Staff Correspondent

‘I don’t regret my visits to foreign countries’

Udupi: The Puttige Math performed the “Dhanya Muhurta” (Bhatta Muhurta) here on Monday. Elaborate rituals marked the occasion. The Dhanya Muhurta is the last of the preliminaries before the next Paryaya festival. Sri Sugunendra Tirtha Swamiji of Puttige Math would be ascending the “Paryaya Peetha” on January 18, 2008.

The Bhatta Muhurta is held just two months before the Paryaya festival. The paddy from the new crop is gathered for the Paryaya and the procession starts from the Puttige Math after the offer of prayers. A bag of paddy is placed in a palanquin covered with silk cloth. The procession then moves to “Badagu Maalige” at the Sri Krishna Temple premises, which is the storehouse for the Paryaya. The bag of paddy is kept on a platform and the priests offer prayers there. Later a dome is placed on the top of the firewood chariot near the temple.

The MLA K. Raghupati Bhat was present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Sri Sugunendra Tirtha said that a written constitution was necessary to govern the affairs of the “Ashta Maths”. An unnecessary controversy had been created over his visit to foreign countries, he said. There was no ban on crossing the seas for propagating religion/philosophy in any of the religious texts. Even in the case of celebration of the “Ekadashi”, there was no unanimity between the Ashta Maths. Four Maths celebrated “Ekadashi” on one day, while the remaining four celebrated it on another day, he said.

He added that he had visited the U.S. to propagate the Dwaita philosophy, on the invitation of people following the Dwaita philosophy. Before visiting the U.S. for the first time, he had met all the seers of the Ashta Maths to get their opinion. But they all gave differing opinions. Finally, he had decided to go to the U.S. after deep contemplation. He had attended various religious conferences there and had held discussions on religion at the Arizona State University, Florida University and other universities. He had established a Krishna Temple in the U.S. He also visited Chechnya even though there was a threat to his life.

“I don’t regret my visits to foreign countries. No one can stop me from propagating the Dwaita philsophy. There is no question of my giving up the right to worship Lord Krishna (at the Sri Krishna Temple/Math in Udupi). Till such time a written constitution for the Ashta Maths is prepared, status quo should prevail. Controversies, if any, should be referred to the Constitution Formulation Committee,” the seer said.

He said there should be no doubt in the minds of the devotees regarding his ascension to the “Paryaya Peetha”. He said three experts Sripati Acharya, Nagaraj Acharya, and Prasanna Acharya would represent the Puttige Math in the Constitution Formulation Committee. The seer sought the cooperation of all the seers of the Ashta Maths on the issue of framing a constitution. Earlier, some individuals had objected to Sugunendra Tirtha ascending the “Paryaya Peetha” on the grounds that he had crossed the sea — “Saagarolangana”.