Founder - Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is revered by millions of faithful devotees all over the world as an incarnation of the Divine, an ‘Avatar’. He is also known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Swami, Bhagawan or simply as Baba. His timeless and universal teachings, exemplified by his life of selfless and pure love, attract seekers of Truth from various walks of life, faiths, and cultures, inspiring them in turn to lead constructive, virtuous, and godly lives. When queried about his identity and divinity, Bhagawan Baba answered, “I am God. And you too are God. The only difference between you and Me is that while I am aware of it, you are completely unaware.”. This fundamental truth of man’s divine nature is at the heart of his message and mission.
Baba was born as Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926 in the village of Puttaparthi, in the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India. Even as a child, his spiritual inclination and contemplative nature made him unique and earned him the respect and reverence of his peers and others in the village. They called him ‘Guru’ and ‘Brahmajnani’ (knower of Brahman or Godhead)! However, it was only at the age of 14, on the 20th October 1940, that He made the historic declaration about his ‘Divine Advent and Mission’ to his family and the people in the village. He was henceforth known as Sathya Sai Baba, and soon the world at large learnt of this divine phenomenon.
Sai Baba's Mission
In a letter he wrote to his brother in 1947, he said:
“I have a task: to foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of bliss. I have a vow: to lead all who stray away from the straight path again into goodness and save them. I am attached to a work that I love: to remove the sufferings of the poor and grant them what they lack.”
Baba announced that his mission was to bring about the spiritual regeneration of humanity by integrating precept with the practise of the highest principles enshrined in all world religions. Elucidating further, He declares ‘I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith, so that the Christian becomes a better Christian, the Muslim a better Muslim and the Hindu a better Hindu.’ His formula for man to lead a meaningful life is the five-fold path of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteous Conduct), Shanthi (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-Violence). Love for God, fear of sin and morality in society, these are his prescriptions for our ailing world.
In Baba’s Discourse on 4th July 1968 in Nairobi, Kenya, Baba indicated the reason why he had come:
“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 to speak on behalf of any particular Dharma (religion), like Hinduism. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into My fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this Universal unitary faith, this Atmic principle (principle of the Spirit), this path of love.”
~ Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. – VIII, Chapter 22.
In a discourse on 29 September 1960 (Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 1, Chapter 31), Sathya Sai Baba said this:
‘I will be in this mortal human form for 59 years more and I shall certainly achieve the purpose of this avatar; do not doubt it. I will take My own time to carry out My Plan so far as you are concerned. I cannot hurry because you are hurrying.
I may sometimes wait until I can achieve ten things at one stroke; just as an engine is not used to haul one coach, but awaits until sufficient haulage in proportion to its capacity is ready. But My Word will never fail; it must happen as I will.’
Sathya Sai Baba left His physical body on 24 April 2011. This does not contradict his statement on 29 September that he would be in the human form for 59 years, for many signs ‘not recognized at the time’ point to the fact that He meant lunar years (a lunar year is 12 lunar months, and a lunar month is shorter than a calendar month) rather than calendar years. More on the events of His Mahasamadhi (the conscious leaving of the physical body by a realized soul) can be found here. As He had often said to many, ‘Prasanthi Nilayam is not my home; my home is in your heart.’
The Sri Sathya Sai Organization founded by him, today has a presence in over 167 countries in the world and members undertake group service activities that benefit their immediate community. His message of ‘Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God’ is a spiritual salve that will lead mankind from the darkness of ignorance to the light of immortality. Indeed, very rarely does such a divine power walk the earth.