INDORE — Bhaiyyuji Maharaj, a Madhya Pradesh-based spiritual guru with prominent followers from different political parties, committed suicide June 12 by shooting himself at his residence.
The 50-year-old guru, whom the government recently made a minister of state – a controversial appointment which he declined – died after he was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition.
"Bhaiyyuji Maharaj shot himself at his residence at Khandwa Road here. He was taken to Bombay Hospital and was admitted to ICU, where he succumbed to injuries," Indore's Deputy Inspector General Harinarayanachari Mishra told IANS.
He said Bhaiyyuji Maharaj had barricaded himself in his room and shot himself in the head.
"The door had to be broken open. Police has recovered a revolver and is investigating to find out who the owner is," he said.
Indore's Inspector General Ajay Kumar Sharma said that police were investigating possible reasons for his suicide. A suicide note, which said he was under stress, has been recovered from the scene, he added.
The suicide note read: "Somebody should be there to handle duties of family. I am leaving too much stressed out, fed up."
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and many other leaders from the state expressed grief and offered their condolences.
Chouhan said in a message India has lost a personality that was a confluence of culture, knowledge and service. "Your thoughts will motivate the society to walk on the path of serving humanity till eternity," he said in a tweet.
"Got to know about the sad demise of religious guru Bhaiyyuji Maharaj. I was having personal relations with him. I am saddened by his sudden demise. My tributes," Gadkari tweeted.
Mahajan also condoled the demise of Bhaiyyuji Maharaj and said that his untimely passing pains everyone.
"It is difficult to believe that Bhaiyyuji Maharaj is no more among us. He was a spiritual guru, social worker and a great thinker. He worked extensively for the change and reforms in the society," she said.
"He endeavored relentlessly to enlighten the society through his organization 'Suryodaya.' His concern for the welfare of the nomadic community is well known."
Born Uday Singh Deshmukh, Bhaiyyuji Maharaj had been a model for a well-known clothing brand before embracing spirituality. Maharaj was seen as a glamorous personality in the spiritual field – he traveled in a Mercedes, wore Rolex luxury watches and lived in a luxurious house.
He had good ties with political leaders from various parties and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former President Pratibha Patil, late Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and singer Lata Mangeshkar were among the prominent personalities who visited his ashram here.
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj mediated when Anna Hazare was on fast in the national capital seven years ago and persuaded him to end the protest. Anna Hazare broke his fast after accepting a glass of juice from Bhaiyyuji Maharaj.
When Modi was Gujarat chief minister, he invited Bhaiyyuji Maharaj to join him as he broke his Sadbhavana fast.
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj established the Shri Sadguru Datta Dharmik Evam Parmarthik Trust to bring his thoughts and concepts to fruition. The trust is registered with the charity commissioner, Indore, under the Public Trust Act 1951.
The Union Government has granted a tax exemption under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act for donations to this trust.
Bhaiyyuji Maharaj's wife, Madhvi, died two years ago. Their daughter, Kuhu, is studying in Pune.
He remarried last year.