Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada established the first of the four Amnaya Peethams at Sringeri more than twelve centuries ago to foster the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma. Hallowed for all times by Sage Rishyashringa who stayed and performed Tapas here, Sringeri attracted the great Acharya with a remarkable sight.
Tradition has it that after the Acharya had dispersed all the non-Vedic creeds prevailing in the country, He was on the look-out for a convenient and holy place where he could establish an institution to spread the truths of Advaita Vedanta. When the Acharya came to Sringeri, he saw an unusual sight on the banks of the Tunga. A cobra was seen spreading out its hood over a frog in labour pains, to give it shadow from the scorching mid-day sun. Struck with the sanctity of the place, which could infuse love between natural adversaries, the Acharya chose this very location to establish His first Math.
Sri Kappe Shankara - A Shrine on the banks of the Holy Tunga river in memory to the glorious sight witnessed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya; A serpent giving shade from the scorching sun to a pregnant frog in labour pains.
The Madhaviya Shankara Digvijayam describes that the Acharya came across many virtuous people at Sringeri and taught them the doctrine of Advaita. He then invoked the Divinity of Knowledge, Goddess Sharada and consecrated an icon of the Goddess. Thus the Peetham He founded at Sringeri in South India for fostering the Vedas and the sacred tradition of Sanatana Dharma came to be known as the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sharada Peetham.
The Acharya appointed his prime disciple, Sri Sureshwaracharya as the first Acharya of the Peetham. Since then, the Peetham has been blessed with an unbroken Guru Parampara, a garland of spiritual masters and Jivanmuktas representing Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The succeeding Acharyas have led a life of such austere penance that it has led disciples to adore in them the radiance of Sri Adi Shankara Himself.
Besides being a centre of spiritual power, Sringeri also came to be known as a great place of traditional learning owing to the presence of Goddess Sharada and the erudition of the Acharyas of the Peetham. The Acharyas were instrumental in bringing forth commentaries on the Vedas and in further expounding the Bhashyas of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The Acharyas also wrote a number of independent works related to Advaita besides producing a number of hymns underlining their ardent devotion to the non-dual Supreme worshipped in multifarious forms. The Peetham thus came to be regarded as the Vyakhyana Simhasana, The Throne of Transcendental Wisdom. Consequently, the Birudavali hails the Acharya as the occupier of this throne. Many regard Goddess Sharada Herself to be moving in the form of the presiding Acharya of the Peetham.
Today, the Sringeri Sharada Peetham bedecked with an unbroken chain of Acharyas continues to uphold the principles of Sanatana Dharma with the 36th Acharya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji acting as a treasure of spiritual wisdom and peace for all seekers.