Divinity Is Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
A Life Sketch Of Swami
The fourth child of Mother Easwaramma and Pedda Venkappa Raju, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born as Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926 in Puttaparthi, in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. The event and the village went unnoticed in the history and map of British India. Today, His Ashram Prasanthi Nilayam, located in Puttaparthi is the undisputed spiritual capital of our times, sought after by people all around the world. Flourishing with education and healthcare institutions, road, rail and air connectivity, and well-paved roads, make Prasanthi Nilayam a model township. Within the peaceful premises of the Ashram, there is accommodation and other facilities for the convenience of the thousands of Indian and foreign pilgrims who arrive here every day.
The journey of little Sathya to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was marked by the consistent manifestation of pure love and selfless concern for all forms of life, making compassion the signature of His Divinity.
Typical of a Poorna Avatar, the age of miracles began even before His birth. When mother Easwaramma was expecting Him, the musical instruments in the family home started playing on their own; a cobra was found lying under the child’s bed. Right from early childhood, Sathya demonstrated astonishing knowledge of events, languages both native and foreign, music and dance, and was never mentored by any Guru. Every landmark in His life pointed to His infinite and innate divinity. By the age of 8, He was leading children to sing the glory of the Lord, and spreading universal human values of honesty and ethical conduct and promoting inter-faith harmony in the village.
Even as a child, whatever He thought, manifested in the physical realm. For example He could distribute sweets from an empty bag, foretell events, materialise articles from nowhere etc. Mistaking these powers to some evil spirit possessing Him, the family tried an exorcist to drive it out by various means involving bodily torture, all of which He suffered with tremendous serenity. In the course of such attempts, He declared that He was the reincarnation of ‘Sai Baba of Shirdi’. At that time, no one in Puttaparthi had heard of Sai Baba or of Shirdi, a village located 1000 kilometers away in the North West, in the state of Maharashtra.
On 20th October 1940, at the age of 14, Sathya declared that He did not belong to His family, and that He was discarding maya or the veil of illusion that He had willfully assumed till then. He was going to His devotees, who were calling Him, to launch His Divine Mission for transforming the hearts of people through Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Right Conduct), Shanthi, (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Nonviolence).
In 1945, the first Mandir of Baba was inaugurated in Puttaparthi and the following year, the twenty year old Baba visited Ooty, Hyderabad and Tirupathi. Large crowds were drawn by His message, manifestations and personality. Thereafter, increasing number of devotees gathered around Him. Baba did not attach much importance to the so called “miracles” and described them as His ‘tokens of love’ for the happiness and well-being of His devotees. These included plucking a variety of fruits from a tamarind tree, rescuing His devotees in distress at any distance by His power of omnipresence, curing patients of incurable diseases, even restoring some of them to life and materializing objects for devotees as symbols of His grace and protection.
On 23rd November, 1950, at the time of Baba's 25th birthday, His Ashram Prasanthi Nilayam was inaugurated. Thereafter, His mission to bring relief to millions gathered momentum. His humanitarian projects as well as extensive travels across India led to the establishment of the service-oriented Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations that promote human excellence through selfless service to fellow beings, irrespective of any barrier of race or religion.
During the 85 years of God's visit to earth in the form of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, millions around the globe worshiped Him as their Loving God, a universal teacher and a gracious humanitarian. And His efforts to translate divine love into massive outreach projects to relieve the suffering of people made Him an ideal role model for entire humanity, making His life His message. At every stage, He demonstrated how to lead an ideal life dedicated to the well-being of others.
On 24 April, 2011, when Bhagawan Baba discarded His physical body, He left behind a global spiritual legacy. Despite His physical absence, He has taught us to have contact with Him inwardly by intensifying our spiritual practice of Truth, Love, Peace, Right Conduct and Nonviolence.
Let us sanctify our lives and experience true happiness by emulating to the extent possible, Baba's personal example and divine teachings, and plunge into His sacred mission with all sincerity and humility.
His Mission And His Teachings
Bhagawan Baba's teachings of universal love have found their way into millions of hearts in India and abroad, transcending all boundaries of race and religion, especially because they emphasize the equality of all religions, embracing all faiths as valid ways to God.
Through His universal teachings of truth, love, peace, right conduct and non-violence, Baba has inspired millions of seekers across the world to step outside their circle of self-interest and strive towards purpose driven lives. His gospel of unconditional love expressed through selfless service, continues to inspire thousands of voluntary initiatives by the members of the Sai Organizations in India and 123 countries abroad.
Without doubt, in the history of humanity, no one strove harder on a global level for the uplift of human beings than Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
An early starter, at the age of 14, Baba declared to His parents that He had ‘come’ to this world on a mission to re-establish the practice of righteousness, to motivate ‘love for God and service to fellow man’.
Since then, He consistently called upon all to Love All, Serve All; and has repeatedly asserted that the essence of the teachings of all scriptures of all great religious traditions remains simple, namely to ‘Help Ever, Hurt Never’.
Throughout the life, He exemplified this through His efforts towards the three fields of human endeavor namely the social, moral and spiritual development of humanity through the five universal human values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Shanthi (Peace), Prem (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence).
Born with infinite wisdom, a young Sathya had declared, “Education, Medicine and Water are every person’s birth right and they must be provided free of cost to one and all.” And, He made it as His mission.
The millions who enjoy clean drinking water, the millions who receive free primary to tertiary level medical treatment, the thousands of students who are educated from elementary to university level, all absolutely free of cost bear testimony to the true legacy of this loving legend. Today, Baba's initiatives in the areas of clean drinking water, healthcare and education are examples of what can be achieved by a single individual when the intention is pure.
Elucidating on His mission, Bhagawan had also declared, “I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith, so that the Christian becomes a better Christian, the Muslim a better Muslim and the Hindu a better Hindu.”
Sri Sathya Sai Baba emphasized that we are all embodiments of God and that the chief goal of our lives as humans is to realize that we are God, to experience that we are Divinity, and to achieve "enlightenment". As early as in 1953 He declared, "There is no escaping it; all creatures have to reach God some day or other, by the long route or by the short route.” Promoting responsible citizenship and spiritual activism, Baba urged erring humanity to correct the course by taking up selfless service as a way of life.