Vishwesha Theertha Swami of Pejawar Mutt passed away on Saturday after suffering from pneumonia. He was 88. He was admitted to KMC Hospital, Manipal, on December 20 and was kept on life support.
Here are 10 things to know about his life:
1. The Pejawar seer was given the name Venkataramana by his parents due to his Satvik nature.
2. He was initiated as a sanyasi on December 2, 1938, at Chakratheertha, near Hampi, by the then head of the Pejawar Mutt, Vishva Manya Theertha Swami. After his initiation in the 8th year of his age, he was named Vishwesha Theertha Swami.
3. He was an exceptional scholar in Nyaya, Vedanta and other branches of philosophy. He outdid many popular scholars such as Maharaja of Kochi, the Vice-chancellor of Pune University Sri Datto Vamana Poddar, the Vidwan of Kashi Mahamahopadhyay Rajarajeshwara Shastri, Ramachandra Shastri Khadanga, Sri Sringeri Jagadguru and many others.
4. He also had strong poetic abilities. He wrote a Sanskrit poem called 'Samba Vijaya'.
5. To propagate the philosophy of truth of Srimadacharya, the Pejawar seer founded Purnaprajna Vidyapeetha in Bangalore in 1956. The Vidyapeetha is contributing to hundreds of scholars and Yagnikas every year.
6. He considered Dalits to be an integral part of Hindu society. He reviewed the traditional practice of untouchability. He effectively countered the controversy over the conversion of Dalits in the Meenakshipuram area in Tamil Nadu.
7. He extended the domain of mutts from Pada-pooja, Bhiksha, Madi and other rituals to various other social activities. Some such activities involve free medication to the poor and needy, the establishment of school, pre-university, undergraduate college and an Ayurveda college.
8. The Pejawar seer also opposed the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. He wrote a protest letter against the Emergency and was ready to serve a prison sentence.
9. He was at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. After the Supreme Court's verdict on the Ayodhya case, he attended a peace meeting in New Delhi. He also warned of hunger strike if either the Hindu or Muslim community held a victory procession or resorted to post-verdict violence.
10. He worked for the prevention of cow slaughter. He went for a day-long hunger strike for the campaign to save cattle. He also suggested making the cow the national animal of India.