Congress leader Rahul Gandhi received ‘Ishta Linga Deekshe’ from Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana, pontiff of Murugharajendra Mutt in Chitradurga district, on Wednesday. This is one of the prominent mutts of Veerashaiva-Lingayats, a powerful community that is largely seen as being loyal to the BJP.
The seer conducted the ‘Ishta Linga Deekshe’ ceremony, considered an important ritual in the Lingayat sect. The seer offered Mr. Gandhi an Ishta Linga and applied vibhuthi on his forehead.
Mr. Gandhi told the seer that he would worship the Ishta Linga and follow Basavanna’s philosophy. He also requested the seer to send a representative of the mutt to his place so that he could learn the rituals associated with the Ishta Linga.
Speaking to the media, Shivamurthy Sharana said Mr. Gandhi was curious to know the heritage and philosophy of the mutt. “As he was keen to learn about the way we offer our prayers, I demonstrated to him the Ishta Linga puja (worshipping of the Ishta Linga),” he said.
“Mr. Gandhi then showed interest to have ‘Ishta Linga Deekshe’. I offered him the Ishta Linga. He accepted it happily,” the seer said. “The ceremony was not scheduled in advance.”
KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, who spoke at the meeting, said: “Mr. Gandhi has not come here to seek political support from the mutt, but to show his respect to the seer.”
‘Country needs Modi’
Interestingly, a few minutes before Mr. Gandhi’s visit to the mutt, Shivamurthy Sharana had said that the country needed leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking to the media, he said that under the leadership of Mr. Modi, the country had emerged strong in many fields.