Personality: A Swamiji for All Faiths - Sri Vidyaprasannateertha

May 31, 2008

Karnataka is famous for its diversity in temples and the legacies that they hold. The Kukke Subramanya Temple is one of the most famous temples of the state. This temple is located on the banks of the river Dhara, which according to mythology, has a sacred past.

Every temple of Karnataka sings the legacy of god and articulates the history of Hindu mythology. It is said that Lord Kumaraswamy after killing the ruler Tarakasura and Shoorapadmasura in a battle came down to this place. He washed his Shakti Ayudha (an axe used in battle) in the water of the Dhara river that flows from the Kumara mountain. From this incident the river came to be known as Kumaradhara.

The Kukke Subramanya Temple is situated in the village of Sullia taluk in South Kanara, and is about 100 km far from Mangalore city. In the past Subramanya used to be recognized as Kukke Pattana.

The head of the Subramanya Math is widely popular and a man of respect Sri Sri Vidyaprasannateertha Swamiji.

His lifestyle is not only impressive and inspiring to a common man but also a role model to all spiritual leaders. His place of stay reflects the true meaning of 'Math' where there are hardly any lights or fans. No A/C , no furniture, no modern luxury items. A humble, simple and highly spiritual Swamiji shared his achievements and views with Daijiworld editor-in-chief Walter Nandalike at his Math.

Early Life:

The most non-controversial, spotless 40-year-old Sri Vidyaprasannateertha Swamiji is the 40th Mathadeesha (head of Math) of Kukke Subramanya. Hailing from Madhwacharya background, he is a Shivalli Brahmin. He is heading the Math for the 11th consecutive year.

Born near Ellare village of Karkala to the late Subraya Joise and Mahalaxmi Joise, Swamiji's actual name is Shridhar Joise. He completed his early education from Government Higher Primary School, Ellare. He later studied Vedanatha, Vyakarana, and Nyayashatra for 12 years at Samskritha Gurukula Vidya Peeta, Bangalore while also completing his SSLC, PUC, BA and MA by attending evening classes simultaneously.

After completing Nyaya Shastra (law) he served as professor in Vidya Peeta Sanskrata College.

Social Commitments:

On February 24, 1997 Sridhara Joise became Sri Sri Vidyatheerthaprasanna Swami and took charge of the ashram and became Matadeesha for Subramanya Math.

Swamiji is one of the rare personalities among Math leaders who is popular among all communities irrespective of religion, language, caste or creed. He leads a simple life and loves serving the poor.

He has brought religious revolution within and outside the community, and laid special stress on maintaining and spreading Indian culture.

His social work has been appreciated by many. Among his gifts to the society is the Sadananda hospital in Subramanya established to serve the poor with free medical facilities. Nitte Vinay Hegde and Dharmasthala Veerendra Hegde are supporting this project.

Also in Bilinele, Subramanya, he is running a high school where more than 475 children are getting education for FREE.

The above two causes are an eye-opener for many religious leaders and institutions to follow similar causes for the poor.

Swamiji has also taken the initiative of promoting the plantation around Kukke Subramanya area. A Gurukula to learn Sanskrit language is his dream and he is confident that support from like-minded people will turn his dream in to reality.

His immense concern towards the poor and the orphans makes him stand above other religious leaders, as he truly touches the souls of the underprivileged.

Daily Life:

Swamiji's day starts at 4 am with a 20-minute Yogasana and then about four hours of non-stop puja (prayers).

After 8.30 am he attends general programmes in the Temple, and whenever gets time he teaches Sanskrit to the students in the Temple.

At 12 noon he performs Maha Puja, followed by lunch.

He does not take siesta after lunch and instead spends his time attending Temple programmes and meeting people.

At 7 pm it is again time for prayers followed by dinner around 9 pm.

He reads for a while before calling it a day at 11 pm.

He has never travelled overseas, and does not want to associate himself with any controversy over travelling abroad like other Swamijis. But he says that he has had many offers from USA and other western countries to visit, all of which he has politely rejected.

His views on communal harmony in South Canara:

Swamiji believes that South kanara is one of the most peaceful places in the country, and compared to other places, communal misunderstanding is lesser here. But sometimes, due to misunderstandings things go wrong. It is not the common people who are responsible for such communal disharmony, but the political leaders who create unrest for selfish reasons, he opines.

His views on modern technology:

Though Swamiji leads a simple life without much modern technological facilities, he is not against to the same. He says, one should use modern technology for personal as well as social development but without adversely affecting culture.

His message to Daijiworld readers:

'The young generation must keep Indian culture alive forever. I advise and request everyone not to forget our own Indian culture, live peacefully, and do not get lured to tread the wrong path for momentary happiness. I specially request the youth of our nation and our community in particular not to embrace western culture. Always respect your elders and obey your parents - that is the best blessing one would get in his or her life. All religions must follow the path of tolerance and peace. Without peace, human life is incomplete. All religions must teach people to live without causing problems to others. Every human being must see his fellow being with great respect.'

Walter Nandalike - Recent archives:

by Walter Nandalike
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Comment on this article

  • Varun C R , Bangalore

    Thu, Jan 22 2009

    Of the very few people i have had the opportunity to interact closely and to join hands with him in some of his activities. I call myself a shankarite but still i have profound bhakti towards this swamiji. very few you find in this earth who are so enthusiastic and pro mankind. In the closed well of achaara when most of the madhwa mutts are keeping itself away from the common man, this great soul has even reached the dalits and helped them. The school, hospital and his atmost efforts to collect and protect the culture and releigon should be much appriciated. It is a true blissful exprience to work for his ideas. More such guru's come and take this world from darkness to light.

  • Om Prakash Gupta, Calcutta

    Wed, Aug 13 2008

    Dear Walter, I am intereted in knowing more about Kukke Subramanya Temple. While going thru internet, I came across this site. I was delighted to read about Swami ji. It was interesting to know about holy guru. May swami ji bless us.

  • Kiran, Manipal/USA

    Tue, Jun 03 2008

    Thanks for bringing to light a shining gem, an example for people in positions where they can make a difference, but refuse to do so.

  • Hilda d silva, kallianpur

    Mon, Jun 02 2008

    Thank You Walter for enlighteningus on the life of this Swamiji.We need role models today and not preachers who do not practice, who sow the seeds of disharmony in this great country of ours.My respects to swamiji- Hilda

  • M. A. D'souza, Ajekar/Kuwait

    Sun, Jun 01 2008

    Great example for the hypocrite politicians. Well done Mr. Walter.

  • Abdulla Madumoole, Abu Dhabi

    Sat, May 31 2008

    Sri Vidyaprasanna Swamiji seems to be following the teachings of Bhagavadgeetha "Karmanye Vadhika Raasthe Ma Faleshu Kadachana...." in letter and spirit. He is a role model not only for his desciples but also he is a role model for all other modern day swamijis.

    Dear Sri Swamiji, I admire you and I respect you. Your simple living and high thinking impressed me very much.

    Thanks Daiji for throwing light on a simple but great personality.


    Sat, May 31 2008

    Kukke Subramanya is one of the most revered temples by Hindus. Here the God Subrahmanya is worshipped for his divine power as a snake as the epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other snakes found safety under God Subrahmanya.. Sarpa Samskara / Sarpa Dosha is one of the poojas performed at this temple by devotees to get rid of the sarpa dosha (according to belief, a person either in this birth or any of his previous births can be afflicted by the sarpa (serpent) dosha (curse) either knowingly or un-knowingly through many ways..

    My recent visit to this heavenly abode of Lord Subramanaya six month ago to eliminate ‘Sarpa Dosa’ was a divine experience though marred due to condition of Roads linking to Kukke. Under the supervision of the Math the whole campus has been kept very clean and neat however the sanitation in wash rooms in front of the temple by the sides of the road is in bad state and the supervision of ‘unruly’ selfish crowd while performing ‘Sarpa Samskara’ rituals is not up to the mark and is disturbing.

    Though visited by the loads of Politicians and Govt officials every day to wash their ‘dirt’ this approach Road is unbelievably kept bad and unworthy for vehicular traffic. Local people say year after year s sort of ‘eye wash’ repair happens and after rainy season the road comes back to the earlier worst state. Through this page of our favorite website Daijiworld, I humbly request the beloved and respected Swamiji to use his power to make the present Govt to take up this issue on very urgent priority. Thanks Walty & Daiji for making us to know more about Sri Sri Vidyaprasannateertha Swamiji & his social concerns.

  • Pavitra, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Sat, May 31 2008

    Thanks Daiji World for bringing out a beautiful article on the swamy. Hats off to you Mr. Nandalike for looking out of the sphere and venturing to write about a swami and his simplicity. Finally we the younger generation bow down to you Swamiji in admiration to your good work and life of sacrifice. May the paramatma grant you good health and a long life to work for the benefit of the needy and downtrodden. Sarve jana sukino bhavanthu.

  • Snbangs, Thannirubhavi-mumbai

    Sat, May 31 2008

    Amidst Fake Gurus & Godmen, Sawamiji is a gem. May God bless Him


    Sat, May 31 2008


  • Vasu K Amin, Mangalore

    Sat, May 31 2008

    It was nice to read about the Swamiji. It is very rare that we find this kind of people.

  • Denzil Fernandes, Dubai

    Sat, May 31 2008

    A true Swami befitting his image and position. If ever there is anyone who steps into the temple, church or mosque to profess the good teachings of his creator then he should follow what Sri Vidyaprasannateertha Swami says.

    Despite his ability to benefit from all modern luxuries, the swami lives a simple and hard life without any special comforts which surely says a lot about the holy man. Most, if not all of today's so called men and women who pretend to serve God take the best in life and have a great time. In comparison, the common man has a tough life to grind and earn his daily bread. But Sri Vidyaprassanteertha is a class apart with his noble ideals and practice.

    His universal message especially is an eye opener to members of all religions and communities to join hands and work together for the betterment of humnanity. Long live Sri Vidyaprassanteertha swami. We need more like the swami in this world for peaceful coexistence.

  • Alfred J. Rebello, Kundapur/Dubai

    Sat, May 31 2008

    If the central Government had to do what this Swamiji has been doing to the poor without any descrimination, rather implementing OBC or reservations for the poor, the poor would have benefitted better as well as only qualifeid people would get the seats for professional education. The reservations or OBC, will make un-professionals professionals and which is dangerous to the society. For me, the policy of the central Government to implement OBC or reservations is only for vote bank rather helping truly to the poor.

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