Koota Maha Jagathu Saligrama ®


Vidwan Maha Jagathu: From age old days "Vidwan Maha Jagathu", a democratic assembly of learned elders, used to assemble at Sri Guru Narasimha Temple and give judgment on all problems (Dharmic & Social) of the Kota Brahmin community, brought before the assembly. It would give punishments, wherever necessary and even excommunicate them from their cast, when they disobeyed Dharmic rules, as can be seen from the proceedings of 1906, 1921, 1931. But when the persons so punished, started questioning in the civil courts, the system collapsed.

Formation of Koota Maha Jagathu: In 1952 an advocate of Kundapura, N. Madappa Urala took steps to revive "Vidwan Maha Jagathu" in the name of "Koota Maha Jagathu" and formed a committee under the president ship of H. Balarama Hande, then managing trustee of Sri Guru Narasimha Temple, with Anandarama Basri as Secretary. Gangadhara Aithal and G.Venkatramana Maiya joined as joint Secretaries.
On 10-5-1954 "Koota Maha Jagathu" was registered, after framing rules and regulations. G.V. Maiya toured extensively both in fourteen Villages around Kota, outside in Dakshina Kannada District and in neighboring states of Mysore, Madras, Andhra etc, where ever Kota Brahmins had settled down. He established branches and collection centers at Kota, Mangalpady, Mangalore, Bangalore, Bantwal and Madras. He used to visit regularly the above places and collect "Guru Kanike". He was instrumental in creating awareness about the Temple as "Guru Sthana" of the community. He regularly maintained audited accounts. Later branches where opened at Panambur, Kumble, Vorkady. Members of Bangalore branch started participating regularly in the Temple car festival and arranged for illumination, sound system, Yakshagaana, Santharpana etc. in a effort to give more color to the "Jaathra".

Improvements to the temple: In the beginning of 20th century, the Jogi Ambagilu was renovated with roof repair work and laid with new roofing tiles, by Barkoor Kuchoor family. Installation of granite stone hebbagilu, construction of first floor on huge wooden pillars and beams with tiled roof on top, repairs to shankha thirtha ( on sourthern side of temple), laying granite slabs in the floor of inner prakara, building Agrasale were done in stages by Koota Maha Jagathu with the contributions from members who had settled outside. To facilitate the pilgrims coming from distant places, arrangements were made to build a Choultry. D. Ganapayya gave land on the Southern side of Sri Guru Narasimha Temple for this purpose and Koota Maha Jagathu Madras branch built Madras choultry, while P.N.Hebbar an hotelier from Bangalore and the then trustee of the temple, built Hebbar choultry with each building having three rooms. (Later in 2001 Koota Maha Jagathu built “Koota Bandhu Bhavan” in the vacant space between the two choultries). Arrangements were made to provide utensils for the pilgrims to do their own cooking. Between 13-3-1969 and 21-7-1970 the Bangalore branch of Koota Maha Jagathu completely rebuilt the Garbha Gudi in granite stone. Thirtha Mantap and Naganakatte were renovated on 31-3-1971. Seshappa Holla an hotelier from Bangalore installed granite “Dwajasthambha” on 1-3-1973. In 1973 Narasimha Maiya and K.R. Nagappayya Herle built a concrete roof between Thirthamantap and Hebbagilu. Under this on the northern side was built a shrine for Ganesha and in the southern side was built a shrine for Durga.

Veda Patashala: In order to have "Veda Ghosha" every day in the Temple, a Vedic School was started by Koota Maha Jagathu in 1959 in the choultry nearby and Ambalkere Laxminarayana Hebbar & Gundmi Narasimha Sharthry, both Vedic scholars were appointed as veda teachers. Students local and outside were given scholarship and arrangements were made for them to stay and study in the choultry and quiet a few well known purohits of today were trained at this patashala. In December 1963 a misunderstanding arose between the treasurer G.V.Maiya and one of the teachers A.L.Hebbar and ultimately the school had to be closed due to the teachers walking out, the treasurer G.V.Maiya locking up the rooms of the choultry. He also fell out with the president.

Vasudeva Karanth as President of Koota Maha Jagathu: Late. K. Vasudeva Karanth, was a retired Electrical Engineer and had settled down in Mangalore after retirement. He become the president of Koota Maha Jagathu in 1958 (as the then President Balarama Hande had resigned). He was the president till 1971. He was mainly responsible in redrafting the rules and regulations, to enable the smooth conducting of affairs of the branches and Kendra Samsthe. He arranged for systematic collection of Guru Kanike, maintained CA audited accounts and conducted Mahasabha of members once a year regularly. He was responsible to start branches at Kundpura, Byndoor, Uppunda, Gokarna and Shimoga. In order to educate the members of the community, he wrote over 20 books in Kannada. Gayathri, Jaathi Dharma, Daana, Devara Sthothra, Magalige Dharmabodha are a few of them. He printed them at his own cost and distributed them free among the members of the community. He established libraries containing puranic and Dharmic books in Kannada at his own cost at Saligrama, Bantwal, Mangalpady and Mangalore. He conducted sabhas with vedic scholars to discuss and bring our books like Sandhya vandana, Panchayatana pooja and also fix minimum requirement to be observed in Upanayana and marriage etc. These are the standard guides for the community even today. By organizing Mahasabhas he was able to bring members of the society together and create awareness of the importance of Sri Guru Narasimha Temple as “Guru Sthana”. Being an artist he himself drew black and white pictures of Sri Guru Narasimha and also colour pictures of “Moodu Ganapathi seve” and “Gayathri Devi” and distributed the printed pictures to every home.

Contribution of Few other dignitaries: Vasudeva Karanth’s brother Shankarnarayana Karanth, an advocate at Mangalore and P.Narayana Hebber were elected as trustees of Sri Guru Narasimha Temple in 1955. Shankaranarayana Karanth recognized certain drawbacks in the administration of the temple. Being a Sanskrit Scholar, he collected old palm leaf manuscripts like Saligrama Kshethramahatma, Lokadithya (Grama) Paddathi, Padma Purana (Pushkara Khanda) and Skanda Purana (Sahyadri Khanda) and brought out a monumental work “Koota Maha Jagathu” and was able to show the origin of Kota Brahmins. This history and heritage of Sri Guru Narasimha Temple served as the main evidence to convince the High Court Judge to declare our temple as denominational one. Shanarnarayana Karanth was Secretary of Koota Maha Jagathu from 1958-60, and later became its Vice president from 1964 to 1971. Sri M.Vasudeva Maiya of Mangalapady was the Secretary. After that Dr. B. R. Somayaji, Janardhan Holla, P.S.Krishna Rao and K. Shivarama Karanth were Secretaries.
Anantha Somayaji who was the president of Bantwal branch of Koota Maha Jagathu was responsible to start branches in Puttur, Venur, Kasargod, Katipalla-Krishnapura and Udupi.

Claiming denominational Status for the temple: Government observed that many of the trustees who administered the Hindu Temples were selfish and did defalcation. To avoid that it modified the rules governing the management of the temple and exercised it through Hindu Religions Charitable Endowment Department (HRCE). The Guru Narasimha temple was under the administrative control of D.C. of D.K. District and governed under Madras HRCE Act and rules of 1951. The trustees were selected by the Area committee from among those who applied for the post and were appointed by D.C. to administer the temple for a period of five years. The rules allowed the general public to appoint the Managing committee and this could have lead to Koota Brahmins loosing control of their only “Guru Shana”. The Gowda Saraswath Brahmins had obtained through the high court, their right to administer their temples free from Government interference. So the president of Koota Maha Jagathu, K. Vasudeva Karanth and committee members were convinced that such an arrangement was the only go. So K. V. Karanth and K. S. Karanth collected the evidence from old palm leaf manuscripts, old recorded proceedings of Koota Vidwan Maha jagathu of the earlier century and filed a case in the Udupi civil court. They made out a case that in the light of evidence collected; Kota Brahmin community did not have any human individual as their Guru and believed Lord Narasimha alone as their Guru. (Temple administration is not a hereditary right of Hande family who were managing trustees for three generation only) and that the temple should be declared denominational temple like the temples administered by GSB community; to be managed by members of Kota Brahmin community only.
Advocates K.S.Karanth, Bailoor Vasudeva Rao and Sri B Yogishwara Holla argued the case. Yet the case was dismissed thrice in the civil court. On 16-11-1973 an appeal was filed in the Karnataka High Court. The senior advocates of Bangalore, Kota Ramakrishna Karanth (After his death his son K.R. Dayaaananda Karanth), Tumbe Krishna Rao and Govinda Bhat studied the case and prepared the appeal. The case went on for ten years.

"Koota Brahmins are Dharmakartha of the temple": K. R. D. Karanth argued the case successfully before Hon. Justice Sri M.N.Venkatachalayya who gave the historic judgment on 16-10-1984 declaring that “Koota Brahmins are the dharmakartha of the temple”. As per this judgment Sri Guru Narasimha Temple was recognized as “Guru sthana” of Kota Brahmin Community and it was ruled that administration of the temple should be done by the members of the community. The recorded proceedings of Koota Vidwan mahajagathu, Koota Brahmins tradition of collecting rice and coconut from each community members house and performing Mooda Ganapathi Seva, Mane-akki samaradhane in Vruschika maasa, practice of giving “Guru Kaanike” on all religions ceremonies like Namakarana, Upanayana, Marriage, house warming; were the main evidence the Honorable judge relied upon. However as the general Hindu public also visited the temple he ruled that they should not be denied entry to the temple to worship. Twenty years of legal battle ended in the judgment stating that the temple is denominational one to be managed by Kota Brahmins only.
Since the appeal was filed in High Court at Bangalore in 1973, the Koota Maha Jagathu main office was shifted to Bangalore in the same year to assist the lawyer with required documents. Then S. Laxminarayana Holla was the president and P.S. Krishna Rao was the secretary. From 1981-1995 Sri H. J.Anandarama Holla was the president and K. Shivarama Karanth was the secretary. The president and secretary assisted the advocate in the conducting of the case there.

Formation of First Managing Committee.: Late B. Anantha Somayaji, Sri.B.Yogishwar Holla, P.Madhava Rao advocates prepared an administrative scheme and filed in the D.C.Court of D.K.District in 1984. But the then managing trustee of Sri Guru Narasimha temple, Sri H.S.Hande indulged in endless litigation from 1984 to 1994 and prevented formation of a new committee to take over temple administration. Dr.K.Prabhakara Holla and Sri K.Taranath Holla and other well wishers tried to come to an amicable solution and it was agreed that Sri H. Sadashiva Hande would be made the managing trustee and he should give his consent to the scheme prepared for the administration. On obtaining his consent the approval of the scheme was obtained from D.C. court D.K. District on 21-3-1995. A Mahasabha of members of the community was called and nine trustees (four from saligrama and surrounding fourteen villages, one from Kundapura, one from D.K. district, one from Udupi, one from Bangalore and one from outside Karnataka) were selected. They took over the administration with Sri H. Sadashiva Hande as the Managing trustee.

Second Managing Committee: The then administrative scheme did not have provision to hold election of trustees. Hence a detailed administrative and election scheme was prepared by the managing committee and submitted to Udupi D.C. court in 1999. However as the term of the managing committee was to come to an end in 2000 election was held on 12-3-2000 by taking a written pledge from the voters that he / she was a Kota Brahmin and accepted Sri Guru Narasimha as his / her Guru. Nine trustees were elected on 30-6-2000. Sri K. V. Keshava Karantha was elected as managing trustee of the new committee, who administered the temple till 29-3-2005.

Total Denominational Status: The Govt. of Karnataka framed a new HR&CE Act of 1999 and rules of 2003 for administration of Hindu Temples. The managing committee then represented to the Government that in the light of the Karnataka High Court judgment of 1984, the Government should keep Sri Guru Narasimha temple out of the preview of the new Act and Rules, being a denominational temple. The HR and CE Department by its order of 1-5-2003 excluded Sri Guru Narasimha temple from the list of notified temples under the Government HR & CE Department control. Having come out of the Government control the case filed in Udupi D.C. court in 1999 for approval of election scheme was withdrawn in November 2003 (as the new Act and Rules did not have provision to elect the trustees by voters and instead trustees were selected from among the interested persons who had to apply to the District Commissioner). The revised administration and election rules were approved and adopted at the special Mahasabha held on 15-1-2004 and was approved by the Temple managing committee on 18-02-2004.

First Free Election (Realization of the dream): Voters list was revised and election was held for the third Managing Committee at Saligrama on 20-3-2005. Three trustees Dr.K.P.Holla (Outside Karnataka) Sri B. Narayana Somayaji (D.K district), Sri K. Padmanabha Karanth (Other parts of Karnataka) were elected unanimously. 2541 voters from all over Karnataka came to Saligrama and exercised there right. Sri P.Sooryanarayana Herle, Sri A.Krishna Hebbar, Sri G. Seetharama Upadhya and Sri C. Narasimha Madyastha (Saligrama), Sri Yajnanarayana Herle (Bangalore) and Sri K. Vasudeva Karanth (Udupi Dt) were elected. In the Managing committee meeting held on 28-3-2005, Sri P.Soorynarayana Herle was selected as the President, Sri G. Seetharama Upadhya as Vice President, Sri B. Narayana Somayaji as Secretary and Sri K. V. Karanth as Treasurer. Thus the first free election was held without Government control, to administer Sri Guru Narasimha temple for next five years and the elders dream that started in 1964 was successfully fulfilled after more than 40 years.

Dr.K.P.Holla as President of Koota Maha Jagathu: A Mahasabha of Koota Maha Jagath was held at Bangalore in 1995, where Dr.K.Prabhakar Holla of Uppala was elected as president, Sri B.Narayana Somayaji of Bantwal as the secretary and Sri T. Srinivasa Rao of Surathkal as the treasurer. The central office of Koota Maha Jagathu was shifted from Bangalore to Bantwal.
For improving the communication between members, “Koota Bandhu” a bimonthly magazine was started. The bylaws of the organization were revised to better suit the present atmosphere. Tradition of conducting Mahasabha regularly in the last Sunday of September every year in different places was started. Conducting special Mahasabha at Saligrama on 15th January (a day prior to car festival) every year came into practice. During this mahasabha, Dharma sabha is also held for the benefit of devotees who attend the car festival of the temple. Vivaha Samparka Vedike, Mahila Vedike, Yuva Vedike were started at different angasamstes.
Koota Maha Jagathu announced a five point program to uplift the culture and tradition of our community. The programs are

  1. 1. Vasantha Veda Shibira: Summer Vedic Camps to teach Veda Sukthas to students of our community
  2. 2. Kannika Samskrithi Shibira: Camp to teach traditions and practices of our community to girls.
  3. 3. Mass Rugupa Karma: Mass Rugupa karma program.
  4. 4. Varamahalaxmi Vrutha: A program to involve the women of our community.
  5. 5. Sri Guru Narasimha Jayanthi: Program to celebrate Guru Narasimha Jayanthi

The President Secretary pair of Dr. K.P. Holla and Sri B. Narayana Somayaji were successful in starting new branches at Kalasa- Balehole, Manchi, Polali, Miapadavu, Uttarhalli, Belthangadi (Merging Venoor Branch), Davangere, Dharwad, Mysore, Thirthalli, Tumkur, Thirupanithura and Jayapura. Branches at Kundapura, Kirimanjeshwar and Gokarna were revived. In all Twenty six branches of Koota Maha Jagathu came into existence and worked towards uniting members of Kota Brahmin Community.

Koota Bandhu: The bimonthly mouthpiece of Koota Maha Jagathu called “Koota Bandhu” was started on 1-1-1996 and has been giving report on activities of different branches and activities at Sri Guru Narasimha temple and also publish Sanskrit sthothras and articles on Dharma and Aachara and has become a cultural bimonthly magazine under the editorship of Dr. Nitilapura Krishnamurthy a journalist and vedic scholar of repute and each issue is eagerly awaited by all the members of the community. It has a circulation of 2000+ copies. A separate trust called “Koota Bandhu Trust” has been formed for the smooth functioning of the magazine.

Billion Foundation: Koota Maha Jagathu launched Sri Guru Narasimha Billion Foundation on 3-5-2004 with a target of collecting Rupees one crore during the next five years and start giving scholarship, for education, help to conduct marriages, meet medical expenses; out of the interest accrued during the next five years. Sri H. Parameshwara Basri, Vice president of Koota Maha Jagathu Bangalore Branch is the president of the foundation with B.Vishwanath Somayaji from Bantwal as the treasurer. A Total of over Rupees Twenty five lakhs has been collected as on of 31-3-2008.

The relentless effort by president Dr.K.Prabhakara Holla and secretary B. Narayana Somayaji, has been successful in arousing awareness about Koota Maha Jagathu, among the members of the community in Karnataka and outside. They have build up Koota Maha Jagathu as a model institution for the community to rely on and look after the social religious and Dharmic interests and forge unity.

Dr. K. S. Karanth as President of Koota Maha Jagathu: In September of 2006 Dr. K. S. Karanth from Kundapur was appointed as the President of Koota Maha Jagathu and Purushotham Rao of Surathkal as the secretary and they have been working tirelessly for the betterment of the community.

Angasamstes: The various branches of Koota Maha Jagathu have taken up many social activities on there own and are actively contributing to the community.