Dr. D. Veeraendra Heggade of Dharmasthala.

9:50 PM, Monday, August 16th, 2010
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Mangalore: Born on 25-11-1948, as eldest son of  Ratnavarma and Ratnamma of the Dharmasthala Heggade family, Dr. Veerendra succeeded his father as Dharmadhikari at 20 after B.Com graduation studies on 24-10-1968.
In the next 4 decades, he achieved a remarkable progress as a leader of men in his religious service to mankind. He has installed Bahubali Image in blackstone, to realize his father’s dream on a hill close to the Dharmasthala Temple gate. Many years later, he arranged ‘Nadavali’, a very big religious festival to keep up the spirits of the region alive and functioning in his 50th year.
Dharmasthala treats everyone kindly with a religious tolerance. Here Jain Theerthankaras, Daivas of Tulunadu and Lord Manjunatha are worshipped in the same dedication and love.
The priests are Vaishnava Brahmins, the Dharmadhikari is a Jain, and the Lord of the holy place is Shiva. It shows a confluence of faiths and the religious charity, free meals and a stay as guest of honour for 3days. For Annapoorna choultry feeds 3000 guests at a time in the quickest period. Six modern guest-houses provide rest to the weary travellers.
It is in Heggade’s blood to reach out to the poor or the needy. In the 2009 floods or earlier droughts that hit North Karnataka in his times, he has toured the districts affected, and identified the needs of the people. He gave away 50,000 sarees to the women folk. In 1974 floods, he extended help to the sufferers, in 1992 Gadag flash floods, he assisted by cash and kind (materials) to rehabilitate and resettle victims. He rushed 2 lakh tiles to Mangalore in recent floods and collapse of houses. He is an Angel of mercy when all is lost to the poor and needy persons in Tulunadu and the Lingayat country.
Dr. Heggade conceived the Rural Development project way back in 1982 and it encompassed 81 villages in Belthangady taluk, covering 18,000 families, who were the poorest in the region. The project has incurred Rs.10 crore or more in its implementation course, but generated Rs.90 crores, with vast rural employment opportunities in a larger family! Proof? The SKDR project bagged the FICCI award in 1995 for outstanding achievements (which are not much publicized, through).
Dr. Heggade introduced the concept of mass marriages among the Hindus who were reeling under single marriage costs. Separate religious rites are performed, for those entering into matrimony under different religions or traditions. The Kshetra bore all costs of wedding dress, Mangala suthra (sacred necklace), feast for a limited number of guests on either side (bride and bride groom). The event in all those years is an annual feature at Dharmasthala, benevolently looked after by Dr. Heggade himself, with 500 couples in place.


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