Sai Baba born as Sathyanarayana Raju on 23 November 1926 is a spiritual guru and educator.
His birth, which his mother Eswaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles. As a child, he was described as unusually intelligent and charitable. He was exceptionally talented in drama, music, dance and writing, and was an avid composer of poems and plays.
He was said to be capable of materialising objects such as food and sweets out of thin air. On 8 March 1940, while living with his elder brother Seshama Raju in Uravakonda, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion. He lost consciousness for several hours. Within the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya's behavior. He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge. His parents brought Sathya home to Puttaparthi. On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and materialised sugar candy and other items. His father became furious upon seeing this, thinking his son was bewitched. He took a stick and asked him who he was.
To this Sathya announced calmly and firmly he was Sai Baba, a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi. He proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi a saint who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Maharashtra, and who had died eight years before Sathya was born. Later that year, Sathya Sai Baba declared that he had no worldly relationship with anyone, and around this time, devotees began to gather to him. In 1940, Sathya Sai Baba began to travel to Madras and elsewhere in South India and soon had a large regional following.
In 1944, a mandir (temple) for Sathya Sai Baba's devotees was built near the village. The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and after 2 years, was completed in 1950. In 1957 Sathya Sai Baba went on a North Indian temple tour. In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free General Hospital in the village of Puttaparthi.
Sri Sathya Sai University, Puttaparthi. In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks.
On 29 June 1968, Sathya Sai Baba made his first and only trip overseas, to Uganda. During a discourse in Nairobi, Sathya Sai Baba stated, '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.'
Since 2005, Sathya Sai Baba has used a wheelchair and his failing health has forced him to make fewer public appearances. In 2006 he suffered a fractured hip when a student standing on an iron stool slipped, and both boy and stool fell on Sathya Sai Baba. He gives darshan now from a car or his porte chair. He is also known as a singer, having released several CDs of bhajans (devotional songs).
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