The images of the recent ‘Iftar Party’ arranged by Sri Udupi Krishna Mutt on the day of Ramzan festival and ‘Namaaz’ inside the sacred temple premises made rounds on Social Media faster than the speed of light! Hindus across the country reacted strongly against it. Some Hindus went a step ahead to confer the choicest curses and abuses on Swamiji ! Things have been blown out of proportion. The fake propaganda has been added to spice up the actual event resulting in magnifying the Hindu outrage. The Iftar party has been hyped as the end of Hinduism! There is turmoil of questions rising in the restless minds of Hindus.
Here’s an attempt to pacify my pained Hindu kinfolks with the correct facts. Sri Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji has selflessly dedicated 80 active years of his life for the betterment of Sanatana Dharma. Failing him over the half knowledge of one incident is as good as failing ourselves. Let’s address the issues one by one.
QUESTION- Iftar Party for Cow-eaters ?
No, not cow-eaters. Most of them not even Non-vegetarians. In fact they help swamiji in his mission of Gau-raksha. These Muslims are the staunch followers of Swamiji from last 25 years. They pray to Krishna as well as Allah. They chant Krishna Mantra every day as advised by Swamiji. They donate liberally to Udupi Krishna Temple. They save cows from slaughter-houses and bring safely to the Goshala at Neelavara, Udupi. Swamiji is running this Goshala under the supervision of Junior Pejavara Seer Sri sri Vishwaprasanna Swamiji protecting 1200 aged cows saved from slaughter houses. Many of these cows have been saved by these Muslim Followers. A few of these Muslim Followers collectively donate grass worth Rs 40000/ for grazing of cows every month. Check the image below. The man clad in jeans serving food from a steel bucket is Manoj, Swamiji’s personal driver. His original name was Mansood and he converted to Hinduism 16 years back due to the influence of Swamiji.
QUESTION- Iftar Party by a Hindu Guru?
And why not? As per Sanatana Dharma, one who is hungry , is eligible for offering food irrespective of religion, caste, status etc. And these are the followers of Swamiji. That forms a bond of Guru-Shishya between Swamiji and these Muslims. Swamiji is a prominent part of their lives. They call Swamiji for the inaugurations of their Mosques. They invite Swamiji to their houses on special occasions and wash his feet. They have stood in solidarity with Swamiji whenever Congress and other fringe elements have targeted Krishna Temple. These Muslims have formed a committee to work for Krishna Temple. The Iftar party was a special gesture shown by our socially aware Swamiji to reciprocate the feelings of his Muslim followers. This iftar Party was not the type of political stunt that Mamata or Sonia do. It was a real ‘Harmony Feast’ amidst the smiling Guru and emotional and overwhelmed Muslims.
When we hear about UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s bond with Muslims in Gorakhpur Temple Trust, our hearts swell with pride. Why should our hearts shrink in horror when Pejavara Swamiji bonds with Muslim Followers?
QUESTION- Non-Brahmins not allowed, but Muslims are welcome?
That’s a blatant lie peddled on Social Media to bring divide among Brahmins and Non-Brahmins. Actually, the Muslim followers were served fruits and dates feast in ‘Anna Brahma Choultry’. Anna Brahma hall is a Public Hall open to the visitors from all religions, castes and creeds. Hundreds of Christians and Muslims savor free Satvik food in Anna Brahma Hall on a daily basis. NO TRADITIONAL COMPROMISE WAS MADE FOR THIS IFTAR PARTY. No rules of the Temple were broken. Muslims have always been taking their food in Anna Brahma, a public hall. This isn’t unusual.
QUESTION- Namaz in Krishna Temple premises?
As per Swamiji’s clarification, this was an unexpected turn of event for Swamiji. When Muslims requested a place for prayer to be performed after the feast, he allowed them to perform namaz in the attic side of the Public Dining hall. As simple as that.
But Hindus were offended that Lord Krishna was made to listen to this Namaz praising Allah as the Supreme God. Now, I would like to ask these so called Hindus a simple question. Do you guys really believe that there is anyone named Allah up there as per your Hindu Philosophy? The answer to this question was given by Jagadguru Sri Madhwacharya in 13th Century to a Mughal king. “The Supreme Power that rules the Universe has been perceived by different faiths as per their spiritual outreach. Muslims call it ‘Allah’, Christians ‘Lord Almighty’, and Hindus ‘Vishnu’. In that sense, Allah, God and Vishnu are all one and the same…Synonyms for a Supreme Power of the Universe.” It’s another matter that Hinduism enlightens us about the ‘Roopa’ ‘Guna’, ‘Kriya’ ( Looks, Qualities and actions) of that Supreme power and takes us beyond Swarg/Jannat/ Heaven and Narak/Jahannum/ Hell further on the path of Moksha.
To put it in a nutshell, Swamiji said it correctly that the namaz is a just a prayer to God and doesn’t bring Hinduism in danger.
QUESTION- But why??? What was the need?
In a diverse country like India, there is plenty of need for our Dharmagurus to come out of their comfort zone for the survival of Sanatana Dharma. There is the need of the time to maintain cordial relationship with all the Religious Faiths and Intra- Hinduism sects. More so in the states ruled by anti-Hindu Congress and their allies.
Political Scenario– The rock-solid Foundation of Hinduism, Udupi Sri Krinshna Temple has always been an eyesore for the anti-Hindu party, Congress. And our Swamiji is after all from the enemy camp, being the hardcore supporter of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and one of the prominent leaders in the ‘Ramjanmabhoomi’ movement. As is well known, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has personally boycotted Udupi Krishna Temple from last 12 years as a political gimmick. Since 2005, Siddaramaiah has trapped a votebank of large portion of Dalit Hindus called ‘Kuruba’ (Shepherds’) community by instigating and supporting protests against Udupi Mutt over the Kanaka Gopura issue. CM is egoistically eying Udupi Krishna Mutt along with other prodigious temples to grab under Muzrai control. Muslim followers of Swamiji are the strong support base of Udupi Krishna Temple in such adverse times.
Demographical Scenario– The coastal area of South Karnataka is demographically balanced between Hindu and Muslim population. Thanks to the influence of Swamiji, there is an amicable relationship between both the communities in the towns like Bhatkal, Karavali etc near and around Udupi . Shia Muslims form a greater percentage of Muslim Population in South Karnataka Districts. The young generation of Shia Muslims respects Pejavara Swamiji a lot. It is a need of the hour for our Dharmagurus to adopt all-inclusive approach rather than breed hostility through exclusion, for the religious harmony among the diverse population.
Social Scenario-Pejavara Swamiji has always been a social reformer since his young days. When he was just a 10 years old Bala- Sanyasi, the occurrence of one incident ignited in him the necessity to establish Humanity as the main religion. Once, a Muslim child fell accidentally into a massive well that was used only by Brahmins. No Brahmin wanted to touch the drowning Muslim child due to the taboo of untouchability. Though the child was rescued by someone, young Swamiji was shocked to witness the religious fear killing the basic quality of Humanity among Brahmins. Since that tender age, Swamiji has worked hard to reach out to Dalits , Muslims and Christians open-mindedly. That is the reason why we see pilgrims belonging to different religions and castes in Udupi Krishna Temple. After all Krishna belongs to all! He dwells in all jeevas irrespective of the form of the outer bodies. He is the Supreme Controller of the Universe!
I hope this write-up clears your grievances against His Holiness, Sri Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji! An article on the life-journey of Swamiji and his accomplishments in the enrichment of Sanatana Dharma will be published soon.
Jai Sri Krishna!
Jyothi Suparna Chincholi