Saraswati, who was regarded as one of the most influential spiritual leaders of his time had a huge following both in India and abroad.
Here's a look at his life
- Born as Subramanian in Irulneeki village in Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu, Jayendra Saraswathi was appointed as junior pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam in 1954 by Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi at a young age of 19.
- Many compared him with Ramanuja -- the legendary Vaishnavite guru and a social reformer. Jayendra Saraswati, the 69th pontiff of the Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram, was a Saivite -- a follower of Lord Shiva.
- Focussed on the uplift of Dalits, the 82-year-old guru was also interested in developing healthcare and educational facilities for the people apart from spreading spiritualism. He was the also the first Hindu seer to be involved in efforts to find a solution to the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.
- He led a high-profile life and is widely believed to have enjoyed a good rapport with many high-level politicians across the country. He was also close to J Jayalalithaa. After his death, many political leaders condoled his demise including PM Modi
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. pic.twitter.com/pXqDPxS1Ki
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 28, 2018
However, he had his share of both glory and controversy, with the seer managing to overcome the ordeal of the infamous Sankarraman murder case.
Sankararaman, manager of the Sri Varadarajaperumal temple in Chennai, was brutally murdered in his office room in the temple on September 3, 2004, by assailants using sharp-edged weapons. He had levelled charges of financial misappropriation in the mutt administration against Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi.
The seer was arrested on November 11, 2004, from Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh on charges of conspiring to murder Sankararaman.
The two seers were booked for murder and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code. They rejected the charges. The senior pontiff was granted bail by the Supreme Court on January 10, 2005, after he had spent two months in Vellore jail. Vijayendra Saraswathi was arrested from the mutt on January 10, 2005, and was released on bail a month later.
They later moved the Supreme Court and got the case transferred to Puducherry in 2005 on the ground that the atmosphere in Tamil Nadu was vitiated and there may not be a free and fair trial. In November 2013, the Puducherry Sessions Court acquitted both the seers.
The pontiff had also courted controversy back in 1987 when he suddenly disappeared from the mutt. After 17 days, he had his homecoming and was welcomed by thousands of devotees. He then kickstarted his social organization, Jana Kalyan.