Shivakumara Swami's 111 years will be remembered as a life dedicated to simplicity, learning and service to society
The 'Walking God' as he is reverentially called, the 111-year old Sree Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga mutt has left an indelible imprint with his stellar contributions in education sector and philanthropy targeted at children in whom he saw the Almighty.
Born on 1 April, 1907 at Veerapura in Magadi Taluk, to Honnappa and Gangamma as Shivanna, he was among 12 siblings
Losing his mother at the age of eight is said to be one of the reasons for a transformation in Shivanna's behaviour
he founded Sri Siddaganga Education Society where thousands of students, mostly from villages and under privileged sections, are now educated
Bengaluru: The "Walking God" as he is reverentially called, the 111-year old Sree Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga mutt has left an indelible imprint with his stellar contributions in education sector and philanthropy targeted at children in whom he saw the Almighty.
Known as "trivida dasohi" for his triple sacraments, food, shelter and education, among his followers, the Swamiji, who died on Monday, is considered as the incarnation of Basavanna, the 12th century social reformer, as he accepted all irrespective of their religion or castes.
Born on 1 April, 1907 at Veerapura in Magadi Taluk, to Honnappa and Gangamma as Shivanna, he was among 12 siblings.
Losing his mother at the age of eight is said to be one of the reasons for a transformation in Shivanna's behaviour that led him onto the spiritual path.
After completing primary education at his native village and Nagavalli, the Swamiji completed his matriculation in Tumkur, before coming here for Bachelor of Arts degree with Physics and Mathematics as optional subjects.
Shivakumara Swami took over as the peethadipati (pontiff) of Siddaganga mutt, succeeding his Guru Sree Sree Uddana Shivayogigalu Shivakumara Swami and reigned over the
seminary for about 76 years.
During the seven decades, he founded Sri Siddaganga Education Society under which thousands of students, mostly from villages and under privileged sections, are now educated in both traditional and modern learning.
Proficient in Kannada, English and Sanskrit, he was known for strict discipline. A noted religious figure and humanitarian, Shivakumara swami performed "trikala Linga pooja" according to Virakta tradition of Veerasaivism until recently, even during his hospitalisation.
He even taught English and Sanskrit at the Mutt's institutions and his students are scattered across the world in high positions.
The Swamji's staff have often cited his organised life style, scientific diet plan, graceful humility and blissful simplicity in life, along with hard work as the secret of his long life. He was also strongly devoted to the cause of farmers and agriculture by organising cattle and agricultural fairs.
He has been conferred the honorary "Doctor of Letters" degree by the Karnatak University, Dharwad. It is said that during his graduation, Shivanna had gone to Siddaganga mutt to perform the last rites of Marularadhya, who would have been the next head of the mutt, when the then senior pontiff Uddana Shivayogigalu announced him as his successor.
He was formally initiated into the holy order as a successor in March 1930, thus joining the lineage of sages that is said to have its traditions dating back to 1300 AD.
The Swamiji who has several laurels and awards to his name was bestowed with the prestigious "Karnataka Ratna", the state's highest civilian award, and "Padma Bhushan".
There is now a clamour from people of different walks of life, including politicians, for conferring "Bharat Ratna" on him.
Mutt officials and his disciples believe Swamiji had "icha mrutyu" (ability to decide on his death), as he miraculously recovered from critical health conditions.
He had even undergone critical liver bypass last month, which is said to be very rare at this old age. Also,he had undergone certain procedures, including implant of stents in the common bile duct at the ripe age. The highly revered swamiji of Lingayats, the majority community, had remained politically neutral.
At the height of controversy over granting religious minority status to Lingayats, which had become a politically sensitive issue during the May assembly polls last year, the
senior pontiff had remained non-committal. The swamiji had the magnetic pull to attract politicians of all hues, including chief ministers of the state and elsewhere.
His 100th birthday celebrations were attended by the then president APJ Abdul Kalam in April, 2007. Sree Siddaganga Education Society (R), founded by the seer, runs more than 125 educational institutions, most of them imparting primary and secondary education mostly located in rural areas.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
BJP president Amit Shah will be touring Karnataka for two days from Monday during which he will visit mutts associated with the Lingayat and Dalit communities.
Mann ki Baat: Narendra Modi pays tribute to Lingayat seer Shivakumara Swami, urges youth to register to vote in Lok Sabha elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the first edition of Mann ki Baat of this year, on Sunday paid tribute to late Shivakumar Swami, the pontiff of Sree Siddaganga Matha who recently passed away after a prolonged illness in Karnataka's Tumkur, saying that he had dedicated his entire life to social service, working for the social and educational welfare of scores of people.
Mann ki Baat: Narendra Modi praises EC for strengthening democracy; says India will mark presence on moon with Chandrayaan-2
Addressing the nation in the 52nd episode of his Mann Ki Baat radio programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the EC for its meticulous organising abilities.