Siddalinga Mahaswami
Siddalinga MahaswamiYoutube screengrab

Siddalinga Mahaswami, the protege of late Shivakumar Swami, is all set to formally take over as the new head of the Siddaganga mutt in Karnataka's Tumakuru district in the next few days.

A devoted follower of Shivakumar Swami, Siddalinga Mahaswami was in charge of the mutt for over a decade before his leader passed away a few days back. He acted as the de-facto pontiff and was given charge of making decisions for the ashram and educational institutions under the guidance of late Shivakumar Swami. The latter had been giving the junior pontiff responsibilities as old age caught up with him.

Born on July 22, 1963, in Magadi (near Bengaluru), Siddalinga Swami was first known as Vishwanatha. Vishwanatha derived his holy name from Yeiyuru Siddalingeshwara, a deity of a temple in Karnataka.

Siddalinga Swami came under the care of Shivakumar Swami when he was in high school and a local seer asked his parents to send him to the Sree Siddaganga Gurukula, reports Times of India. He then completed his studies under the care of Shivakumar Swami (who was on his way to becoming the junior pontiff of the mutt) and earned his MA in Economics.

After his education, Siddalinga joined the mutt and devoted his time in service of the ashram and Shivakumar Swami.

The 55-year-old seer of the Siddaganga mutt is known for his diplomatic demeanour and keeps himself distanced from controversies as was evidenced during the Veerashaiva-Lingayat issue.

Siddalinga Mahaswami will now be officially in charge of the mutt and all the educational institutes under the Sri Siddaganga Education Society. According to reports, there are over 125 institutes under the society and it is considered as one of the richest in the state.