BENGALURU, INDIA, January 13, 2013 (Deccan Herald): Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, the pontiff of the Adichunchanagiri Mutt in Nagamangala of Mandya district, died on Sunday evening at BGS Global Hospital, Kengeri. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Dr K N Venkataramana, vice-chairman of the hospital, announced his sad demise on the hospital premises on behalf of the mutt on Sunday night.
The body of the seer was later brought to the Vijayanagar branch of the mutt around 10 pm and the public were allowed to pay their last respects. Devotees who thronged the hospital were seen moving towards Vijaynagar with the body. Many devotees were also at the Vijayanagar mutt by the time the body was brought there and continued to fill the grounds next to the mutt to pay their last respects. The seer's body was kept for public darshan all through the night.
Home Minister R. Ashoka said that the body would be kept at the Vijaynagar Mutt till 9 am on Monday and then would be taken to the mutt at Adichunchanagiri, Nagamangala in procession and the last rites would be conducted there in the evening with full state honors. Chandrashekara Swamiji, of the Vishwa Okkaliga Samsthana, told media that the community leaders, including former prime minister H. D. Deve Gowda, had suggested to finish the last rites of the swamiji on Monday itself as it was Makara Sankranti, an auspicious occasion. Gowda said that the Swamiji was a great man and his samadhi would be constructed according to all the rituals.
Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, 69, was the 71st pontiff of the Adichunchunagiri Mutt. He had been suffering from multiple ailments, including complete renal failure and coronary heart disease, for the last four years. Sources said he was admitted to hospital on Saturday morning after he complained of chest pain and low blood pressure. With reports emerging that the condition of the seer was critical, many VIPs and political leaders including Gowda, Shettar, Ashoka and Central Minister Veerappa Moily rushed to the mutt. As news spread of his ill health, devotees started to converge on the hospital.
Being the main pontiff of Vokkaligas, the second most dominant community in the State, the swamiji enjoyed immense popularity among political leaders.
The mutt witnessed a revolutionary progress under his leadership with several of his flagship projects in education, religion and social service. The seer focused on providing humanitarian services including providing basic necessities like food, education and health for lakhs of people during the last four decades.
Ashoka and Dr Venkataramana briefed the media around 6 pm and said that his condition was stable. However within minutes after the briefing, the seer's condition deteriorated and he suffered a massive cardiac arrest. All efforts of the doctors to revive him failed and he breathed his last at 7 pm.