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The Saga Of His Holiness Dr. Shivabasava Swamiji

His Holiness Dr. Shivabasava Swamiji was born on the 8th December 1889 at Hirekoppa, God forsaken village of Ramdurga Taluka in Belagavi District. He lost his parents at the age of six and become an orphan, a child of the society. The hardships of childhood and boyhood taught him valuable lessons in endurance and tolerance, a child bred on charity later become the beacon light of society. Swamiji had his early formal education at Nagnoor and Hubballi. After that he joined Shivayogimandir near Badami which is the university of religious education. He was greatly impressed and inspired by the spiritual life of His Holiness Shri Kumar Swamiji of Hanagal whose breath of life lay in the service to society.


Swamiji is missionary divine, who has devoted his life for the betterment of the poor and the down trodden. His heart is full of compassion for  the helpless and suffering people of all castes and creeds. In early thirties the young swamiji was greatly moved to sad state of affairs of the society which consisted mainly of illiterate rural folk. He soon realised that no progress was possible without proper education to the masses. It was very challenging task to provide education in those days, but the Swamiji accepted the challenge with great courage and went about spreading the light of knowledge in towns and villages.


If Belagavi today is the cultural and educational centre of Karnataka, it is because of the contribution of the free boarding house(Prasad Nilaya) which was very great and matchless in many respects. This great Prasad nilayas was established in 1932 at Belagavi. The Prasad Nilaya gave impetus growth and development to many institutions like, Lingaraj college, R. L. Law College, Ayurvedic college. Rural students, irrespective of caste and creed were admitted and given free food, clothing and shelter. Education could spread in all directions rapidly through these Institutions. The Prasad Nilaya which was started with just 32 students, after the tremendous growth because of Swamiji’s efforts approxiamately more 20,000 pupils seem to have been nourished by the PRASAD NILAYA.


For the all sided development of the society Shri Swamiji started a VIDYARTHINI PRASAD NILAYA, a free boarding house for girls, since the development of men and women must go hand in hand. This Vidyarthini Prasada NIlaya is the first of its kind. It has greatly helped not only the school and college going girls but also for the working women.     
In the early forties, the starting of high schools, colleges and boarding houses was felt necessary for the growing society. Now they have come up in large number but lacks the quality. Swamiji planned residence of 400 pupils of Higher primary and High School sections. Here students of all sections of our society live under one roof. The activities of the residential school are well planned and properly supervised. The ideally suited, beautiful school campus breathes the spirit of high ideals of education. The popularity of the S. S. Residential School is so much that children from all parts of Karnataka come to seek admission, this made swamiji to think about starting new schools. For the benefits of the students passing out of the Residential school, a composite Junior College in Arts and Commerce is started. Later in the year 1983 Swamiji started a separate Industrial Training Institute with five trades which gives the enough knowledge to students to acquire a job in various industries. After seeing the marvellous response of the Industrial Training Institute, he started a Polytechnic in 1986 and it is named after the donor R. N. Shetty.


The Swamiji also created Anganawadi workers training centre, Residential school for dumb and deaf, educational institutions in rural areas. Swamiji was the president of Shivayogamandir for 22 years. It is gratifying to note that he was the president of the institutions where he received his early religious and spiritual education. He was also President of the J. G. Hospital at Ghataprabha which rendered medical services to the rural masses. He is instrumental in establishing a Vijnana Kendra at belgaum on the campus of the math. A large number of Doctors, Engineers, Scientists are busy spreading scientific knowledge to the rural areas. This is the proof positive of swamiji’s genuine concern for all round development of the state and the country. He is truly a great sage having all humanitarian values who sacrificed his entire life for the betterment of society.


Its is gratifying that Swamiji was awarded Honorary Doctorate. In full recognition of the Swamiji’s saintly multi-faceted, spiritual, religious, social, educational and cultural activities, the Karnataka University , Dharwad, has honoured His Holiness Sri Sri Shivabasava Swamiji of nagnoor with the highest of its awards Doctor of letters during its 40th convocation held on 22-12-1989. His holiness has bridged the two cultures on either side of the state borders and the doctorate is a living example of the Swamiji’s self sacrifice, service, national integrity, humanity and spiritual excellence. It is a mile-stone, not only in the field of education but also in the spiritual field. The award of Doctorate is not the end of his achievement but also the beginning of the endless future.        

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