Born on November 25, 1948, Dr. Veerendra Heggade is the son of Shri Ratnavarma Heggade, former Dharmadhikari, was a boy of great dignity and devotion. Nurtured by the piety of his father's administrative skills and dedication to Dharma, Mr. Heggade showed great maturity at an early age, a maturity that proved itself when the mantle of Heggadeship (Dharmadhikari) fell on his young shoulders at the tender age of 20, on 24th October 1968, while he was preparing for his graduation from Bangalore University.
In less than four decades, since he assumed responsibilities in 1968, he has carried his heritage to greater heights. Not only by continuing to protect the essence of the Kshetra, but also by achieving remarkable progress in his service to mankind.
What distinguishes Shri Veerendra Heggade is that while being the head of a revered religious institution, he is, today, far more than that. His years of practicing 'active' Dharma have given him a vision that combines social issues such as education and environment with religion. This has resulted in him being requested to grace a variety of functions and his opinions treated with immense respect. His advice is sought by the high and mighty on every topic under the sun, bar politics, which he eschews. Amazingly though, Shri Heggade's common touch sees the ordinary supplicant as comfortable in seeking him out as a friend, philosopher and guide. Several religious Mutts have conferred honorific titles such as 'Dharma Rathna', 'Dharma Bhushana', 'Paropakara Dhurandara', 'Abhinava Chamundaraya'
Mr. Heggade's contributions to the religion are immense. He convened a "Dharma Jagrithi Sammelan" at Bangalore in the year 1977, a conference to focus the attention of the people on need to change traditional practices to suit present day social condition. More than 15 Matadhipathis participated for the first time on a common platform. Installed 39 feet high monolithic statue of Bhagwan Bahubali Swamy at Dharmasthala and conducted Maha Masthakabhisheka ceremony in 1982 and 1995. S.D.M. Dharmothana Trust ® was established to renovate archeological and historic important temples of Karnataka. 55 Temples have been renovated till 2004. He also contributes for Communal Harmony through his regular Lectures. Publishes and distributes more than 60,000 copies of moral education High School students. Competitions are held for the students on topics selected on them and prizes awarded to the best students in each school. Mr. Heggade attended WCRP Conference held at Nairobi and Osaka.
Mr. Heggade contributions to the culture are:
- He continued the tradition of the Kshetra to hold annual 'Sarva Dharma and Sahitya Sammelana' at Dharmasthala. The 72nd Session of the Sammelana was held in 2004.
- He is a patron of Art and Literature, a voracious reader, publishes a publication series and a monthly journal "Manjuvani".
- To propagate Naturopathy, Yoga and Moral Education, 400 Teachers of High Schools and Primary Schools train more than 30,000 students every year in Yoga, Moral and Spiritual Education.
- He has contributed to the revival of "Yakshagana" by maintaining pure traditional approach to Yakshagana.
- "MANJUSHA" a Museum was established displaying rare collections of antiques and contemporary rare and valuable collections. A 'Vintage Car Museum' attached to this Museum has interesting cars from many Nations.
- 4000 Palm-leaf manuscripts are preserved and research is conducted by Scholars for "Sri Manjunatheshwara Samskrithi Samshodhana Prathistana"
- Introduced Post Graduation course at Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College, Ujire
- "RATHNAMANASA" - A model Hostel with training imparted in Agriculture, Horticulture, Dairying and a concept of future farmers and citizens was established for High School boys at Ujire.
- "SRI SIDDAVANA GURUKULA" - A model Hostel for College students at Ujire, inspires students in agriculture, moral education and training in leadership programmes.
- Started Free Mass Marriage every year in Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala since 1972. 10,000 couples wedded under this scheme by April 2004.
- Constructed Marriage Halls at Bangalore, Kallahalli, Bhadravathi, Mysore, Shravanabelagola and Bantwal for the benefit of middle and low-income people to conduct marriages.
- Introduced a Rural Development Project, in Coastal District of Karnataka, comprising of 600 Villages and 6 urban towns. The project is facilitating empowerment of 1,35,000 families in agriculture, transfer of technology, women empowerment, housing, alternative sources of energy, income generating activity, micro finance, education and health.
- Recently has been propagating the importance of tapping solar energy and provided such facilities to several villages.
- Established the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) in collaboration with Syndicate Bank, Syndicate Agricultural Foundation and Canara Bank to train the rural un-employed youth for Self-Employment and Volunteers for Rural Development in 1982. Since then 20 branches of the RUDSETI were started all over India. Upto June 2004, 1,50,000 youths have been trained and settlement rate is 65%.
- Hosted several National Seminars including the one on "Rural India Real India" to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of Syndicate Bank.
Mr. Heggade is the President of - Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Educational Trust (Regd.) and S.D.M., Educational Society (Regd.), Ujire; Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Medical Trust (Regd.), Dharmasthala; Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust (R.) Dharmasthala; and Shanthivana Trust (Regd.), Dharmasthala.
Primary School: S.D.M Higher Primary schools at Dharmasthala, Ujire, Puduvettu, Mayyadi.
- S.D.M High Schools at Dharmasthala, Ujire, Belal, Perinje.
- Mangala Jyothi School for Disabled Vamanjoor, Mangalore
- S.D.M. English Medium School, Ujire.
- S.D.M College, Ujire.
- S.D.M College of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences, Ujire.
- S.D.M Law College, Mangalore.
- S.D.M Ayurveda Pharmacy. Udupi.
- S.D.M. College of Ayurveda and Hospital Udupi, Hassan.
- S.D.M. Ayurveda Hospital Mangalore, Chickmagalore.
- M.M.K & S.D.M College for Women, Mysore.
- S.D.M College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad.
- J.S.S Banashankari Arts & Shanthikumar Gubbi Science College Dharwad.
- JSS K.H Kabbur Institute of Engineering, Dharwad.
- S.D.M College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad.
- S.D.M. Medical College & Hospital, Dharwad
- J.S.S Sakri Law College, Hubli.
- S.D.M. Cranio Facial Hospital, Dharwad.
- S.D.M. College of Physiotherapy Dharwad.
- S.D.M. B.B.M. College, Mangalore.
- S.D.M. Naturecure Hospital, Dharmasthala.
- Yakshagana Training Centre, Dharmasthala.
- Middle level training Centre for Anganawadi Supervisors (sponsored by National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development, New Delhi).
- Manjushree Press, Ujire.
- Nethravathi Fine Arts Training Centre, Ujire.
- S.D.M Industrial Training Centre, Venoor.
- S.D.M Industrial Training Centre, Samse, S.D.M Technical Institute, Mangalore.
- S.D.M Institute for Management Development, Mysore
- J.S.S Economic Research Institute, Dharwad.
- J.S.S School of Arts & Crafts, Dharwad.
- "PADMABHUSHAN" Award by the Government of India on 30-03-2000 for social work and Communal Harmony.
- "RAJARSHI" title from president of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1993.
- "DHARMABHUSHAN" Award during the Mahamasthakabhisheka of Bhagwan Bahubali held at Venur in February 2000.The Government of Karnataka honoured him with "Rajyothsava award" for social work in November 1985.
- Has been awarded Honorary "Doctorate" by Mangalore University for Social work in January 1994.
- Honoured with "Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award" by All India Unity Conference at New Delhi on November 18, 1994.
- Honoured with "Man of the Year" award by Public Relations Society of India at Bangalore in June 1994.
- Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister of India presented "FICCI AWARD" for Rural Development activities in Belthangady Taluk by S.K.D.R.D.P. on May 12, 1995.
- Sri Atal Bihari Vajapayee, former Prime Minister of India presented "FICCI AWARD" for Rural Development & Self Employment activities by RUDSET Institute on November 20, 1999.
- "FIE" award by FIE foundation, Kollhapur at Maharashtra in March 1997.
- "DHARMA RATHNAKARA" on the occasion of Udupi Paryaya Mahotsav during January 1998.
- "Indian Merchants Chambers Award–1998" for Rural Development by I.M.C. Diamond Jubilee Endowment Trust at Mumbai in April 1999.
- "Living legend of the Century" award by Lions Millennium Celebrations Committee, Mangalore.
- Rotary International conferred "SAPPHIRE " recognition.
- Karnataka Govt. awarded the "Rajyothsava Prashasthi" for contributions to social work and religious harmony.
- Mangalore University conferred Doctor of Philosophy of social work on Communal Harmony.
- "Vatika Varshada Kannadiga – 2004" by E.T.V. Kannada at Hassan on November 20, 2004.
- "Gourava Fellowship Award" by Karnataka Tulu Sahithya Academy at Mangalore on February 3, 2004.
- "FRCPS (Fellowship of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons)" by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons at Glasgow, United Kingdom on June, 6, 2005.
- "Giants International Award" by Giants International at Mumbai on September 17, 2005.