Dharmasthala

Krishna Temple udupiThe 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 the word is imbued. The greatness of Dharmasthala, however is the fact that it has added an active element to "Dharma", such that it 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 the Heggade dispenses justice, acting in the tradition of his ancestral role as the Heggade and representing the presiding deities.

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.

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