Sai Baba mourned

2011-04-25 00:00

LOCAL devotees of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba joined millions from around the world in mourning their spiritual leader, who died in India yesterday aged 84.

Hundreds gathered at various Sai centre in the city early yesterday morning to offer special prayers when the news of the holy man’s death emerged.

Sai Baba died of respiratory failure at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences Hospital in his hometown of Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, after being admitted to the intensive care unit more than two weeks ago.

Although he was critically ill, he was stable and said to be making steady progress until the early hours of yesterday morning.

Although most devotees were emotional they were strong in the belief that their master had prepared them for this day.

A staunch local devotee — Victor Pillay of the Sai Baba Foundation — built the Jyothi Nilayam ashram in Seagull Road, Mountview, in 1979 which was probably the first place of worship for Sai devotees in Pietermaritzburg.

“Our centre was built to serve the entire community in Pietermaritzburg with more than 200 devotees meeting weekly for a service, based on the teachings of Sai Baba ‘love all, serve all’,” Pillay said.

“Although Baba has passed on, the work at Puttaparthi will carry on. Although his passing away will be a setback because he is not with us anymore in the physical form, spiritually he will always be with us. We will celebrate his death and carry on with his teachings,” he added.

Pillay said he flew to Puttaparthi to see Sai Baba in hospital, but he and thousands of other devotees were not allowed in, as hospital authorities feared infection.

Morgan Govender of the Midlands region of the Sathya Sai Organisation, which co-ordinates all the branches in the city said, “The devotees are very hurt and emotional at the news of the passing away of their master Sai Baba. It has left us shocked.”

Similar comments came from all the regions who met for a special service yesterday morning at the Andhra Maha Sabha Hall in Aintree Avenue, Newholmes. The service will continue every night for the next week from 6 pm until 9 pm at the same venue.

Commemorating Sai Baba’s 84th birthday — which took place in November last year — members of the local Sai Baba Foundation opened a school library at Ndlelayabasha Primary School in Willowfontein.

According to the hospital director Dr A.N. Safaya, Sai Baba suffered multiple organ failure and was on a ventilator and kidney dialysis after he was admitted to hospital on March 28.

Thousands of devotees flocked to his ashram at Prashanti Nilayam yesterday where his body is lying in state for two days before his burial.

To his millions of followers around the world, Sai Baba was regarded as a living god.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday extended its condolences.

“In this auspicious period of renewal and resurrection it is fitting for us to commit to take forward his message of love, compassion and deep care for the poor,” provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said.



SATHYA Sai Baba was born with the name of Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926 in the village of Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India, and was regarded as an Indian guru.

His followers regarded him as an Avatar, godman, spiritual teacher and miracle worker.

At a young age, Sathya Sai Baba claimed to be the reincarnation of the spiritual guru — Sai Baba of Shirdi — a saint who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Maharashtra, India, and who had died eight years before Sathya was born.

Sai Baba’s teachings mixed both Hindu and Muslim beliefs. Together with his organisation, Sai Baba supported a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in India and abroad. — Wikipedia.

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