German Resident Honoured at India’s Historic Kumbh Mela Festival
SPRINGEN, GERMANY, 29 September 2015 — Resident of Heidenrod-Springen in Hessen/ Germany, Sri Swami Vishwananda, returns to his home ashram near Frankfurt after receiving the title of Maha Mandaleshwar, one of the most prestigious titles given to Hindu spiritual leaders.
Sri Swami Vishwananda was acknowledged by all four heads of the Vaishnava Sampradayas (spiritual lineages), a very rare and special honour, as well as the hundreds of sadhus (Hindu holy men) and over 125 devotees from Bhakti Marga, his international spiritual organisation based in Germany. The ceremony took place in Nashik, in the Indian state of Maharashtra where this year’s festival was held this month.
A Maha Mandaleshwar (meaning superior of many monasteries) is considered to be a guardian and pillar of the Hindu faith, presiding over several ashrams and temples and the title recognizes significant spiritual achievement and leadership. The title originates from the 9th century and was established by Adi Shankaracharya. At the time India was under religious threat for the first time and so in order to safeguard the religion and its customs, Akharas (spiritual armies) were formed. Those Akharas of which today there are 14 have developed over the centuries into spiritual institutions tasked with preserving and propagating moral, cultural and spiritual values into society. Sri Swami Vishwananda was initiated into the Nirmohi Akhara, a Vaishnava Akhara founded in the 18th century with its headquarters in the city of Ayodhya, India. Its leader, Mahant Sri Rajendra Das was also present at the initiation.
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