His Holiness Pujya Swami Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj, 87, passed away today (25 June) at 8.30 am at his cottage in Haridwar, north India.

Pujya Swamiji, 87, was admitted to a Dehradun hospital last week and put on a ventilator following breathing problems.

He was later shifted to his cottage in Haridwar.

A close aide of the Pujya Swamiji told Garavi Gujarat at the time that it was the saint’s wish to spend his last days at his kutir (cottage) on the banks of holy River Ganga.

Last rites will be held on Wednesday (26) at the Bharat Mata Mandir he founded in Haridwar.

Swami Satyamitranand Giriji receiving Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, from then President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015.

Paying tribute to Pujya Swamiji, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi wrote: “Swami Satyamitranand Giri Ji epitomised spirituality and wisdom. He devoted his life towards empowering the poor, marginalised and downtrodden. He was extremely proud of India’s rich history and culture. My tributes to this divine soul. Om Shanti,” wrote Modi.

Photo: Twitter.com/@narendramodi

Pujya Swamiji was born on September 19, 1932 in Agra, north India, on the day of Ashweeja Krishna Chaturthi, as Ambika Prasad Pande in a Brahmin family. He studied in a Sanskrit school in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh state, where he studied the language and its literature, leading him to a gurukul (school) which taught him both Hindi and Sanskrit.

He studied the Vedas (ancient scriptures) and modern education and acquired a masters from Agra University.

He then decided to take up sanyas and in Rishikesh he met the revered Swami Vedavyasananda, who accepted him as a disciple, conferred sanyas on him and gave him the new name of Satyamitranand.

BJP President Amit Shah with Swami Satyamitranand Giriji in June 2018 in Haridwar: Photo: amitshah.co.in

At the young age of 27, Swamiji accepted the Upapeeth at Jyotirmath and was coronated as Jagatguru Shankaracharya, thus becoming the head of a renowned monastery. He devoted his life to the spiritual and social service of humanity.

He travelled far and wide preaching the sacred ideals of Sanatan Dharma.

In 1969, Pujya Swamiji decided to free himself from the post of Shankaracharya by immersion in the Ganges.

As a saint, Pujya Swamiji continued to serve humanity and lead them to the path of spiritual enlightenment and peace, thus continuing the mission started by Swami Vivekananda.

He visited England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Africa, Indonesia, Malayasia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Fiji, Mauritius and the Phillipines, where various centres of learning and worship have been established.

Labour MP Keith Vaz greets Swami Satyamitranand Giriji Maharaj during the latter’s visit to Leicester in July 2017: Photo: keithvazmp.com.

It’s his gift of a deep spiritual experience and a power of the most effective oratory that has drawn thousands of loving devotees to him.

Samanvaya Kutir at Haridwar and the Samanvaya Sewa Trust have been established by Swamiji.

Samanvaya Kutir has many amenities, including a Satsang Bhavan, a mobile dispensary, a library and residential accommodation with modern facilities.

Visitors to the kutir may study, meditate, learn yoga and participate in spiritual discourses during their stay. Beside the Samanvaya Kutir, on the banks of the River Ganges, stands a unique eight-storey Bharat Mata Mandir.

Swamiji was awarded Padma Bhushan, third highest civilian honour in India, in 2015.


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