CHENNAI: Vedic scholar Swami Omkarananda (64), the authority on Thirukkural and many other Tamil scriptures and founder of Sri Swami Chidbhavananda Ashramam, Theni, passed away on Monday at a private hospital at Madurai. He was undergoing treatment for coronavirus infection. Swami Omkarananda has also been the pontiff of Sri Bhuvaneswari Avadhuta Vidyapitham at Pudukottai.
Swami’s mortal remains were laid to rest in front of his Ashramam at Theni according to Sastras on Monday night itself due to Covid-19 restrictions. According to the Ashramam sources, Swami Omkarananda, when he was alive, chose the place for his Samadhi and gave directions to his disciples on how he should be laid to rest. Special poojas and other rituals will be arranged in the coming 10 days, they said. Due to Covid situation, the Ashramam has requested the followers of the Swami not to visit the Theni Ashramam but pray from their homes.
Born as Manoharan alias Goshteswara Sharma to Vaidyanatha Ganapadi and Alamelu Ammal near Porur, Coimbatore in 1956, he was attracted to the works of Swami Vivekananda, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and other scriptures at a very young age. Born in a family steeped in tradition and culture, he adopted the Vedic lifestyle from an early age. An erudite scholar par excellence, he was well versed in both the Vedas. His eloquence and mastery, both in Tamil and Sanskrit, have earned accolades and words of praise, from learned Pandits across the country.
In 1979, he left home and remained in meditation for 21 days in a hillock near Karamadai near Coimbatore. During this period, he took a firm decision to become a monk. Swami had the Sanyasa Diksha (initiation into spiritual life) from Swami Chidbhavananda, founder of the Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam, Thirupparaithurai who gave him the name Swami Omkarananda.
Later, Swami Omkarananda studied Vedanta under Pujyasri Swami Paramarthananda, one of the foremost disciples of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. For over the past 30 years, he has been spreading the Vedantic teachings, in spiritual camps held across the globe.
Swami has established Vedanta Sasthra Prachara Trust, through which he trains his students and devotees, on the spiritual ways of life. He expounded the essence of some of the sacred texts in Tamil, such as Thevaram, Thiruvachakam, Thirumandiram, Thayumanavar’s hymns, Bharatiyar’s songs and Thirukkural, in particular.