Pujya Sri Swamiji in Udupi - 6 & 7 March 2001

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Sri Swamiji arrived in Old Udupi helipad near Malpe village on 6th March 2001 at 3.30 PM. Sri Swamiji was on a pilgrimage to the this temple town. The Math officials and the district administration received Sri Swamiji at the Helipad. Sri Swamiji drove to Udupi centre and arrived at the Pejawar Adhokshaja Math, one of the eight Math.

Upon arrival at the Pejawar Math, Sri Vishwa Prasanna Teertha Swamiji, the junior pontiff in the Math received Sri Swamiji. The temple town of Udupi had assembled around the Math to welcome Sri Swamiji.

Udupi is situated near the Arabian Sea coast in Karnataka. Udupi has two other famous temples. They are Anantheswara Temple (Shiva) and Chandra Moulishwara Temple (Shiva). They are situated in front of one another where as the Krishna Temple is to the left of Chandra Mouleeshwara temple. Today the fame of the Krishna temple alone brings to one’s memory the name Udupi.
It is said in the mythology that Parashurama, incarnation of Lord Vishnu performed a Big Yajna and donated all the land which he had conquered as gifts to others. He found it not appropriate to live on a place he had donated and created a new land by emptying the sea and reclaiming a piece of land stretch. This was towards the south-western side of Indian peninsula. This area is called as “Parashurama Kshetra”. Udupi is situated in this area.

In the thirteen century was born Sri Madhwa Charya, the great philosopher. After finishing his studies he felt that the present day spirituality lacked devotional feeling and was mainly logical discussion and logical exercise. He then started the philosophical theory of “Dwaita” (Duality) in which he argued that the world we see is not false and that the Atma and Paramatma are different (hence duality). He also criticised the theory of “Maya” and claimed that it was Vishnu Tattva. He also wrote several works on Maha Bharata, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Puranas etc., The well-known Dasa strain of devotional literature, which propagated the glory of Lord through singing, was enriched by the likes of Kanaka Dasa, Purandara Dasa, Vijaya Vitthala and others based their teachings of this great Dwaita Philosopher. Madhwa Charya settled near Udupi and wrote many of his works. One day while bathing in the sea near Vadabhandeshwara, he discovered a small stone statue of Lord Krishna in the sea and brought it and established the same in Udupi. It is said that the statue was actually from Dwaraka in Gujarat and was lost in the sea when a ship capsized mid ocean and the Lord wanted to settle in Udupi and hence was discovered. Madhwa Charya after installing the Krishna temple arranged eight Ashramas (Ashramas are known as Maths) around Udupi to perform the Puja to the Krishna temple in a cyclic system of two years each. This two-year authority of each Ashrama to perform Pujas in the temple is called as Paryaya. The eight Ashramas are:

1. Palimar Matha – Hrishikesha Teertha
2. Adamaru Matha – Narasimha Teertha
3. Krishnapura Matha – Janardana Teertha
4. Puttige Matha – Upendra Teertha
5. Shirooru Matha – Vamana Teertha
6. Sode Matha – Vishnu Teertha
7. Kaaniyuru Matha – Rama Teertha
8. Pejawara Matha – Adhokshaja Teertha

Presently the Pejawara Matha is in the Paryaya and performs all rites in the temple.

The present senior seer of the Math, His Holiness Viswesha Teertha Sri Padangalavaru (popularly known as Pejawar Swamiji) is widely respected and is very close to Sri Swamiji and has visited Mysore Ashrama many a times. The 74-year-old seer is simple, soft spoken, unassuming and ever smiling. His simple demeanour, appearance, conduct and absence of any pretentiousness have won the hearts of millions of people.

At 5 PM Sri Swamiji was taken in a grand procession from the Math to the Krishna temple. The Junior Pontiff Sri Vishwa Prasanna Teertha Swamiji led the procession. As the procession reached the temple entrance, the senior pontiff His Holiness Sri Viswesha Teertha Swamiji received Sri Swamiji with a garland and a big smile. The three Swamis walked inside to the adjacent of the temple to the Madhwa Teertha, a temple pond. There they sprinkled the water on themselves and left for the temple. The Krishna temple, which was established in the 13th century, is a quaint and old one with a 14-inch tall stone Krishna idol in the centre. The temple does not have regular large door through which the Darshan is done. There is a nine-holed window through which the devotees peer inside to have a glimpse of the great idol. Sri Swamiji had the Darshan of Krishna. There after all three seers sat near the temple and gave Darshan to the devotees. Sri Swamiji then presented RS. One Lakh (One Hundred thousand rupees) to Pejawar Swamiji for the temple maintenance and administration. Sri Swamiji also presented a rare and grand Navaratna Mala having a precious Light blue coloured stone as pendent. Sri Viswesha Teertha happily received it and showed it to His deputy who watched it admiringly. Then the three Swamis went inside for private discussions.

Sri Swamiji was staying in the Pejawara Adhokshaja Math in Ratha Beedhi (Chariot street). This street is a circular one around the temples and the eight Ashramas are situated around this street. The all wooded structure of the Math was remiscient of the ancientness of the town and its Maths. In the evening Sri Swamiji sat with devotees and remembered the various visits of Sri Pejawara Swamiji to Mysore Ashrama. Sri Swamiji recalled that when the seer (who is 74 now) came to Mysore in the thirties as a young Swami, Sri Swamiji’s grandmother was moved by the brightness and the aura he generated and rushed to him and told that he looked like “Bala Krishna” (child Krishna) himself. The young saint smiled and gave her a Saree,” said Sri Swamiji.

On 7th morning Sri Swamiji performed Sri Chakra Puja in the Math premises. Both the seers attended the ritual. Sainath, an old and ardent disciple of Sri Swamiji (he accompanied Sri Swamiji on Mridangam in the fist ever long play disc recorded in Madras in 1976. It is called Nama Sankreertana) and his children offered Music seva. His children played Saxophone while he played Mridangam. After the Puja, the Pejawar Swamiji and his junior seer were offered Sandal paste and Tulasi leaves as Puja Prasadam. They took leave of Sri Swamiji. The Pejawar Swamiji returned and asked us if Sri Swamiji was comfortable. He went on to the kitchen where food was being prepared for Sri Swamiji and instructed the cook to prepare special sweets for Sri Swamiji’s afternoon meal. He also said that he would send Prasadam from the Krishna temple after the noon Puja. Sri Swamiji gave Teertham to all those assembled. Some devotees from the area performed Pada Puja to Sri Swamiji. Thereafter Sri Swamiji retired at 11 AM.

At 4.30 PM, Sri Swamiji proceeded to Geetha Bhavana in Udupi. This monumental museum on Bhagavad-Gita was the brainchild of His Holiness Sri Sugunendra Teertha Swamiji of Puttige Math, one of the eight Ashramas in Udupi. Sri Sugunendra Teertha Swamiji warmly received Sri Swamiji at the entrance. Sri Swamiji remembered the visit of Puttige Swamiji to Mysore Ashrama a couple of years ago. Then Sri Swamiji was taken a tour around the complex. The Puttige Seer is one of the most dynamic Swamis of the eight Ashramas in Udupi. The Geetha Mandir is a standing testimony to his dedication and dynamism. It has in its hollowed chambers, all the Shlokas of Bhagavad Gita sculpted in Sanskrit on a black granite stone. A Christian sculptor carved it. Sri Swamiji was immensely pleased with the display and the décor. The Puttige Seer led Sri Swamiji to the second hall where they have stored thousands of Bhagavad Gita copies published in various languages all over the world. The Puttige seer started a new revolution in the area when he called on them to write all the Shlokas of Bhagavad-Gita offering their prayers to Lord Vishnu and praying for solutions to their problems. Thousands of devotees responded to his call and have written down the Bhagavad Gita in full and have offered them to be stored in the Geetha Bhavan. Sri Swamiji was moved to find heaps and heaps of them in the third hall. Then a small function was held where well-known scholar Bannanje Rama Charya welcomed Sri Swamiji and Sri Swamiji spoke in admiration of the dynamism and magnetic character of the Puttige Swamiji. Sri Puttige Swamiji offered a shawl to Sri Swamiji and spoke on the greatness of Sri Swamiji, His mission and Mysore Ashrama’s cleanliness and spiritual atmosphere.

From Geetha Bhavan Sri Swamiji walked to Raja Angana (auditorium) where a Healing music concert had been arranged. Sri Swamiji played the Ragas Vitapi, Sudha Kalyani and Keeravani. Well-known scholar, Sri U.P.Upadhyaya gave welcome and introductory speech. The Pejawar Swamiji and the Puttige Swamiji listened to the flow of music encompass and immerse them. After the concert, a small honour programme was held. The Pejawara seer, Sri Viswesha Teertha Sri Padangalavaru thanked Sri Swamiji for visiting Udupi during His Paryaya period and requested Sri Swamiji visit again and again. He mentioned that the idea of Rajangana (auditorium) came to him when he was participating in a programme in Nada Mantapa in Ashrama. He also mentioned that Nada Mantapa was at least three times bigger and far cleaner and more aesthetically appealing than the Rajangana. He thanked Sri Swamiji for the hand some contribution of RS. One Lakh (One Hundred Thousand Rupees) and the precious Navaratna Mala for Lord Krishna of Udupi. He profusely lauded the musical therapy Sri Swamiji was propagating in India and abroad as well. He said Swamiji stood for all that is Indian and declared that very few saints had the calibre and range of activities as Sri Swamiji has.

His Holiness Sri Sugunendra Teertha Swamiji of Puttige Math in his speech thanked Sri Swamiji for visiting the Bhagavad Gita Mandir and further said that Swamiji stood for all that is in Gita and goes a step further to Geetha also. He lauded that Sri Swamiji’s music, which was so popular that in all the places he toured in America, he found listening to Sri Swamiji’s music a integral part of one’s daily life. He too lauded the Mysore Ashrama environs and its activities.

Sri Swamiji, in His speech mentioned that His visit to Udupi always brought happiness and energy in Sri Swamiji and that the present visit was in honour of the greatness of Pejawara Swamiji. Sadgurudeva continued saying that the personality of Pejawar Swamiji is one of its kind and that such noble souls are rare to come by. Sri Swamiji lauded the dynamic activities of Puttige Swamiji and invited both seers to visit Mysore. Sri Swamiji requested the Puttige Swamiji to include in the Gita Mandir, the flute of Krishna, whose playing healed many a soul. For this purpose, Swamiji announced a donation of RS. One Lakh.

The Sabha Programmes concluded at 7.15 PM At 8 PM, Sri Swamiji went to the Krishna temple and witnessed from the Garbha Griha the Arati Programme to Lord Krishna and offered prayers there. The Navaratna Mala necklace Sri Swamiji had donated had been decorated on Lord Krishna and looked very beautiful.

At 9 PM, Sri Swamiji, the Pejawara Swamiji and the Kaaniyooru Swamiji emerged out of the temple complex to commence the Rathotsava (chariot festival), which was being held to mark the visit of Sri Swamiji to Udupi. Measuring more than 100 feet tall, the huge and towering chariot was elaborately decorated. Sri Swamiji admired the intricate workmanship of the massive wooden chariot and keenly observed the rituals preceding the chariot pulling. The Statue of Lord Krishna was brought in a Golden Pallakki and was taken up to the chariot and was placed inside. After Pujas, the pulling of the chariot started. The Pejawara Swamiji gave coconuts to many of the devotees who had followed Sri Swamiji and asked them to break them in front of the chariot. After a frenzied coconut breaking ceremony, the chariot started to move. It moves in the circular Ratha Beedi (Chariot street) around which the eight Ashramas are situated. The mammoth chariot slowly moved forward as devotees chanted Krishna Bhajans, Scholars recited Veda Mantras, musicians drummed, pipers piped and dancers danced. Preceding the procession were amusers wearing huge masks, people lighting up the night sky with firecrackers, et al. In all it was a very impressive and poignant event. As the chariot came in front of the Puttige Math, Sri Swamiji saw His Holiness Sugunendra Teertha performing Arati to the chariot. Sri Swamiji started to walk towards Puttige Math and went inside. This impromptu move of Sri Swamiji made the Puttige Seer very happy. He showed around the math and its activities. Sri Swamiji was led to the Vitthala Mandir in the Math and was shown the Vitthala Saligramam. The seers sat and discussed for a few minutes. Sri Swamiji took leave of the Puttige seer and came out. Surprisingly the chariot had stopped and Sri Swamiji walked towards it loudly wondering why it had stopped. As we approached the chariot, we were amazed to see Pejawara Swamiji sitting on a wooden plank on the road waiting for Sri Swamiji. Such was his affection and love for Sri Swamiji. This act of kindness by Pejawara seer endeared him to Sri Swamiji. The chariot moved on. As it approached the Pejawara math, where Sri Swamiji was camping, Sri Swamiji took leave of the festival and bode goodbye to Pejawara seer. Sri Swamiji sat on the front portico and watched the car festival move on. Sri Swamiji sat alone for a little longer and was silent and retired for the day.

On 8th morning Sri Swamiji left Udupi at 7 AM towards Nisarani village in Malnad area. Karnataka state broadly can be divided in to three geographical zones. The plains (Bangalore, Mysore), The Malnad area (Sagar, Shimoga, Bhatkal, Nisarani) and the coastal area (Mangalore, Bhatkal, Honnavara etc.). The journey took us through some of the most picturesque and breathtaking areas of the state. On the left was the calm and might Arabian sea and on the right was the Sharavati river flowing its last few kilometres as an independent river before joining Arabian Sea. Behind the river were the mighty peaks of the western ghats elevating the loftiness of the sight. Sri Swamiji stopped enroute and washed His holy feet in the sea.
Then while passing through Honnavara town, Sri Swamiji said “there is a Durga temple in this town. I must visit it”. Then upon inquiries and travel through some rough patches, we came to the front of a small temple. Sri Swamiji went inside and performed Arati to mother Goddess and gave Vibhuti Prasad to those who assembled by then. Sri Swamiji exhorted them to care for the temple and its betterment. Sri Swamiji then proceeded to Nisarani village in Sagar Taluk (sub division) and stayed in the house of Sri Pad Hegde for two days. On 9th, Sri Swamiji laid the foundation for a Bhajan Hall in the small Lakshminarayana temple in their village. As it was Purnima day, Sri Swamiji performed Pavamana Homa and offered Purnahuti. Sri Swamiji also blessed about 400 school children who came there to see Sri Swamiji. In the evening, Sri Swamiji visited Shirur village and inaugurated SGS enterprises.
On 10th Sri Swamiji left Nisarani at 7 AM and visited the Shankara Math in Bhadravati and blessed them with a wonderful discourse on the purpose of life and its achievements.

Sri Swamiji arrived in Mysore on the same day at 4 PM.

Sri Guru Datta

Compiled by Prasad