NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday condoled the demise of Jayendra Saraswathi, the 69th pontiff of the Sankara Mutt Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.
Expressing his condolences, President Kovind wrote on Twitter: "Sad to hear of the passing of Jayendra Saraswatiji, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Our country has lost a spiritual leader and social reformer of rare eminence. My condolences to his countless disciples and followers."
Prime Minister Modi also shared on social media an old picture of his with the seer along with a condolence message.
"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," Modi said.
"Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya was at the forefront of innumerable community service initiatives. He nurtured institutions which transformed the lives of the poor and downtrodden," he added.
Rahul Gandhi said he was "saddened" to hear about the death of the Kanchi seer.
"I am saddened to hear about the death of Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham," Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
"He was revered by lakhs of believers all over the world for his teachings. May his soul rest in peace," the Congress President added.
Senior BJP leader and former Union Home Minister L.K. Advani in his condolence message said that he knew the seer closely who played a key role in defusing acrimony between the Hindu and Muslim communities over the Babri Masjid dispute.
"I had the privilege of knowing Jayendra Saraswathi Swami ji very closely. Our association became closer during the rule of NDA-I, when I was the Minister of Home Affairs in the government headed by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji," Advani said in a written message.
"Swami ji proactively initiated a dialogue with various religious and social leaders of the Muslim community to evolve an amicable solution to the Ayodhya dispute. This dialogue helped a lot in promoting mutual trust and goodwill between Hindu and Muslim communities," he added.
The BJP veteran said he joined millions of devotees of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt in "offering prayers to the Almighty and in seeking peace to the departed soul".
Saraswathi, the 69th pontiff of the Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram passed away in Kanchipuram in a private hospital where he was admitted early on Wednesday. The 82-year-old pontiff was ailing for some time.