Srimat Swami Sureshanandaji passed away unexpectedly on the sacred Jayanti of Sri Ramakrishna on 8th March 2019. Although he was bedridden for more than two years and ailing due to old age issues, he was always cheerful. On that day he watched the special puja and homa in the shrine, admired the flower arrangements in the morning and also listened to the chanting and bhajans in the evening. He repeated ‘Jai Ramakrishna’ quite a few times early in the morning and when Sadhus offered pranams after mangalarati and reminded him that it is Sri Gurumaharaj Jayanti, he said clearly, ‘Yes, I remember very well’. Again after Sandhyarati he repeated ‘Swamine Taapaharine’ while hearing the bhajans. He was very fond of bhajans and would sing along many a time. After the Sandhyarati when Sadhus met him at 8.05 pm, he was fully conscious and asked him if he had any discomfort or pain. He said that he was alright and doing well. There was no indication of his passing away.
By about 09.35 pm when all the devotees and volunteers had left after having prasad and the day’s celebrations had concluded peacefully, he was administered liquid antacid as per doctor’s advice and he seemed to be sleeping as usual. A few minutes after that by about 10.00 pm there was some discharge from his mouth and he told the sevak clearly, ‘I am passing away’. This was followed by a convulsion. He hardly gave us any time to think or take him to the hospital. The doctors came and pronounced him dead. They decided that it was death due to natural causes and fixed the time as 10.05 pm.
Immediately our monastic brothers and old students arranged for the shifting of the body to RIMSE for darshan and paying homage by all his admirers and devotees. Gita chanting, bhajans, etc were started by the monastic brothers. A regular stream of devotees, ex-students, staff and dignitaries continued from morning 6 am to till 2.30 pm. After the ritualistic bath and decoration with a new cloth, the body was taken in a decorated open chariot (hearse) by 2.45 pm to Vidyashala and to the Ashrama. Arati was performed at RIMSE, Vidyashala and Ashrama. The procession from Ashrama to the crematorium started at 4.15 pm with police escort and a big following. Cremation was done at Chirashantidhama on a sandal wood pyre amidst chanting and bhajans.
Prominent visitors were: Sri Sri Shivaratri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji, Pontiff of JSS Mahasamsthana; Sri Sri Nirmalanandanatha Mahaswamiji, Pontiff of Sri Adichunchanagiri Samsthana; Sri G T Deve Gowda, Dist in-charge Minister and Minister for Higher Education, Karnataka; Sri Pratap Simha, MP, Kodagu Constituency, Sri Devdas, Ex Student of Vidyashala and presently Justice of High Court, Bengaluru; Dr Kumar Naik, Ex Student of Vidyashala, IAS, Secretary of Social Welfare Dept., Govt. of Karnataka; Smt. Aparna Garg, Senior Divisional Manager, South Western Railways, Dr. B V Patil, Ex Vice Chancellor of Raichur Agricultural University, Heads of all the major Educational Institutions of Mysuru and many others.
All were amazed at the number of people who had been touched by the benevolence and magnanimity of Swami Sureshanandaji. We heard so many inspiring accounts of how he had helped them in getting education, securing jobs and above all by instilling confidence in them. We all feel that we were blessed to be with him and serve him. He will be a source of inspiration for sadhus, students and devotees.