The President of the Belur-headquartered Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj passes away at the age of 98. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses his grievances as a personal loss. Swami Atmasthananda is the one who is believed to have initiated Modi on the path of politics.
Born on the holy day of Buddha Purnima in May 1919 at Sanajpur near Dhaka, Swami Atmasthananda joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on January 3, 1941 at the age of 22 years. He received his Brahmacharya vows from the then-President of the Order Swami Virajananda in 1945, who also gave him his Sanayasa vows and name Atmasthananda in 1949. Athmasthananda was elected the President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission on 3 December 2007.
At a young age, Narendra Modi had visited the Order in hopes of joining it and wanted to take the vows of Sanyasa but his request was denied by Atmasthananda telling him his calling was to serve people through politics. Modi expressed his grief publicly on Twitter, saying that the death of the monk was an irreparable personal loss for him and he lived with the monk during a very important period of his life. Modi also said that he made it a point to visit the monk whenever he visited Kolkata and the monk was blessed with immense knowledge and wisdom and a personality that would be exemplified by generations to come.
The demise of Swami Atmasthananda ji is a personal loss for me. I lived with him during a very important period of my life. pic.twitter.com/eY3TKU41Xf
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 18, 2017
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee visited the monk hours prior to his death and expressed her grief saying that the monk lived a life of outstanding social and spiritual service.
Swami Atmasthananda was hospitalized in February 2015 due to age-related ailments. He had been on ventilation since Saturday owing to a sharp decline in his health.
Great loss indeed to the nation and his followers