Sai Baba

Previous Incarnations: Shirdi Sai Baba: He embodied the Shiva (father) energy. On his death bed he told his devotees that he was about to leave the physical body, but that he would return in eight years in a city in southern India as Sathya Sai Baba.

Sathya Sai Baba is widely known across the world today as an extraordinary avatar. In his present life he is embodying the Shiva and Shakti (father and mother) energies. In his next incarnation, which will complete the triple avatarship, he will embody just the Shakti energy. He plans to return in 2025, when he will be Avatar Prema (Love) Sai Baba.

Sathya Sai Baba lives on the Earth plane in an ashram in India. He can materialize objects out of will. He say that you can keep whatever religion you are comfortable with, for he is in all religions and in all forms of God. If you call on him for help - he will respond to every sincere need.

Who is Sathya Sai Baba?
He is also known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Swami, Bhagavan, or simply as Baba to millions of people in the world. His followers come from all faiths and races and meet regularly for devotional singing, to study His teachings, and to engage in service activities in order to practice His message of Love and Peace to unite all mankind.

Sai Baba was born in Puttaparthi, a remote village in southern India, on November 23, 1926, and given the family name of Satyanarayana Raju. Stories of the family and villagers tell of “miracles” which began to occur shortly before his birth. Musical instruments in the family home, for example, are said to have played by themselves. Another unusual incident is said to have occurred shortly after the baby was born. Someone noticed movement under his blankets on the floor and he was quickly snatched up. Discovered beneath the blankets was a deadly cobra, which for some reason had not harmed the baby. (The cobra, coincidentally or not, is the symbol of Shiva, of Hinduism’s holy trinity.)

From an early age, Sathya Sai Baba began demonstrating extraordinary powers. He quickly became known for the miracles that He performed such as materializing objects, especially a holy ash called vibhuti, assisting people in distress, and letting those who came to Him for advice know that He was aware of even the most intimate details of their lives. Yet, He has always maintained that His miracles are to be treated only as His calling cards. They are for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging people to begin their own spiritual journey of personal transformation.

A mysterious incident occurred when Satyanarayana was thirteen. One day while playing outside, he leaped into the air with a shriek, holding his bare foot. His family feared he had been stung by a scorpion and would not survive. But he slept that night without apparent pain or sickness. Then twenty-four hours later, he fell unconscious and remained so for a day. When he awoke, his behavior was strange, alternating between periods of unconsciousness and what appeared to be trance-like states. He began chanting and quoting long Sanskrit passages of poetry and philosophy far beyond the scope of his formal education.

Satya endured a period of torture as his parents took him to exorcists throughout the countryside. One famous and feared exorcist, to whom the boy’s demon had become a personal challenge, shaved Satya’s head and cut three crosses into his skull, then poured caustic material into the wound and into his eyes until they were swollen almost shut. Finally, his parents could stand no more of this ordeal and called a stop to it, though their son had apparently not been cured.

In May 1940, Satya’s father saw a crowd gathering around his son. He appeared to be manifesting candy and fruit out of thin air, and many people were falling to the ground, calling him an incarnation of God. Confused and frustrated by his son’s strange behavior and now by this display of sleight-of-hand or, worse, black magic, Satya’s father picked up a stick and approached threateningly. “Who are you . . . who are you?” he demanded angrily.

In a calm but firm voice, the boy announced: I am Sai Baba. Then he proceeded to relate how he had chosen this particular family for his incarnation in answer to the prayers of a devout ancestral sage. He was, he said, the reincarnation of a little-known but much respected Moslem holy man, named Sai Baba of Shirdi, who dressed like a Moslem but wore ash on his forehead like a Hindu. The original Sai Baba had died eight years before Satya was born-the length of time he had reportedly told his devotees would elapse before his reincarnation.

Naturally, it was difficult for many in the village to accept this boy, unusual and charming though he was, as the actual reincarnation of a man regarded by his followers as a saint. Young Satyanarayana was beginning to be quite a mystery indeed. Then a couple of months later, on Thursday -Guru Day in India- a group of questioning villagers approached him, pleading, “Show us a sign!” With a quick and unexpected gesture, Satya threw a bunch of jasmine flowers onto the floor. There, it is reported, they clearly spelled out - in Telugu script, the language of the village- “Sai Baba.”

Soon afterwards, Satya Sai Baba told his family that he belonged with them no longer, that his devotees were calling and that he had to leave. He left school in October of his thirteenth year and began to gather followers around him. They grew in number until it became necessary to establish an ashram, where many could live with their guru, and where those seeking his guidance could meet with him. The construction of Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Eternal Peace) continues even to the present in an attempt to accommodate Sai Baba’s swelling number of devotees. Here and at Brindavan, his summer residence, Baba has received millions of people from India and around the world.

In 1950, His devotees built a temple and residential quarters about a mile away from His birthplace in the village. He named this ashram ‘Prashanti Nilayam’ (Abode of Peace). Today, this ashram can accommodate and feed many thousands of devotees who come to see and hear Sathya Sai Baba. Under His care and guidance, Puttaparthi has evolved to have high quality schools, an accredited university, a spiritual museum, a well-equipped modern hospital, and a jet airport.

Sathya Sai Baba’s followers regard Him as an incarnation of God in human form (Avatar). He is the ideal of goodness: One who manifests all human virtues in their purity and perfection; One who shows power, wisdom and knowledge beyond the comprehension of humans; and One in whom immense powers lie at His will.

Mission of Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Baba has come to this world at this time to offer moral and spiritual sustenance and to lead us from the darkness. His mission is best described in His own words:
“I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. 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 come to tell you of this universal unitary faith, this path of Love. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the One and Only God, that all names in all languages, and all forms man can conceive, denote the one and only God. Cultivate the attitude of oneness between people of all creeds, all countries, and all continents. This is the message of Love I bring.”

The Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Baba teaches that man’s basic nature is divine and that the purpose of life is the realization of this divinity. This will occur, He says, by leading a moral life, by rendering selfless service to those in need, by engaging in devotional practices, and by developing love, respect, and compassion for all life. As one strives to transform the worldly life of self-centered desires and attachments into a higher spiritual life of selflessness and devotion, the foundation is built for receiving God’s Grace. It is this Grace that will reveal our true nature to each of us.

He reminds us that mankind is unique among all of God’s Creation; human beings are capable of recognizing that they emanate from God. We have the capacity to commune with God by turning inward. Ultimately, it is our destiny to merge with God. Sathya Sai Baba teaches that all religions are expressions of these same universal principles.

The Sathya Sai Baba Organization
Great interest in the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba has resulted in the formation of over 6500 Centers in over 137 countries at which his teachings are studied. Sathya Sai Baba Centers are nonsectarian spiritual groups dedicated to the study and practical application of the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba.

A basic aim of centers is to encourage individuals to practice ideals of brotherhood and to follow Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings in their daily lives. A principal example of this is the strong emphasis on service to the community, which is a primary focus of Sathya Sai Baba Centers. Center members participate in a wide variety of service projects, such as feeding the hungry, visiting hospitals, working with needy children and caring for the aged.

A fundamental goal of center members is to imbibe the five principal universal values as laid down by Sathya Sai Baba: truth, righteousness, peace, universal love, and non-violence. At the same time, center members seek to increase their spiritual awareness. Centers meet regularly for devotional singing, study of Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings, and meditation.