Krishna Consciousness has been spread by His Holiness Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada of ISKCON all over the world since the nineteenth century. But Udupi Krishna temple is over 1000 years old. Legend has it that Kanakadasa, a man from the supposed low caste was not allowed to see the Lord in this temple. He was allowed to see the Lord from a window, where He could be seen from the side. The Lord actually turned towards Kanakadasa, so that his devotee could look at Him fully. Even today, the Lord is still looking out of the window, a remnant of His opposition of the Indian caste system. His Holiness Vidhyadheesha Theertha Swamiji, is one of the Ashtha Matha Swamijis, who gets to perform pooja to this very Lord and A Journalist Reveals is honoured to interview him. We met him at Shree Balaji Sannidhi, where he was staying recently.
How was your childhood?
We were brought up in a village atmosphere. Our home was deeply involved in spirituality. My grandfather and father were priests in temples. We would also read a lot of scriptures at home. Later I became the disciple of our Guruji from Pejawara matha (Pejawara temple) – His Holiness Vidhyamanya Theertha Swamiji.
How did you get attracted to spirituality? I mean, you have renounced the world, no less.
Being with the Guruji, I was inspired into spirituality. Let me give you an example. A person keeps a parakeet in his house. There could be two types of people, who could be keeping and breeding parakeets. One will grow the bird to kill and eat, while the other for the love of it. The second category of people could be a musician. The parakeet in the first home will learn to say only, “Kill, kill, kill!” On the other hand, the musician’s parakeet would go, “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama!” The environment influences the mindset of the people. I was influenced by the spiritual environment that Guruji maintained in the matha. My Guruji was such an influential person!
Many householders have so much devotion towards the Lord. Others say that this is too much and that they need to take psychiatric treatment. What is your take?
We should not say such things. Everybody has some kind of eccentricity. Some people are devoted to building houses, etc. Others are spiritually inclined. That is the only difference. They say that these people are crazy. But it is just the love towards God. It would be wrong to say that it is madness. There should be opportunities to express our inner feelings. The devotion towards God is just a form of the feelings that they have towards Him.
We come out of our house and a dog follows us. It could be any other animal or bird, too. Can we call that madness? No. It is the affection of the animal towards us, humans. Animals fall in love with us more than any human would. This is a form of devotion that’s all. People should not speak ill of devotion to God.