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History of Shri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Dharmastala, Karnataka

The word “Dharma” traditionally means religion, ritual, duty, righteousness, and alms. It also implies justice, truthfulness, freedom from fear, faith, solace, fulfillment and peace.

Dharmasthala is the perfect embodiment of the word “Dharma” for it displays every shade of meaning with which this word is inspired from. The greatness of Dharmasthala, however is the fact that it has added an active element to “Dharma”, which touches the lives of people with a transformational directness that is unique.

To those that come for worship, Dharmasthala represents religious tolerance wherein caste, creed and faith of pilgrims are no bars. For here, the Jain Theerthankara is worshipped on the same consecrated grounds as the native Daivas and Lord Manjunatha (Lord Shiva). The priests are Vaishnavite Brahmins and the guardian of the temple is Heggade, a Jain by faith. Altogether forming a confluence of faiths that harmonize in belief of the Omnipotent.

To those that come for justice, Dharmasthala is the scale that does not tip in favour of a lawyer’s glib tongue. Here, without any legal formality or argument Shri Heggade dispenses justice, acting in the tradition of his ancestral role as the Heggade and as representative of the presiding deity.

To those that come in need, Dharmasthala is an Oasis, where succour, solace and hope abound in the serenity of the temple and in the free hostelries that provide food and shelter.

And to those that come in curiosity, Dharmasthala is a miracle of paradoxes. Here different faiths co-exist in harmony just as traditions make room for experimental services. High or low, rich or poor, devout or atheist, at Dharmasthala all are equal.

Dharmasthala has not been content being a source of inspiration to the devout. Having expanded the meaning of Dharma to encompass the advancement of society at large, it has played an active role in bettering the lives of communities far and wide. Its initiatives have aimed at renewing the faith and hope within, so that people may be helped to help themselves.

Any description of Dharmasthala will be incomplete if one does not talk about its most important festival, the Maha Nadavali. It is all about accountability, responsibility and continuous fun and feast for 11 days.

To understand the rituals of Maha Nadavali, its important to recap the past. As explained earlier in this book, several centuries ago, lore has it that Dharma Daivas (Angels of Dharma) came to Kuduma and visited Nelliadi Beedu, the official residence of the Heggades (known as Pergades those days). They requested the Heggade to vacate their residence and convert it into a temple for the Dharma Daivas. Even today it is the most revered place in Dharmasthala and regular Nemas (rituals) are conducted for them.

During Maha Nadavali, the ‘Nema’ for Dharma Daivas is conducted at the specially erected mantap in front of the Nelliadi Beedu. The ‘Nema’ is a dialogue between the Heggade and the chosen representative of the Dharma Daivas.

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2 Responses to "History of Shri Manjunatheshwara Temple, Dharmastala, Karnataka"

  1. Rakesh Back says:

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  2. Anonymous says:

    shri dharmasthala manjunatheshwara temple in hindi description

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