Champion of some Hindus and Indians in Trinidad and Tobago Satnayaran Maharaj peacefully died clasping the Hanuman Chalisa.
"In his dying moments he clasped a copy of the Hanuman Chalisa which he always kept in his possession when he was alive," stated a release from the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) executive and Maharaj's family just after 1 a.m. today.
Maharaj, the SDMS Secretary General suffered a stroke last Thursday at his Champ Fleurs home and was being treated at the Medical Associates hospital in St Joseph where he died on Friday night.
The Hanuman Chalisa is a popular sacred Hindu hymn devoted to Lord Hanuman, himself a devotee of Lord Rama.
Chalisa is derived from the Hindi word, chalis which means “forty.” The Hanuman Chalisa is, therefore, so-called because it has 40 verses that praise Hanuman who is associated with courage, strength and selfless service in his devotion to Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu.
The SDMS stated that there will be three days of mourning and funeral arrangements have already begun and will be announced within 24 hours.
The SDMS shared what happened in the last days of Maharaj's life.
The release stated that as per Hindu traditions Maharaj was under the protection of "tulsi leaves" and he also drank holy water from the most reverred "Triveni river".
In Hindu tradition Triveni Sangam is the "confluence" of three rivers (Ganga, Yamuna & Saraswati).
The SDMS stated that the recommended "Gita-part" (verses of the Srinad Bhagvad Gita) was recited to Maharaj and gifting of 'daan' was done in his name.
"His passing was entirely free of any pain and suffering and was a smooth transition from this mortal world," stated the SDMS.
"We therefore have no doubt that none other than Prabhu Sri Ram and his chief servant Lord Hanuman attended upon Sri Satnarayan Maharaj to take him on his new journey to their heavenly abode," it added.
Maharaj's family and the SDMS executive extended thanks to his team of doctors:
Professor Vijay Narinesingh who spearheaded the medical team
Professor Paul Teelucksingh - internist
Dr Avidesh Panday - neurologist
Dr Narendra Ramnarine- neurologist
Dr Arun Narinesingh- anasthethist
The release stated that "the high degree of competence, kindness and compassion they displayed along with their support staff (nurses etc) in treating Sri Satnarayan Maharaj will never be forgotten. Thank you!"
It was also disclosed that Maharaj was visited by leaders of different religious faiths who prayed for him.
This included Dharmacharya of the Maha Sabha Dr Rampersad Parasram visited Maharaj and offered prayers.
Also visiting and offering prayers were Port of Spain Archbishop Jason Gordon, the abbot of Mount St Benedict, representatives of the Seventh Day Advestist church, pastor Clive Dottin and President of the Islamic Front Movement Umar Abdullah.
The release hailed Maharaj as a "true fighter" for the betterment of Hindus, East Indians and the wider society.
It stated he achieved immense success in his battles for our enhanced welfare.
"Each and every one of us identify with him on an individual level. His legacy will certainly continue through all of us and the collective starting point will be the manner in which we honour him at this time,"
The release stated that the work of the SDMS will continue.
"Starting at this time all Sanatanist Hindus and institutions affiliated with the SDMS will observe a three day period of mourning" it stated.
Maharaj was always known to be an outspoken and controversial figure.
Among his many accomplishments was his victory at the Privy Council which saw the change of the Trinity Cross, the highest National Award in Trinidad and Tobago to the Order of Trinidad and Tobago.
He also fought the Government all the way to the Privy council in order to attain the right to establish a Hindu radio station which was granted only after the Privy Council ordered that a license be granted to the SDMS.
Maharaj was also at the helm of challenging this country's sedition laws which is still currently before the courts.
The move came after police searched Radio Jaagriti's compound on two occasions this year on the grounds of sedition.
About the SDMS:
The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha is the major Hindu organisation in Trinidad and Tobago.
It operates 150 mandirs, over 50 schools, and has it very own radio station, Radio Jaagriti 102.7 FM, and TV channel, TV Jaagriti Trinidad and Tobago.
It was formed in 1952 when Bhadase Maraj engineered the merger of the Sanatan Dharma Association and the Sanatan Dharma Board of Control. An affiliated group, the Pundits' Parishad, has 200 affiliated pundits.
The organisation's headquarters are located in St. Augustine.
Under Maharaj, the Maha Sabha has modernized all 42 schools and built 5 secondary schools as well as 12 early childhood educational centers. Maharaj was instrumental in the creation of the Indian Arrival Day holiday and annual celebrations. The Maha Sabha introduced a Children's Cultural Festival Baal Vikaas Vihar.