Lakshmivara Tirtha Swami of Shiroor Mutt passed away at a Kasturba hospital in Manipal today. He was 55. The three-time head seer at the Krishna temple in Udupi breathed his last 8:30 am. According to reports, he was keeping unwell for the last few weeks. He was taken to the hospital at 1 am.
Doctors attending him at the hospital said that they suspect food poisoning behind the sudden deterioration in his health, but could confirm only after autopsy. His body has been shifted to the mortuary at the hospital.
The seer was initiated into the ‘sanyas ashram’ at 8. During his 47 years as the head of the Shiroor Mutt, Lakshmivara performed three Paryayas at Sri Krishna Temple. He was also known for decorating the Lord Krishna idol beautifully at Sri Krishna Temple.
Months ago, Lakshmivara was in the news over the issue of idols. Since he was not well, he had given the idols of the presiding deities of Shiroor Mutt to Ishapriya Tirtha Swami, junior seer of Admar Mutt, for keeping at the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Krishna Mutt. The Shiroor Mutt is one of eight in Udupi and is a Madhwa Brahmin community mutt.
After his recovery, he had sought the idols but seers of the six of the Astha Mutts refused to return him the idols. They had demanded that the Shiroor Mutt seer should appoint a junior seer but this was not accepted by him. He had even threatened to file a criminal case over the issue.
Days ago, he was caught on camera making derogatory remarks against other seers. But he had rubbished all such reports alleging that the video was morphed.
In March 2018, he had announced to contests the assembly elections on a BJP ticket. But when he was denied a ticket by the BJP, the seer entered the fray as an independent candidate. However, he later withdrew his nomination at the last moment.