The position of the Heggade of Dharmasthala is a unique one, unknown in any other religious center in India. In the tradition of this Kshetra, he represents Lord Manjunatha. He is a pious grihastha or householder with numerous religious, social and cultural responsibilities towards the society.

The Heggade is religious and installed head of Shri Manjunatha Swamy Temple, he becomes the representative of Lord Manjunatha and performs all his responsibilities accordingly as per tradition. After installation as the Heggade, his religious duties include propagating the tradition of Dharma in accordance with the command of the Daivas, who accept him as their foster son and ensure that the traditional rituals are observed regularly in the temple of Lord Manjunatha.

Discharging his responsibilities true to his conscience and acting on the precepts of religion, the Heggade acquires an aura of divinity which enables him to function as a representative of Lord Manjunatha and other Dharma Daivas. He executes his social responsibilities as a pious grihastha by extending the four traditional Danas – Anna Dana (Feed), Aushadha Dana (Heal),Vidya Dana (Educate) and Abhaya Dana(Protect from fear). These being the gifts of food, medicine, education and freedom from fear. Since the Heggade is regarded as the voice of Lord Manjunatha, he is expected to dispense justice, advice and munificence to whoever approaches him with his problems and needs.

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