The ‘Sauhaarda Iftar Koota’ recently hosted by Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji, the chief pontiff of Paryaya Pejawar Mutt in Udupi’s historic Krishna Temple/Mutt has triggered a widespread controversy as several hate-mongers have accused him of hurting the sentiments of Hindus.
The seer has taken to social media to counter the continuous onslaught of the communal forces and uploaded a video wherein he made his stance clear. Here are the 10 interesting points from the video clip that not only promote communal harmony but also serve as a tight slap to the communalism.
1. The Krishna Temple’s dining hall is open to all irrespective of caste, creed and religion
The seer stated that he has seen thousands of Christians and Muslims eating in the temple’s dining hall in the past too. So, there the ‘iftar meet’ hosted by him is not an innovation in the temple’s customs.
2. Religious scriptures say “feed the hungry”
“When the religious scriptures also ask us to feed the hungry, how is it wrong on my part to invite the fasting Muslims and feed them?... When we can become friends, why can’t we call them for dinner?” questioned the seer.
3. Peace is good for all the communities, as well as for the country
The seer laid emphasis on the significance of maintaining peace in the society. Referring to recent communal clashes, the seer said that peace needs to be restored for the good of the country. Taking the first step will only bring good name to the Hindus; it cannot harm the Hindus in any way, he said.
4. “Madhvacharya promoted the Hindu-Muslim bond. I am walking in his footsteps”
The seer recalled the history of Madhvacharya who wanted good relationship with Muslim rulers of his time. He also narrated a story: “Once, Madhvacharya was surrounded by the soldiers of a Muslim ruler (outside the palace). He politely asked the soldiers not to harm him as they outnumbered him and his disciples. He told them that he just wanted to meet their king. The soldiers did not harm him. The king too was impressed by Madhvacharya and honored him.”
5. Muslim Sultans helped Hindu swamijis!
“A Muslim Sultan (king) donated land to the Mantralaya Swamiji out of sheer respect. On the other hand, Satyabhoda Swamiji is known to have given suggestions to the Sultan during his time. I am only trying to continue the friendly bond between two communities they began ages ago” he said.
6. “Muslims honored me too”
“If people can call me to their programs in Bhatkal, Gangavati, Kasargod and other places and treat me well, why can’t I invite them and show some hospitality? I see this as a basic human etiquette. Religion is not at all in question here” he said.
7. Namaz is a way to pray to the Lord. It’s not anti-Hindu
“After iftar, the Namaz was performed atop of dining hall which is open to the public, not in the sanctum sanctorum. Namaz doesn’t contain anything that insults Hindus or their religion in any way… How is it wrong to let others follow their traditions?” he asked.
8. Muslims helped the Mutt always
“A lot of Muslims have offered Hore Kaanike (offertory) to the Mutt during the Paryaya mahotsava. Udupi’s Haji Abdullah had also donated to the Mutt during the Paryaya of Parama-Guru Vishwajna Teertha in 1904. Muslims supported us and reassured our safety when a section of people (belonging to Hindu community) threatened to attack the Mutt recently. Such Muslims are always welcome here” he said.
9. Not only Muslims; many Hindus too eat beef!
The seer said that not only Muslims, but many Hindus too consume beef in India. “If Hindus or Muslims eat beef, one should convince them to shun it in friendly way and not by resorting to violence,” he opined.
10. “I follow my religion and tolerate others’ faiths”
The seer said that he always believed showing strict adherence to his religion while being tolerant towards other faiths. “I have always worked for the interest of Hindu religion. But I also want to continue having good relations with others as well” he said.
(The author, Sumedha V, is a student of mass communication and journalism. A native of Mysuru, she's currently residing in Mangaluru.)
Pejawar seer’s 10 powerful slaps in the face of communal hate-mongers