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Sathya Sai Baba

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Sathya Sai Baba

Religion Hinduism

Founder of Sathya Sai Organization

Philosophy Love all and Serve all

Personal

Nationality Indian

Born Sathya Narayana Raju

23 November 1926

Puttaparthi, Madras Presidency, British India

Died 24 April 2011 (aged 84)

Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India


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Sathya Sai Baba (born Sathya Narayana Raju; 23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011[1]) was
an Indian guru, cult leader,[2][3] and philanthropist.[4] He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai
Baba of Shirdi.[5]
Sai Baba's purported 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.[6] His acts were based on sleight of hand though his
devotees considered them signs of his divinity.[7][8][9]
The Sathya Sai Organisation, founded by Sai Baba "to enable its members to undertake service
activities as a means to spiritual advancement",[10] has over 1,200 Sathya Sai Centres (branches)
in 126 countries.[11] Through this organisation, Sai Baba established a network of free hospitals,
clinics, drinking water projects, auditoriums, ashrams and schools.[12][13][14]

Contents
[hide]

 1Life
o 1.1Early life
o 1.2Proclamation
o 1.3First mandir and development of Puttaparthi
o 1.4Stroke, paralysis and prediction of reincarnation
o 1.5Africa
o 1.6Later years
o 1.7Old age and illness
o 1.8Death
o 1.9Funeral and mourning
o 1.10Opening of residence
o 1.11Release of will
 2Bibliography of works
 3Sathya Sai Organisation
 4Institutions, projects and other works
o 4.1Educational institutions
 4.1.1Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
 4.1.2Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School
 4.1.3Others
o 4.2Hospitals and medical care
 4.2.1Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield
 4.2.2Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi
 4.2.3Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield
o 4.3Drinking water supply projects
 4.3.1Anantapur
 4.3.2Chennai
o 4.4Odisha
o 4.5Educare
o 4.6Spiritual media
 5Recognition
 6Ashrams and mandirs
o 6.1Prasanthi Nilayam
o 6.2Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram
 7Beliefs and practices of devotees
 8Controversies
o 8.1Criticism
o 8.2Claims of sexual abuse
o 8.3Responses
 9Notable followers
 10References
 11Further reading
 12External links

Life[edit]
Early life[edit]
Almost everything known about 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.[5][15][16] According to these sources, Sathya Narayana Raju was
born to Meesaraganda Eashwaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village
of Puttaparthi, to a Raju family, in what was the Madras Presidency of British India.[5][17][18] His
birth, which his mother Eashwaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to
be heralded by miracles.[4][5][19]
Sai Baba's siblings included elder brother Ratnakaram Sesham Raju (1921–1984), sisters
Venakamma (1923–1993) and Parvathamma (1928–1998), and younger brother Janakirammiah
(1930–2003).[20]
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.[5][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]
Proclamation[edit]

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.[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 it is alleged he had no prior
knowledge."[4] Doctors concluded his behaviour to be hysteria.[4][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;[further explanation needed] Sathya seemingly kept calm throughout, which further worried
his parents.[23][24]
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.[4][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 Maharashtraand had died eight years before Sathya was born.[4][25][27]
First mandir and development of Puttaparthi[edit]
In 1944, a mandir for 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.[5][29] In 1954, 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 Sai Baba went on a North Indian temple tour.[18]
Stroke, paralysis and prediction of reincarnation[edit]
In 1963, it was asserted that 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.[5]
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.[5] He stated, "I am Shiva-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; Shiva 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."[5][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]Some claim his predictions were based on the Hindu calendar.
Africa[edit]
On 29 June 1968, Sai Baba made his only overseas trip, to Kenya and Uganda.[32][36] In Nairobi,
he spoke of his personal mission:
"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]
Later years[edit]
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]
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. 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 March 1995, 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 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.[30] The Vancouver Sun in 2001 reported that Sai Baba told his adherents not to browse the
Internet[43] after 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."[44]
Old age and illness[edit]
In 2003, 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.[45][46] After 2004, Sai Baba used a wheelchair and began to make fewer public appearances.
Death[edit]
Wikinews has related
news: Renowned Indian
guru Śrī Satya Sai Baba
dies aged 84

On 28 March 2011, Sai Baba was admitted to the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital at
Prashantigram at Puttaparthi, following respiration-related problems.[47][48] 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.[49]
Sai Baba had predicted that he would die at age 96 and would remain healthy until then.[50] 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,[51] and using the Indian
way of accounting for age, which counts the year to come as part of the person's life.[52] Other
devotees have spoken of his anticipated resurrection, reincarnation or awakening.[53][54]
Funeral and mourning[edit]
His body lay in state for two days and was buried with full state honours on 27 April 2011.[55] 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 (India's
future Prime Minister), Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Union Ministers S. M.
Krishna and Ambika Soni, as well as other political leaders and prominent figures.[56][57][58][59]
Sai Baba's death triggered an outpouring of grief from followers who included Indian politicians,
movie stars, athletes and industrialists.[60] Most remembered him as a pious, selfless person who
worked to help others with the billions of dollars donated to his charitable trust.[60]
Political leaders who offered their condolences included the then Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh,[55][61][62] Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa[63] and the Dalai
Lama.[64] Famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, whose birthday was that day, cancelled his
birthday celebrations.[65][66] 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."[67]
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.[55]
Swamigal's Prashanthi Nilayam at Puttaparthi

Opening of residence[edit]
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),[68] 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.[69] 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.[70] The total value of these items is
believed to exceed 7.8 million US dollars.[71]
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.[72]
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.
These items and goods are believed to have been donated over the years by Sai Baba's
devotees from all over the world as religious gifts.[73][74]
Release of will[edit]
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 Bombaysaying his
relatives had no authority over the Sathya Sai Trust assets. The exact text of the declaration
was:
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.[75]
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.[76][77]

Bibliography of works[edit]
Main article: Bibliography of Sathya Sai Baba
The Vahinis are a series of books by Sai Baba.[78]

Sathya Sai Organisation[edit]


Main article: Sathya Sai Organisation
The Sathya Sai Organisation (or Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization) was founded in the 1960s by
Sai Baba.[10] The first Sai Centres were started in India under the name of the "Sri Sathya Sai
Seva Samithi".[79] The Sathya Sai Organisation originated "to enable its members to undertake
service activities as a means to spiritual advancement."[10] The official mission of the Sathya Sai
Organization is "to help its members realize the innate divinity within".
The Sathya Sai Organisation publishes an official monthly magazine named Sanathana Sarathi,
published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.[80][81] The English translation of the
word Sanathana Sarathi means 'Eternal Charioteer'.[81]
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."[82][83]
The Sathya Sai Organisation reports that there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centres
in 114 countries.[84][85] However, the number of active Sai Baba followers is hard to
determine.[5] Estimates vary from 6 million[86] up to nearly 100 million.[87] 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.[88][89]
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).[90][91][92] However, estimates as high as 1.4 trillion rupees (about US$31.5bn) have
also been made.[93] 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.[92][94][95]

Institutions, projects and other works[edit]


Educational institutions[edit]
Sai Baba's educational institutions aim to impart character education along with excellence in
academics with emphasis on human values and ethics.[96]
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning[edit]


Main article: Sri Sathya Sai University
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University), established in 1981, called
Sri Sathya Sai University for some years, of which Sai Baba was the Chancellor, has four
campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men, one at Whitefield, Bangalore for men, one at Anantapurfor
women, and one at Muddenahalli for men.[97]
Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School[edit]
Main article: Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School
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.[98]
Others[edit]
Sathya Sai Baba chaired the Sri Sathya Sai loka Seva institutions, Alike and Muddenahalli
Karnataka from Madiyal Narayana Bhat,[99] Currently it is headed by U 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.[100][101]

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

Hospitals and medical care[edit]


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.[102]
Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield[edit]
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.[103]
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi[edit]
Main article: Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi
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] The hospital was financed and its construction supervised by
Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues.[citation needed]
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."[104][105][106]
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.[107]
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield[edit]
Main article: Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital

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

After the success of the first super speciality hospital, the Karnataka government offered Sai
Baba 53 acres of land to establish another super speciality hospital in Whitefield.[108]
The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield is a 333-bed
hospital,[109] which was inaugurated on 19 January 2001 by Prime Minister Atal Behari
Vajpayee.[110][111] The estimated cost of this second hospital was Rs 2000 million.[112] The hospital
has provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients.[113]
Drinking water supply projects[edit]
Anantapur[edit]
In November 1995, Sai Baba expressed his concern about the lack of drinking water in
Rayalseema.[114] 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.[114] 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][115]
Chennai[edit]
The Chennai drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a
rebuilt waterway named "Sathya Sai Ganga Canal".[116][117] Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.
Karunanidhi praised the Chennai water project and Sai Baba's involvement.[118][119] 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.[120][121][122][123]
Telugu-Ganga Project
The Telugu-Ganga project is a water supply scheme implemented by Andhra Pradesh, India to
provide drinking water to Chennai city in Tamil Nadu. The source of water is the river Krishna in
Andhra Pradesh and the Poondi reservoir near Chennai is the destination with water planned to
be routed through a series of interlinked canals.
The water initially supplied by the canal was disappointing, delivering less than 500 million cubic
feet (14×106 m3). In 2002, Sri Sathya Sai Baba announced a scheme of restoration and lining of
the canal; as his own undertaking. With an extensive rebuilding of the canal and several
reservoirs, the project was completed in 2004, when Poondi reservoir received Krishna water for
the first time.[2] The supply of water to Chennai city in 2006 was 3.7 billion cubic feet
(100×106 m3).[3] After the re-lining and reconstruction, the Kandaleru-Poondi part of the canal was
renamed Sai Ganga.[4][5][6]
Odisha[edit]
In 2008, two million people in the state of Odisha were affected by floods. As a relief measure,
the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization built 699 houses as part of their first phase in 16 villages
by March 2009.[124]
Educare[edit]
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.[125][126] 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."[127]
In Canada, the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational
organisation, ranked the Sathya Sai School of Canada as one of the top 37 elementary schools
in Ontario.[128]
Spiritual media[edit]
On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network Radio Sai Global Harmony was launched
through the World Space Organization, United States. Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative
to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would
spread Sai Baba's message of global harmony and peace.[129]

Recognition[edit]
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 Sai Baba in addressing the
problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.[130]
In January 2007, an event was held in Chennai Nehru Stadium organised by the Chennai
Citizens' Conclave to thank Sai Baba for the 2 billion water project which brought water from
the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the
function.[131][132]
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, said the country would remember Sai Baba as
someone who "inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life."[60]
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.[133][134]
Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Ashrams and mandirs[edit]


Prasanthi Nilayam[edit]

Puttaparthi, A.P.

Main article: Prasanthi Nilayam

Chaitanya Jyoti Museum devoted to the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba

Puttaparthi, where 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
Sai Baba; the latter has won several international awards for its architectural design.[135] There is
also a planetarium, a railway station, a hill-view stadium, an administrative building, an airport, an
indoor sports stadium and more.[136] 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. Yeddyurappahave been
official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi.[137][138] It was reported that well over a million people
attended Sai Baba's 80th birthday celebration, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180
other countries.[139][citation needed]

Hill in Prashanthi Nilayam with statues of Hanuman, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Shiva, Buddha, Christ,
Zarathustra.
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.[140]
Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram[edit]
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][citation needed] Dharmakshetra is established on the
occasion of first world conference of (SSSO).[141] Many people from various of parts of the world
attended the divine spiritual conference and made it successful which was held at Bharatiya
vidya Bhavan campus at versova,Bombay.[142] It consists of various severice centers for devotees
like hospital, eye care center.[143] Here the educational center is located which consists of various
training centers.As a part of Balavikas the technical training is provided freely to the children from
poor backgrounds by the youth wing of the organization.[144]

Beliefs and practices of devotees[edit]


Main article: Sathya Sai Baba movement
Most scholarly sources describe Sai Baba and his movement as cult,[3][145] of Hindu
persuasion.[146][147][148][149] While Sai Baba himself claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of
Shirdi, his followers considered him to be the avatar of Shiva and Kalki.[150] Sai Baba of Shirdi was
known to combine Islam and Hindu teachings; however Charles S. J. White, of The American
University at Washington D.C., noted that "there is no discernible Muslim influence in the Sathya
Sai Baba cult." He said that Sai Baba's style had its roots in the Medieval Hindu practice
called nathpanthis.[151] Lawrence A. Babb, of the Amherst College in Massachusetts, labelled Sai
Baba movement as a cult "deeply and authentically Hindu... The most striking feature of this cult,
however, is the extremely strong emphasis given to the miraculous."[2] Deborah A. Swallow, of
the University of Cambridge, also called it a Hindu cult and said that the "ritual and theology,
then, unlike Sai Baba [of Shirdi]'s, is distinctly Hindu in form and content."[152] But John D. Kelly, a
professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago, wrote about Hindu missions in Fiji that the
Sathya Sai Organization (which is part of the movement) rejected the label Hindu. According to
Kelly, they see their founder as the "living synthesis of the world's religious traditions" and prefer
to be classified as an interfaith movement. But he observed that Sai Baba mission is a Hindu
mission as active as Christian or Muslim missions.[153]
Sai Baba was known for his quote "Love All, Serve All. Help Ever, Hurt
Never."[154][155] Internationally, his devotees gather daily, or weekly on Sundays or Thursdays or
both, for devotional songs,[156] prayer,[157] spiritual meditation, service to the community
(Seva),[158] and to participate in "Education in Human Values" (SSEHV)[157] known as "Bal Vikas"
(Blossoming of the Child).
Followers believed in seeking the spiritual benefit of 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]

Controversies[edit]
Criticism[edit]
Accusations against 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.[6][9]
In 1972 Abraham Kovoor made the first public criticism of Sai Baba[159] when he looked into a
claim publicly narrated by one devotee[159] that Sai Baba had created a new model of
a Seiko watch, and found the claim to be untrue.[160][161]
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 Sai Baba three widely publicised letters
challenging him to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. The letters were
ignored.[162] 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.[163] 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 ..."[164] 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 Sai Baba ignored his letters to be one of several indications that his miracles were
fraudulent.[165] As a result of this episode, a public debate raged for several months in Indian
newspapers.[166]
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 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.[167]
A 1995 TV documentary Guru Busters, produced by filmmaker Robert Eagle for the
UK's Channel 4, accused Sai Baba of faking his materialisations.[168] 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".[169] 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.[170]
In 1998, British journalist Mick Brown stated in his book The Spiritual Tourist that in his opinion
claims of Sai Baba resurrecting American devotee Walter Cowan in 1971 were probably
untrue.[171] His opinion was based on letters from the attending doctors presented in the
magazine Indian Skeptic, published by Basava Premanand.[171][172] Brown also related, in the
same book, his experiences with manifestations of vibuthi from Sai Baba's pictures in houses in
London, which he felt were not fraudulent or the result of trickery.[173]Brown wrote with regards to
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."[171]
Claims of sexual abuse[edit]
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 Sai Baba, and suggested that they could be explained as sleight of
hand.[174] The documentary also presented interviews with Alaya Rahm, former devotee of the
cult, where he alleged sexual abuse by Sai Baba.[6] 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.[175]
In 2004, the BBC produced a documentary titled The Secret Swami, as part of its series "The
World Uncovered".[176] One central theme of the BBC documentary was again Alaya Rahm's
sexual abuse allegations against Sai Baba.[177] 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.[177] 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 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.[6]
Responses[edit]
Sai Baba and his followers reject any allegations of misconduct.[12] Devotee Bill Aitken was
quoted by The Week as saying that Sai Baba's reputation had not been harmed by the negative
stories published about him. He said that the more detractors railed against Sai Baba, the more
new devotees went to see him.[178]
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 Sai Baba since childhood, but with every
criticism he had become more and more triumphant.[179]
In the book Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition, Lawrence A.
Babb wrote of Sai Baba, "Whoever he is, he is certainly more than the mere parlour magician
many of his critics claim that he is."[5]
Sai Baba publicly responded to the allegations on 25 December 2000:
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.[180]
The Times of India on 26 December 2000 quoted Sai Baba as saying:
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.[181]
In an official letter made public in December 2001, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of
India and a devotee of Sai Baba),[89] 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:
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.[182][183]

Notable followers[edit]
 Suri Bhagavantam[184]
 Atal Bihari Vajpayee[185]
 Joan Brown[186]
 Art Clokey[187]
 Alice Coltrane[188]
 Indra Devi[189]
 Sunil Gavaskar[190]
 Uri Geller [191]
 K. Jayakumar[192]
 Karu Jayasuriya[193][194]
 Sanath Jayasuriya[195]
 Alvin Kallicharan[196]
 K. V. Kamath[192]
 Russi Karanjia[192]
 Nicolás Maduro[197]
 Aishwarya Rai[198][199]
 Arjuna Ranatunga[200][201][202][203]
 Meera Sanyal[192]
 P. F. Sloan [204]
 Nirmal Chandra Suri[192]
 Sachin Tendulkar[195]
 Gundappa Viswanath[196]
 Maynard Ferguson[205]

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103. Jump up^ "Sai Baba hospital: A refuge to millions", 1 May 2001, Available online
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January 2001 Available online
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2002, Available online
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117. Jump up^ The Hindu: Project Water by Hiramalini Seshadri, 25 June 2003, Available
online
118. Jump up^ Chennai Online: MK hails Sai Baba's service to mankind, 21 January
2007, Available online
119. Jump up^ IBN: Karunanidhi shares dais with Sai Baba, 21 January 2007, Available
online
120. Jump up^ The Hindu: Saibaba Trust to undertake drinking water project in Latur, 17
January 2007,Available online Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
121. Jump up^ "Water projects endeared Baba to Chennai - The Times of India". The Times
Of India.
122. Jump up^ "Water projects: CM all praise for Satya Sai Trust". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
13 February 2004.
123. Jump up^ "Natives remember Sathya Sai Baba for philanthropy". indianexpress.com.
124. Jump up^ Flood leaves behind a miracle, The Times of India, Chennai, Special Report,
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127. Jump up^ "Times of Zambia". Times.co.zm. Retrieved 2015-02-07.
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135. Jump up^ Krishnamoorthy, M. (2 April 2005). "Enlightening experience in India". The Star
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online
138. Jump up^ The Hindu, "Warm welcome to PM at Puttaparthi",12 February 2004 Available
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139. Jump up^ Deccan Herald, "Sathya Sai's birthday celebrations on" by Terry Kennedy, 23
November 2005, Available online Archived 1 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
140. Jump up^ The ashrams of Sathya Sai Baba. Referenced from the official Sathya Sai
Organization website, Available online
141. Jump up^ "Dharmakshetra Website, Sri Sathya Sai Organization Mumbai — About
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142. Jump up^ "Dharmakshetra Website, Sri Sathya Sai Organization Mumbai — About
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143. Jump up^ "Dharmakshetra Website, Sri Sathya Sai Organization Mumbai — About
Dharmakshetra". www.dharmakshetra.org.
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145. Jump up^ Swallow, D.A. (1976). Living Saints and Their Devotees. [PhD thesis summary
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147. Jump up^ Alexandra Kent Divinity and diversity: a Hindu revitalization movement in
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"/"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)"
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162. Jump up^ Haraldson, op. cit, pp 204–205
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164. Jump up^ Interview given by Sai Baba to R. K. Karanjia of Blitz news magazine in
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165. Jump up^ Haraldsson, pp 209
166. Jump up^ Haraldsson, op. cit., pp. 206
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170. Jump up^ Haraldsson, op. cit., pp 300, 295–301
171. ^ Jump up to:a b c Mick Brown, The Spiritual Tourist, 1998, Bloomsbury
Publishing, ISBN 1-58234-034-X"In the House of God", pp. 73–74
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detractors http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/sai-baba-lashes-out-at-
detractors/articleshow/534425761.cms
182. Jump up^ Letter from A.B. Vajpayee (the then Prime Minister of
India), http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/fline/fl2810/stories/20110520281002600.htm
183. Jump up^ Official Letter, http://www.saibaba.ws/images/letter_pm_india.gif
184. Jump up^ Sai Baba: Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet
185. Jump up^ http://currentnews.in/2011/05/09/sathya-sai%E2%80%99s-vajpayee-
visit/[permanent dead link]
186. Jump up^ Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/joan-brown-this-kind-of-
b_b_1003775.html
187. Jump up^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQVpRxUwi8U#t=2531
188. Jump up^ https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/arts/music/15colt.html
189. Jump up^ Reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/30/world/indra-devi-102-dies-
taught-yoga-to-stars-and-leaders.html
190. Jump up^ "Gavaskar condoles death of Sri Sathya Sai Baba". The Times Of India. 24
April 2011.
191. Jump up^ http://www.urigeller.com/with-baba-in-the-hills/
192. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Reference: Divine Grace, Sathya Sai Baba by the India Today Group
193. Jump up^ http://www.karujayasuriya.lk/component/phocagallery/category/25-sai-
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to Succeed Chávez Might Say Something Else". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
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bachchans-solo-weekend-outing/#aishwarya-111
199. Jump up^ http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140428/entertainment-
bollywood/gallery/aishwarya-rai-bachchan-pays-tribute-sri-sathya-sai-baba
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201. Jump up^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?203376
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puttaparthi/article1769117.ece
203. Jump up^ http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/150050/baba-gave-me-comfort-when-i-was-
struggling-ranatunga.html
204. Jump up^ https://sathyasaibaba.wordpress.com/tag/pf-sloan/
205. Jump up^ https://sathyasaibaba.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/sri-sathya-sai-baba-
maynard-ferguson/
Further reading[edit]
 Howard Murphet (1971). Sai Baba: Man of Miracles. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-584-10241-3.
 Samuel H. Sandweiss (1975). Sai Baba the Holy Man and the Psychiatrist.
p. 240. ISBN 978-0-960-09581-0.
 John S. Hislop (1985). My Baba and I. ISBN 978-0-960-09588-9.
 Phyllis Krystal (1994). Sai Baba: The Ultimate Experience. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-877-28794-0.
 Don Mario Mazzoleni (1994). A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-962-
98351-1.
 Erlendur Haraldsson (1997). Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on These Psychic
Phenomena Associated With Sathya Sai Baba. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-803-89384-9.
 Vladimir Antonov (2008). Sathya Sai Baba – The Christ of Our Days. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-438-
25276-6.
 Tommy S. W. Wong (2009). How Sai Baba Attracts Without Direct Contact.
p. 108. ISBN 978-1-448-60416-6.
 Tulasi Srinivas (2010). Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism
Through the Sathya Sai Movement. Columbia University Press. p. 430. ISBN 978-0-231-
14933-4.
 David Smith (2016). "Hinduism" Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and
Transformations. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-85880-9.

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