Having finished his fifth term as Paryaya Swami of the Udupi Sri Krishna temple, Pejawar seer Vishwesha Theertha Swami now wants to campaign for the construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya.
The octogenarian seer, who is known for uninhibited views on culture and politics, told Firstpost that one of the resolutions passed in the recently concluded Dharma Sansad in Udupi was to formulate a roadmap for dealing with the opposition to the temple to facilitate its construction.
Vishwesha Theertha Swami is the only seer to have ascended the Paryaya Peetha five times since the system of transferring power between the eight mutts surrounding the Udupi Sri Krishna temple came into being. The Paryaya Swami offers prayers at the Sri Krishna temple and is confined to Udupi town for two years ordained by the norms of the eight mutts. Vidyadheesha Theertha Swami of Palimar Mutt has been assigned the responsibility of the present Paryaya cycle.
Talking about the Ayodhya dispute, the seer said that Ram Janmabhoomi temple is overdue. “Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) should initiate action now. It is not an election issue, but will have wide ranging implications. It is better that the temple be built in the original place and there should be deliberations between the two parties,” he said.
Vishwesha Theertha Swami said he wants to update himself with all the developments in the last two years before beginning to campaign for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been asked to coordinate with the parties opposing the construction of Ram temple. I have been in touch with the seers, but the picture will get clearer once I am there,” he added.
Explaining the terms of Paryaya, Vishwesha Theertha Swami said that after the two-year period of looking after the Sri Krishna temple in Udupi, the seers are expected to propagate the Dwaita (dualism) philosophy across the “Bharat Khanda”.
His immediate attention would be to restart the stalled welfare activities, particularly in the areas of education and health, he said.
The seer had faced the wrath of Hindu hardliners last July for hosting an iftar for Muslims during Ramzan at the Sri Krishna temple. Terming the controversy “needless”, he said, “It was an effort to show solidarity with the minority, to send out a message that minorities’ rights will be protected if need be. Anyway, the namaz was offered in the dining hall, far away from the sanctum sanctorum, so there is no reason for anybody to have a problem.” The seer pointed out that even when Shaiva devotees pray at the Sri Krishna temple in their own style, no one objects them. “If we do not facilitate them, the discord among various Hindu sects and other communities will widen.”
When questioned about the rift between Veerashaivas and Lingayats in the state, the seer said that learned leaders of the “Shaiva fraternity” have deliberated on this issue and they know how to resolve it. “The Shaivas are highly evolved in their religious school of thought,” he said.
The 86-year-old seer said his priorities at this juncture are to complete the work he had taken up in past, which includes construction of a school and a hospital in Hubbali, a hostel in Shivamogga and creating a fund that ensures better pay for teachers, staff and researchers at Poornaprajna Vidyapeeta in Bengaluru.
“If I am alive for the next Paryaya cycle, I would want my junior Vishwaprasanna Theertha to take his first Paryaya,” he said.
M Raghuram is a Mangaluru – based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.