Kolkata, June 19: Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj passed away on Sunday and this was a personal loss to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thousand others who on Monday thronged to Ramakrishna Math and Mission headquarter at Belur in Howrah district to pay last respects to Swami Atmasthanandaji. The devotees were seen in long queues heading to the place where the monk’s body was laid for public viewing.

Besides thousands of people, even VIPs had flown to Howrah district to pay last respect to the 98-year-old. Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not visit personally but on his behalf, Howrah District Magistrate Chaitali Chakraborty placed a wreath on the monk’s body. It was a personal loss to PM Modi as he considered him as his guru. Last year, Mr. Modi had visited his guru in the month of April. PM was under the monk’s spiritual guidance for a while in Rajkot, Gujarat.

Other prominent leaders who paid respect to the monk are Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, West Bengal ministers Rajib Banerjee, Arup Roy, Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee.

Swami Atmasthanandaji’s mortal remains will be consigned to flames at 9.30 pm today. He was born in 1919 and had received ‘mantra diksha’ from Swami Vijnananandaji Maharaj (a monastic disciple of Ramakrishna) in 1938 and joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math in January 1941 at the age of 22.

The monk beside giving ‘mantra diksha’ to his disciples travelled abroad and at various places within the country to spread the message of Rama Krishna.