KANCHEEPURAM, (TN) Feb 28 - Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, regarded as one of the most influential spiritual leaders of his time but whose shock arrest in a murder case robbed the spiritual shine of the Kanchi mutt, died here today. He was 82.
The seer, who had been unwell for the past few months, had complained of uneasiness this morning and was rushed to the nearby medical facility sponsored by the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
Jayendra Saraswathi died of cardiac arrest, said sources at the Adi Bhagavadpada Cardiac and Dialysis Centre.
Jayendra Saraswathi�s most challenging period came in 2004 when he was arrested on the eve of Diwali in connection with a murder of a temple manager, A Sankararaman, during the Jayalalithaa regime, sending shockwaves.
The trial court had later acquitted him and others including his deputy Vijayendra Saraswathi in the case.
A pall of gloom descended on this temple town, 75 km from Chennai, as soon as the news of the death of the 69th pontiff of Kanchi Sankara Mutt established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century spread.
The seer is credited with taking social outreach programmes to the common people and who wielded enormous influence in matters affecting the Hindu religion in the country including the vexed Ayodhya issue.
His face in repose, eyes closed and hands folded, the body was brought in a chair to a hall in the mutt as grieving devotees began to pay their last respects to the revered Hindu seer.
Followers wept as the body of the Shankaracharya was placed at a vantage spot in the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam so that his legion of followers could bid him goodbye.
According to officials, the body will be kept for public view till tomorrow morning after which the last rites will be conducted amid vedic rituals. The rites have been described as �Brindavana Pravesha Karyakramam� in vedic parlance. � PTI