Sathya Sai Baba : Remembering one of India’s most spiritual and religious gurus
I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. 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… 4 July 1968, Baba
As a nation is grieving the loss of one of its most Spiritual and Religious Gurus, we take you through the life and works of a living legend.
When asked who is Sai Baba? Or what is he like? There is only one answer he himself gives, it is: “He is Love, Love, Love.” Widely known as a miracle worker and healer, his greatest gift of all, though, is the miracle of change which he brings about to those who come to him.
Born as ‘Sathyanarayana Raju’ to Peda Venkappa Raju and Easwaramma in Puttaparthi of Andhra Pradesh on
November 23, 1926, while living with his elder brother Seshama Raju in Uravakonda, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion on 8 March 1940, After regains consciousness, there was a noticeable change in Sathya’s behavior.”He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge. On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and reputedly materialised Prasad and flowers for his family members. His father became furious at seeing this, thinking his son was bewitched, and asked him who he was. To this Sathya announced calmly and firmly “I am Sai Baba”, a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi. He proclaimed himself to be a 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. From then on Sathya Sai Baba publicly declared his mission at the age of 14 and has been offering solace and inspiration to all sincere seekers of truth.
From establishing a model education system, which includes primary schools, secondary schools, and an accredited university with three campuses, offering undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees, where no fees are charged to students, and admission open to all, regardless of race, religion, or economic condition to building an ultra-modern 300-bed hospital close to the university and ashram where treatments are free, he inspired in many a way. This hospital specializes in highly specialized operations, including open-heart operations and kidney transplants and there is absolutely no charge to its patients for professional or hospital expenses. Motivated by the desire to serve humanity, doctors, nurses, and workers in the hospital render extraordinary, compassionate, and loving care to all patients.
“My life is my message” he often stated. Each day, hundreds of pilgrims would make their way to Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram; they came not only from India but from virtually every country of the world. Over the years, his followers have organized to foster the construction of a variety of buildings and facilities to house and otherwise accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. The name of Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram is Prasanthi Nilayam, which means “abode of the highest peace”.
In 1973, he established Shivam Mandir in Hyderabad, following which he inaugurated the Sundaram Mandir on 19 January 1981, in Chennai. In March 1995 he started the water project to provide drinking water to 1.2 million people in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region in Anantapur. In April 1999 he inaugurated the Ananda Nilayam Mandir in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. In 2001 Sathya Sai Baba established another free Super Speciality hospital in Bangalore to benefit the poor.
Sathya Sai Baba also supported a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in over 166 countries. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (now changed to Sri Sathya Sai University) in Prashanthi Nilayam is the only college in India to have received an “A++” rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission).
Sri Sathya Sai University has three campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men, the second at Bangalore also for men and third at Anantapur for women. His charity also supports an institute for Indian classical music called the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, the aim being to impart character education along with excellence in academics with emphasis on human values and ethics.
Sathya Sai Baba also chaired the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions. The Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School as well as a world class hospital and research institute are being constructed on over 200 acres to serve the destitute population. The hospital in Bangalore has said to have provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients
Apart from running several general hospitals, two specialty hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has also funded several major drinking water projects. The first being in Anantapur, the second supplies water to Chennai, other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefitting 350,000 people in 141 villages.In 2008, after 2 million people in Orissa were affected by floods, the trust has built 699 houses as a part of their first phase in 16 villages by March 2009.
In his lifetime there were a lot of speculations about some of the miracles he performed which include manifesting vibuti (holy ash), sometimes food or “small objects” such as rings, necklaces and watches from thin air, even healings, physical disappearances, changing granite into sugar candy, changing water into another drink, physically transforming into various deities and physically emitting brilliant light. Today as the nation mourns his loss, let us focus on the good achieved by him in his lifetime!
**Sources – Wikipedia