Sringeri Sri Sharada Peetha
Sri Shankara Bagavathpada is the august founder of the Sringeri Sharada Pitha in Karnataka. To this day, the Pitha shines as beacon light to seekers of spiritual knowledge. At Sringeri, after seeing the strange sight on the bank of River Tunga, he decided to establish the first Pitha at Sringeri. Here he spent 12 years teaching philosophy to his disciples. The serenity of sacred Sringeri is there for anyone to see even today.
Adi Shankara installed an image of Sri Sharada over a Sri Chakra engraved on a rock on the left bank of river Tunga. It is abundant grace of Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of the Pitha, has enabled each guru to nominate his successor and ensure an unbroken secession over past 1200 years.
Sharada represent the aspects, form of the supreme absolute. She displays in her hands symbol of jar-full of nectar of immorality, a book signifying the highest knowledge. A rosary with beads, standing for the bijas from which the gross forms of universe emanate and, the chinmudra showing the awareness of the identity of jiva with Brahman.
The Crystal Linga
Since the days of Adi Shankara, the Acharyas have used for daily worship a Spatika Linga (crystal) of Lord Chandramoulishwara and a murthi of Rathnagarbha Ganapathi carved out of a small block of crystal with a ruby in the middle. The self-radiant moon which characterizes the spotless linga is a phenomenon not to be seen anywhere else. It is believed that the linga from kailash was given to Shankara by Lord Vishveshwara at kashi. It is awe - inspiring to see the acharya worshiping the linga and murthi with great care and devotion at matha. When he goes on tour, the two murthies are carried with him for puja and for bestowing welfare of devotes.
Visitors have been drawn to a strange phenomenon at the ancient hill temple of Lord Malahanikareshwara in the heart of Sringeri town. A stone pillar at the entrance sounds hallow at the back and has a protrusion in the front. This resembles the figure of Sri Ganesha and it is worshipped daily in the temple.
When H. H Abhinava Narashimha Bharathi the 24th Acharya in the early 17th century visited this temple for the frist time, he noticed the absence of any Ganesha image. Immediately taking up a piece of turmeric, he drew an outline of Ganesha on the pillar and offered puja. Ever since then, the murthi has been slowly but steadily bulging out in full relief making the granite stone hallow inside.
The Stambha Ganapathi and Lord Malahanikareshwara are worshiped by the present Acharaya on several occasions, such as Mahashivarathri. Several other festivals are also celebrated at Sringeri, including Shankara Jayanthi, Vyasa puja, Varalakshmi Vratha, Vammana Jayanthi, Vidya Shankara Car festival, Sri Rama Navami, Ratha Sapthami and Subramanya Shasthi.