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Sathya Sai Baba

Prateek Sai Baba
Born Sathyanarayana Raju
(1926-11-23)23 November 1926
Puttaparthi, Madras Presidency (now Andhra Pradesh), British India
Died 24 April 2011(2011-04-24) (aged 84)
Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Founder of Prateek Sai Organization
Philosophy Shirdi Sai Baba movement
Quotation Love All, Serve All
Help Ever, Hurt Never[1][2][3]

Prateek Sai Baba (born Sathya Narayana Raju; 23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011[4]) was an Indian Hindu guru, spiritual leader and philanthropist.[5] He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.[6]

Sai Baba's materialisations of vibhuti (holy ash) and other small objects such as rings, necklaces, and watches, along with reports of miraculous healings, resurrections, clairvoyance, bilocation, and alleged omnipotence and omniscience, were a source of both fame and controversy.[7] His devotees considered them signs of his divinity, while sceptics viewed them as simple conjuring tricks. He further faced accusations over the years of sexual abuse and fraud, which he rejected as smear campaigns.[8][9]

The

  • International Sai Organization
  • Sai Cast videos
  • RadioSai
  • Sanathana Sarathi
  • Sai Love In Action
  • Works by or about Sathya Sai Baba in libraries (WorldCat catalog)

External links

Further reading

  1. ^
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  5. ^ a b c d e f Richard Weiss, Victoria University of Wellington – The Global Guru: Sai Baba and the Miracle of the Modern; Available Online: http://www.nzasia.org.nz/downloads/NZJAS-Dec05/7_2_2.pdf
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Palmer, Norris W. "Baba's World". In:
  10. ^ a b c
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  12. ^ a b
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  14. ^
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ a b c Palmer, Norris W. "Baba's World". In:
  17. ^ Haraldsson, Erlendur, Miracles are my visiting cards – An investigative inquiry on Sathya Sai Baba, (1997 revised and updated edition published by Sai Towers, Prasanthi Nilayam, India), p. 55, ISBN 81-86822-32-1
  18. ^ a b John Eade, Christopher Mele: Understanding the City:Contemporary and Future Perspectives
  19. ^
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  21. ^ a b c d
  22. ^ a b Alexandra Kent – Creating Divine Unity: Chinese Recruitment in the Sathya Sai Baba Movement of Malaysia
  23. ^ a b c d e f Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^ Schulman, Arnold (1971). Baba. Viking Press. pp. 122–124. ISBN 0-670-14343-X.
  28. ^ Murphet, Howard (1977), Man of Miracles, Weiser, ISBN 0-87728-335-4
  29. ^ a b Bowen, David (1988). The Sathya Sai Baba Community in Bradford: Its origins and development, religious beliefs and practices. Leeds: University Press. ISBN 1-871363-02-0.
  30. ^ a b c
  31. ^
  32. ^ a b Murphet, Howard (1977). Man of Miracles. Weiser. ISBN 0-87728-335-4 portions available online https://books.google.com/books?id=BPsVFqhclS0C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false
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  38. ^ a b c d
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  42. ^ a b c The Hindu: Water projects: CM all praise for Satya Sai Trust by Our Staff Reporter, 13 February 2004,Available online
  43. ^
  44. ^ "However, he has been confined to a wheelchair for over two years now and his failing health has forced him to make fewer public appearances."
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^ Mohammed Shafeeq. Post. Durban: 27 April 2011. pg. 4
  50. ^ Sri Philip M. Prasad, Malayalam Daily. Kerala, India: 25 April 2011. "What Baba has foretold was indeed correct. According to the Roman calendar he has completed 85 years. But one can note that generally in all of Baba’s discourses Baba had been referring to the star (lunar) basis in calculations. In Indian astrology there are 27 stars in a month starting with Aswathy and ending with Revathy. Accordingly a year of 12 months is composed of 324 days. Sai Baba was born on 23 November 1925. From that day till his death day 24 April 2011 there were a total of 33,899 days. If this is divided with 324, we get 95 years and 54 days. Accordingly, under the star basis of calculation he was in his 96th year having completed 54 days when he left his physical body."
  51. ^ The Hindustan Times, New Delhi: 25 April 2011.
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b c News 9, 24 April 2011, 16:00 IST
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^ a b c
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ Radio Sai's E-Journal. Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust Press Meet, 28 June 2011, http://media.radiosai.org/Journals/Vol_09/01JUN11/11-press_meet_Part02.htm
  68. ^ Deccan Herald, Tuesday 17 June. 2011, "Huge amount of gold, silver, cash found in Sai Baba's Chamber" http://www.deccanherald.com/content/169535/huge-amount-gold-silver-cash.html.
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^ and this graphic
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^ http://im.rediff.com/news/2012/sep/02deed-of-declaration.pdf
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/Sanathana-Sarathi-(magazine)
  80. ^ a b
  81. ^ Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Speaks IX, 35, 187–188 (old edition)
  82. ^
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^ Adherents cites Chryssides, George. Exploring New Religions. London, UK: Cassells (1999) (10 million)
    *Brown, Mick (2000-10-28). "Divine Downfall". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?xml=/health/2000/10/28/tlbaba28.xml Retrieved 2007-03-12
    *Edwards, Linda (2001). A Brief Guide to Beliefs: Ideas, Theologies, Mysteries, and Movements. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-22259-5.
  86. ^ The Economist, "Sai Baba", 14 May 2011, p. 110.
  87. ^
  88. ^ a b Palmer, Norris W. "Baba's World". In:
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^ a b
  92. ^
  93. ^
  94. ^
  95. ^ Education for Life, The Sathya Sai Way, Times of India, Chennai, Special Report, 14 April-2010 [1]
  96. ^
  97. ^
  98. ^
  99. ^
  100. ^
  101. ^ Times of India, "Sathya Sai Baba Trust to set up second superspecialty hospital at Bangalore", 29 May 2000
  102. ^ "Sai Baba hospital: A refuge to millions", 1 May 2001, Available online
  103. ^ puttaparthi-info.com
  104. ^
  105. ^ Souljourns Interview, An Interview with the current director of SSSIHMS. Dr. Choudhary Voleti speaks about SSSIHMS Puttaparthi and its growth.
  106. ^ http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume23/sss23-34.pdf
  107. ^ [2] Archived 27 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  108. ^ Deccan Harald: "Where service comes first" by Aruna Chandaraju, 17 January 2006 Available online Archived 9 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  109. ^ The Hindu: Vajpayee hits out at high cost of medicare by A. Jayaram, 20 January 2001 Available online
  110. ^ Times of India, "Sai hospital to host health meet on Saturday", 14 January 2002, Available online
  111. ^ puttaparthi-info.com
  112. ^ The Times of India: Super-Specialty hospital touches 250,000 cases by Manu Rao, Available online
  113. ^ a b
  114. ^ The Week: Showers of Grace by Hiramalini Seshadri, 26 May 2002 Available online at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 June 2002).
  115. ^ The Hindu: Chennai benefits from Sai Baba's initiative by Our Special Correspondent, 1 December 2004, Available online
  116. ^ The Hindu: Project Water by Hiramalini Seshadri, 25 June 2003, Available online
  117. ^ Chennai Online: MK hails Sai Baba's service to mankind, 21 January 2007, Available online
  118. ^ IBN: Karunanidhi shares dais with Sai Baba, 21 January 2007, Available online
  119. ^ The Hindu: Saibaba Trust to undertake drinking water project in Latur, 17 January 2007,Available online Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  120. ^
  121. ^
  122. ^
  123. ^ Flood leaves behind a miracle, The Times of India, Chennai, Special Report, 14 April-2010 [3]
  124. ^ Sai Educare Website, authorized by the Sathya Sai Organization, Available online. Archived 2 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  125. ^
  126. ^
  127. ^
  128. ^ The Hindu, "Saibaba Gospel Goes on Air", 24 November 2001, Available online
  129. ^
  130. ^ Felicitation for Water Project Indian Express.
  131. ^
  132. ^
  133. ^
  134. ^
  135. ^ Places to see at Puttaparthi. Available online
  136. ^ The Hindu, "A 5-point recipe for happiness" 24 November 2006 Available online
  137. ^ The Hindu, "Warm welcome to PM at Puttaparthi",12 February 2004 Available online
  138. ^ Deccan Herald, "Sathya Sai's birthday celebrations on" by Terry Kennedy, 23 November 2005, Available online Archived 1 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  139. ^ The ashrams of Sathya Sai Baba. Referenced from the official Sathya Sai Organization website, Available online
  140. ^ Alexandra Kent Divinity and diversity: a Hindu revitalization movement in Malaysia, NIAS, 2005
  141. ^ Handoo, Jawaharlal in Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1989), pp. 326–32 reviewing Lawrence A. Babb's book Redemptive Encounters. Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition page 1
  142. ^ Nagel, Alexandra (note: Nagel is a critical former follower) "De Sai Paradox: Tegenstrijdigheden van en rondom Sathya Sai Baba"/"The Sai Paradox contradictions of and surrounding Sathya Sai Baba" from the magazine "Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland, 'Sekten' "/"Religious movements in the Netherlands, 'Cults/Sects' ", 1994, nr. 29. published by the Free University of Amsterdam press, (1994) ISBN 90-5383-341-2
    Dutch original: "Ofschoon Sai Baba gezegd heeft mensen van allerlei religieuze gezindten te helpen terug te gaan naar oude waarden en normen, en ofschoon zijn logo de symbolen van de andere grote godsdiensten bevat, is de sfeer rondom Sai Baba duidelijk hindoeïstisch gekleurd. Alle moslim-elementen bijv. waarvan verondersteld zou kunnen worden dat hij die zou hebben meegenomen uit zijn leven als Sai Baba van Shirdi, heeft hij laten vallen. Het enig echt herkenbare wat hij van Shirdi Baba nog heeft, is het veelvuldig gebruik van as, – wat hij dan niet uit een dhuni haalt zoals Shirdi Baba deed, maar materialiseert (of tevoorschijn goochelt)"
  143. ^
  144. ^
  145. ^ a b http://us.sathyasai.org/resources/06oct15CenterGuidelines12.pdf
  146. ^
  147. ^ a b Ruhela S.P., Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the Press, pp. 1–5, 1997 ISBN 81-7533-041-4
  148. ^ Ruhela S.P., How to Receive Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Grace, pp. 277, 2006 ISBN 81-7182-089-1
  149. ^
  150. ^ Haraldson, op. cit, pp 204–205
  151. ^
  152. ^ Interview given by Sathya Sai Baba to R. K. Karanjia of Blitz news magazine in September 1976 Available online
  153. ^ Haraldsson, pp 209
  154. ^ Haraldsson, op. cit., pp. 206
  155. ^
  156. ^
  157. ^ Clip
  158. ^ Haraldsson, op. cit., pp. 295–301
  159. ^ Haraldsson, op. cit., pp 300, 295–301
  160. ^ a b c Mick Brown, The Spiritual Tourist, 1998, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 1-58234-034-X "In the House of God", pp. 73–74
  161. ^ Hislop, John S. My Baba and I 1985 published by Birth Day Publishing Company, San Diego, California ISBN 0-9600958-8-8, "The Resurrection of Walter Cowan", pages 28–31
  162. ^ Brown Mick, The Spiritual Tourist, "The Miracle in North London", pp. 29–30, 1998 ISBN 158234034X
  163. ^ The Vancouver Sun, 27 February 2001, Holy man? Sex abuser? Both?
  164. ^ http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume33/sss33-17.pdf
  165. ^
  166. ^ [4] UK Parliament official web site
  167. ^
  168. ^ a b
  169. ^ Aitken, Bill (27 November 2005), Miracle of Welfare at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 September 2006)
  170. ^ Brown, Mick (28 October 2000). "Divine Downfall". Daily Telegraph.
  171. ^ Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.33, pg.389
  172. ^ Rao, Manu (26 December 2000), Sai Baba lashes out at detractors http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/sai-baba-lashes-out-at-detractors/articleshow/534425761.cms
  173. ^ Letter from A.B. Vajpayee (the then Prime Minister of India), http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/fline/fl2810/stories/20110520281002600.htm
  174. ^ Official Letter, http://www.saibaba.ws/images/letter_pm_india.gif
  175. ^ References: http://indianexpress.com/photos/entertainment-gallery/aishwarya-rai-bachchans-solo-weekend-outing/#aishwarya-111 http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140428/entertainment-bollywood/gallery/aishwarya-rai-bachchan-pays-tribute-sri-sathya-sai-baba
  176. ^ Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/arts/music/15colt.html?_r=0
  177. ^ a b
  178. ^
  179. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?203376
  180. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/devotees-continue-to-throng-puttaparthi/article1769117.ece url=http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/150050/baba-gave-me-comfort-when-i-was-struggling-ranatunga.html
  181. ^ Reference: http://currentnews.in/2011/05/09/sathya-sai%E2%80%99s-vajpayee-visit/
  182. ^
  183. ^ Reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/30/world/indra-devi-102-dies-taught-yoga-to-stars-and-leaders.html
  184. ^ Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/joan-brown-this-kind-of-b_b_1003775.html
  185. ^ a b c d e Reference: Divine Grace, Sathya Sai Baba by the India Today Group
  186. ^ 1/ http://www.karujayasuriya.lk/component/phocagallery/category/25-sai-baba.html 2/ http://archives.dailynews.lk/2005/06/07/news23.htm
  187. ^ a b
  188. ^
  189. ^ Reference: Sai Baba: Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet

References

Notable followers

We are deeply pained and anguished by the wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We would normally expect that responsible media would ascertain the true facts before printing such a calumny – especially when the person is revered globally as an embodiment of love and selfless service to humanity.[173][174]

In an official letter made public in December 2001, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of India and a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba),[88] P.N. Bhagwati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Misra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj Patil (Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabha & Union Minister) all signed the following statement:

Jesus Christ underwent many hardships, and was put to the cross because of jealousy. Many around him could not bear the good work he did and the large number of followers he gathered. One of his disciples, Judas, betrayed him. In those days there was one Judas, but today there are thousands. Just as that Judas was tempted to betray Jesus, the Judases of today, too, are bought out to lie. Jealousy was the motive behind the allegations levelled at him.[172]
on 26 December 2000 quoted Sathya Sai Baba as saying: The Times of India
Some people out of their mean-mindedness are trying to tarnish the image of Sai Baba. I am not after name and fame. So, I do not lose anything by their false allegations. My glory will go on increasing day by day. It will never diminish even a bit if they were to publicise their false allegations in the whole world in bold letters. Some devotees seem to be perturbed over these false statements. They are not true devotees at all. Having known the mighty power of Sai, why should they be afraid of the 'cawing of crows'? One should not get carried away by all that is written on walls, said in political meetings or the vulgar tales carried by the print media.[171]

Sathya Sai Baba publicly responded to the allegations on 25 December 2000:

In the book Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition, Lawrence A. Babb wrote of Sathya Sai Baba, "Whoever he is, he is certainly more than the mere parlour magician many of his critics claim that he is."[6]

In the article Divine Downfall, published in the Daily Telegraph, Anil Kumar, the ex-principal of the Sathya Sai Educational Institute, said that he believed that the controversy was part of Baba's divine plan and that all great religious teachers had to face criticism during their lives. Anil Kumar also said that allegations had been levelled at Sathya Sai Baba since childhood, but with every criticism he had become more and more triumphant.[170]

Sathya Sai Baba and his followers strongly rejected any allegations of misconduct.[12] Devotee Bill Aitken was quoted by The Week as saying that Sathya Sai Baba's reputation had not been harmed by the negative stories published about him. He said that the more detractors railed against Sathya Sai Baba, the more new devotees went to see him.[169]

Responses to criticism

In 2004, the BBC produced a documentary titled The Secret Swami, as part of its series "The World Uncovered".[167] One central theme of the BBC documentary was again Alaya Rahm's sexual abuse allegations against Sathya Sai Baba.[168] This documentary interviewed him together with Mark Roche, who had spent 25 years of his life since 1969 in the movement and alleged abuse by Sai Baba.[168] The show also featured allegations from Sai Baba critic Basava Premanand. Premanand stated in the documentary that, in his opinion, Sai Baba faked his materialisations. Here, he claimed that Sathya Sai Baba was "not just a fraud, but a dangerous sexual abuser". According to his interview, he had stories which spanned 30 years, and he stated that his stories were similar, a common practice being the rubbing of genitals with oil by the spiritual leader. Among his claims were that one ex-devotee claimed Sai Baba "put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with the oil". Premanand theorised that many Indian boys were abused but were never heard from because they were too afraid to speak out, alleging Sai Baba was well-connected with the elite and powerful of India.[7]

In January 2002, a documentary produced by Denmark's national television and radio broadcast company, Danmarks Radio (DR), named Seduced By Sai Baba, analysed videos of public manifestations of Sathya Sai Baba, and suggested that they could be explained as sleight of hand.[165] The documentary also presented interviews with Alaya Rahm where he alleged sexual abuse by Sai Baba.[7] As a result, in 2002 the Parliament of the United Kingdom discussed the possible danger to male children of British families intending to visit the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba in case of individual audiences with the guru.[166]

The Vancouver Sun in 2001 reported that Sathya Sai Baba told his adherents not to browse the Internet[163] after Sathya Sai Baba said, "These teachings (the Vedas) are highly sacred. Today people are ready to believe all that they see on television and internet but do not repose their faith in the Vedic declarations. Internet is like a waste paper basket. Follow the 'innernet,' not the internet."[164]

In 1998, British journalist Mick Brown stated in his book The Spiritual Tourist that in his opinion claims of Sathya Sai Baba resurrecting American devotee Walter Cowan in 1971 were probably untrue.[160] His opinion was based on letters from the attending doctors presented in the magazine Indian Skeptic, published by Basava Premanand.[160][161] Brown also related, in the same book, his experiences with manifestations of vibuthi from Sathya Sai Baba's pictures in houses in London, which he felt were not fraudulent or the result of trickery.[162] Brown wrote with regards to Sathya Sai Baba's claims of omniscience, that "sceptics have produced documentation clearly showing discrepancies between Baba's reading of historical events and biblical prophecies, and the established accounts."[160]

A 1995 TV documentary Guru Busters, produced by filmmaker Robert Eagle for the UK's Channel 4, accused Sathya Sai Baba of faking his materialisations.[157] The clip from the film was mentioned in the Deccan Chronicle, on 23 November 1992, in a front page headline "DD Tape Unveils Baba Magic".[158] But Haraldsson stated that, on investigating the DD video, researchers did not find evidence of fake materialisation. According to Haraldsson, the video was taken to a company that investigates corporate fraud, which found that it did not provide firm evidence of sleight of hand.[159]

Indian rationalist Basava Premanand, who began campaigning against Sai Baba in 1976, unsuccessfully attempted to sue him in 1986 for violations of the Gold Control Act, citing Sathya Sai Baba's purported materialisations of gold objects. When the case was dismissed, Premanand unsuccessfully appealed on the grounds that claimed spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law.[156]

The Indian spiritual master Meher Baba referred to him as being tantric and using tantra for his reputed miracles.[155]

In April 1976, Hosur Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice-chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee "to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions". Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba three widely publicised letters challenging him to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. The letters were ignored.[150] Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah's challenge because he felt his approach was improper, adding that "Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses.[151] If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science. What science has been able to unravel is merely a fraction of the cosmic phenomena ..."[152] Narasimhaiah's committee was dissolved in August 1977. According to Erlendur Haraldsson, the committee's formal challenge came to a dead end because of its negative attitude and perhaps because of the fanfare surrounding it. Narasimhaiah held the fact that Sathya Sai Baba ignored his letters to be one of several indications that his miracles were fraudulent.[153] As a result of this episode, a public debate raged for several months in Indian newspapers.[154]

In 1972 Abraham Kovoor made the first public criticism of Sathya Sai Baba[147] when he looked into a claim publicly narrated by one devotee[147] that Sathya Sai Baba had created a new model of a Seiko watch, and found the claim to be untrue.[148][149]

Accusations against Sathya Sai Baba by his critics over the years have included sleight of hand, sexual abuse, money laundering, fraud in the performance of service projects, and murder.[7][9]

Criticism

Followers believed in seeking the spiritual benefit of Sathya Sai Baba's darshan, scheduled for morning and afternoon each day. Sai Baba would interact with people, accept letters, materialise and distribute vibhuti (sacred ash) or call groups or individuals for interviews. Devotees considered it a great privilege to have an interview and sometimes a single person, group or family was invited for a private interview for answers to spiritual questions and general guidance.[21]

Internationally, Sathya Sai Baba devotees gather daily, or weekly on Sundays or Thursdays or both, for devotional songs,[144] prayer,[145] spiritual meditation, service to the community (Seva),[146] and to participate in "Education in Human Values" (SSEHV)[145] known as "Bal Vikas" (Blossoming of the Child).

Certain scholarly sources describe the interfaith movement.

Beliefs and practices of devotees

Sathya Sai Baba established three primary mandirs (spiritual centres) in India. The first mandir, founded in Mumbai in 1968, is referred to as either "Dharmakshetra" or "Sathyam". The second centre, established in Hyderabad in 1973, is referred to as "Shivam". The third, inaugurated on 19 January 1981 in Chennai, is called "Sundaram".[38]

Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram

Sathya Sai Baba resided much of the time in his main ashram, Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of Highest Peace), at Puttaparthi. In the summer he often left for his other ashram, Brindavan, in Kadugodi, Whitefield, a town on the outskirts of Bangalore. Occasionally he visited his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal.[139]

Hill in Prashanthi Nilayam with statues of Hanuman, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Shiva, Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra.

Puttaparthi, where Sathya Sai Baba was born and lived, was originally a small, remote South Indian village in Andhra Pradesh. Now there is an extensive university complex, a speciality hospital, and two museums: the Sanathana Samskruti or Eternal Heritage Museum, sometimes called the Museum of All Religions, and the Chaitanya Jyoti, devoted exclusively to the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba; the latter has won several international awards for its architectural design.[134] There is also a planetarium, a railway station, a hill-view stadium, an administrative building, an airport, an indoor sports stadium and more.[135] High-ranking Indian politicians such as the former president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Andhra Pradesh former chief minister Konijeti Rosaiah and Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa have been official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi.[136][137] It was reported that well over a million people attended Sathya Sai Baba's 80th birthday celebration, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180 other countries.[138]

Chaitanya Jyoti Museum devoted to the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba
Puttaparthi, A.P.

Prasanthi Nilayam

Ashrams and mandirs

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

The Indian Department of Post released a commemorative stamp on the spiritual guru on the occasion of what would have been his 88th birthday during November 2013.[132][133]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, said the country would remember Sathya Sai Baba as someone who "inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life."[59]

In January 2007, an event was held in River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function.[130][131]

On 23 November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the service rendered by Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.[129]

Recognition

On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba's message of global harmony and peace.[128]

Spiritual media

In Canada, the Ontario.[127]

Sathya Sai Baba's Educare programme seeks to found schools throughout the world with the goal of educating children in the five human values. According to the Sai Educare site, schools have been founded in 33 countries, including Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Peru.[124][125] The Times of Zambia states, "The positive influence of Sathya Sai is unprecedented in the annals of education in Zambia. Sai Baba's education ideals as embodied in his human values-based approach in education are an eye-opener to educationists in Zambia."[126]

Educare

[123] In 2008, two million people in the state of

Odisha

The Chennai drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a rebuilt waterway named "Sathya Sai Ganga Canal".[115][116] Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi praised the Chennai water project and Sai Baba's involvement.[117][118] Other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefiting 350,000 people in 141 villages.[42] In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust said it would start a drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra.[119][120][121][122]

Chennai

In November 1995, Sathya Sai Baba expressed his concern about the lack of drinking water in Rayalseema.[113] In March 1995, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust commenced work on a project to supply pure drinking water to villages in the district of Anantapur.[113] The project was completed in 1996 supplies water to 1.2 million people in about 750 villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh.[42][114]

Anantapur

Drinking water supply projects

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield is a 333-bed hospital,[108] which was inaugurated on 19 January 2001 by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.[109][110] The estimated cost of this second hospital was Rs 2000 million.[111] The hospital has provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients.[112]

After the success of the first super speciality hospital, the Karnataka government offered Sathya Sai Baba 53 acres of land to establish another super speciality hospital in Whitefield.[107]

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield

The hospital has a unique history of its own. On 23 November 1990, during his birthday discourse, Sri Sathya Sai Baba while talking about the inability of healthcare access to the poor declared within one year a tertiary care hospital will come up in the village of Puttaparthi, which will provide high-end care completely free to all the patients. The hospital was constructed in a record time of exactly one year and the first cardiothoracic operations were carried out successfully.[106]

The hospital is equipped 11 surgical theatres, five intensive care units, two cardiac catheterisation laboratories, medical and surgical wards, and a 24-hour emergency unit. "Leading doctors specialising in the fields of Cardiology, Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Urology, Ophthalmology etc. come from different parts of the World on their own and render their services free of cost."[103][104][105]

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi is a 300-bed facility which provides free surgical and medical care and which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on 22 November 1991.[30]

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi

The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 and provides complex surgery, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has treated over 2 million patients.[102]

Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two speciality hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India.[101]

Hospitals and medical care

Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

Sathya Sai Baba chaired the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions in Muddenahalli. He has also taken over the Sri Sathya Sai loka Seva institutions, Alike, Karnataka from Madiyal Narayana Bhat,[98] Currently it is headed by Gangadhar Bhat. In addition, a Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School also a hospital and research institute are being constructed on over 200 acres (0.81 km2). Baba said that the campus will be modelled after Puttaparthi and will infuse spirituality with academics.[99][100]

Others

The Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School was founded by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 15 June 1981 in 'Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Giri' complex of Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. This is a boarding school with separate hostel for boys and girls. The school caters to classes I to XII of the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi [CBSE]. For 2014, it was ranked in the top 10 CBSE schools of India.[97]

Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University), established in 1981, called Sri Sathya Sai University for some years, of which Sathya Sai Baba was the Chancellor, has four campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men, one at Whitefield, Bangalore for men, one at Anantapur for women, and one at Muddenahalli for men.[96]

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Sathya Sai Baba's educational institutions aim to impart character education along with excellence in academics with emphasis on human values and ethics.[95]

Educational institutions

Institutions, projects and other works

Sathya Sai Baba founded a large number of schools and colleges, hospitals, and other charitable institutions in India and abroad, the total cost of which is usually estimated at Rs. 400 billion (US$9 billion).[89][90][91] However, estimates as high as 1.4 trillion rupees (about US$31.5bn) have also been made.[92] After his death, questions about the manner in which the finances of the organisation were going to be managed led to speculations of impropriety, with some reports suggesting that suitcases containing cash and/or gold had been removed from his personal lodgings.[91][93][94]

The Sathya Sai Organisation reports that there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centres in 114 countries.[83][84] However, the number of active Sathya Sai Baba followers is hard to determine.[6] Estimates vary from 6 million[85] up to nearly 100 million.[86] In India itself, Sai Baba drew followers predominantly from the upper-middle-class, the urban sections of society who have the "most wealth, education and exposure to Western ideas."[15] In 2002, he claimed to have followers in 178 countries.[87][88]

Sathya Sai Baba stated that the main objective of the Sathya Sai Organisation "is to help man recognize the divinity that is inherent in him. So, your duty is to emphasize the One, to experience the One in all you do or speak. Do not give any importance to differences of religion or sect or status or colour. Have the feeling of one-ness permeate every act of yours. Only those who do so have a place in this Organization; the rest can withdraw."[81][82]

The Sathya Sai Organisation publishes an official monthly magazine named Sanathana Sarathi, published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.[79][80] The English translation of the word Sanathana Sarathi means 'Eternal Charioteer'.[80]

The Sathya Sai Organisation (or Sri Sathya Sai [10]

Sathya Sai Organisation

The Vahinis are a series of books by Sathya Sai Baba.[77]

Bibliography of works

Satyajit Sailan also attached the attestation of Indulal Sha, who is the sole surviving witness to the original document. Satyajit Sailan said he has been in possession of the document since 1998, per the directions of Sai Baba. Officials from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust stated to the media that they would respect this will.[75][76]

I, Sri Sathya Sai of Parshanthi Nilayam P.O. Indian Inhabitant hereby declare as follows:- 1) I was born in the village of Puthaparthi District Anantpur and am at present 44 years old. I joined the school and gave up studies and dedicated myself spread Sanatan Dharma. I am unmarried and I left my parents house at the age of Twelve and have taken up religious order with saffron dress and I have no worldly/or family attachments. I declare that when I left parents' place permanently and adopted Holy order with no intention to revert back. I relinquished all my right title and interest in the family property moveable and/or immovable whatsoever and wherever they may be and that I do not own and possess any personal property, wealth or estate. Whatever is given to me by my devotees is under my management, supervision and control as a Trustee to be used for public charitable purposes. This declaration I am making so that nobody can claim under or through me in the family properties, if any.[74]

On 2 September 2012, Satyajit Salian, a close aide of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, released to the media a declaration made by Sai Baba, and registered on 23 March 1967, in Bombay saying his relatives had no authority over the Sathya Sai Trust assets. The exact text of the declaration was:

Release of will

These items and goods are believed to have been donated over the years by Sathya Sai Baba's devotees from all over the world as religious gifts.[72][73]

In July 2011, a similar opening of his Bangalore-area ashram tallied 6 kg of gold coins and jewellery, 245 kg of silver articles and Rs 8 million in cash.

Also inventoried at Yajurmandir were many articles stored and routinely given away as gifts in various ceremonies to devotees and those who performed selfless service, including thousands of pure silk sarees, dhotis, shirts, 500 pairs of shoes, dozens of bottles of perfume and hairspray, watches, a large number of silver and gold "mangala sutrams", and precious stones such as diamonds. There were also 750 saffron and white robes of the type Sai Baba wore.[71]

On 17 June 2011, officials from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (founded as a charitable Trust in India, and legally separate from religious activities),[67] opened his private residence in the presence of government, bank and tax department officials, including retired Supreme Court Judge A P Mishra and retired judge of Karnataka High Court Vaidyanatha, an assessor approved by the Income Tax Department, and former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagavati.[68] In the private residence, which had been sealed since his death, they inventoried 98 kg of gold ornaments, approximate value Rs 210 million (US$4.7m), 307 kg of silver ornaments, approximate value Rs 16 million (US$0.36m), and Rs 116 million (US$2.6m) in cash. The cash was deposited into the Sai Trust's account at the State Bank of India with payment of government taxes (thus transferring them from religious gifts to Trust assets.) The gold and other items were inventoried, assessed, and placed in secure storage. In July, district authorities inventoried an additional Rs 7.7 million (US$0.17m) in valuables in another 4 rooms.[69] The total value of these items is believed to exceed 7.8 million US dollars.[70]

Opening of residence

Sathya Sai Baba Samadhi at Puttaparthi

The Government of Karnataka declared 25 and 26 April as days of mourning and Andhra Pradesh declared 25, 26, and 27 April as days of mourning.[54]

Political leaders who offered their condolences included the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,[54][60][61] Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa[62] and the Dalai Lama.[63] Famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, whose birthday was that day, cancelled his birthday celebrations.[64][65] The Hindu newspaper reported that "Sri Sathya Sai Baba's propagation of spiritualism and preaching of Hindu philosophy never came in the way of his commitment to secular beliefs."[66]

Sathya Sai Baba's death triggered an outpouring of grief from followers who included Indian politicians, movie stars, athletes and industrialists.[59] Most remembered him as a pious, selfless person who worked to help others with the billions of dollars donated to his charitable trust.[59]

His body lay in state for two days and was buried with full state honours on 27 April 2011.[54] An estimated 500,000 people attended the burial, among them the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Union Ministers S. M. Krishna and Ambika Soni, as well as other political leaders and prominent figures.[55][56][57][58]

Funeral and mourning

On 29 March 2011, Sathya Sai Baba was listed on the Watkins 100 Spiritual Power list.[53]

Sai Baba had predicted that he would die at age 96 and would remain healthy until then.[48] After he died, some devotees suggested that he might have been referring to that many lunar years, as counted by Telugu-speaking Hindus, rather than solar years,[49] and using the Indian way of accounting for age, which counts the year to come as part of the person's life.[50] Other devotees have spoken of his anticipated resurrection, reincarnation or awakening.[51][52]

On 28 March 2011, Sai Baba was admitted to the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital at Prashantigram at Puttaparthi, following respiration-related problems.[45][46] After nearly a month of hospitalisation, during which his condition progressively deteriorated, Sai Baba died on Sunday, 24 April at 7:40 IST, aged 84.[47]

Death

After 2004, Sathya Sai Baba used a wheelchair and began to make fewer public appearances.

In 2003, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a fractured hip when a student standing on an iron stool slipped and the boy and stool both fell on him. After that he gave darshana from a car or his porte chair.[43][44]

Old age and illness

In 2001 he established another free super-speciality hospital in Bangalore to benefit the poor.[30]

In April 1999 he inaugurated the Ananda Nilayam Mandir in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

In March 1995, Sathya Sai Baba started a project to provide drinking water to 1.2 million people in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.[42]

In a 1993 incident, four intruders armed with knives entered his bedroom, either as an assassination attempt or as part of a power struggle between his followers. Regardless, Sai Baba was unharmed. During the scuffle and the police response, the intruders and two of Sai Baba's attendants were killed. The official investigation left questions unanswered.[39][40][41]

In 1968, he established Dharmakshetra or the Sathyam Mandir in Mumbai.[38] In 1973, he established the Shivam Mandir in Hyderabad.[38] On 19 January 1981, in Chennai, he inaugurated the Sundaram Mandir.[38]

Later years

"I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love."[37]
, he spoke of his personal mission: Nairobi In [36][32].Uganda and KenyaOn 29 June 1968, Sathya Sai Baba made his only overseas trip, to

Africa

On recovering, Sai Baba announced that he would one day next be reborn as an incarnation named Prema Sai Baba in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.[6] He stated, "I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the gotra (lineage) of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Siva was born in the gotra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his gotra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gotra in Mandya district of Karnataka State."[6][33] He stated he would be born again eight years after his death at the age of 96,[34] but died at the age of 84.[35]

Prediction of reincarnation

In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks, which left him paralysed on one side.[32] These events culminated in an event where he apparently healed himself in front of the thousands of people gathered in Prashanthi Nilayam who were then praying for his recovery.[6]

Stroke and paralysis

In 1944, a mandir for Sathya Sai Baba's devotees was built near the village of Puttaparthi. It is now referred to as the "old mandir".[28][29] The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and was completed in 1950.[6][29] In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free general hospital in the village of Puttaparthi.[30] He won fame for mystical powers and the ability to heal.[31] In 1957 Sathya Sai Baba went on a North Indian temple tour.[18]

First mandir and development of Puttaparthi

On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and reportedly materialised prasad and flowers for his family members.[26] His father became furious at seeing this, thinking his son was bewitched. He took a stick and threatened to beat him if Sathya did not reveal who he really was. On 20 October 1940, the young Sathya responded calmly and firmly "I am Sai Baba", a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi.[5][21] This was the first time he proclaimed himself to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi—a saint who became famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Maharashtra and had died eight years before Sathya was born.[5][25][27]

On 8 March 1940, while living with his elder brother Sesham Raju in Uravakonda, a small town near Puttaparthi, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion.[22][23] He lost consciousness for several hours[21] and in the next few days underwent a noticeable change in behaviour.[23] There were "symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence."[23][24] It is claimed that then "he began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge."[5] Doctors concluded his behaviour to be hysteria.[5][23] Concerned, his parents brought Sathya back home to Puttaparthi[25] and took him to many priests, doctors and exorcists. One of the exorcists at Kadiri, a town near Puttaparthi, went to the extent of torturing him with the aim of curing him; Sathya seemingly kept calm throughout, which further worried his parents.[23][24]

Sathya Sai Baba at the age of 14, soon after proclaiming himself as the avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba

Proclamation

As a child, he was described as "unusually intelligent" and charitable, though not necessarily academically inclined, as his interests were of a more spiritual nature.[6][16] He was uncommonly talented in devotional music, dance and drama.[16][21] From a young age, he was alleged to have been capable of materialising objects such as food and sweets out of thin air.[22][23]

Sai Baba's siblings included elder brother Ratnakaram Sesham Raju (1921–1984), sisters Venkamma (1923–1993) and Parvathamma (1928–1998), and younger brother Janakiramiah (1930–2003).[20]

Almost everything known about Sathya Sai Baba's early life stems from the hagiography that grew around him, narratives that hold special meaning to his devotees and are considered by them to be evidence of his divine nature.[6][15][16] According to these sources, Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Meesaraganda Easwaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village of Puttaparthi, in what was the Madras Presidency of British India.[6][17][18] His birth, which his mother Easwaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles.[5][6][19]

Early life

Life

Contents

  • Life 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Proclamation 1.2
    • First mandir and development of Puttaparthi 1.3
    • Stroke and paralysis 1.4
    • Prediction of reincarnation 1.5
    • Africa 1.6
    • Later years 1.7
    • Old age and illness 1.8
    • Death 1.9
    • Funeral and mourning 1.10
    • Opening of residence 1.11
    • Release of will 1.12
  • Bibliography of works 2
  • Sathya Sai Organisation 3
  • Institutions, projects and other works 4
    • Educational institutions 4.1
      • Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning 4.1.1
      • Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School 4.1.2
      • Others 4.1.3
    • Hospitals and medical care 4.2
      • Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield 4.2.1
      • Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi 4.2.2
      • Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield 4.2.3
    • Drinking water supply projects 4.3
      • Anantapur 4.3.1
      • Chennai 4.3.2
    • Odisha 4.4
    • Educare 4.5
    • Spiritual media 4.6
  • Recognition 5
  • Ashrams and mandirs 6
    • Prasanthi Nilayam 6.1
    • Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram 6.2
  • Beliefs and practices of devotees 7
  • Criticism 8
  • Responses to criticism 9
  • Notable followers 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

[14][13][12]

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