Indian PM pays homage to deceased Sai Baba

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Puttaparthi, India - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has joined millions of people around the world in offering their condolences to the devotees and family of deceased spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most influential spiritual leaders, died at a hospital funded by his organization in his home town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday at the age of 85. Thousands of devotees have gathered in his hometown ahead of his burial today.

Manmohan Singh described the Sai Baba as a "spiritual leader and an iconic figure who inspired millions".

Advani said that Sai Baba guided him in several ways during his life. "He was a great soul."

"Since times immemorial in India leadership of society in spiritual field has commanded greatest respect. Even in modern India when people think in terms of ideals one thinks of sages like Mahatama Gandhi and others. In modern India, there would be few who would have phenomenal following that Sathya Sai Baba had."

Advani added: "I first came in contact with him during Emergency in Bangalore. I have been meeting him frequently and the meetings have been inspirational for me. It was guiding. I last met him in Puttaparthi few months back. The nation has been plunged in darkness. I offer homage to this great soul. I would like to go for his last rites."

Former Indian Home Minister and Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil said that Sathya Sai Baba was a great, enlightened soul. "What he did is very important for helping the people who were suffering from disease and to educate them," Patil said. 

Sai Baba was admitted to hospital on 28 March following heart and lung problems. Doctors treating him said he was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction.

He was born in 1926 into an ordinary family at Puttapathi village in Andhra Pradesh. He was named Sathyanarayana. As a child he was unusually intelligent and never showed any interest in worldly things. 

When he was just 14-years-old, Sathyanarayana announced that he was a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.

His miracles like creating Ash and gold rings from vacuum soon made him a household name across India. His ashram at Puttaparthi became a famous religious centre within just 20 years.

From prime ministers, presidents, kings, ambassadors, sports stars, movie stars and ordinary people, millions thronged his ashram seeking his blessings for over 50 years. He founded over 1 500 Sathya Sai Centres in 114 countries across the globe. - BuaNews-Xinhua