Legacy of Shri Sathya Sai Baba

via V.N. Gopalakrishnan published on April 27, 2011

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Shri Sathya Sai Baba


on April 24, 2011 at the age of 85. The body of Sai Baba was buried
in Prasanthi Nilayam on April 27, 2011. A dozen Vedic scholars
performed last rites preceded Mangala Snanam (holy bathing of mortal
remains) with water from six sacred rivers. The article throws light
on the legacy of this great spiritual master who is revered as
Bhagavan (God) by the millions around the globe.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba was a highly revered spiritual leader and world teacher, whose life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead more purposeful and moral lives. His timeless and universal teachings, along with the manner in which he led his own life, attract seekers of Truth from all the religions of the world.
Shri Sathya Sai Baba publicly declared his mission in 1940, at the age of 14. Since then, he had exhibited the highest ideals of ‘truth, right conduct, peace, love, and non-violence.’ He has often stated: “My life is my message.” Prasanthi Nilayam, the name of his ashram means “abode of the highest peace”. He interacted with the spiritual pilgrims and devotees every day for over 50 years and offered solace and inspiration to them.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba wrote in simple and colloquial Telegu or English prose. The message was always extempore and poetry and melody shine through each sentence. Behind each phrase is suffused with divine wisdom. All the immortal pieces flowed from Baba’s pen as articles for Sanathana Sarathi (The Eternal Charioteer), the Journal of the Ashram during its early years. Prof. Kasturi has translated in to English and collated all the articles and brought out in a book titled the Vahini Series. Vahini means flow  or stream and there are 15 Vahinis in all which speak of meditation, peace, love and wisdom.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba placed great importance on proper education for young people and established a model education system, which includes primary schools, secondary schools, and an accredited university with three campuses, offering undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D. degrees. No fees are charged to students, and admission is open to all, regardless of race, religion, or economic condition. In addition to emphasizing the pursuit of academic excellence, his system of “integral education” is designed to foster self-discipline. Students are required to take courses on morality and spirituality and to devote to some form of community service. According to him, “the end of education is character”.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba built an ultra-modern 300-bed hospital close to the university and ashram. Highly specialized operations, including open-heart surgery and kidney transplants, are performed routinely. There is absolutely no charge to the patients for professional or hospital expenses and these ‘Temples of Healing’ are an expression of Sai Baba’s compassion.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba initiated a project to provide adequate supply of drinking water to 1.5 million inhabitants of Andhra Pradesh who were subjected to drought conditions. The mammoth drinking water supply projects and the numerous other service projects undertaken by Shri Sathya Sai Baba stand as a testimony to his selfless love and compassion for humanity. However, even more significant than these activities have been his tireless efforts towards spreading the message of spirituality and inculcating love and brotherhood throughout the world.

In 1981, Shri Sathya Sai Baba Bhagawan set up the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School was started in 1983. These institutions provide education from the primary school level right up to the post-doctoral level. The Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music was set up at Prasanthi Nilayam in 2001. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs the Sri Sathya Sai Gurukulam English Medium School at Rajamundry is a residential school affiliated to the ICSE. Every year, the students of the university and schools, undertake the Grama Seva or village service programme. The students offer packets of food and clothes as Baba’s prasadam to every household in the villages they visit.
The Sri Sathya  Sai International School for Human Values at New Delhi was set up for the propagation of the human values of truth, right conduct, peace, love and Non-violence and offers doctoral programmes in the areas of human values, spirituality and related subjects. The Central Trust has constructed a number of convention centres where cultural programmes and conferences are conducted. The Sanathana Samskruti Museum or the Eternal Heritage Museum at Prasanthi Nilayam promotes the message of the unity of all religions. The Chaitanya Jyothi Museum was built to commemorate the 75th birthday of Shri Sathya Sai Baba.

Shri Sathya Sai Baba was born as Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926 in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. Even as a child, he was known as ‘Guru’ and “Brahmajnani’ (knower of Brahman or Godhead) among his peers and others in the village. However, it was not until October 20, 1940, the day he made the historic declaration that he was an incarnation of the Sai Baba of Shirdi who was born in a remote village called Pathri in Maharashtra on September 28, 1835. Just prior to His shedding the mortal coil in 1918, Shirdi Baba told some of his devotees that he would reappear in 8 years time. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, born in 1926 and he invariably referred to Shirdi Baba as ‘my previous body’ whenever he spoke about him in the past.

(Author is a freelance journalist and social activist. He can be contacted on [email protected]. The author had the good fortune to meet Shri Sathya Sai Baba thrice in Mumbai and get his blessings.)

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