The Swamiji now known as Shri Vishvesa Teertha, was born in the obscure village of Ramakunja, in South Canara, as the son of a pious couple Narayanaacharya and Kamalamma on April 27, 1931. The child was given the name Venkataramana. As a child he attended the Ramakunja Sankrit Elementary School. He underwent his Upanayana Sanskara in his seventh year. Even as a child, he showed his precocity and inclination towards matters spiritual, so much so that he attracted the attention of the then presiding Seer of the Pejavara Muth, Shri Visvamaanya Teertha and was initiated into the order of Paramahamsa Sanyasins by him on December 3, 1938 when he was still four months short of his 8th year. He thus was vested with the life time task of carrying on the obligations and duties of the Pejavara Muth and of carrying on the daily rituals being followed right from the time of its founding more than seven hundred years earlier in the thirteenth century. And as Providence would have it, Sri Visvamaanya Teertha obtained to the vicinity of God just a little over a year later and the full burden of observing the daily rituals and customs of the Muth and preserving its traditions devolved on the young novice who had not yet completed his tenth year of life. And these tasks, he had to carry on himself as they could neither be shared nor delegated to others. And as a part of the inherent duty and obligations of his state, he has so far conducted four Paryaaya terms, the first one of which was from 1952 to 1954. Each one of them became memorable and left a lasting legacy on the Krishna temple by way of improvements made.
Swamijee of the Uttaraadi Muth earned his praise. Likewise, he has earned the praises of the Swamijees of the Vyaasaraya and Sri Raghavendra Muth.
Soon after, he was invited to preside over the inaugural session of the Aagama Traya Sammelana, held in Nanjangud and inaugurated by the late Highness Shri Jaya Chamarajendra Wodiyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore, and no mean scholar in his own right. His Presidential address attracted all round acclamation for the extent of its scholarship and the depth of its thought. And in the course of his tours preliminary to his to assuming the ?Paryaaya?, the unique honour of conducting the worship for two years of the icon of Sri Krishna, installed in Udipi by Shri Madhvachaarya, he met and won encomiums from the highest quarters and from the most profound of scholars, like the Paramaachaarya of the Kaanchi Kamakothi Muth and the Swamijee of Sringeri Muth. Ever in search of excellence, Swamijee had the occasion to go to Pune Viswa Vidyalaya on its invitation and have fruitful discussions with the leading scholars of the day living there. He also had occasion to meet Shri Vinoba Bhave and share his thoughts with him.
With the depth of his scholarship, Swamijee has inherited a wealth of winsome manners and a genuine concern for the common man. While caring for the spiritual side and actively encouraging the study of Sanskrit studies in general, Swamijee has not been indifferent to the mundane and secular needs of the people. The founding of the Akhila Bharata Maha Mandala, when he was just eighteen years old gives an understanding of the perspicacity of his mind and its clear vision, and it was done with the purpose of engendering in the Madhvas a sense of pride in the heritage of thought they have inherited, and encouraging them to learn more of it and understand it and take a genuine pride in it. The Mandala has been doing yeoman service in encouraging the Dvaita way of thought and thinking by encouraging the publication of literature in this field and recognising and honouring learning and scholarship in this field. The founding of the Poorna Prajna Vidyapeetha in 1956 has had the practical effect of providing a school for imparting sound education from the initial level to the most advanced stage without parents having to undergo the trammels of running around with money bags in hand.
That the education is completely in Sanskrit and is fully tradition oriented, is to inculcate and develop the much lauded ancient values embedded in the traditional systems of thought coming down from ages past. That these educational facilities being offered come completely free, and that the students are fed and housed all through the course of their studies opens this field to the poorest of the poor and lives up to the traditions of the ancient norms of the country where imparting of education to one and all was a sacred duty. Indeed during the not very long time that it has been functioning since its initiation in 1956, the Vidyapeetha has produced many scholars who have attained to the most respected positions in the educational field and have won renown at the national level
Besides the educational field, Swamiji has done commendable service at the social level. He broke with tradition and defied convention and toured the Harijan neighbourhoods in Bangalore. Indeed he has never kept himself away from people because of their coming from the traditionally lower classes. All have equal access to him, and in the interest of maintaining conditions of peace, he has shared a common platform with all, including Muslims and others.
And when in 1981, large scale conversions to the Islamic religion took place in Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu, Swamiji visited the place and with missionary zeal and brought many of them back into the fold of the Sanatana Dhrama, enquired into their complaints and built a temple for them and made provision for their better living.
Swamijee'svoice was ever raised against inequity and extreme measures. Thus, when Smt. Indira Gandhi imposed ?Emergency?, Swamijee raised his voice against it vehemently. Neither the status nor the power that Smt. Gandhi wielded could still the outburst of the sense of outrage that was boiling within him.
As a part of his service to the vast numbers of pilgrims that visit the holy places in the country, Swamijee has built Muths in a number of places where pilgrims can stay during their visits to those places. Muths have been established in Haridwar, Badri, Kashi, Gaya, Tirupati and many other places. A beautiful temple complex with provision for accommodation for the stay of visitors has also come up in Delhi.
In the literary field Swamijee has authored many books relating to philosophic thought. A Research Centre is functioning in the Poorna Prajna Vidyapeetha under the guidance of a great and mature scholar, and it has done yeoman service in the retrieving and publication of many manuscripts for the benefit of posterity, which would have been lost otherwise.
With all his achievements Swamiji remains a humble and affable human being, accessible to all and ever ready to reassure a man in distress of the help that God ever extends, and instill an optimism in men'shearts about that omniscient presence that ever beckons men to work without ever despairing. His presence cheers men and fills one with the conviction that ?Not enjoyment and not sorrow is life'sdestined end or way, But to live that each tomorrow shall be farther than today.?
(Sri Vishweshatheertha Swamiji, Pejavar Mutt, Ratha Beedhi, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada District Karnataka.)