Prominent Lingayat seer of Tumakuru-based Siddaganga Math, 111-year old Shivakumara
Swamiji, who was known as the 'Walking God', died 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.
"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.
Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy: Siddaganga Math seer Sri Shivakumara Swamiji passed away at 11.44 am today. The cremation will be done on 22nd January at 4.30 pm. pic.twitter.com/xG9O70vSbE— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2019
The widely revered seer will be cremated on Tuesday at 4.30 p.m, the Chief Minister said and also announced a government holiday on Tuesday and state mourning for three days.
Known among his followers as a "walking god" and an incarnation of the 12th-century social reformer Basava, the Lingayat seer also heads the Sree Siddaganga Education Society, which runs about 125 educational institutions in the state - from engineering colleges to business schools.
Many of the institutions offer free education and boarding facilities to poor students.
Kumaraswamy had earlier visited the Mutt to enquire about Swami's health, a statement from his office said.
The Swami, who is said to be one of the oldest persons living in India, had been suffering from lung infection for the past few weeks. He had been in and out of hospitals over the last few years due to his advanced age.
Born on April 1, 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara district in Karnataka, the Swami is also involved in several philanthropic activities and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the demise, saying he lived for the people, especially the poor.
"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. Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world," the PM tweeted.
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
He said the seer remained at the forefront of ensuring better healthcare and education facilities for the marginalised and represented the best of Indian traditions of compassionate service, spirituality and protecting the rights of the underprivileged.
I have had the privilege to visit the Sree Siddaganga Mutt and receive the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale. pic.twitter.com/wsmRp2cERd
"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 pointed out.
IANS and PTI