Udupi: Sri Vishvesha Teertha Swami of the Pejawar Adhokshaja Matha in Udupi, who was a prominent face of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the ‘90s, breathed his last on Sunday morning.
The eighty-eight-year old swami, the seniormost pontiff among the Madhwa seers in Udupi, played a pivotal role in the installation of the Ram Lalla idol at the temporary temple set up after the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. He expressed his happiness over the recent Ayodhya verdict when the land at the disputed site was handed over for the construction of a temple . He said, “I never thought the verdict would come in my lifetime”
The seer was on life support since December 20, after his health condition deteriorated following a pneumonia attack. His condition turned very critical after he suffered brain dysfunction on Saturday night. His junior, Sri Vishwaprasanna Teertha decided to bring back the senior pontiff to the matha as he had expressed the desire to spend his last moments at the institution.
After various religious rituals, the mortal remains were taken to the Ajjarkad ground in Udupi, where they were kept for public viewing. Later, it was airlifted to Bengaluru for the last rites.
Born on April 27, 1931 as Venkatarama, the Pejawar Swami became matadhipathi at the young age of eight and assumed the name Sri Vishwesha Teertha. Known for his revolutionary steps, several of his moves were criticised by his rivals and orthodox Brahmins.
The initiative to form the Akhila Bharatha Madhwa Mahamandala took him to task for visiting a Dalit colony.
While Leftist organisations challenged him to get rid of the practice of ‘Pankti Beda,’ (separate sitting arrangements for Brahmins), he drew flak from the extreme right too for organising an ‘Iftar’ for Muslims at Krishna Matha two years ago.
With progressive thinkers condemning the ‘Adda Pallakki Utsava’ he stopped the age-old practice of people carrying swamis on palanquin....