Tumkur (Karnataka) [India], Jan 22 (ANI): The last rites of highly revered seer and practitioner of Lingayat-Veerashaiva faith of Lingayatism, Shivakumara Swami were held here on Tuesday with thousands of his devotees paying their tearful farewell to the great departed soul.
Swami, who headed the Sree Siddaganga Mutt, breathed his last at the age of 111 on Monday at 11.44 am.
Top political leaders and thousands of devotees participated in the funeral of the seer, who was often called "the walking god."
The news of his death was followed by the pouring in of condolences from all over the world. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy declared a three-day state mourning.
In order to pay reverence to the Swami, schools, colleges and government offices remained closed on Tuesday in Karnataka.
The pontiff of Sree Siddaganga Matha was being treated for a lung infection which he developed after an operation on December 8 last year. The operation was carried out to treat his liver and bile duct infection.
Born in Veerapura in Karnataka's Ramanagara district on April 1, 1907, Swami founded the Sri Siddaganga Education Society and was affectionately referred to as Nadedaduva Devaru (walking God) in Karnataka by his followers. He was proficient in Kannada and Sanskrit. Under his guidance, an annual agricultural fair is held for the benefit of the local population.
The demise of the seer was condoled by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a host of other leaders, who hailed him as a saint who worked for the upliftment of the poor and vulnerable.
"Extremely sad to learn of the passing of spiritual leader Dr Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu Ji. He contributed immensely to society, particularly towards healthcare and education. My condolences to his countless followers," said the President of India in a tweet.
"His Holiness Dr Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice. Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world," the Prime Minister tweeted.
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah also condoled Swami's demise.
"Deeply pained to learn about the demise of Nadedaduva Devaru, Sri Sri Sri Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddhaganga Mutt. Swamiji has transformed millions of lives with his immense knowledge and positivity. I was fortunate to have received his blessings," Shah tweeted.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, "I am sorry to hear about the passing of Shivakumar Swami Ji, Pontiff of the Siddaganga Mutt. Swami Ji was respected and revered by millions of Indians, from all religions and communities. His passing leaves behind a deep spiritual void. My condolences to all his followers." (ANI)