New Delhi: Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru passed away on Monday. The 111-year-old seer was battling lung infection which he developed after an operation on December 8, which was carried out to treat his liver and bile duct infection. He had been in and out of hospitals over the last few years due to his advanced age.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy informed the media. He said, “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.”
“State government declares a three-day state mourning and one day holiday for all schools, colleges and government offices on the demise of Siddaganga Math seer Sri Shivakumara Swamiji,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “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.”
Political leaders expressed grief on the demise of the longest living seer. Security arrangements have been made for the devotees who will come to catch the last glimpse of the seer.
Earlier in the day, the doctor said that his condition was critical and had been put on a ventilator. “We noted variations in health parameters of the seer last night. He is on ventilator support and is in critical condition. We will give a further update in an hour,” Doctor Parameshwar said.
Known among his followers as a “walking god” and an incarnation of 12th-century social reformer Basava, the Lingayat seer also headed 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.
HD Kumaraswamy urged the Union government to confer the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, on the seer for his philanthropic work.
Born on April 1, 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara district in Karnataka, Swami was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015. Swami was a Lingayat religious figure and humanitarian and head of Sree Siddaganga Matha described as the most esteemed adherent of Lingayatism.
The swami was inducted into the Siddaganga Mutt in his early years. The Swami took over the leadership of the Siddaganga Mutt in 1930.