Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Dr. Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji 71st Pontiff (1974-2012)
Sri Sri Sri Dr. Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji (1945-2013) succeeded Sri Sri Sri Ramanandanath Mahaswamiji and inherited the Natha lineage as early as at thirty years of age on the auspicious day of 24th September 1974. He became a seer of the Adichunchanagiri Mutt, inspired by the desire to serve the country men and thread the path of Spirituality took initiation at the age of 19 and acquired the knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads and ancient Indian scriptures under the tutelage of Sri Sri Sri Ramanandanath mahaswamiji as his Guru. He became the 71st pontiff of the Adichunchangiri Dharma Peetha and worked tirelessly to realize his vision of revolutionising the Society through Spiritual, Educational, Social, Cultural activities of the Mutt. He travelled all round the World and the country understanding the needs of the people. Having comprehended the prime requisites of this hour he plunged to take up various initiatives aiming at the integral development and progress of the nation. This objective could be achieved only by involving in Jnana and Karma Paths, as described in the famous scripture of Bhagavadgita. The Swamiji as a true Sanyasi dedicated the whole of his life for service to others/Society at large (Paropakarartham Ido Shariram…).
His Holiness was truly an enlightened and realized soul for he treated all the people alike, without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed, sex or status. His approach towards handling different problems was truly scientific and logical. He implicitly understood the importance of Education to the masses in alleviation of poverty. This led to the establishment of Sri Adichunchanagiri Shikshana Trust formed in 1973, through which several Educational institutions and schools have been set up. At present 480 + such schools are functioning across the State/Nation aiding the Government in educating the rural and semi-rural children. This campaign of Jnana Dasoha ranges from providing primary education to the rural poor to making available professional education to meritorious students. Also Mahaswamiji has made free boarding and lodging facilities for Civil services aspirants in the premises of the Mutt at Vijayanagar campus in Bangalore.
He not only emphasized modern system of Education but also advocated traditional Teaching systems. Having studied Sanskrit and acquired Vedic knowledge under the tutelage of his Guru, he knew the importance for reviving of Sanskrit knowledge which resulted in setting up of Sanskrit colleges at different places. Here along with the traditional knowledge of Sanskrit language, research activities are also carried out. Young monks and seers of different religions are provided free lodging facilities and involve themselves in the study and research of Sanskrit, Vedas, Agamas and many more ancient Indian scriptures.
Further he also stressed upon utilizing indigenous systems of Medicine and Healing by starting up the Ayurvedic Hospital at Bangalore. The premises of Adichunchanagiri Mahasamsthana is not only a place for scenic beauty and ascetic importance but also is an abode of various medicinal herbs which have magical healing properties.
Mahaswamiji, was a great visionary with a perfect blend of science and spirituality. Though he was involved in diversified activities and had a busy schedule he would ensure some time to carry out routine religious rites and meditate to internalize himself. This would revitalize him to pursue divergent Social activities.
The benevolence and equanimity of Mahaswamiji is evident by the gesture of establishing orphanages and care centers for destitute women and children. Women in distress are provided successor by training them in various skills and vocational activities to earn their livelihood. Centers for care and treatment of mentally challenged and geriatric individuals have been set up.
Tertiary cares Hospitals, popular as BGS Global, BGS Apollo have been started at Bangalore and Mysore wherein expensive investigations and surgeries are performed at reasonable rates. Two Medical colleges have been started with the state at BG Nagara and Bangalore and are functioning for providing medical education to worthy students. Four Engineering colleges, six colleges in Allied Health sciences and so on are established imparting professional education.
His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Dr. Balagangadaranatha Mahaswamiji is a patriot in real sense for he took up disaster management and rescue activities whenever calamities struck in any part of the country. The Mutt provided free food grains clothing and essential drugs to the victims of calamities. They were given medical aid at times of infliction from earthquakes, cyclones etc.
On seeing the episodes of severe draught as well as cyclones striking different parts of India. Mahaswamiji thought of Go-Green Earth movement. He aimed at achieving one person one plant theme which resulted in planting of around five lakh trees today in and around Bangalore. He having the knowledge of India being an agricultural country envisioned progress of the Nation only by preserving the environment and Eco friendly approach of neo development. Establishment of Goshalas, Vanamahotsava, and Jalavardhana programme were all the results of his concern for society, human beings and animals. Annual Krishi Vignana Melas were organized by the Mutt to educate the farmers about novel scientific farming techniques.
His humane touch alleviated woes and distresses of many people who viewed him as a realized Jagadguru and savior of masses. Many titles and honors were conferred on him but his humbleness only added on to his glory and pomp. The Mahaswamiji mingled without any discrimination with the local people and participated in Utsavs, Jathas. Personality development & women empowerment programmes were conducted and also Mass marriages, free Health camps, counselling services were also conducted by the Mutt.
It is the collective responsibility of the community to continue and preserve the devoted services of His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Dr. Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji, during whose era the Mutt reached the maximum grandeur. Persevered efforts of this 71st pontiff should be the ideal for the forthcoming successors to work for Humanity selflessly and exhibit more zeal than before in achieving the dreams and visions of the former come to reality.