At Krishna village, funeral rites are done without fee
DECCAN CHRONICLE | P.V. Prasad
Kurnool: Rigveda Purohits of Agraharam in Krishna village at the confluence of Krishna and Bhima rivers in Narayanapet district of Telangana are unique in that they conduct Apara Kriya – post-death rituals – without demanding any money. They accept whatever is offered by family members of the departed.
They are a boon for the poor and middle classes, who arrive at the huge ghat where post-death rituals, including immersing of the ashes in Sangam (point of confluence of rivers), are performed for those who have passed away.
Select Brahmins of Agraharam have been performing the Apara Kriya in this manner for the past 200 years. The post-death services without the demand for money started with Mahadeva Deekshit, grandfather of present Guru Amar Deekshit. The service has acquired fame, with people from only Telugu states, but also from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra visiting the Krishna village for performing rituals of their departed.
"My father Venkateswara Deekshit directed me to accept whatever is offered by people using our services. As per his orders, we keep this money in a box without counting it. My father also told me to provide food and accommodation with due courtesy without making any demands for payment. He said we will never be short of money if we provide services in this manner," says a humble Amar Deekshit.
Amar Deekshit’s son Ajith Deekshit has been studying the Rigveda Apara Kriya course at Gangotri Veda Pathasala in Gulbarga for past 10 years. There are also four other Purohits – Suresh Bhat, Sagar Bhat, Anandachar and Prafullachar who similarly perform Apara Kriya without demanding money.
"Ashes of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao and others have been immersed here," underlines Amar Deekshit. He has gone on to underline a major problem that people coming to perform the last rites are facing.
The Purohit said the train stop at Krishna Station had been cancelled during the Coronavirus pandemic. This is causing inconvenience to many people coming for rituals. He requested the government to consider restoration of the train halt for convenience of the people.
B. Prasad Rao from Kalavapalle in Badvel mandal of YSR district said they have been visiting Krishna village for post-death rituals of their family members since 2009. "None has demanded any money from them. They took the money offered without even counting it," says Prasad.
The place is also known for the tombs of Krishna Dwaipayana Swamy of Vaishnava Sampradya and Sri Yadavendra Swamy, contemporary of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. Both these revered souls had taken Jeeva Samadhi by leaving their physical bodies of their own accord.
Purohits in the area say Krishna village had been referred to as Dakshina Kasi in the bygone era.