Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the famous godman, passed away on April 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM following multi organ failure at the Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, founded by him, in Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. He had a phenomenal following across the world.
The Baba was born on Nov. 23, 1926 in Puttaparthi and was spritual from a very young age. On Oct 20, 1940 at the age 14 years he declared himself to be the incarnation of the original Sai Baba of Shirdi. Thus began a life of sprituality, miracles and selfless service. In 1950, hebuilt the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and in 1954 built the general hospita, both at Puttaparthi.
He started producing items like vibhuti (ash), watches, Shivlings etc from thin air by by a slight movement of his arms and gave these to his followers during darshana gatherings at his ashram and other places.To his growing number of followers these were nothing but miracles and raised him to a cult figure throught the world. This also led to controversies and frequenly he had to face the wrath of rationalists who claimed he was performing ordinary "magic" tricks and thus duping his followers. However the Baba went on gathering strength and increased his following, though he left the practice of producing miracles.
Soon huge funds started flowing and Baba used these to builld Colleges for girls(!968) and boys (1978) at Puttapurthy. He founded the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust In 1972 to undertake social welfare projects. Gradually he built a general hospitalat Bengaluru in 1978, set up the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1981and established the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in 1991 at Puttapurthy and in 2001 at Bengaluru.. He furthur launched drinking water projects at Anantpur, Medak, Mahbubnmagar, Chennai, East Godavari and West Godavari projects between 1995 and 2007. He also built homes for senior citizens, disaster relief projects, medical camps in and around Puttapurthy.
The Sai Trust is estimated to own assets worth between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1,50,000 crores in 180 countries, created from donations by followers throught the world, chief among them being a sum of $ 108 million, raised by selling his Hard Rock Cafe chains by Isaac Tigrett, in whose dreams Baba came and saved him from a fatal disease in 1991 and from these funds the famous Puttapurthy hospital was built. The vast empire has already led to the question, after Baba who?
The Baba's body has been kept in state at Sai Kulwant Hall at Prashanti Nilayam, for two days till Tuesday for last darshana of devotees and the Baba will be buried and not cremated, in the same Hall on Wednesday, April 27, 2011.
The Baba received cores of Rupees as donation and equally spent crores of rupees to establish colleges, hospitals, university and drinking water projects etc for the poor people.
May his soul rest in peace and his Trust continue the good work Baba was doing in his lifetime.