April 25th, 2011 by Ravi Matah | Posted in News   Comments Off on SATHYA SAI BABA PASSES AWAY
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Sathya Sai Baba, the 85 year old spiritual leader breathed his last at Puttaparthi super-speciality hospital Sunday after a prolonged illness. He was admitted there on March 28th 2011 for treatment of cardiac problems, kept on ventilator support for a few days and his doctors pronounced him dead at 0740 hours on Sunday. The godman’s body was taken from the hospital to his Prashanti Nilayam Ashram on Sunday. 

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled Sathya Sai Baba’s death and said – “I express my sincere condolences to the millions of his followers, disciples and well wishers. His teachings were rooted in the universal ideals of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence”.   

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N.Kiran Kumar Reddy announced that the last rites of Sri Sathya Sai Baba will be performed on Wednesday with full State honors. He has also announced a full state mourning period of four days. 

According to sources close to Sathya Sai Trust, The President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are also expected to arrive to pay their respects to Baba. 

Lakhs of devotees continued to pour in the ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. Among them were top politicians including the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, Karnataka Chief Minister B Yeddyurappa, BJP President Nitin Gadkari, TDP president Chandrababu Naidu and Prajarajyam chief Chiranjeevi.

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar was there to pay his respects as well. Sachin Tendulkar is expected to reach Puttaparthi later on Monday morning. Sai Baba’s body has been wrapped in a saffron-coloured cloth and kept in a glass casket in the ashram’s central hall.

Sathya Sai Baba had millions of followers all over the world. From ordinary believers to the President of India, his clout spread far and wide. 

Satya Sai Baba also became controversial for the miracles he performed. India had several god men but none could match his name and fame. 

He became famous by producing objects from thin air. He was often challenged by critics and rationalists who campaigned against him for his magic shows. 

Top-ranking politicians including prime minister, union ministers, governors, chief ministers, film stars, sportspersons, industrialists and virtually the ‘who’s who’ of the country rank among the high-profile devotees of the Baba. In fact, Satya Sai Baba’s influence had no barriers as his millions of followers spanned the globe. 

Born into an ordinary family as Satyanarayana Raju in the sleepy Puttaparthi village in the dry Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, on November 23, 1926, he was to later become Satya Sai Baba, the reincarnation of the saintly Sai Baba of Shirdi. 

As a child he was very intelligent and at the age of 14 he declared himself as the reincarnation of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. He later emerged as the most popular godmen of modern times. 

In 1944, a small temple was built for Satya Sai Baba’s devotees at Puttaparthi and in 1950 a huge ashram was constructed there, called the ‘Prasanthi Nilayam’, making it his permanent abode. 

Few reports had also taken rounds about some scandals in his Ashram but were dismissed by him and his followers. In 1993 an atttempt was also made on his his life by his close aides in which six inmates were killed. 

His divine preaching apart, Satya Sai Baba pioneered many social service activities beginning with a tiny general hospital at Puttaparthi which has now transformed into the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, a 220-bedded super-speciality hospital. 

The Satya Sai Central Trust manages all the service activities and also runs the Satya Sai University (formerly Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) at Puttaparthi. Besides, the trust also runs many schools and dispensaries in different states while it has also completed large water supply projects in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. 

Volunteers from the Satya Sai Seva Organisation are always found in the forefront carrying out relief and rehabilitation work during natural calamities not only in AP but also in other states. 

Satya Sai Baba established three primary mandirs (spiritual centres) in India – Dharmakshetra in Mumbai, Shivam in Hyderabad and Sundaram in Chennai. 

Since 2005, Baba used a wheelchair and his failing health forced him to make fewer public appearances. 

The Sai Baba Trust runs a state-of-the-art Hospital, University and several other institutions to serve the poor in over 160 countries. However, he himself reportedly visited only two countries – Uganda and Kenya.

His departure to his heavenly abode has left a question mark on the future of his Rs. 40,000 Crore (US $9 billion) empire. The Trust Board has high profile members like Ex Chief Justice P.N.Bhagwati and it is most likely that it will run smooothly. However some doubts are being expressed that the government might take over the Trust if there is a rift amongst it’s members.

Ravi Matah.

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