Bengaluru, Dec 29, 2019: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman joined a sea of mourners at the National College grounds in Bengaluru paying their last respects to Pejawar Math head Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji, who passed away on Sunday. Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, former Chief minister Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister Govind Karjol and Karnataka revenue minister R Ashoka also paid their homage.
The body of the 88-year-old seer, who passed away in Udupi earlier in the day, was flown to Bengaluru in a special Indian Air Force helicopter.
The body was then taken to the National College Ground, the same venue where the seer had addressed gatherings on several occasions in the past, in a flower beddecked vehicle.
A stage was set up under the marquee where the body of the seer, decked in a saffron cloth with golden border, was placed in a Padmasana posture inside a basket like palanquin.
Seers of various prominents Maths in the state, Shivaratri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Math, Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Sravana Belagola Jain Math were among those who paid their last respects.
Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji was a Hindu pontiff who projected himself as a liberal face despite his strict Brahmanical priesthood as he dedicated his entire life for the propagation of Hindu dharma.
He was strongly rooted in Hindu causes such as protection of cow and played an active role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Yet, he boldly organised Iftar for Muslims during Ramzan at the ancient Sri Krishna Math complex in Udupi.
Vishwesha Theertha, who died aged 88 in Udupi after a brief illness on Sunday, was socially active and had reached out to Dalits with his visits to their colonies even as he carried on his spiritual activities with equal vigour and endeared thousands of devotees with his inclusive approach during his eight decades of sainthood.