Udupi, July 20, 2018: Shiroor Mutt seer Lakshmivara Theertha Swamiji passed away under suspicious circumstances on July 19, Thursday morning at KMC Hospital in Manipal.
The 55-year-old seer was admitted to the hospital on july 18, Wednesday with food poisoning and diarrhoea, which affected his blood pressure.
Following the complaint from a family member, the Heeriydka police have filed a case of unnatural death.
The seer’s brother Lathavya Acharya filed a complaint pointing to poison in the blood samples and demanded a thorough probe.
According to a statement from Kasturba Hospital, “The seer was brought to Hospital at 1.05 am on Wednesday from a private hospital in Udupi. On arrival, he was found to be critically ill with breathlessness, severe hypotension and massive gastrointestinal bleed. He had a history of diarrhoea prior to this episode. A team of doctors from Kasturba Hospital — physicians, gastroenterologist, nephrologists and critical care specialists provided medical care in the form of ventilatory support, blood transfusion and dialysis. There is suspicion of poisoning and toxicological samples have been sent for testing. He was declared dead at 8.30 am on Thursday,” the statement added.
A post-mortem was carried out and SP Lakshman Nimbargi said the case will be probed from all angles.
The last rites of Shiroor Mutt seer Lakshmivara Theertha Swami :
It was peformed at the Moola (original) Mutt in Shiroor near Hiriyadka late on July 19, Thursday evening.
The seer’s ‘Brindavana’ or the final resting place was constructed at the Moola (original) Mutt where the seer had wished to be laid in rest.
A large number of devotees and people assembled to watch last rites of the seer.
The late seer’s brother Lathavya Acharya and all other officials of the Mutt, including the Deewan, performed the last rites.
Before the burial ceremony, the body was given a bath by dipping in the Swarna river that flows adjacent to the Mutt. The last rites began with an ‘Abisheka’ (bath). Milk and honey were used in the Aabisheka held in the main hall of the Mutt. It was followed by the recital of Vedic hymns by priests in the presence Vedic Pandits who chanted portions from all the four Vedas and a special worship was held.
A big bamboo basket with the body in a seated posture was taken to the annexe and lowered into the burial pit. Saligramas were placed on the pit filled with herbs, salt, mustard and cotton. Herga Vasudev Tantri performed the rituals. A coconut was placed on the head and was symbolically broken marking the completion of the last rites.
A Tulasi pot was placed over the burial chamber, allowing sufficient place for devotees to go around it and pay their last respects. Security was tightened in and around the Mutt premises.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed in and around the Brindhavana annexe at the end of the burial ceremony when the devotees tried to gain entry inside to take a final glimpse of the seer. The Deewan of Sode Vadiraj mutt was present on the occasion.
Fisheries and Veterinary minister Venkatarao Nadagouda, MLA Raghupathy Bhat, Kaup MLA Lalaji R Mendon and Udupi DC Priyanka Mary Francis paid the last respects to the departed soul.
Earlier, the body was taken from the mortuary to Shiroor Mutt on the Sri Krishna temple premises in Udupi in an open jeep decorated with flowers.
It is said that the seer had used the same jeep during the Palimaru Paryaya in January to accompany the Ashta Mutt seers. The body was later taken to his mutt in a palanquin, comprising a bamboo basket which was offered by the Sode Vadiraja Mutt, the Dwandwa Mutt and currently in charge of the Shiroor mutt.
The seer’s body was placed before the temple inside the mutt. The ‘Aarathi’ was performed using the seer’s hands to the deity inside. Later, the same ritual was performed when the seer’s body was placed outside the ’Kanakana Kindi’ to Lord Krishna. The body was not taken inside the temple and the Aarathi was performed by the mutt’s devotees using the hands of the seer. Following the ritual, the body was taken all around the Car Street in a procession. The body was then taken to the original mutt in Shiroor near Hiriyadka where the last rites were performed.
Except for the Paryaya Palimaru seer Vidyadheesha Teertha Swami, who performed Arathi to Lord Krishna through Kanakana Kindi and later laid a Tulasi mala on the body of the seer, no other seer of the seven of the Udupi Mutts paid tributes to the Shiroor seer. None of the seers took part in the last rites at the Moola Shiroor Mutt either.