Shri Pejawar Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji
Vishwesha Teertha Seer was a powerful pontiff revered by a large number of devotees, that included top political leaders irrespective of the party affiliation. Most of the national leaders would make Udupi part of their itinerary to take blessings of the seer, during their visits to Karnataka.
He was born in a small village Ramakunja.
Unfortunately, he breathed his last recently at the age of 88 due to pneumonia and lakhs of tweets condoled his death.
His earlier name was Venkatramana Bhat.
He attained sainthood at the age of 8.
Most scholarly pandits have been stunned by the depth and breadth of Shastric knowledge exhibited by him.
- He was known as the ‘Rashtra Swamiji’, and a great social reformer.
- He was very simple and kind-hearted.
- He was commended for his progressive and experimental initiatives to respond to social issues.
Social Service :
He was involved in various social service organizations and is said to have started many educational and social service organizations.
Akhila Bharat Madhwa Maha Mandala
ABMM center started by him is said to have helped many poor students.
It has many hostels all over Karnataka at places like Bengaluru, Hubli, Dharwad, and Bagalkot. These hostels give preference to very-poor students and give them accommodation and food at almost free.
- He played an active role in the Ramjanmabhoomi movement.
- He has also led the Goraksha(Cow protection) movement.
Admired beyond caste and religion :
Pejawar Swamiji treated all castes and religions as equal.
He was appreciated as well as criticized for some of his initiatives like organising Iftar parties to Muslim community members and visiting Dalit colonies which he said was to end discrimination.
He boldly organised Iftar for the Muslim community members during Ramzan at the ancient Sri Krishna math complex in Udupi. For this he was criticised.
Countering the charges against organising Iftar, the seer said that “He was just taking forward Raghavendra swamiji and Madhwacharya tradition of forging amity between Hindus and Muslims.”
He also said allowing Muslims to offer prayers in the temple complex, had in no way not brought any insult to Hindu religion.
“The Muslims, who were invited, had performed namaz as per their traditions and it in no way, brings insult to Hindu religion,” the swamiji said. He also said some people were trying to create a wedge between two communities and disturb the communal harmony.
“People from all religions must be tolerant and co-exist peacefully. God is one to all mankind. Hindus and Muslims should live together in harmony. When there was an attempt to gherao Sri Krishna Temple, Muslims came forward to defend the mutt. There is history where both communities have co-existed peacefully in Udupi. It should become the model for people in Karnataka,” seer said.
He appointed a Muslim driver for his vehicle which was admired my many and for this too he was criticised, but be never cared.
He was socially active and had reached out to Dalits with his visits to their colonies even as he carried on his spiritual activities with equal vigour and endeared thousands of devotees with his inclusive approach during his eight decades of sainthood.
He never cared about critiques.
Pejawar Swami goes on padayatra in Dalit colony :
This was the first time a religious leader has visited houses of dalits.
He called for equality among all Hindus, inlcuding Dalits, and said his visit was aimed at knitting harmony between all classes of people in society.
“I fast as a mark of protest whenever I hear about an atrocity against a dalit in the State,” he said.
He listened and addressed their grievances.
He claimed and added that the society should shun using the word Dalit.
“For years, you have all offered pooja to Hindu Gods. The community is no less to any other Hindus. You must continue to follow the rituals, mass prayers and holding pooja rituals to come out of inferiority complex,” the seer advised them.
A Dalit leader expressed his gratitude to him for his padayatra and said “We are sweepers and we are deeply touched with the swami’s visit. We will follow his advice. We feel Lord Udupi Krishna has come to our colony”.
- He was seeking to curb religious conversion and encourage Dalit communities to join the mainstream and he advised them to quit alcoholism.
- Totally, he was against discrimination and untouchability.
- He was creating a sense of social and communal harmony.
All these instances prove that he was a true secular.
Swamiji’s heart was full of love and compassion. From the prime minister of the country to the poorest of poor, everyone is instantly attracted towards him. Anyone could have his audience any time.
Former union minister Uma Bharti was his disciple.
- He was always available when his followers want him.
- He was constantly and creatively involved in social service.
Delivered discourse in Chaturmasya at Shri Krishnadhama, Mysore:
“Today’s politicians who are fighting for money should understand the situation of Pandavas and Kauravas and move in the path of Dharma,” he said.
“Dharma’s work will only get victory. It is not possible to win by adharma. Even if the victory is gained, it will not last forever. When someone walked in the path of adharma, Lord Shri Krishna was punishing them without discrimination. Dharma is the way to join God,” he advised.
Essence of philosophy towards society :-
“In this ocean of society, the heads of Mathas are like fish. Fish cannot survive without water. Water cannot remain clean without fish,” he said.
After Narendra Modi’s electoral victory and assumption of the office, Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swamiji called on him, and blessed him to serve the people with courage and compassion.
The Prime Minister had also invited the Seer to his office.
Below are some of the pics and condolence tweets :-
Atal Bihari Vajpayee sir taking his blessings.