Bengaluru: India truly has lost a spiritual giant who transcended the boundaries of sectarianism and embraced the whole humanity as one.

Vishvesha Teertha, the pontiff of the Udupi Mutt was literally an itinerant monk, who travelled extensively to preach the oneness of mankind and leading it on the path supreme-God realisation.

One of the most astounding achievements of the monk was his decision to consider Dalits as an integral part of the Hindu society. Time was when these Dalits were treated as outcasts and untouchables, but due to the yeoman efforts of the swami, they were and are being given importance in the Hindu mainstream.

In this effect, he once said, “In our homes and public places, do Dalits enjoy the same opportunities that Christians and Muslims do? When they approach us after having converted, we do not discriminate against them. That being the case, aren’t we conceding that other religions treat them with humanity while we do not? Is there a greater insult to our Dharma and society than this?”

This riveting observation melted the hearts of the puritans and fanatics. The controversy over conversion of Dalits in the Meenakshipuram area of Tamilnadu was effectively countered and prevented by the personal visit of Sri Swamiji. The pleasant smile of Sri Swamiji won over even staunch opponents. Hindu society emerged even stronger.

The monk was also equally welcomed by Muslims. It merits to mention that he had offered an Iftar in the year 2017, a first of its kind. The hallowed precincts of the temple were opened for Muslims, embracing them with the spirit of fraternity.

The Swamiji stands as an exemplar of communal concord and has consistently worked towards ironing flaws and schisms that only made the world a lot worse.

The revered monk may no more be in his physical coil, but his legacy lives on, inspiring millions of his followers worldwide.