Pundits and other religious leaders came together to say afinal farewell to Pundit Uttam Maharaj on Saturday at his home in Rousillac, San Fernando. Maharaj, who was the Dharmacharya (spiritual head) of the Maha Sabha, died on Thursday at 70.
President of the National Council for Indian Culture (NCIC), Pundit Dr Deokienanan Sharma, said as Dharmacharya, Maharaj served with dignity, forbearance and above all humility.
“Always well-mannered and soft spoken, he conducted his affairs in a manner which gained him respect by all people,” Sharma said.
Sharma saidt Pun Maharaj was his cousin and he was proud to call him a relative. “Pun Maharaj’s passing is a heavy blow to the Hindu community,” Sharma said, adding that it will be hard to fill his position as head of the Maha Sabha.
Pundit Rampersad Parasram of Couva extended his condolences to Maharaj’s family on behalf of the Pundit Parasram School of Hinduism as well as the Indian Diaspora Council. Parasram quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita: "Na jayate mriyate va kadachin,naayam bhuta bhavita na bhuya. Ajo nityam shaswatoyam purano, Na hanyate hanyamane sharire," which means" "The soul is never born nor dies. It is unborn, eternal and everlasting."
At the funeral, pundits who attended repeated Sanskrit mantras.
Pun Maharaj served the Maha Sabha for 13 years as its spiritual leader with Satnarayan Maharaj as secretary general.
He was a teacher of Hindi, Sanskrit, arts, music and culture, an accomplished sitar player, and adjudicated in several competitions for the Ministry of Education.
He also served as president of the Hindu Parishad Council, an arm of the SDMS.
Maharaj was married to Indra, daughter of the late Pundit Krishna Maharaj. whom he succeeded as Dharmacharya.
He was cremated at Mosquito Creek, San Fernando.