Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti has the distinction of being the first woman chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. But closer home, she is one of the first female disciples of the Udupi Mutt.
And it was Pejawar Mutt pontiff Vishwesha Theertha Swami who gave her the ‘Sadhvi Deeksha’, or initiation into the spiritual or ascetic life.
Bharti, a former Union minister and currently BJP’s national vice-president, was introduced to the seer by Rajamata of Gwalior in 1987. She received her Sanyasa Deeksha in 1992.
In 2016, when Vishwesha Theertha ascended the Paryaya Peetha for a record fifth time, Bharti was among the attendees. On the occasion, Bharti had described the seer as ‘more like a mother than a father-figure.
While the 88-year-old seer battled for life at the KMC Hospital in Manipal, Bharti camped in Udupi praying for her guru. “The Pejawar seer is one of the greatest sages. He is not only my guru, but a father figure to me,” she said.
In 2018, Bharti took the initiative for the felicitation programme to celebrate the completion of eight decades of the seer’s initiation to asceticism.