Sathya Sai Baba

Śri Sathya Sai Baba (born as Sathyanarayana Raju; 23 November 1926 – 24 April 201 was an Indian guru and spiritual leader. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, who was also considered by his followers to be an avatar, saint and miracle worker, and who died in 1918.

The Sathya Sai Organisation, founded by Sathya Sai Baba "to enable its members to undertake service activities as a means to spiritual advancement" has over 1,200 Sathya Sai Centres (branches) in 126 countries.Through this organisation, Sathya Sai Baba established a network of free hospitals, clinics, drinking water projects and schools.

Life

Early life

Almost everything known about Sathya Sai Baba's early life stems from the hagiography that grew around him and the presentation of narratives that hold special meaning to his devotees and are considered by them evidence of his divine nature. 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. His birth, which his mother Easwaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles.

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

Proclamation

Sathya Sai Baba at the age of 14, soon after proclaiming himself as the avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba
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. He lost consciousness for several hours and in the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya's behaviour. There were "symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence." It is claimed that then "he began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge." Doctors concluded his behaviour to be hysteria. Concerned, his parents brought Sathya back home to Puttaparthi 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. However Sathya seemingly kept calm throughout, which further worried his parents.

On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and reportedly materialised prasad and flowers for his family members. 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. 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.

First mandir and development of Puttaparthi

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". The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and was completed in 1950. In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free general hospital in the village of Puttaparthi. He won fame for mystical powers and the ability to heal.

Stroke and paralysis

In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks, which left him paralysed on one side. 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.

Prediction of reincarnation

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. 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." He stated he would be born again eight years after his death at the age of 96. However, he died aged 84.

Later years

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

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.

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

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

Old age and illness

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.

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

Sathya Sai Baba Inaugurating Radio Sai on His Birthday - 23rd November 2001

Death

On 28 March 2011, Sai Baba was admitted to the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital at Prashantigram at Puttaparthi, following respiration-related problems. 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.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sathya_Sai_Baba

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