Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi who passed away on Wednesday, 28 February.

Expressing grief at the demise of the 69th pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, the PM wrote on his official Twitter handle, “Deeply anguished by the passing away of Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya. He will live on in the hearts and minds of lakhs of devotees due to his exemplary service and noblest thoughts. Om Shanti to the departed soul.”

Extolling the social work of the 82-year-old seer and addressing Shankaracharya as “Jagadguru Pujyashri”, PM Modi said that the acharya led many community services from the front helping transform the lives of the poor.

“Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya was at the forefront of innumerable community service initiatives. He nurtured institutions which transformed the lives of the poor and downtrodden,” he wrote.

 

President Ram Nath Kovind, too, offered his condolences on the death of the pontiff.

“Sad to hear of the passing of Jayendra Saraswatiji, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Our country has lost a spiritual leader and social reformer of rare eminence. My condolences to his countless disciples and followers,” the President posted on his official Twitter handle.

 

The Prime Minister had a long association with the seer. In March 2016, Jayendra Saraswathi had told a gathering how Modi, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, used to travel with the seer during the latter’s spiritual tours across the state.

“During my Gujarat yatra, Modi used to travel with me. He is a very good man who went on to become Prime Minister after being the Chief Minister of Gujarat,” he had said.

Reports say that the pontiff had collapsed at the mutt after complaining of breathlessness following which he was admitted to a hospital.

In 2013, the Shankaracharya and 22 others were cleared of charges in a 2004 murder of a Kanchipuram temple employee.

Born on 18 July 1935, Shankaracharya succeeded Chadrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal as the pontiff of the Peetham on 22 March 1954.

Established by Sri Adi Sankara in the year 482 BC, the Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham has a distinction of an unbroken line of 70 acharyas.