Bengaluru: Let’s end the year on a good note. 

The much-revered saint Pejawara Sree or Vishesha Teertha Swamiji of the Udupi mutt passed away two days (December 29) ago. With his passing away, it is not only the state but even the country that has a lost a spiritual colossus who didn’t limit his spirituality to his rooms, but spread it far and wide, with validity given to all religions. 

The swami’s life was a living commentary on how he respected other faiths, though he himself was a staunch Hindu. 
It might sound interesting to you to note that the swami had a driver who is a Muslim by name Mohammed Arif. He drove him around with great care and the two used to have casual talks during the rides. 

Here is an interesting anecdote that would leave all of us in awe of the monk. 

Once the swami purportedly asked Arif if he were doing his namaz meticulously. Arif replied to him saying he couldn’t because of the hectic schedule. Listening to this, the swami is said to have told him not to miss his religious duties in the line of duty. 

The Muslim driver also revealed that though the swami was a proud Hindu, he never disregarded other religions. Interestingly, when the Ayodhya verdict was pronounced, the swami was happy that the disputed land was given to the Hindus, but he summoned a few Muslims to his monastery and spoke to them about the importance of social discord. 

Arif further revealed that he wanted to organise a blood donation camp in the name of the respected monk on his 90th birthday, but, he did not live on to see the wishes of the Muslim driver come alive. 

It is also pertinent to note that the senior swami had organised an Iftar party at his monastery two years ago. Though the move has hailed, it was equally criticised by others. 

Not for nothing do they say, “A true Hindu is implicitly secular!”