Lakhs catch last glimpse of Siddaganga seer

Lakhs catch last glimpse of Siddaganga seer

Vachana recitation, chanting of Veda mantras and the cries of teary eyed devotees marked the final rites of the late Shivakumara Swami here on Tuesday.

Prior to that, the who’s who of the government and political establishments paid their last respects to the seer with floral tributes. They were led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

The ceremony began with a three-round gun salute. The two-minute silence that followed the national anthem was punctuated by sobs of some devotees and shutter sounds from the cameras.

Shivakumara Swami had chosen the final resting place right next to the ‘Gadduge’ of his guru Atavi Shivayogi. The poojas and rituals conducted during the final rites were similar to that offered to his guru. In the morning, purification rituals were held. These were followed by Punyaha, panchakalasa pooja, ashta dikpalakaka pooja and Saptarshi pooja.

The spot where the seer was to be interred was covered with sand till Monday night. Authorities of the mutt removed the sand and had made arrangements inside the temple by Tuesday morning. Pooja was offered to the seer’s body as it was lowered into each step of the samadhi. After the completion of all the rituals, salt was poured into the samadhi. Vibhuti (kriyagatti) was used for completion of the burial.

Earlier, devoteesd continue to line up in kilometre-long queues to get a glimpse of the seer’s body at the exhibition grounds, while thousands of others waited to enter the gates of the mutt. The gates around the mutt, from where the seer built a legacy of service, piety and spirituality, were later closed.

From toddlers sitting on the shoulders of their parents to women and old men, all shouted slogans - ‘Siddaganga is god, lives forever’ and ‘Honour the seer, give Bharat Ratna now’.

Noting that devotees had continued to visit the grounds throughout the night, mutt authorities estimated that about 6-8 lakh people had a glimpse of the seer till 5 am. The footfall till 5 pm on Tuesday was expected to be around 10 lakh.

People braved the scorching sun and stood in long and winding queues. Police had made elaborate arrangements and threw several rings of security, besides monitoring the crowd.

However, as the time for the final rites neared, there was a huge rush during which nine devotees sustained minor injuries and were rushed to hospitals. Several others who collapsed due to low blood pressure and sugar complaint were given primary healthcare on the campus.

Thousands who could not enter the mutt recited vachanas and paid their respects from outside.