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COIMBATORE:Swami Dayananda Saraswati passed away at his ashram in Rishikesh on Wednesday night. He was 85. He had been ailing for quite sometime.Born in 1930 in Manjakudi, Natarajan, as the Swami was known in his pre-monastic days, was drawn to Indian philosophy, particularly the Advaita school, listening to Swami Chinmayananda. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, his association with Swami Chinmayananda grew closer as he began taking Vedanta lessons. In 1962, he took ‘Sanyas’ to become Swami Dayananda Saraswati.He continued his association with Swami Chinmayananda for a long time and the two set up Sandipani Sadhanalaya in the then Bombay to train people in Vedanta.His contribution there and subsequently with Arsha Vidya Gurukulam saw hundreds of people learn Vedanta, take up renunciation and spread the Vedic message.Creating teachers in Vedanta along with setting up schools for under privileged under the Aim for Seva Movement were some of his important contributions, says Swami Samananda, one of his disciples from Madurai.Swami Dayananda Saraswati set up the Acharya Sabha, bringing pontiffs from all over the country on a common platform to take up the cause of Hinduism and debate the challenges it faced. He was also a vocal opponent of religious conversion, calling it assault on faith.