Sadguru Appaiah Swami (Palanganda), founder of Kaveri Ashrama in Virajpet, Kodagu district, inspired a generation of Kodavas (Coorgs) with his spiritual discourses. Appaiah Swami (in picture) had committed followers, both Kodava men and women, who were involved in running hostels at Virajpet, where thousands of Kodava children stayed as boarders over the years.
Kaveri Ashrama was in the news recently when the present head of the Ashrama, Vivekananda Sharana Swami, the son of Sadguru Appaiah Swami celebrated his birth centenary. The junior swami, won the hearts of people with his simple living and spiritual talks.
I used to call on the junior swami whenever I visited Virajpet town and handed over my books. Our conversations used to be amiable, though we held different points of view – Swami was a Vedic scholar, whereas I was a rationalist.
The Ashrama is an iconic institution of Kodavas with a record of service to the community. There have been speculation on the future of the Ashrama, its assets and the school being run by the organisation, in the wake of the aging swami not in a position to shoulder the responsibility.
Well-meaning Kodavas should take up the initiative to restore the Ashrama activities to benefit the community. For more on Sadguru, follow the link below:
Vivekananda Sharana Swamiji (Palanganda) of the iconic Kaveri Ashrama, Virajpet in Kodagu district of Karnataka is celebrating his birth centenary on January 12. The Swamiji (in picture), is the son of Sadguru Appaiah Swami who founded the Kaveri Ashrama in 1941.
The senior Appaiah Swami was born as Palanganda Appaiah in 1885 at Kadangamurur in Virajpet taluk. He was in government service. Though he was married and had children, he was inspired by Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda. He became a spiritual teacher and founded a monastery in Virajpet which had several members of Kodava community who had renounced their worldly lives and pursued the path of spiritualism and service. Appaiah Swami passed away in 1956 at the age of 71.
Appaiah’s son who is known as Gappu Annaiah in family circles, became a monk and took the name of Vivekananda Sharana Swami. He was a pious man who later took the responsibility of running the Kaveri Ashrama at Virajpet. Presently, he heads the Sri Kaveri Bhaktajana Sangha which is involved in running the affairs of the Ashrama and other properties attached to the Ashrama.
There have been speculative reports on social media that a Bengaluru-based Ashrama was taking over Kaveri Ashrama as Vivekananda Sharana Swami was too old to carry on the affairs of the Ashrama. There were also reports that vested interests were trying to grab the properties of the Ashrama spread across Kodagu.
A spokesman for the Ashrama clarified that the Ashrama was being run by a trust of 15 members. All the trustees are Kodavas except a member of the Omkar Ashram in Bengaluru who has been included in the trust to offer spiritual guidance.
It is a fact that the Ashrama which was buzzing with activity in the past, has become inactive because the aging Swami is not in a position to shoulder heavy responsibility. It is time for the Swamiji to shed his responsibilities in favour of other trustees.
Since vested interests are spreading misinformation, the Kodagu district administration should keep an eye on the developments to safeguard the interests of the Ashrama.
The spokesperson claimed the Ashrama belongs to Kodavas and will remain in the control of Kodavas.
http://www.kodavas.in/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/vivekananda-swami-cauvery-ashrama.jpg120117kodavas_s6crf5http://www.kodavas.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/logo-300x252.pngkodavas_s6crf52023-01-12 09:22:572023-01-12 09:23:00BIRTH CENTENARY OF VIVEKANANDA SHARANA SWAMI OF KAVERI ASHRAMA, VIRAJPET
Kodavas, a microscopic minority community hailing from Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka, were once known for their leadership qualities. This Kodava trait of being natural leaders was very much in evidence in the Defence services and Kodagu came to be known as the ‘Land of the Generals’.
However, in the last few decades, the community has not produced many truly outstanding men and women, except in the arena of sports.
There could be many reasons for the setback. Though Kodavas are one of the most highly educated communities in India, they have not been able to break the glass ceiling in their chosen areas because of the lack of killer instinct.
As a chronicler of Kodagu, I felt one of the reasons for their inability to play leadership roles, was the absence of enough ‘role models’ in the community. There was a time when many from Kodagu used to crack the IAS, but in the recent years, one hardly comes across such achievements.
Probably, because of the reservation policy of the government, it has become difficult for Kodavas to get representation in the all-India services.
With a view to reignite the famed leadership qualities in the community, I decided to promote ‘role models’ by starting ‘Coorg Person of the Year.’
The concept first took shape in 2005 and Dr Kavery Nambisan, a novelist and medical practitioner, was selected as the first Coorg Person of the Year. The selection was made based on the basis of a poll I conducted through my news portal www.coorgtourisminfo.com. There has been no looking back since then. Every year, I conduct a poll to select the Coorg Person for that year. The final choice is made by me after going through the feedback I receive from the members of my Facebook groups and pages, numbering more than 25,000.
I did not want to confine the competition to the Kodava community, as I feel people from all communities hailing from Kodagu should be involved in the exercise. For instance, one of the joint winners of the title in 2018 was industrialist Ashok Kumar Shetty, who donated part of his land to the government for building a road which was damaged by the floods and landslides of 2018. This, despite the fact that he himself had lost a big chunk of his land to the landslide.
In 2013, Dr S.V. Narasimhan, a bird-watcher and environmentalist, who is also a medical practitioner from Virajpet town, was the choice for Coorg Person. He was featured under two categories in the 2013 edition of the Limca Book of Records.
Dr Narasimhan, the author of the book “Feathered Jewels of Coorg”, pioneered the concept of spreading wildlife conservation messages through his unique hand-painted cards.
Age is no bar while selecting the Coorg Person. For instance, the winner of 2020, Dr Sanjana Kattera, a corona warrior, is in her twenties.
I do admit that sometimes the most deserving people have failed to win the Coorg Person title because the selection is made on the basis of the contribution of a person in that particular calendar year. One of the persons who richly deserved the title, but failed to make it was the late Pandanda M. Kuttappa, who conceptualised the Kodava ‘family hockey’ festival.
Source: ‘Coorg Role Models’ authored by P.T. Bopanna (in picture). Rolling Stone Publications (2021). The paperback book is available on both Amazon and Flipkart.
http://www.kodavas.in/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/bopanna-p-t.jpg738462kodavas_s6crf5http://www.kodavas.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/logo-300x252.pngkodavas_s6crf52022-12-13 05:25:392022-12-13 05:25:41COORG PERSON OF THE YEAR: CREATING ROLE MODELS