Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his association with Udupi since 1968 during his speech through video-conference on the penultimate day of the eight-day 700th anniversary (Sapta Shatamanotsava) of Sri Madhwacharya (1238-1317) leaving for Badri in the Himalayas and making his exit after completing his spiritual journey, to a packed Rajangana Hall here on Sunday. The speech was beamed live from New Delhi on two giant screens in the hall.
Mr. Modi said that he visited Udupi for the first time in 1968 and also a few times later. The then Udupi Town Municipal Council (TMC) was under the rule of either the Bharatiya Jan Sangh or the Bharatiya Janata Party for four decades. The Udupi TMC had abolished manual scavenging in 1968. The Udupi TMC had won awards for cleanliness in 1984 and 1989. This city was a live example for the awareness he was creating on cleanliness, he said.
Lauding the 88-year-old Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Paryaya Pejawar Mutt, he said that the seer had taken “sanyasa” at the young age of eight years. For the last 80 years, he had been working for strengthening the country.
He had travelled across the country and had put in efforts for removing illiteracy and casteism and for protection of cows. “It is due to his good deeds that the seer has got the good fortune of the fifth Paryaya. I salute him,” he said.
Though the Pejawar seer had said earlier in his speech that his (Mr. Modi’s) presence was technical and not real as he was speaking through video-conference, he was hard pressed for time and had just arrived from Aligarh.
“God willing, I will visit Udupi in person,” Mr. Modi said to a loud applause.
Vishwesha Tirtha said that Mr. Modi had beautifully explained the teaching of Sri Madhwacharya in his speech. He recalled that Mr. Modi had visited Udupi during his second Paryaya in 1968. “Now I am doing my fifth Paryaya here and you should come to Udupi,” he said.
Sri Madhwacharya had emphasiSed that a person could attain salvation (“moksha”) only if he served society. “The welfare of the country is possible only if ‘sant’ (saints), ‘samaj’ (society) and ‘sarkar’ (government) come together,” he said.
Vishwaprasanna Tirtha, junior seer of Pejawar Mutt, Subudendra Tirtha Swami of Mantralaya Mutt, Vishwabhushana Tirtha and Vishwagurupriya Tirtha of Ramohalli, were present.
Earlier, a procession was taken out from Jodu Katte to Car Street here as part of Madhwa Navami celebrations.