the “hares”), “little horses”, because it is such a curved cross.
The neo-Nazi Russian National Unity group’s branch in Estonia is officially registered under the name “Kolovrat” and published an extremist newspaper in 2001 under the same name. A criminal investigation found the paper included an array of racial epithets. One Narva resident was sentenced to 1 year in jail for distribution of Kolovrat. The Kolovrat has since been used by the Rusich Battalion, a Russian militant group known for its operation during the War in Donbass.
An object very much like a hammer or a double axe is depicted among the magical symbols on the drums of Sami shamans, used in their religious ceremonies before Christianity was established. The name of the Sami thunder god was Horagalles, thought to be derived from “Old Man Thor” (Þórr karl). Sometimes on the drums, a male figure with a hammer-like object in either hand is shown, and sometimes it is more like a cross with crooked ends, or a swastika.
Medieval and early modern Europe
In Christianity, the swastika is used as a hooked version of the Christian Cross, the symbol of Christ’s victory over death. Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque and Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs. Swastikas are prominently displayed in a mosaic in the St. Sophia church of Kiev, Ukraine dating from the 12th century. They also appear as a repeating ornamental motif on a tomb in the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan.
A ceiling painted in 1910 in the church of St Laurent in Grenoble has many swastikas. It can be visited today because the church became the archaeological museum of the city. A proposed direct link between it and a swastika floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens, which was built on top of a pagan site at Amiens, France in the 13th century, is considered unlikely. The stole worn by a priest in the 1445 painting of the Seven Sacraments by Rogier van der Weyden presents the swastika form simply as one way of depicting the cross.
Swastikas also appear in art and architecture during the Renaissance and Baroque era. The fresco The School of Athens shows an ornament made out of swastikas, and the symbol can also be found on the facade of the Santa Maria della Salute, a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the city of Venice.
In the Polish First Republic the symbol of the swastika was also popular with the nobility. According to chronicles, the Rus’ prince Oleg, who in the 9th century attacked Constantinople, nailed his shield (which had a large red swastika painted on it) to the city’s gates. Several noble houses, e.g. Boreyko, Borzym, and Radziechowski from Ruthenia, also had swastikas as their coat of arms. The family reached its greatness in the 14th and 15th centuries and its crest can be seen in many heraldry books produced at that time. The swastika was also a heraldic symbol, for example on the Boreyko coat of arms, used by noblemen in Poland and Ukraine. In the 19th century the swastika was one of the Russian empire’s symbols; it was even placed in coins as a background to the Russian eagle.
Early 20th century
In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans, whose proto-language was not coincidentally termed “Proto-Indo-Germanic” by German language historians. He connected it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorized that the swastika was a “significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors”, linking it to ancient Teutons, Greeks of the time of Homer and Indians of the Vedic era. By the early 20th century, it was used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success.
The work of Schliemann soon became intertwined with the völkisch movements, for which the swastika was a symbol of the “Aryan race“, a concept that came to be equated by theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg with a Nordic master race originating in northern Europe. Since its adoption by the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler, the swastika has been associated with Nazism, fascism, racism in its (white supremacy) form, the Axis powers in World War II, and the Holocaust in much of the West. The swastika remains a core symbol of Neo-Nazi groups.
The Benedictine choir school at Lambach Abbey, Upper Austria, which Hitler attended for several months as a boy, had a swastika chiseled into the monastery portal and also the wall above the spring grotto in the courtyard by 1868. Their origin was the personal coat of arms of Abbot Theoderich Hagn of the monastery in Lambach, which bore a golden swastika with slanted points on a blue field. The Lambach swastika is probably of Medieval origin.
In the 1880’s the Theosophical Society adopted a swastika as part of its seal, along with an Om, a hexagram or star of David, an Ankh and an Ouroboros. Unlike the much more recent Raëlian movement, the Theosophical Society symbol has been free from controversy, and the seal is still used. The current seal also includes the text “There is no religion higher than truth.” The British author and poet Rudyard Kipling used the symbol on the cover art of a number of his works, including The Five Nations, 1903, which has it twinned with an elephant.
The Danish brewery company Carlsberg Group used the swastika as a logo from the 19th Century until the middle of the 1930s when it was discontinued because of association with the Nazi Party in neighbouring Germany. The swastika carved on elephants at the entrance gates of the company’s headquarters in Copenhagen in 1901 can still be seen today.
The Swastika Laundry was a laundry founded in 1912, located on Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, a district of Dublin, Ireland. In the fifties Heinrich Böll came across a van belonging to the company while he was staying in Ireland, leading to some awkward moments before he realized the company was older than Nazism and totally unrelated to it. The chimney of the boiler-house of the laundry still stands, but the laundry has been redeveloped.
In Finland the swastika was often used in traditional folk art products, as a decoration or magical symbol on textiles and wood. The swastika was also used by the Finnish Air Force until 1945, and is still used on air force flags.
The tursaansydän is used by scouts in some instances and a student organization. The village of Tursa uses the tursaansydän as a kind of a certificate of authenticity on products made there. Traditional textiles are still being made with swastikas as parts of traditional ornaments.
The Finnish Air Force used the swastika as an emblem, introduced in 1918. The type of swastika adopted by the air-force was the symbol of luck for the Swedish count Eric von Rosen, who donated one of its earliest aircraft; he later became a prominent figure in the Swedish nazi-movement.
The swastika was also used by the women’s paramilitary organization Lotta Svärd, which was banned in 1944 in accordance with the Moscow Armistice between Finland and the allied Soviet Union and Britain.
The President of Finland is the grand master of the Order of the White Rose. According to the protocol, the president shall wear the Grand Cross of the White Rose with collar on formal occasions. The original design of the collar, decorated with 9 swastikas, dates from 1918, and was designed by the artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The Grand Cross with the swastika collar has been awarded 41 times to foreign heads of state. To avoid misunderstandings, the swastika decorations were replaced by fir crosses at the decision of president Urho Kekkonen in 1963 after it became known that the President of France Charles De Gaulle was uncomfortable with the swastika collar.
Also a design by Gallen-Kallela from 1918, the Cross of Liberty has a swastika pattern in its arms. The Cross of Liberty is depicted in the upper left corner of the standard of the President of Finland.
In December 2007, a silver replica of the World War II period Finnish air defence’s relief ring decorated with a swastika became available as a part of a charity campaign.
The original war time idea was that the public swap their precious metal rings for the State air defence’s relief ring, made of iron.
The swastica is an old Baltic thunder cross. Latvia adopted the swastika, called the Pērkonkrusts (“thunder cross”), for its Air Force in 1918/1919 and continued its use until 1940. The cross itself was maroon on a white background, mirroring the colors of the Latvian flag. Earlier versions pointed counter-clockwise, while later versions pointed clock-wise and eliminated the white background.
The traditional symbols of the Podhale Rifles include the edelweiss flower and the Mountain Cross, a swastika symbol popular in folk culture of the Polish mountainous regions. The units of Podhale Rifles, both historical and modern, are notable for their high morale and distinctive uniforms.
The swastika motif is found in some traditional Native American art and iconography. Historically, the design has been found in excavations of Mississippian-era sites in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and on objects associated with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (S.E.C.C.). It is also widely used by a number of southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo, and plains nations such as the Dakota. Among various tribes, the swastika carries different meanings. To the Hopi it represents the wandering Hopi clan; to the Navajo it is one symbol for the whirling log (tsil no’oli), a sacred image representing a legend that is used in healing rituals. A brightly colored First Nations saddle featuring swastika designs is on display at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada.
A swastika shape is a symbol in the culture of the Kuna people of Kuna Yala, Panama. In Kuna tradition it symbolizes the octopus that created the world, its tentacles pointing to the four cardinal points.
From 1909 to 1916, the K-R-I-T automobile, manufactured in Detroit, Michigan, used a right-facing swastika as their trademark.
In February 1925 the Kuna revolted vigorously against Panamanian suppression of their culture, and in 1930 they assumed autonomy. The flag they adopted at that time is based on the swastika shape, and remains the official flag of Kuna Yala. A number of variations on the flag have been used over the years: red top and bottom bands instead of orange were previously used, and in 1942 a ring (representing the traditional Kuna nose-ring) was added to the center of the flag to distance it from the symbol of the Nazi party.
The symbol for the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army, before the 1930s, was a red square with a yellow swastika, a tribute to the large Native American population in the southwestern United States.
The town of Swastika, Ontario, Canada is named after the symbol.
Use in Nazism
The swastika was widely used in Europe at the start of the 20th century. It symbolized many things to the Europeans, with the most common symbolism being of good luck and auspiciousness. In the wake of widespread popular usage, in post-World War I Germany, the newly established Nazi Party formally adopted the Hakenkreuz (German: [ˈhaːkn̩kʀɔʏts], meaning “hooked-cross”) in 1920. The emblem was a black swastika (hooks branching clockwise) rotated 45 degrees on a white circle on a red background. This insignia was used on the party’s flag, badge, and armband.
In his 1925 work Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler writes that: “I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika.”
When Hitler created a flag for the Nazi Party, he sought to incorporate both the swastika and “those revered colors expressive of our homage to the glorious past and which once brought so much honor to the German nation.” (Red, white, and black were the colors of the flag of the old German Empire.) He also stated: “As National Socialists, we see our program in our flag. In red, we see the social idea of the movement; in white, the nationalistic idea; in the swastika, the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work.”
The swastika was also understood as “the symbol of the creating, effecting life” (das Symbol des schaffenden, wirkenden Lebens) and as “race emblem of Germanism” (Rasseabzeichen des Germanentums).
The use of the swastika was incorporated by Nazi theorists with their conjecture of Aryan cultural descent of the German people. The fascination of the German people with Aryanism arose when artifacts with swastikas on them were found near the Trojan city of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann. The Nazi party was looking for the symbol that would preferably catch the attention of all of Germany and the swastika had that potential. It became a symbol to unify the German people, to a conjecture about their ancestors, Aryan identity and nationalistic pride. It also allowed the Nazi party to establish their anti-Semitic views, as well as terrify Jews and the enemies of the Nazi state.
The concept of racial hygiene was an ideology central to Nazism, though it is scientific racism. For Alfred Rosenberg, the Aryans of India were both a model to be imitated and a warning of the dangers of the spiritual and racial “confusion” that, he believed, arose from the proximity of races. Thus, they saw fit to co-opt the sign as a symbol of the Aryan master race. The use of the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race dates back to writings of Emile Burnouf. Following many other writers, the German nationalist poet Guido von List believed it to be a uniquely Aryan symbol.
Before the Nazis, the swastika was already in use as a symbol of German völkisch nationalist movements (Völkische Bewegung). Ulric of England [sic] says
… what inspired Hitler to use the swastika as a symbol for the NSDAP was its use by the Thule Society (German: Thule-Gesellschaft) since there were many connections between them and the DAP … from 1919 until the summer of 1921 Hitler used the special Nationalsozialistische library of Dr. Friedrich Krohn, a very active member of the Thule-Gesellschaft … Dr. Krohn was also the dentist from Sternberg who was named by Hitler in Mein Kampf as the designer of a flag very similar to one that Hitler designed in 1920 … during the summer of 1920, the first party flag was shown at Lake Tegernsee … these home-made … early flags were not preserved, the Ortsgruppe München (Munich Local Group) flag was generally regarded as the first flag of the Party.
José Manuel Erbez says:
The first time the swastika was used with an Aryan meaning was on December 25, 1907, when the self-named Order of the New Templars, a secret society founded by [Adolf Joseph] Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, hoisted at Werfenstein Castle (Austria) a yellow flag with a swastika and four fleurs-de-lys.
However, Liebenfels was drawing on an already established use of the symbol. On 14 March 1933, shortly after Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany, the NSDAP flag was hoisted alongside Germany’s national colors. It was adopted as the sole national flag on 15 September 1935.
The swastika was used for badges and flags throughout Nazi Germany, particularly for government and military organizations, but also for “popular” organizations such as the Reichsbund Deutsche Jägerschaft (German Hunting Society).
While the DAP and the NSDAP had used both right-facing and left-facing swastikas, the right-facing swastika was used consistently from 1920 onwards. Ralf Stelter notes that the swastika flag used on land had a right-facing swastika on both sides, while the ensign (naval flag) had it printed through so that a left-facing swastika would be seen when looking at the ensign with the flagpole to the right. Nazi ensigns had a through and through image, so both versions were present, one on each side, but the Nazi flag on land was right-facing on both sides and at a 45° rotation.
Several variants are found:
- a 45° black swastika on a white disc as in the NSDAP and national flags;
- a 45° black swastika on a white lozenge (Hitler Youth);
- a 45° black swastika with a white outline was painted on the tail of aircraft of the Luftwaffe, and usually using a design based on a 25-small-square subdivided square template (width of “strokes” in each of its arms, equalling the width of the space between the strokes);
- a 45° black swastika outlined by thin white and black lines on a white disc (the German War Ensign);
- an upright black swastika outlined by thin white and black lines on a white disc ( Personal standard of Adolf Hitler in which a gold wreath encircles the swastika; the Schutzstaffel; and the Reichsdienstflagge, in which a black circle encircles the swastika);
- small gold, silver, black, or white 45° swastikas, often lying on or being held by an eagle, on many badges and flags.
- a swastika with curved outer arms forming a broken circle, as worn by the Waffen SS Wiking and Nordland Divisions.
Use by anti-Nazis
During World War II it was common to use small swastikas to mark air-to-air victories on the sides of Allied aircraft, and at least one British fighter pilot inscribed a swastika in his logbook for each German plane he shot down in World War II.
Post–World War II stigmatization
Because of its use by Nazi Germany, the swastika since the 1930s has been largely associated with Nazism. After World War II ended, it is considered a symbol of hate in the West, or alternatively of white supremacy in many Western countries.
As a result, all of its use, or its use as a Nazi or hate symbol, is prohibited in some countries, including Germany. Because of the stigma attached to the symbol, many buildings that have used the symbol as decoration have had the symbol removed. In some countries, such as the United States’ Virginia v. Black 2003 case, the highest courts have ruled that the local governments can prohibit the use of swastika along with other symbols such as cross burning, if the intent of the use is to intimidate others.
The German and Austrian postwar criminal code makes the public showing of the Hakenkreuz (the swastika), the sig rune, the Celtic cross (specifically the variations used by the White-Power-Activists), the wolfsangel, the odal rune and the Totenkopf skull illegal, except for scholarly reasons (and, in the case of the odal rune, as the insignia of the rank of sergeant major, Hauptfeldwebel, in the modern German Bundeswehr). It is also censored from the reprints of 1930s railway timetables published by the Reichsbahn. The eagle remains, but appears to be holding a solid black circle between its talons. The swastikas on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples are exempt, as religious symbols cannot be banned in Germany.
The German fashion company Esprit Holdings was investigated for using traditional British-made folded leather buttons after complaints that they resembled swastikas. In response, Esprit Holdings destroyed two hundred thousand catalogues.
A controversy was stirred by the decision of several police departments to begin inquiries against anti-fascists. In late 2005 police raided the offices of the punk rock label and mail order store “Nix Gut Records” and confiscated merchandise depicting crossed-out swastikas and fists smashing swastikas. In 2006 the Stade police department started an inquiry against anti-fascist youths using a placard depicting a person dumping a swastika into a trashcan. The placard was displayed in opposition to the campaign of right-wing nationalist parties for local elections.
On Friday, 17 March 2006, a member of the Bundestag, Claudia Roth reported herself to the German police for displaying a crossed-out swastika in multiple demonstrations against Neo-Nazis, and subsequently got the Bundestag to suspend her immunity from prosecution. She intended to show the absurdity of charging anti-fascists with using fascist symbols: “We don’t need prosecution of non-violent young people engaging against right-wing extremism.” On 15 March 2007, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (Bundesgerichtshof) held that the crossed-out symbols were “clearly directed against a revival of national-socialist endeavors”, thereby settling the dispute for the future.
Legislation in other European countries
- Until 2013 in Hungary, it was a criminal misdemeanour to publicly display “totalitarian symbols”, including the swastika, the SS insignia, and the Arrow Cross, punishable by custodial arrest. Display for academic, educational, artistic or journalistic reasons was allowed at the time. The communist symbols of hammer and sickle and the red star were also regarded as totalitarian symbols and had the same restriction by Hungarian criminal law until 2013.
- In Lithuania, public display of Nazi and Soviet symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is an administrative offence, punishable by a fine from 150 to 300 euros. According to judicial practice, display of a non-Nazi swastika is legal.
- In Poland, public display of Nazi symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is a criminal offence punishable by up to eight years of imprisonment. The use of the swastika as a religious symbol is legal.
Attempt to ban in the European Union
The European Union’s Executive Commission proposed a European Union-wide anti-racism law in 2001, but European Union states failed to agree on the balance between prohibiting racism and freedom of expression. An attempt to ban the swastika across the EU in early 2005 failed after objections from the British Government and others. In early 2007, while Germany held the European Union presidency, Berlin proposed that the European Union should follow German Criminal Law and criminalize the denial of the Holocaust and the display of Nazi symbols including the swastika, which is based on the Ban on the Symbols of Unconstitutional Organizations Act. This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. The proposal to ban the swastika was dropped by Berlin from the proposed European Union wide anti-racism laws on 29 January 2007.
- The manufacture, distribution or broadcasting of the swastika, with the intent to propagate Nazism, is a crime in Brazil as dictated by article 20, paragraph 1, of federal statute 7.716, passed in 1989. The penalty is a two to five years prison term and a fine.
- The flag of the Guna Yala autonomous territory of Panama is based on a swastika design. In 1942 a ring was added to the centre of the flag to differentiate it from the symbol of the Nazi Party (this version subsequently fell into disuse).
Swastika, in various iconographic forms, is one of the hate symbols identified to be in use as graffiti in the schools of the United States, and is a part of the 1999 US Department of Education’s emergency school-wide response trigger.
In 2010, Microsoft officially spoke out against the use of the swastika in the first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops. In Black Ops, players are allowed to customize their name tags to represent, essentially, whatever they want. The swastika can be created and used, but Stephen Toulouse, director of Xbox Live policy and enforcement, stated that players with the symbol on their name tag will be banned (if someone reports as inappropriate) from Xbox Live.
In the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, the swastikas on German trucks, aircraft and actor uniforms in the reenactment of a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark were removed in 2004. The swastika has been replaced by a stylized Greek Cross.
Nazi imagery was adapted and incorporated into the 2016 sci-fi movie 2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be. Its inclusion was to subliminally draw parallels between the movie’s Federal Bureau of Termination and Nazi Germany, and also refer to Kurt Vonnegut‘s experiences as a POW and the influence World War II played in his imagining of a population-controlled future where gas chambers are used to terminate people. The Federal Bureau of Termination logo appears as a white geometric design with a black outline, centered on vertical banners, in reference to the Third Reich banners. These banners were initially red, until crew felt the allusion was too strong. The movie’s hospital was envisaged as the Bureau’s branch which controlled birth, and their red cross was given ‘wings’ to transform it into a swastika, and link it to the Bureau’s logo.
In 2005, authorities in Tajikistan called for the widespread adoption of the swastika as a national symbol. President Emomali Rahmonov declared the swastika an Aryan symbol and 2006 to be “the year of Aryan culture”, which would be a time to “study and popularize Aryan contributions to the history of the world civilization, raise a new generation (of Tajiks) with the spirit of national self-determination, and develop deeper ties with other ethnicities and cultures”.
East and Southeast Asia
In East Asia, the swastika is prevalent in Buddhist monasteries and communities. It is commonly found in Buddhist temples, religious artefacts, texts related to Buddhism and schools founded by Buddhist religious groups. It also appears as a design or motif (singularly or woven into a pattern) on textiles, architecture and various decorative objects as a symbol of luck and good fortune. The icon is also found as a sacred symbol in the Bon tradition, but in the left facing mode.
The Red Swastika Society, a syncretic religious group that aspires to unify Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, runs two schools in Hong Kong (the Hong Kong Red Swastika Society Tai Po Secondary School and the Hong Kong Red Swastika Society Tuen Mun Primary School) and one in Singapore (Red Swastika School). All of them incorporated the Swastika in their school logo to signify the society’s aspiration with philanthropy and moral education.
The swastika is also used in maps to denote a temple. For example, the symbol is designated by the Survey Act and related Japanese governmental rules to denote a Buddhist temple on Japanese maps.
Among the predominantly Hindu population of Bali Indonesia, the swastika is common in temples, homes and public spaces. Similarly, the swastika is a common icon associated with Buddha’s footprints in Theravada Buddhist communities of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.
In India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the swastika is common. Temples, businesses and other organisations, such as the Buddhist libraries, Ahmedabad Stock Exchange and the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, use the swastika in reliefs or logos. Swastikas are ubiquitous in Indian and Nepalese communities, located on shops, buildings, transport vehicles, and clothing. The swastika continues to be prominently used in Hindu ceremonies such as weddings. The left facing sauwastika symbol is found in tantric rituals.
In India, swastik and swastika, with their spelling variants, are first names for males and females respectively, for instance with Swastika Mukherjee. The Seal of Bihar contains two swastikas.
New religious movements
Besides the use as a religious symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, which can be traced to pre-modern traditions, the swastika is also used by a number of new religious movements established in the modern period.
- The Raëlian Movement, who believe that extraterrestrials originally created all life on earth, use a symbol that is often the source of considerable controversy: an interlaced star of David and a swastika. The Raelians state that the Star of David represents infinity in space whereas the swastika represents infinity in time—no beginning and no end in time, and everything being cyclic. In 1991, the symbol was changed to remove the swastika, out of respect to the victims of the Holocaust, but as of 2007 has been restored to its original form.
- The Tantra-based movement Ananda Marga (Devanagari: आनन्द मार्ग, meaning Path of Bliss) uses a motif similar to the Raëlians, but in their case the apparent star of David is defined as intersecting triangles with no specific reference to Jewish culture.
- The Falun Gong qigong movement uses a symbol that features a large swastika surrounded by four smaller (and rounded) ones, interspersed with yin-and-yang symbols. The usage is taken from traditional Chinese symbolism, and here alludes to a chakra-like portion of the esoteric human anatomy, located in the stomach.
- The swastika is a holy symbol of Odinism and Asatru (Heathenry), along with hammer of Thor and runes. This tradition is found in Scandinavia, Germany and elsewhere, and it considers the swastika to be derived from Norse symbol for the sun. Their use of the symbol has led to accusations that they may be a neo-Nazi group.
Western misinterpretation of Asian use
Since the end of the 20th century, and through the early 21st century, confusion and controversy has occurred when consumer goods bearing the traditional Jain, Buddhist, or Hindu symbols have been exported to the West, notably to North America and Europe, and have been interpreted by consumers as bearing a Nazi symbol. This has resulted in several such products having been boycotted or pulled from shelves.
When a ten-year-old boy in Lynbrook, New York, bought a set of Pokemon cards imported from Japan in 1999, two of the cards contained the left-facing Buddhist swastika. The boy’s parents misinterpreted the symbol as the right-facing Nazi swastika and filed a complaint to the manufacturer. Nintendo of America announced that the cards would be discontinued, explaining that what was acceptable in one culture was not necessarily so in another; their action was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League who recognised that there was no intention to be offensive but said that international commerce meant that “isolating [the Swastika] in Asia would just create more problems”.
In 2002, Christmas crackers containing plastic toy red pandas sporting swastikas were pulled from shelves after complaints from consumers in Canada. The manufacturer, based in China, said the symbol was presented in a traditional sense and not as a reference to the Nazis, and apologized to the customers for the cross-cultural mixup.
In 2007, Spanish fashion chain Zara withdrew a handbag from its stores after a customer in Britain complained swastikas were embroidered on it. The bags were made by a supplier in India and inspired by commonly used Hindu symbols, which include the swastika.
So, What does Ramarajya mean ?
In simple words it means a Welfare state !!
This is written (enshrined) in Indian constitution ans so in the constitution of almost ALL countries on earth. However, it is only a matter of implementation of the same (not just in terms of %GDP spent on it). I personally believe, this phenomenon must turn global, for the idea itself is glocal.
So, the idea of Ramaraijya definitely needs implementation push in global scale, through inter-governmental efforts. But, then What about the person himself who gave this idea ;}
While some say: “We need build a temple in his name” (argument – β), others don’t agree (argument – α).
Now, let us see:
argument – β
A temple for Lord Ram was built during the reign of Vikramaditya (The same Vikramaditya as in Vikram-Bethal). He also set up two more temples: One at today’s Mecca & another at today’s Vatican. This was done by him during his naval conquest.
Though the ruler Vikramaditya was known for his bravery & War-skills. He did not seem to have wisdom of even a 11 year old kid. This is What the story of Vikram-Bethal tells on the whole. However foolish it may seem in those days. Today we see these places which have given the world a hope of light through its darkest days.
Now, his voyage to Mecca started only after the Lord Ram temple was built at the birth-place of Lord Ram, i.e in Ayodhya. This temple was later destroyed by the incoming Islamic rulers to India & rest is history for everyone to read, interprit. History tells us as a positive response that there was no other ruler after Vikramaditya (probably due to his achaturya) who could unite this WHOLE NATION INDIA. Remember, this planet owes a lot of Lord Parashu-Rama/Brugu-Rama who by his might destroyed ALL the injust Kshatriyas & restored justice on this planet.
Then, Lord Ram is the most famous among ALL the avatars of Maha-Vishnu, Krsna avatar only comes next to it in appearance & popularity.
So, WHY IS THERE NO LORD RAM’s temple in ANY PART OF INDIA ???
argument – α
The answer lies in the fact that it is nishidha (not prefferred) to build Ksathriya’s temples. Hence, we have Venkateshwara temple, Krsna temple, Hanuman temple. But, there is no Rama temple. Lord Ram is thus said to reside in the heart of every human being.
However, during Rama’s reign he ruled from the very place in Ayodhya & later a linga swaroopi Vishnu sannidhi – Eshwara temple with Garuda stambha was built in the area of Ram Janma-bhoomi.
Hence, it is better we build Ramarajya first. Ram Janma bhoomi as it has 3 divisions. Will go to the handlers. One to the Ikshavakus, one to Hindu organizations & one to God himself.
How to know whether one is god ??
Jyothisya vidya says: An avatar will have 3 or more Mahapurusha yogas among other combinations. Lord Kalki, who will probably be an Ikshvaku WILL HAVE MORE THAN 3 mahapurusha yogas(either in Hora or in navamsha or both put together) . So much so that Kalki gayathri says: “Bhoomi entraya Vidhmahe, Mahapurushaya dheemahi….” implying Lord Kalki is full of qualities of mahapurusha (Vishnu-Almighty).
NOTE: Some things about the article are unusual. But, they are necessary