Who is Sathya Sai Baba?
Sathya Sai Baba is one of the most revered spiritual teachers in the world today whose life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead a more purposeful and moral life. He is quietly transforming the world by re-establishing the eternal values of Truth (Sathya
), Right Conduct (Dharma
), Peace (Shanti
), Love (Prema
) and Non-violence (Ahimsa
) in everyday living. His timeless and universal teachings, along with the manner in which he leads his own life, are attracting seekers of Truth from all the religions of the world.
Yet, he is not seeking to start a new religion. Nor does he wish to direct followers to any particular religion. Rather, he urges us to continue to follow the religion of our choice and/or upbringing. He is also known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Swami, or simply as Baba to millions of people in the world. His followers come from all faiths, races and spiritual pathways and meet regularly to study his universal teachings, for devotional singing (bhajans), and to engage in service activities in order to practise his message of love and peace to unite all mankind.
Sathya Sai Baba was born on 23rd November, 1926, in Puttaparthi, a remote village in the state of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. He is the fourth child of a humble and pious couple, who named him Sathya Narayana Raju. As a child, he demonstrated exceptional qualities of wisdom, compassion, and generosity. As early as seven years old, he composed devotional songs that were sung in religious festivals. At the age of fourteen, he announced that his name was Sathya Sai Baba and proclaimed his mission: to bring about the spiritual regeneration of humanity by demonstrating and teaching the highest principles of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence. With that announcement, he left his childhood home and began his Mission.
From an early age, Sathya Sai Baba began demonstrating extraordinary powers. He quickly became known for the miracles that he performed such as materialising objects, especially a holy ash called Vibhuti, assisting people in distress, and letting those who came to him for advice know that he was aware of even the most intimate details of their lives. Yet, he has always maintained that his miracles are to be treated only as his calling cards. They are for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging people to begin their own spiritual journey of personal transformation. In 1950, His devotees built a temple and residential quarters about a mile away from his birthplace in the village. He named this Ashram (Spiritual Centre) 'Prashanti Nilayam’ which means “Abode of Peace”.
Today, the Ashram can accommodate and feed many thousands of devotees from all parts of the world who come to seeand hear Sathya Sai Baba. Under his care and guidance, Puttaparthi has evolved to have a high quality school, an accredited university, a spiritual museum, a well-equipped hospital and an airport. The small temple dedicated in 1950 called 'Prashanti Nilayam' has grown into a spiritual osis of unprecedented magnitude. The temple and the area in front of it, which is completely covered by a beautiful roof, together encompass an area over 10,000 square yards. During the period 14-23 November 2000, the celebrations of the 75th birthday of Sathya Sai Baba took place in Prashanti Nilayam. More than three million people, including the Prime Minister of India, assembled in Prashanti Nilayam to pay homage to Sathya Sai Baba during the 75th birthday celebrations. Sathya Sai Baba’s second Spiritual Centre named ‘Brindavan’ is in Whitefield, a suburb of Bangalore. A campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute for Higher Learning (deemed University) is also situated in this centre. Every day, thousands of devotees come to these centres for darshan (direct seeing holy person) and Baba graciously walks amongst them to guide, comfort, console, and uplift them.