Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24: Swamy Satyananda
Saraswati, head of Sreeramadasa ashram here and a frontline
campaigner of several temple rights movements in Kerala, died
at a private hospital here today.
He was 71. Satyananda Saraswati was keeping indifferent
health for quite some time, ashram sources said.
Popularly known as 'Chengottukonam Swamy', after the
village where his ashram is located, he shot to fame in early
1980s for organising a mass struggle for establishing the
right of Sabarimala shrine over the vast stretches of land at
Nilakkal area, about 10 km from the Pampa foothills.
Known for his fiery speeches and organising skills, the
Swamy had played a key role in forging unity of Hindu
organisations in the state since the 1970s.
A religious scholar and inspiring orator, Swamy was the
founder-editor of the Punyabhoomi daily.
He had set up branches of his ashram in other parts of the
country and abroad and founded young men's Hindu association
and 'Maithili Mahila Mandalam'. He was also founder of the
annual Rama Navami Mela in the state capital.
An Ayurvedic and Siddha expert, he had a few years back
launched a health drink called 'herbal cola'.
The Swamy's real name was Sekharan Nair. He was born in
a middle class family in Andoorkonam near here. After teaching
science in a school for a few years, he became disciple
of Neelakanta Gurupadar and chose to lead an ascetic life.