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Dharmadhikari Dr. D Veerendra Heggade, Dharmsthala


The venerable Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade is a personification of benevolence and altruism. The 'Dharmadhikari' of Dharmasthala is a leader, philanthropist, educationist, social reformer, and an emissary of art and culture.

The Person

Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade is the 'Dharmadhikari' of Dharmasthala , a temple town situated in South Kanara. 'Dharmadhikari' is a religious head who instills lofty and spiritual values among seekers who come to him. Dr. D. Veeerendra Heggade was born on November 25th 1948. He was the eldest son of Ratnavarma Heggade, former Dharmadhikari of the temple. He was a brilliant and sensible child. After his initial schooling, he was educated at St Joseph and Government Arts College in Bangalore. Dr. D.Veerendra Heggade was made the Dharmadhikari on October 24, 1968, after the demise of his father. He was then preparing for his graduation from Bangalore University. Ever since he has worked for the betterment of society. He has won renown and adoration for the simplicity of his nature and nobility of action. He has been a guardian figure and a last resort for many a suffering soul.

The Place

Dharmasthala is a pilgrimage centre situated in the mountainous region of the coastal area of South Kanara district in Karnataka. It is a confluence if different religion and faith. Lord Manjunatha is worshiped here along with Lord Chandranatha and Lord Bahubali.

The Antecedents

There is a legend connected with the history of Dharmasthala. Dharmasthala was originally known as Kueluma. Birmanna Pergade was the Jain chieftain of this village. He and his wife Ammu Ballathi lived in Neliyadi Beedu, which was once visited by the guardian angels of Dharma in human form. Satisfied with the hospitality of the couple, they came in pergade's dream and instructed him to propagate Dharma. He followed the instruction of the guardian angles and built up a shrine. Vadiraja Swamiji of Udupi ensecrated the idol of Lord Manjunatha - the abode of religion and charity.

ACHIEVEMENTS

His achievements in the field of EDUCATION, SOCIAL WELFARE, MEDICINE and ART, LITERATURE & CULTURE is phenomenal. The Shri Kshetra has also seen noteworthy changes and new dimension under his administration.

Field of EDUCATION:

In the field of education Shri Heggade has contributed enormously. He has been atronizing and managing many important educational institutions in several parts of Karnataka. Free students Hostel have been opened to cater to the needs of the students. He has opened many technical and vocational institutions that impart skill oriented training. SHRI MANJUNATHESWARA VANIJYA VIDYA KENDRA, THE NETRAVATI KUSHAL KAIGARIKA KENDRA and the MANJUSHRI MUDRANALAYA are some of them.

He has increased the number of schools and opened many new colleges. A law college and a college of Business Management was established in Mangalore. Engineering and Dental Science colleges were started in Dharwad. An Ayurvedic college was opened in Hassan.The Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Naturopathy and Yoga Science College was started in Ujire. A high School was opened in Belalu a backward village in the Taluk of Beltangady.

The rejuvenation and modernization of old school and college buildings is an on-going project under his guidance. He adopted the Janatha Sikshana Samithi of Dharwad in 1973. The management of Ayurevedic College was taken over and a new building was constructed for it. New blocks of buildings were constructed and handed over to the First Grade College at Honnavar; Dhavala College , Mudabidri; The first Grade College ar K.R. Nagar near Mysore; the science college of Janatha Shikshana Samithi and Kabbur Polytechnic Institute Dharwad. New buildings were also built for SDM Higher Primary School , Ujire and SDM Higher Primary School , Dharmasthala.Field of ART, LITERATURE & CULTURE:

Seminars on religion and literature are being conducted every year. He has also started a LALITHA KALA GOSTHI during the same time. The Ratnavarma Endowment Lecture and Intercollegiate Debates and competitions were started from 1974. Help was given to conduct Seminars on Literature in Chickmanglur, Madekeri and Sirsi. A Yakshagana Training center has been started in Dharmasthala to promote the folk art of Yakshagana. The setting up of the Manjusha museums an achievement of Shri Heggade. It includes the very rare of things. An old copy of Atharva Veda printed in Germany, a bible in French, a pocket size Quran, wide variety of paintings, idols, sculptures, models of Mohenjodaro jewelry, satellites, computers, telephones, calculators, cameras, sewing machines and many others are kept there. Shri Veerendra Heggade started holding the Fine Arts gathering from 1973. The artists and writers are honored on the occasion. This is an on-going project. Seminars, Symposia, lectures and debates are arranged on all vital subjects and issues of consequence

SOCIAL SERVICE and RURAL DEVELOPMENT:

For the all round development of rural folk a Rural Development Project was started in Belthangady Taluk. As a part of the project programs were undertaken for the economic, social and moral upliftment of the poor agricultural laborers, artisans and others. For the guidance of unemployed youth a self employment training centers have been opened at Ujire and Dharwad in Karnataka, Gurgaon in Harayana, Gazibad in Uttar Pradesh, Mayipadi in Kerala, T.Antipadi in Tamil Nadu. Programs for educating the rural womenfolk have also been introduced.

Shri Heggade's contribution to the benefit of the society have been many. The list of social services rendered by him seem to be endless.

He has donated a large sum of money for the construction of Madrasa for the muslims in a village near Belthangady-Bantwal Highway. The people hit badly by cyclones, floods, droughts and other such calamities are given prompt help. Shri Heggade gave Rs. 50,000 to the cyclone hit people of Andhra Pradesh. Similarly he extended his helping hand to the people of the districts of North Kanara when they were hit by drought and to the people of Mangalore district who were rendered homeless by floods. He provided them with clothes and money to build new homes. It is for the benefit of the poor and middle class people that the Mass marriage Scheme was started in the Kshetra in 1972. This has become an annual event at Dharmasthala and about 500 couples belonging to different castes take advantage of this facility every year. similarly many wedding halls have been constructed in and around Karnataka. Arrangements are made to rent out these halls at a very minimal rent to the poor people.


SHRI KSHETRA :

The dream project of Late Shri Ratnavarma Heggade, of installing the statue of Lord Bahubali at Dharmasthala was fulfilled by Shri Heggade. The first ahamastakabhisheka was held in 1982 and the second in 1995. New guest houses NETHRAVATI, VAISALI, SHARAVTHI and GAYATHRI were constructed to accommodate the increased number of pilgrims. For the convenience of the pilgrims seeking Darshan at the temple new arrangements were made inside the temple premises. Houses were built in Vidusha nagar and Manjushree nagar townships at Dharmasthala for providing accommodation to the staff of the temple, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe people and for the staff of the government Departments. After building the front portion of the Annapoorna Choultry for the benefit of the pilgrims, a spacious dining hall called 'ANNAPOORNA' was behind it. Proper arrangements was made for the birds and animals at the Lalithodyana garden and a new aquarium was added to it.

HONORS AND TITLES

Mangalore University, Gulbarga University and Karnataka University honored Shri Heggade with HONORARY DOCTORATE Degree.

The Rotary Club and Lions Club have conferred upon him HONORARY MEMBERSHIPS.

H. H. Shri Swamiji of Admar Mutt conferred on him the title of 'DHARMA BHUSHANA' during the Paryaya Festival of 1972.

The All India Arts, Culture and Literary Parishad of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh honored him with the title of 'VAISHNAVA MARTHANDA' in August 1977.

On the auspicious occasion of Shankar Jayanthi in 1977, H. H. Shri Abhinava Sachidananada Swamiji of Shree Dwaraka Sharada Peeta conferred the title 'PAROPARAKA DHURANDHARA' on him.

During the Paryaya Festival at Udupi in 1978, Shri Heggade was given the title of 'SAMAJA RATNA' on behalf of all the eight mutts of Udupi.

Shri Swami Paramahamsa Sheshacharaya of Dwarakashrama on the bank of Nethravathi honored him with the title of 'ADHYATMA RATNA'.

On the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Shri Heggade's tenure of office in the year 1993, Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma (the then President of India) gave him the title of 'RAJASREE'.

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