The Swamiji had an ear for music

The demise of Karnataka’s 111-year-old revered seer, Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt at Tumakuru, has plunged lakhs of people across the State into grief. They say that the seer’s contributions across sectors are unparalleled. Actors, musicians and w

Shivakumara Swami

The demise of Karnataka’s 111-year-old revered seer, Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt at Tumakuru, has plunged lakhs of people across the State into grief. They say that the seer’s contributions across sectors are unparalleled.

Actors, musicians and writers shared their memories of the Siddaganga seer with Metrolife. Here’s what they have to say:  

Venkatesh Kumar, Hindustani classical vocalist

“I last performed at his ‘Shatamanotsava’ celebrations (100th birthday celebration) and took his blessings,” he says. He adds that the Swamiji was a propagator of Basavanna and based his entire life on his teachings. “He never spoke much. His actions defined him,” says Venkatesh. “A lot of children from Siddaganga Mutt have reached great heights in their life today. He always encouraged and appreciated talent, keeping aside cast and creed,” he added.


Sangeetha Katti

Sangeetha Katti, Hindustani classical vocalist
“I sang before the Swamiji as a child. I have performed numerous times in front of Swamiji. Songs like ‘Swami Neenu Shashwata Neenu’, a Basaveshwara Vachana and ‘Enna kayava dandigeya’ were some of his favourites.”

Upendra, Actor and director

“I went to meet him when I was ready to launch my political career. He has helped lakhs of people and given shelter to the homeless. He lived an exemplary life and has given back to society more than what was expected of anyone. It wouldn’t be wrong to call him Vishwa Ratna.”

Devaraj, Actor

“I have had the opportunity to meet him twice. I visited the Mutt about 25 years back to seek his blessings and met him at a friend’s place on another occasion. His simple living and high thinking is something for us to emulate. He lived a healthy life and his eyesight was perfect; he could still read till the end. His love for humanity is well known.”


Pravin Godkhindi

Pravin Godkhindi, flautist

He hasn’t met Swamiji personally but has performed in his mutt twice. “People don’t simply call him ‘Nadedaduva Devaru’,” he says. “From encouraging art to making sure that talented people are brought to the forefront, 
he was an inspiration to many.”

M D Pallavi, Playback singer

She recalls the time when she took her singer friends from overseas to Siddaganga Mutt, back in 2010. “It is indeed a memory to cherish. My friends were taken aback to see the Swamiji possess such grace at the age of 102,” she says. She also recalls a few notable works of Swamiji. “It is not easy to feed thousands of mouths every day. The Mutt is home to many children and I hope it continues to be so,” she adds.

Sudha Belawadi, Actor
“I have not met him but I know that he has done a lot for needy children and has helped educate many. What struck me most about him was his selflessness. He led a disciplined life and surrendered himself to the service of the poor. This generosity must be ingrained in the psyche of a lot of our administrators. Even commoners like us could draw inspiration from the way he led his life and committed himself to the service of the poor and needy. He led a worthy life till the end.”

M K Raghavendra, author and movie critic
“I was involved with some of his institutions in 1983 in Tumkur. His organisations were
always known for selfless service; for example, primary schools for the poor instead of lucrative technical education. Pontiffs of religious sects or orders enjoy enormous influence since even politicians bow to them and they tend to become corrupt and arrogant, but he was a striking exception. He also remained apolitical and neutral despite the pressures on him to support separate religion status for the Lingayat sect. In his extraordinary dignity, he was a role model for religious leaders.”

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