Hundreds honour Sai Baba in candle-lit march in Durban

2011-04-27 00:00

HUNDREDS of devotees in the greater Durban area took part in a candlelight street vigil and prayer to pay their last respects to their late spiritual master Sathya Sai Baba last night before his funeral this morning in his hometown of Puttaparthi, India.

The vigil was organised by the Hillside Sai Centre and Bluff Bhajan Group. People of other faiths joined in lighting candles at the Merebank Parasathi Temple and walking almost a kilometre singing bhajans and marching through the streets of Merebank.

Paul Naidoo, chairperson of the Hillside Sai Centre, said: “We are welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds to join us in this time of such a great loss and to make others aware that we are here to honour Baba before his funeral on Wednesday. It is our effort to reinforce Baba’s universal teachings of ‘Serve all and love all’ at the point when the world is crying out for peace and love among all its peoples.”

Some devotees, overcome with emotion, sobbed as they walked.

Staunch devotee Jane Pillay said: “Baba is not just recognised for the structures he built, like hospitals, schools for the poor and other amenities, but Baba is an ‘avatara’ (incarnation). During [today’s] funeral ceremony devotees will congregate at the various Sai centres to commemorate the passing of Baba,” said Naidoo.

The chairperson of the Sai Sudha Centre in Chatsworth, Dhunpal Naidoo, who is in India spoke to this reporter from Sai Baba’s home town minutes before the vigil.

He expressed his amazement at the large crowds and the electrifying atmosphere that forced organisers to allow the viewing of Sai Baba’s body to be extended by six hours.

“I am extremely overwhelmed and we are being well treated by local devotees,” Naidoo said.

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