Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj, president of the Belur-headquartered Ramakrishna Math and Mission, passed away at the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, Kolkata, at the age of 98. While a pall of gloom fell on Belur Math after his demise, PM Narendra Modi too could not hold back his regret at the news. He tweeted saying, "The demise of Swami Atmasthanandaji is a personal loss for me. I lived with him during a very important period of my life."

The revered monk and the PM go back together a long way when the former had taken charge of the Rajkot mission and the latter had taken refuge there for monkhood. After days of staying together, swamiji had advised him that monkhood was not meant for him and that his work lies with the people and not in seclusion. 

Modi further said, "Swami Atmasthanandaji was blessed with immense knowledge and wisdom. Generations will remember his exemplary personality. Whenever I would visit Kolkata, I would always make it a point to seek the blessings of Swami Atmasthanandaji. As President of Ramakrishna Mission set up by Swami Vivekananda, Swami Atmasthanandaji worked tirelessly and spread its influence globally."

Meanwhile, chief minister of West Bengal also paid her last condolences and said that she had visited the ailing monk just a few hours before his demise. "Saddened that Swami Atmasthanandaji, president, Ramakrishna Math and Mission, passed away today at Seva Pratishthan. I paid my last visit to him this afternoon. A life of outstanding social and religious service. This is an irreparable loss to mankind." She further added, "In this moment of loss, I convey my condolence to all his associates in Ramakrishna Math and Mission. May his soul rest in peace."

 

Swamiji's health was deteriorating because of age-related ailments. Swami Suvirananda, RKM general secretary said, "In spite of best medical attention, his condition became worse and he passed away around 5.30pm on June 18." the cremation is scheduled at Belur Math at around 9.30pm today.

About Swami Atmasthananda Maharaj

Born on the day of holy Buddha Purnima in May 1919 at Sabajpur near Dhaka, he joined the math at the age of 22. He received mantra diksha or spiritual initiation from Vijnanananda- a monastic disciple of Ramakrishna in the year 1938. In the year 1945, the then president of the order Swami Virajananda gave him Brahmacharya vows, and in 1949 Sannyasa vows and the name Atmasthananda.

During his tenure as heads in various monastries across the world, he spearheaded many developmental activities for the society. It was under his initiative that the Rangoon Sevashram became the biggest hospital in the country. 

He was declared as the 15th President of the Ramakrishna Mission on 3 December 2007.