Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday attended the memorial service (bhandara) of Swami Atmasthanandaji, president, Ramakrishna Math and Mission this afternoon.
The nonagenarian monk who had been suffering since 2015, breathed his last at the Rakakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan on June 18. Banerjee who was close to Swami Atmasthanandaji went to the hospital and later tweeted after his demise. On her request, the RKM authorities bade
farewell to the president Maharaj with gun salute breaking convention. She could not attend the funeral function as she had to leave for Netherlands on June 19.
Banerjee went to the math this afternoon and placed floral wreath and flowers on the photograph of Swami Atmasthanandaji. She was greeted by the trustee members of Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
Meanwhile, lakhs of devotees took part in the special prayer which was held at Belur Math since early morning. The monks and bramhacharins of the Order sang bhajans and kirtans and there was recitation from Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita. The devotees, many of whom carrying white lotuses, stood in long queues to pay respect to Swami Atmasthanandaji.
In the evening, a public meeting was held where the speakers recalled his contribution in the Ramakrishna Movement. Swami Atmasthanandaji's life's philosophy was "Work is Worship." He used to look after RKM's relief for many years and had been posted in different centres both in the country and abroad. A brilliant student of Presidency College, he joined the Order when he was doing his post graduation in Philosophy.
He was initiated by Swami Vijnananda, fourth president of the Order and a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. He had witnessed inauguration of the Ramakrishna temple at Belur Math in 1938. He was the 15th president of the Order and will be succeeded by Swami Smaranandaji.