Kanchi Seer Jayendra Saraswati Passes Away, Last Rites Tomorrow
In January, Saraswati was reportedly admitted to a hospital in Chennai after his health deteriorated.
The senior seer of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Sri Jayendra Saraswati, passed away at the age of 82, on Wednesday, 28 February. The seer reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest, which led to his demise.
His followers wept as the body of the Shankaracharya (pontiff) was placed at a vantage spot in the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
"He was the jagatguru (guru of the world)," a distraught devotee said.
The Shankaracharya's forehead was smeared with vibuthi (holy ash) and dotted with red kumkum. Strings of garlands were wreathed around his neck.
Many of his followers were seen taking photographs of the seer, as the mutt's managers appealed to them for calm and restraint.
Police personnel were regulating the crowd which grew by the minute, as followers gathered for a last glimpse of the 69th Acharya of the mutt.
Law enforcers, gearing up for the likely arrival of several VIPs as well devotees from the country and elsewhere, were making arrangements for a regulated entry into the mutt.
According to the mutt, the last rites of the seer, described as Brindavana Pravesha Karyakramam in vedic parlance, will start from Thursday, 1 March.
"The Brindavana Pravesha Karyakramam of HH Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamigal will be performed tomorrow from 8 am," the mutt's official Twitter handle said.
The religious rituals are expected to last through the day, mutt officials said.
Early in January, Saraswati was admitted to a hospital in Chennai after his health deteriorated.
The acharya had reportedly collapsed at the mutt due to shortness of breath, but he was released two days later.
In November 2004, Saraswati was arrested in connection with the gruesome murder of Sankararaman inside Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal Temple, and while he was in custody, he was formally arrested for assaulting Radhakrishnan, an auditor inside the temple.
A gang reportedly assaulted Radhakrishnan, a former associate of the Kanchi Mutt, his wife Jayasree, and assistant Krishnan in September 2002, which the Foreshore Estate police pursued only after the murder trial.
In November 2013, however, Saraswathy, along with the 10 other suspects, was acquitted of all charges.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences over Saraswathi’s demise. “He nurtured institutions which transformed the lives of the poor and downtrodden,” PM Modi wrote.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said he was saddened to hear about the death of the Shankaracharya.
Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam said he “prayed for his soul to rest in peace.”
(With inputs from PTI and The Times of India)
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