New Delhi: Dwarka peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, also known as a “revolutionary sadhu” for participating in the freedom struggle, passed away at the age of 99 due to cardiac arrest in his ashram in Madhya Pradesh. He used to speak his mind on religious and political issues and question the ‘deification’ of Saibaba of Shirdi.
Swami Swaroopanand, who was the Shankracharya of Dwarka-Sharda Peeth (in Gujarat), and Jyotish Peeth (in Uttrakhand), was not keeping well for over a year, his aide said.
He breathed his last at his Ashram in Narsinghpur district around 3:30 PM on 11th September. He was on dialysis and used be on and off the ventilator for the last couple of months. He was also suffering from age-related issues and was a diabetic, the Ashram sources said, adding that a special facility was built at the Ashram to treat him. He will be given a “bhoo samadhi” (burial) on the campus of the Ashram around 3 to 4 pm on Monday, the release said.
Swaroopanand Saraswati was born as Pothiram Upadhyay in Dighori village in the Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh in 1924. He had left his home in pursuit of God at the age of 9. He became a freedom fighter in the Quit India movement in 1942 and was called “Revolutionary Sadhu”. He was jailed twice, once for 9 months and another for 6 months. Pothiram Upadhyay became Shankracharya (of Dwarka Peeth) in 1981, his followers said. His 99th birthday was celebrated on teej that fell on August 30, they said.
Known for speaking his mind, Swami Swaroopanand in June 2012 he told the then Uttarakhand chief minister about his stance against having hydro projects, dams, and barrages on the River Ganga. He had advocated the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and the framing of the uniform civil code in the country. In 2014, he stirred controversy by questioning the “Godly status” of Saibaba of Shirdi. He had said there was no mention of Sai Baba in the Shastras and the Vedas” and he should not be worshiped with Hindu gods.