Karnataka mutt head Balagangadhara passes away

The head of Adichunchunageri Mutt Balagangadhara Swamiji died at a hospital on Sunday after a brief illness.

Bangalore: The head of Adichunchunageri Mutt Balagangadhara Swamiji, an influential spiritual leader of Karnataka, died at a hospital here on Sunday after a brief illness.

The 68-year old swamiji was admitted to BGS Global Hospital yesterday with complaints of severe chest pain and low blood pressure and his condition deteriorated today. He was put on ventilator and breathed his last this evening, hospital sources said.

Hospital Spokesperson Dr Venkataramana Gowda said the seer was suffering from heart disease and chronic kidney failure and had been on dialysis for last four years.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok, his cabinet colleague V Somanna, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Union Minister Veerappa Moily, actor Amabreesh, BJP leader Ananth Kumar and Art of Living Seer Sri Sri Ravi Shankar condoled the death of the Swamiji.

Ashok said the final rites of the Swamiji would be performed tomorrow evening with full state honours at the mutt premises in Mandya district.

The Swamiji, anointed the 71st Pontiff of the mutt on September 24, 1974, was an influential and powerful religious leader of Vokkaliga community, the second largest community in the state.

He was instrumental in opening more than hundred educational institutions and hospitals across Karnataka and had worked for the welfare of farmers and oppressed classes.

He had strongly opposed forced religious conversions and participated in dharnas against cow slaughter along with Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati.