Mahesh Yogi's body to reach Allahabad for cremation
The body of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who popularised meditation across the world, will be flown in Allahabad from the Netherlands on Saturday for his cremation.
An entourage of over 500 of his disciples is slated to accompany the guru's body to attend his last rites in this city on the bank of the Ganga on Monday.
The Indian guru, who took yoga and transcendental meditation to the world outside India, died of natural causes on Tuesday at his Dutch retreat of Vlodrop. He was thought to be 91.
"Since Allahabad airport does not have customs facility, the plane would first land at the international air terminal in Varanasi and then arrive here at about 9.30 am," a spokesman of the Maharishi Ved Vidyapeeth here told IANS.
The Vidyapeeth was set up by the Maharishi as a part of his mission to promote Vedic teachings. Spread across a huge campus on the outer banks of the Ganga, the Vidyapeeth has over 2,500 students pursuing a gurukul type of education. The boarding and lodging on the campus is absolutely free.
The Maharishi had studied at the KP Intermediate College in Allahabad and later completed his Masters in Physics from the Allahabad University.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Ashok Singhal and retired High Court Justice Shambhu Nath Srivastava have urged President Pratibha Patil to accord state honours to the Maharishi.
"I have requested the president to accord a state funeral to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and I am hopeful that she would concede this request," Singhal told reporters.
"Thousands of sadhus from different parts of the country will be converging in Allahabad to participate in the Maharishi's funeral," he said.
Justice (retd) Srivatsava said: "The Maharishi's body would be taken through the city streets in a procession and kept initially at the ashram of swami Vasudevanand in Alopi Bagh area on Saturday to enable people to pay their homage."
He added: "The body will be shifted to the Vidyapeeth in the evening and would be thrown open to public again on Sunday."
The last rites, which were to be performed at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers, may now be held at the Vidyapeeth on account of an ongoing festival at the banks.