Shri Sathya Sai Baba (born Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926, or later than 1927 — with the family name of "Ratnakara") is a guru from southern India, religious leader, orator and philosopher often described as a Godman and a miracle worker.
Sathya Sai Baba is a highly revered spiritual leader and world teacher, whose life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead more purposeful and moral lives. His timeless and universal teachings, along with the manner in which he leads his own life, are attracting seekers of Truth from all the religions of the world. Yet, he is not seeking to start a new religion. Nor does he wish to direct followers to any particular religion. Rather, he urges us to continue to follow the religion of our choice and/or upbringing.
The Advent of Sathya Sai Baba
In childhood, He was liked by everyone, because He was always kind, forgiving all offences from playmates, never “requiting evil with evil”. And more… during school years, He entertained other pupils by giving them sweets, which He took out from an apparently empty bag, materializing them.
At the age of 14, He once told to His parents that He would not go to school any more, because He knows everything. And that He is an incarnation of well-known in India Muslim saint Sai Baba (Baba means Father in Sanskrit) from the place called Shirdi, who had left His body 8 years before. And that He wants to leave parents’ home in order to dedicate His life to helping people, preaching the Truth about God, about the Way of attainment of the Highest Freedom in the Mergence with Him.
His years of childhood and adolescence were described in detail in a remarkable book of Samuel Sandweiss ; everyone interested can find this information in it. I only want to notice, in order to help you understand the content of this book better, that Sathya Sai Baba, living in the shaivistic, partly-pagan environment, did not oppose it. On the contrary, He supported people around Him, by materializing, for example, attributes of the shaivistic symbolism.
Later on He explained it thus:
Each man begins cognition of the world through its forms. People cannot at once picture to themselves God as the Omnipresent Who is present in each object and in each individual. … (Therefore), idols are necessary in order to point to God.
To those, who have not realized God, idols are necessary. After the realization of God, idols become unnecessary. … Worshiping an idol and acquiring through such worship experience of Divinity, one will be able to describe to oneself the feeling of God.
All preaching activity of Sathya Sai Baba is accompanied by His demonstration of miracles.
He did this even in school years: He materialized sweets, pencils, rulers, and so on, and also won easily in running among other pupils by transporting instantly His body from the start to the finish.
In the following years, He converted adult atheists to believers, for example, by materializing in front of them, sitting at the table, the dishes which were “ordered” mentally by each one of them.
And now, materialization of various objects is a part of everyday activity of Sathya Sai Baba, by which He helps people to strengthen their religiousness.
As the preaching activity of Sathya Sai Baba developed, a group of faithful followers gathered around Him; an ashram was built, in which pilgrims could stay. Financial support from interested people made it possible to create in India a system of medical and educational institutions supervised by Sathya Sai Baba and to begin publishing books. Thanks to books and films, the name of Sathya Sai Baba is well-known now on all continents; He has millions of followers.
He brings to people salvation from the darkness of atheistic ignorance and religious misunderstanding. Let us — as souls — approach Him!
Sathya Sai Baba places great importance on proper education for young people. Parents and community leaders are urged to concern themselves with the informal as well as the formal experiences to which their children and young adults are exposed.
He has established a model education system, which includes primary schools, secondary schools, and an accredited university with three campuses, offering undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees. No fees are charged to students, and admission is open to all, regardless of race, religion, or economic condition.
In addition to emphasizing the pursuit of academic excellence, Sathya Sai Baba's system of "integral education" is designed to foster self-discipline and pro-social conduct. Students are required to take courses on morality and spirituality and to devote several hours each week to some form of community service. Sathya Sai Baba says that "the end of education is character".
Sathya Sai Baba has built an ultra-modern 300-bed hospital close to the university and ashram. Highly specialized operations, including open-heart operations and kidney transplants, are performed routinely. There is absolutely no charge to the patient for professional or hospital expenses. Motivated by the desire to serve humanity, doctors, nurses, and workers in the hospital render extraordinary, compassionate, and loving care to all patients.
Service to those in need
Recently, Sathya Sai Baba initiated a project to provide an adequate supply of pure water to 1.5 million inhabitants of the State of Andhra Pradesh (India) who were living in drought conditions. The Prime Minister of India traveled to Prasanthi Nilayam (Sathya Sai Baba's main ashram) in order to inaugurate the project. Sathya Sai Baba demonstrates that it is the duty of society to ensure that all people have access to the basic requirements for the sustenance of human life.
Sathya Sai Baba has given his life, selflessly and magnanimously, to the service of mankind.
If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
The Essence of His Teachings
Through his speeches and writings, Sathya Sai Baba has offered a veritable ocean of knowledge and guidance on all aspects of spiritual, religious, and value-oriented living. He has often repeated that it is not necessary to drink the whole ocean to know its taste, that it is not necessary to read all scriptures to live a life of joy, peace, and love. It is enough to put into practice one aspect of spiritual teaching.
A few drops of the ocean of Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, an attempt to encapsulate its essence, follows. Sathya Sai Baba urges mankind to:
- Believe in God —for there is only ONE GOD for all mankind, though He may be called by many names.
- Follow sincerely their respective religions and live their daily lives in consonance with the teachings of good behavior and morality.
- Respect all other religions —for no religion advocates the negative and lower qualities of man.
- Perform selfless service to the poor, the sick, and the needy without thought of reward or fame.
- Cultivate in their lives the values of truth, divine love, right conduct, peace, and nonviolence and promote these values among all.
- Be patriotic and respect the laws of the country in which they live.
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