His Holiness Shri Shri Shri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, of Jagadguru Sri Madhwaachaarya Moola Mahaa Samsthaanam, Shri Puthige Matha, Udupi, India, was predestined at the age of 12 as the 30th Pontiff of the 750 years old illustrious and everlasting Indian Vedic traditional lineage of Jagadguru Sri Madhwaachaarya, the founder of the famous vedic philosophy of Dwaitha.
His Holiness Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji prior to ascetic life(poorvarshrama) was known as Hayavadana Acharya. He was born on 15th September 1961(Bhadrapada masa shukla paksha shasti, Vishaka nakashatra) to a very pious and devout couple Smt Kamalamma and Sri Govinda Acharya in a small village called Maniyur, Udupi District. His parents were ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, hailing from a traditional orthodox Taulava brahmin family they always instilled in him great characters like honesty, compassion, love and mutual respect, other moral and human values to Hayavadana.
He was admitted to Kemundelu Government school by his parents for primary basic education, right from his early childhood days Hayavadana always had very sharp intellect, keen to learn new things, add values to all the work he does not to accept anything blindfolded but at the sametime respect elders. He had shown deep interest towards devotion (bhakti), spirituality(adhyatama) and was averse to mundane things. His sacred thread ceremony was performed at the age of five by his parents following as per the scriptures.
The then pontiff of Shri Puttige mutt Sujnanendra tirtha Swamiji was in quest of a worthy disciple(sishya) and a successor for the divine throne, he had gone through nearly five hundred horoscope (jathakas) hailing from different mutts and places, finally his search came to end when he came across Hayavadana’s horoscope which was meticulously evaluated by several renowned scholars(pundits) and they eventually gave nod for his ascension, thus Hayavadana Acharya was initiated to the highest order of monastery life by Sujnanendra tirtha Swamiji on 8th April, 1974 ( Chaitra masa Krishna paksha Tritiya, Swati nakshatra) in ShriPuttige mutt, Udupi, since then he’s been revered as Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji , a landmark and dawn of new era in Shri Putthige mutt lineage.
Shri Sujnanedra tirtha swamiji after giving sanyasa deeksha to Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji was there for around just three months in this world, then he left his mortal body and attained Haripada. During those times Shri Vibhudesha tirtharu had invited Shri Vidyamanya tirtharu to Adamar mutt and train his disciple Shri Vishwapriya tirtharu, at that time Shri Vidymanya tirtharu decided to accommodate and train other yatis along with Shri Vishwapriya tirtharu, i.e. Shri Vidyadheesa tirtharu of Adamar mutt, Shri Vidyesha tirtharu of Bhandarkeri mutt, Shri Sugunedra tirtharu of ShriPuttige mutt.
His Holiness Shri Vidyamanya Theertha Swamiji was a renowned scholar and a saint, he was the spiritual and academic teacher of Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji. Sugunendra Swamiji for twelfth years had studied under the tutelage of Shri Vidyamanya tirtha Swamiji all the four branches of Veda, Upanishads, Pancharatra agama, Nyaya, Vyakarana, Tarka, Shriman Nyayasudha and Vysasatraya, and all other Sarvamoola granthas of Shrimadhacharya. Along with other Indian philosophies he had particularly mastered and built a fort around Dwaitha tattva vadha.
His Holiness Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji at the age of fifteen was the youngest of all the yatis to ascend the Sarvanga peeta and complete the paryaya for the first time in the history of Shri Krishna mutt spanning over 750 years, even the people closest to Shri samsthana and his ardent well-wishers were amused how can a young swamiji bear the onus and complete such humongous task with no prior experience.
His holiness Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji had executed his responsibilities unblemished with utmost devotion to Lord Krishna & Mukhyaprana, this earned him rich praises from senior pontiffs of other mutts.
His Holiness Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji ascended the divine throne for the second time when he was in his early thirties, it was during this paryaya he took bigger sankalpas like.
This structure is a landmark for Udupi and gives a distinct identity for itself and is associated with high emotional values to the people visiting Udupi Krishna mutt.
His Holiness Shri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji understood the challenges faced by numerous pilgrims visiting Udupi with accommodation, so he constructed a guest house ‘Indraprastha’ which is big enough and can accommodate hundreds of people.
The foundation of this structure was laid by the then President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma and later the building was inaugurated by the then king of Nepal – Birenda Bir Bikram Shah in 1993. This magnificent multi-storeyed building hosts the Dhyana Mandir for the pilgrims to meditate, Madhva Mandir, Akshara Mandir and the Vishwaroopa Darshana.
Inside the Gita Mandir all the 700 shlokas of Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit have been transcribed on the black granite stone, also in another hall there are several thousand copies of Bhagavad-Gita published in various languages across the world. This was one of the long pending dream projects of HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji close to his heart which eventually got materialized later in his second paryaya and cherished by him.
This is yet another magnificent sankalpa taken by HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji during his second paryaya in alleviating hunger as irrespective of age, gender, place and social status, etc every human being can feel hunger, and this is the only quest which can be quenched wherein a devotee after having sumptuous food feels and says “enough.
I’m done, I can’t have more, I’m satisfied.” It doesn’t matter whether they were devotees of Lord Krishna, school/college students out on an excursion, people coming from nearby far off places, everyone are welcomed with open arms with open heart and prasadam is served in the Krishna mutt. This was a commendable accomplishment which needs to be acknowledged and reciprocated with gratitude to HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji.
The third paryaya had evoked a lot of interests not only within India, across the globe as by that time HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji had become a world renowned saint as he had travelled to numerous countries and met several world renowned political and religious leaders which made him apple of the eye. This event was witnessed by large number of devotees, scholars, political and religious leaders, statesmen, celebrities, artists, worldwide media making it truly an international event.
It was during this third paryaya he had contributed Navaratna Kachita ratha(chariot). The ratha was named Navratna ratha as it measures nine feet height, weighs about two tonnes, it consists 500kg of copper, 18kg of silver, 12 kg of gold and studded with 1.5 lakh gemstones.
"विद्वत्वं च नृपत्वं च न एव तुल्ये कदाचन्। स्वदेशे पूज्यते राजा विद्वान् सर्वत्र पूज्यते॥" As per the legend a king is revered in his own kingdom however a scholar is revered everywhere, knowledge transcends the boundaries, HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji has travelled far across the globe and his revered everywhere. Sometime during the early 1999, an International Multifaith Organization called ‘Religions for Peace’ (formally known as World Conference on Religions for Peace’ -WCRP) had invited His Holiness Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji to join the interreligious community and work for World Peace through interfaith peace dialogue. Swamiji was formally introduced to this global platform in November 1999 in Jordan, Amman, where he addressed the 7th World Assembly of Religions for Peace as a senior Hindu Religious Leader. During the same occasion, he was elected to the governing body of Religions for Peace as one of the International Presidents, representing Hindu Community. Thus, Swamiji became the ‘Hindu face’ and ‘Hindu Voice’ of Religions for Peace.
Religions are like flowers. Each religion is having its own nectar. A bee shouldn't miss the nectar from different flowers. One should act like a bee, which collects and stores the essence from different flowers and makes its own special honey. Like that, each one should study all religions and all philosophies, digest them properly, prepare his own philosophy according to his conscience and practice it throughout his lifetime. But the more important thing is the bee should have its own freedom to wander wherever it wants. Like that, each one should have the freedom of thinking, practicing, and preaching whatever he believes. Like a bee which does not damage the flower, he should not harm any religion. At the same time, he should not be threatened or tempted to restrict his thinking or wandering. This is the essence of Hinduism and ShrimadBhagavad Gita, which is in dire need for the time. In Geetha, Lord Shri Krishna preached extensively to Arjuna about the pros and cons of his options, and left the decision to his conscience. "Vimrushaithadasheshena Yatheechhasi Thathaa Kuru." He said, "It is left up to you to make a decision." We are very glad to notice that this philosophy is behind this conference."
“Messenger of Peace” Swamiji is honored as “Messenger of Peace” because he spreads this awareness among masses wherever he goes. He passionately strives to get people to understand the above message of Shriman Madhvacharya which leads to Harmony. If every Individual understands that the person in front of him is unique and special and respects him, there is no unrest or enmity on the face of this earth. This is applicable to people of every race, nationality and religion. If his track record were anything to go by, it is safe to assume that he will lead us to an era of unparalleled artistic renaissance all over the world.
Once HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji was travelling from Miami to Phoenix, due to the extreme weather conditions the passengers onboard started experiencing turbulence , the pilot announced they were running short of fuel and he would crash land it in next fifteen minutes, the passengers onboard took resort to HH Swamiji and sought his blessings to bail them out of trouble. Then HH Sugunendra tirtha prayed to Lord Krishna for everyone’s safety and eventually with God’s grace everyone landed safely.
The City of Edmund in the State of Oklohama proclaimed 10.11.1997, the day of his visit to the city as Shri Sugundendra Tirtha day and presented the Keys to the City as a great honour to His Holiness
The World body of religious heads - World Conference of Religions for peace elected him the Presidency of the World Organization in the year 1999 and re- elected His Holiness for subsequent term of 5 years even in his absentia in the Summit held at Kyoto, Japan where around 2000 delegates from around 180 countries participated. He is continuing his third term in the coveted post having been elected as the International President for the third time to the World Council of Congress of Religions during the International Conference of Assembly of World Religious leaders in Vienna, Austria The State of Arizona proclaimed 8th October 2005 the day of his visit to city of Phoenix as Sri Sri Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji Day.
The State of New Jersey released a postal stamp with His photograph in 2005.
Founded Vishwa Madhwa Sangha based at New York to study, research and propagate the philosophy of Madhwacharya with the underlying principles of Viswa brathrutwa – human brotherhood.
HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji gave clarion call to the Heads of Polity, Administrators and Industrialists of the World from the altar of the United Nations Genreal Assembly in April, 2015 to A few of many achievements abroad add spiritual quotient to their IQ in finding out ways and means of protecting humanity from greed, internal feuds, hatred, violence, poverty and warned that such synergy alone can deal with and eradicate the problems tearing the humankind.
- Founded Shree Krishna Brindavan, Iselain, New Jersey.
- Founder President, Balaji Bhavan, Phoenix, Arizona.
- Founder and President of Sujnana Religious and Charitable Foundation, California.
HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji is the Head of 35 Religious and Spiritual Institutions in India and abroad. In April, 2015, extensively discussed the issues including environmental issues that is bothering today’s world in United Nations General Assembly in New York and with the Pope and other world leaders in Vatican City and averred that sans spiritual training of the mind, divinity cannot be instilled in human hearts and without divinity in humanity, togetherness and brotherhood was a nightmare. He called upon the world leaders to cogitate steps to take to avert various problems that the world is encountering including the global warming up and related environmental issues believing firmly that the Temples are the holy places not only for worship by the ascetics and the religious bents but a great centre for protecting and promoting civilization, Dharma, culture and imbibe divinity in the human hearts that alone can bring in mutual respect and brotherhood in the mankind
His Holiness established 9 branches of Sri Puttige Mutt – 5 in USA, 2 in Canada, 1 in Australia and 1 in London in the past 20 years, apart from the Mutt having 23 branches within India. He has opened the horizons of spiritual learning to the entire world by his actions. He is a human being within India with greater recognition world over.
He called on Mr. George Bush while he was the President of US, to discuss these issues and advised him to use the Nation’s big brotherly status to subdue violence. Addressed World and Traditional National Religions Congress, Astana, in 2003.
Delivered the Benedictory Address at the Republic of Kazakhstan addressing the Leaders of various religions and dignitaries from all over the world.
HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji is a revered as a ‘’mobile encyclopaedia” for his astounding knowledge of religions, he is a firm believer in religion that it can be used as source of knowledge to eradicate terrorism and spread peace. HH as taken up much needed initiative in protecting ecology and environmental as part of his ascetic life, the rationale here is to plant million saplings for the growth of the forest wealth. HH likes fresh new ideas, modernity and blend it harmoniously with the traditional things making it a simple living high thinking life.
P.S: It is important to note that HH Sugunendra tirtha Swamiji even during his travel time has always adhered to strict discipline and discharged his daily duties of snana, japa, sandhyavandana, Ekadashi upavasa and other dharmic activities, he has never shown any iota of interest in sight seeing, leisure or spending his time in any other non-dharmic activities.