Prayagraj: At 35, Mahant Balbir Giri is set to become one of the youngest head of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad.
Office-bearers of Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani have decided to anoint the late Mahant Narendra Giri’s disciple Balbir Giri as the next chief of Baghambari Math. The position fell vacant following the death of Mahant Narendra Giri on September 20. However, Balbir Giri will have to get approval for all the major decisions pertaining to Math by a five-member administrative body. He would be formally anointed at a coronation ceremony on October 5.
Balbir Giri, 35, has been the most trusted disciple of Mahant Narendra Giri for the past 15 years. He hails from Uttarakhand and had left his family in 2005 to take sanyas. He was given ‘diksha’ by Narendra Giri at Haridwar and is presently looking after the Bilkeshwar Mahadev temple in Haridwar.
Sources at the math in Prayagraj said that Balbir and Anand Giri became disciples of Mahant Narendra Giri almost at the same time and the two also got along well. Later, when differences surfaced between Narendra Giri and Anand Giri, Balbir remained loyal to Narendra Giri and became the number two when the Mahant expelled Anand Giri from akhara and Math in May 2021.
Balbir Giri is also the deputy mahant of Niranjani Akhara.
Balbir Giri spends most of his time at the Bilkeshwar Mahadev temple at Haridwar and is rather media shy. He remained away from media eye even after the demise of Mahant Narendra Giri, though he participated in all the post death ceremonies of his guru.
Interestingly, when Mahant Narendra Giri made his first will on January 7, 2010, he had named Balbir as his successor. However, in his second will in August 29, 2011, Anand Giri replaced Balbir as successor. The will was again changed in 2020 and Balbir was named as the successor. Even in his alleged suicide note, the Mahant named Balbir Giri as his successor.
The saints have decided to honour the last wishes of the late Mahant.
Mahant Narendra Giri’s body was found hanging from the ceiling of a room in Baghambari Math on September 20.
The general secretary of Niranjani Akhara, Mahant Ravindra Puri said, “As desired by Maharaj Ji (Narendra Giri) in his last will, we have named Balbir Giri as his successor. He had also mentioned his decision in the suicide note and we have seen it in the video recorded by Maharaj Ji before committing suicide.”
Ravindra Puri also stated that various senior seers of the 13 akharas under ABAP ambit, along with officials of the district administration, would be invited for the coronation ceremony on October 5.
“This coincides with the ‘Shodashi’ ceremony of Mahant Narendra Giri, a ritual to be performed on the 16th day of the Mahant`s death,” he added.
Balbir Giri will also be the head mahant of the Bade Hanuman temple of Sangam.