During the past 102 years of its existence, the Shankara Math at Shankrapuram in Bangalore South has become an exquisite spiritual, cultural, educational, literary and religious landmark.
The vision of H.H. Sri Sri Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Nrisimha Bharathi Mahaswami, for the setting up of the Math in Bangalore arose from his concern that people were drifting away from their spiritual moorings and that the Shankara Math was the answer to his prayers to save the religious faith.
When he visited Bangalore in February 1907, the urgent necessity to establish a Math and consecrate the icon of Sri Shankaracharya there was brought to his notice.
This was accepted by his Holiness, who directed Sri V.P. Madhava Rao, a prominent disciple as well as the Devan, to take steps for the purpose.Â Sri Madhava Rao chose an area between then newly developed extension of Chamarajpet and Basavanagudi, acquired it and made it fit for habitation.Â Materials necessary for construction of Sri Acharya’s shrine were sent from Sri Madhava Rao’s house and the temple got ready in two week’s time.
Surprised and pleased with such enthusiasm and devoted performance, his holiness installed the marble murti of Sri Adi Shankara in accordance with Vedic rituals.Â Construction of the sprawling Math premises was completed and it was inaugurated on February 3, 1911 in the presence of dignitaries, including his Highness Sri Krishnaraja Wodayar, Maharaja of Mysore.
Later in 1938, when his Holiness Sri Sri Chandrashekara Bharati Mahaswamigal visited Bangalore and stayed there for a few months, he consecrated the shrine built for Sri Sharada in the Shankara Math.
The growth of the Math has been very much beyond the imagination.Â A number of institutions in the spiritual, educational and healthcare fields have come up under its patronage, providing help to thousands of devotees.
Much advance was made in the educational field during the period of H. H. Sri Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamigal, the 35th Jagadguru, and the seeds were sown for healthcare centers also.Â The growth in the healthcare field in the later days under the guidance of the present Jagadguru, His holiness Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamihi, has been phenomenal, with state-of-the-art facilities.Â Below are the educational and health care institutions of the Math:
- Sri Sharada Dhanvantari Hospital
- Sharada Rotary Healthcare centre (eye care centre)
- Dental wing
- Cardiac care
- Jnanodaya School
- Jnanodaya PU college
- Shankara Rotary Library
- Women’s Peace League
Besides the educational and medical facilities, a number of other institutions have sprung up and are functioning under the auspices of the Math.Â They are:
- Kalpataru Research Institute
- Bhagavata Bhavana
- Kalkere Shankra Math
- Seva Pratishtana
- Sri Surasaraswathi Sabha
- Malleswaram Shankara Math
- Girinagar Sringeri Math
- Prachina Shankara Math
- Tejaswini Trust
- Marriage Halls
- Aid to Orphanage/old-age home.
Adi Shankara’s Vision
The phenomenal growth of these institutions and the benefits that accrue to the people at large speak about glory of that visionary, Adi Shankara Bhagavthpada, whose tremendous achievements in a short life span of 32 years laid the foundation for revival of the great Hindu religion and awakening of the people.
He incarnated at a time when the greatness of Advaita Vedanta philosophy had got obscured due to political, religious, cultural and philosophical reasons and also due to the influence of the so called Karmakanda or the ritualistic segment of the Vedic lore.
Very few persons have exercised as deep an influence on Indian thought and spiritual life as Adi Shankara.Â He established a living tradition at Sringeri, Karnataka by setting up the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham which to this day, shines as a beacon light to seekers of spiritual knowledge.Â The Peetham has produced over the centuries a galaxy of Acharyas in an unbroken Guru Sishya Parampara.