The 15th president of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission Swami Atmasthananda passed away on Sunday at around 5:30 pm at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan Hospital, Kolkata after a prolonged health issues.

He was born 10 May 1919 at Sabajpur, near Dhaka. He joined the Ramakrishna Order at Belur Math on 3 January 1941 at the age of 22 years. Swami Atmasthananda maharaj passed away at the age of 98. He had been undergoing treatment for age-related ailments since February, 2015.

Swamiji had spent several years in the Himalayas. He was elected as the trustee of the Ramakrishna Math and member of the governing body of the Ramakrishna Mission in 1973.

Atmasthananda maharaj was the spiritual guide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one who have initiated Modi to join politics.

PM Modi in his young age, had visited the Belur Math to join the order, but his request was rejected and Atmasthanandaji told him that he is meant for something else… to serve the people”.

According to one of the staff there, since then Modi used to treat him as his guru. When both of them were in Rajkot, Modi used to go to him to seek guidance and Swamiji fondly used to call him ‘Norendro’.

“In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Swami Atmasthananda Maharajji. Then, he spent some time in the hospital with Swamiji and touched his feet. Both spoke in Gujarati and asked about each other’s well-being during the short exchange,” he recalled.

Since Narendra Modi has termed his death as ‘personal loss’ and condoled his demise through several tweets,

He was one of the key persons to organise the Pallimangal (integrated rural development) activities in Kamarpukur and Jayrambati, a youth training centre at Saradapitha (Belur) and many other social service programmes.

A statement released by the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, said, “Despite the best medical attention, his condition deteriorated over the last few days and he passed away around 5.30 PM today at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan hospital.”  The cremation will take place at Belur Math tomorrow at about 9.30 pm and the gates of Belur Math would remain open tonight and tomorrow till the last rites were completed, it stated.

May his soul rest in peace


Anusha Shetty

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