(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Hindu spiritual leader Jayendra Saraswati, who broad based the activities of the Sankara Mutt monastery with inclusive activities, died yesterday in a private hospital. He was 82.
The 69th pontiff of the Mutt, established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century, was ailing for some time. He was admitted to a private hospital early yesterday after he complained of breathlessness.
Doctors said the pontiff died following cardiac arrest. His last rites will be conducted today and his body will be interred in the mutt premises itself.
The mortal remains of Jayendra Saraswati were kept at the Nandavanam in Kanchi mutt for devotees to offer their prayers.
Junior pontiff Vijayendra Sarawati was elevated and given the charge of heading the mutt.
Born Subramaniyam Mahadevan on July 18, 1935, in Irulneekki in erstwhile Thanjavur district, Jayendra Saraswathi was anointed successor to the mutt by Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal and was given the title Sri Jayendra Saraswati on March 22, 1954.
Jayendra Saraswati had a huge following in South India and had sought to play the role of a mediator in the Ayodhya dispute during the Bharatiya Janata Party governments headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee between 1998 and 2004.
He was also mired in controversy when he was arrested in 2004 during the regime of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa and made an accused in the murder of Sankararaman, an official of the famous Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram.
He, along with Vijayendra Saraswati and 21 others, was acquitted by a court in 2013 in neighbouring Puducherry where the case was transferred from Tamil Nadu.
Another controversy in which he was involved was in August 1987 when Jayendra Saraswati suddenly decided to leave the mutt. After spending 17 days in Tala Cauvery in Kodagu in Karnataka, he returned to the mutt to a warm welcome by thousands of devotees. He then kick-started his social organisation, Jana Kalyan.
Jayendra Saraswati sought to diversify the activities of the Sankara Mutt, which was largely run on orthodox lines for long, by entering into charitable activities. It ran several schools, eye clinics and hospitals.
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