It is said that It is said that in the early years of this millennium, superiority in the achievement of knowledge was determined through philosophical debates about permanence of self and existence. Shankara travelled the length and breadth of India propagating his Adwaita theory which says that the Self or divinity is present in every expression of life. One of the learned men he held a debate with was Mandana Mishra, a famous scholar. When Mishra was defeated, his wife “Sharada”, an equally learned scholar and considered to be a manifestation of Goddess Saraswati herself, challenged Shankara to a debate, with the condition that whoever lost would be a follower of the winner for ever.
According to the deal, Sarada lost and started following Shankara where ever he went. Shankara was a sanyasi and hence couldn’t let a woman follow him all the time. nd he did not know how to leave her behind. So when he came to the banks of the Tunga River in Sringeri in Karnataka, he asked her to wait on the shore while he swam across to find a suitable site to build his ashram. Legend says that Shankara went across the Tunga River and never returned. “Sharada” has waited forever on the other bank of the river ever since. Shankara later built the Sharada Peeth – the original one – in Sringeri on the banks of the Tunga River, that is the Saraswati temple most celebrated and visited by devotees in India.