Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission passes away at 99 in Kolkata. He joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on 3 January 1941 at the age of 22 years.He was elected as the 15th President of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission on December 3, 2007. Since 2015, he had been ailing. Death came on Sunday evening. His mortal remains were consigned to flames at Belur Math. Large number of people are thronging the Math to pay their last respect to their beloved Guruji Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj.
By Pallab Ghosh
The mortal remains of Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj was consigned to flames at special cemetry inside the Belur Math at around 9 PM on Monday. As per State chief minister`s orders, gun salute was give to the departed soul. Members of Ramakrisha Math and Mission situated outside Belur had also come to Belur to be a part of the monent. Visitors bid farewell to their Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj with tears in their eyes. People stood beside the Ganga and offered special prayers to the departed soul.
The Belur Math in Howrah district of West Bengal wore a solemn look since morning itself with thousands of people thronging the premises to have a glimpse of their guruji Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, President of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission who left for his heavenly abode on Sunday evening after a prolonged illness at the Ramkrishna Seba Pratishthan in Kolkata. He had been at the hospital for treatment since 2015 but his condition had deteriorated since Saturday late evening and was placed under ventilation. On Sunday morning, there had been a fall in his health condition. Bengal state chief minister Mamata Banerjee had gone to the hospital to take stock of his health condition. "I had come to enquire about Maharaj`s health, he is 99-year-old and we all would like him to complete century but I am told his condition is deteriorating", said Mamata Banerjee while speaking to Press after coming out.
At around 5 PM the news broke out that Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj had left for his heavenly abode. The monks at the Entire Belur Math began special prayers for the departed soul. Large numbers of his disciples began thronging the hospital and Belur Math. An advisory was issued by the Math that his mortal remains would be kept at the Belur Math for people to pay their last respects. It was also announced that the Math will remain open whole night on Sunday.
Born on May 10, 1919 at Sabajpur, near Dhaka. the monk had received spiritual initiation (mantra diksha) in 1938 from Vijnanananda (a monastic disciple of Ramakrishna). He joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on 3 January 1941 at the age of 22 years.He was elected as the 15th President of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission on December 3, 2007.
Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, was elected a Trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and Member of the Governing Body of the Ramakrishna Mission in 1973. He was appointed an Assistant (General) Secretary of the twin organizations In 1975. He became the General Secretary of the Math and Mission in 1992 and continued to be in that post for five years till 1997 when he became a Vice-President of the Order. He was elected President of the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission on 3 December 2007. During his tenure Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, as Relief Secretary, he has conducted massive relief and rehabilitation opeations in various parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Swami Atmasthanandaji had been among the driving force behind the Pallimangal (integrated rural development) activities in Kamarpukur and Jayrambati, a youth training centre at Saradapitha (Belur) and many other social service programmes.
Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, who had been a strong follower of philosophy laid down by Guru Maharaj Swami Vivekananda spent entire life for the betterement of mankind and spreding the message of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Atmasthanandaji Maharaj, had travelled extensively in various parts of the country and visited many branches of the Order and some unaffiliated centres. In 1998, he visited various places in the USA, Canada, Japan and Singapore. He also went to Malaysia, Fiji, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at different times. In all those places, he spread the message of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Vedanta and also gave mantra diksha to many spiritual seekers.
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