Prominent Lingayat seer of Tumakuru-based Siddaganga Math, 111-year old Shivakumara Swamiji, who was known as the ‘Walking God’, died on Monday after a prolonged illness, the seminary announced. “The seer left for the heavenly abode leaving his mortal body at 11.44 am,” announced the Siddaganga Education Society founded by the seer. His cremation will be done at 4:30pm on Tuesday, January 22.
“I am deeply saddened to announce that the walking God, Parama Poojya Siddaganga Sri, has passed away. It is an irreparable loss to the state. His contribution to the society transformed lakhs of people from across the state. He shaped the future of many people,” Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy told reporters in Tumakuru, where the seer passed away. Kumaraswamy announced a government holiday on Tuesday and state mourning for three days.
Cutting short their engagements of the day, Kumaraswamy, Congress leader Siddaramaiah and BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa and other senior politicians of the state reached Tumakuru on getting information that he was critical.
The death of seer, who was revered by several senior politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has left his followers in shock.
Expressing his grieve over the demise of the religious guru, PM Modi said that the seer had contributed immensely to the community. "I have had the privilege to visit the Sree Siddaganga Mutt and receive the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu. The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale," the PM tweeted.
"HH Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu remained at the forefront of ensuring better healthcare and education facilities for the marginalised. He represents the best of our traditions of compassionate service, spirituality and protecting the rights of the underprivileged," he said.
The prime minister added that the sage lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. "He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice. Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world," the PM said.
His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world. pic.twitter.com/AqgOLgqTrn
President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed sorrow over the demise. Extremely sad to learn of the passing of spiritual leader Dr Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu Ji. He contributed immensely to society particularly towards healthcare and education. My condolences to his countless followers, his official handle tweeted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that seer's death has left a deep spiritual void and offered his condolences to all his followers. "I am sorry to hear about the passing of Shivakumar Swami Ji, Pontiff of the Siddaganga Mutt. Swami Ji was respected & revered by millions of Indians, from all religions & communities. His passing leaves behind a deep spiritual void. My condolences to all his followers," Congress chief said via social media.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge claimed that the sage deserved a Bharat Ratna and must be awarded one post-thomusly. "I request the government of India to give him Bharat Ratna. He is worthy of getting the title. Such a great man from Karnataka, it is worth to bestow the Bharat Ratna on him," news agency quoted him as saying.
According to the math website, the highly revered swamiji was born on April 1, 1908 in Veerapura village in Karnataka.
The website of Sree Siddaganga College of Education, founded by him, mentions his date of birth as April 1, 1907.
A recipient of Padma Bhushan and Karnataka Ratna awards, the seer was in a serious condition for the past two months and had undergone a surgery at a private hospital in Chennai about two months ago for his liver related complications.
The swamiji showed signs of improvement but his conditionsuddenly deteriorated in the past few days.
(With inputs with PTI)