Satya Sai Baba
(1926– )
   popular spiritual teacher and miracle worker
   Satya Sai Baba was born Satyanarayana Raju in the village of Puttaparthi, Andra Pradesh, to a pious KSHATRIYA family on November 23, 1926. At the age of 14 he quit school and disclosed to his parents that he was in fact the incarnation of SAI BABA OF SHIRDI, the revered South Indian saint of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He left his family and stayed in the house of a BRAHMIN neighbor during adolescence; there he began to receive devotees.
   In 1950, the first ashram dedicated to the work of Satya Sai Baba was established near Put-taparthi. Later, other ashrams were established near Bangalore and Ootakamund.
   Satya Sai Baba is well known for his miracu-lous healings and materializations, and some claim that he has even raised the dead. He is known for materializing in his right hand objects such as rings, lockets, amulets, and fruits out of season. Devotees report that his photos in their homes in different parts of the world are repeat-edly covered with holy ash, vibhuti, even when he is not nearby.
   Satya Sai Baba has built several schools, universities, and one modern hospital in India. He is responsible for a number of social work programs: colleges for both boys and girls, educational courses on spirituality, community building projects, welfare programs for the poor, and clean water projects for South Indian communities.
   Claiming to be a full incarnation of KALKI, ava-tar of the KALI YUGA, Sai Baba says that his task is to behave in a human way so that humankind can feel kinship with him, yet to rise to superhuman heights to protect the virtuous and destroy evil. Quoting Lord KRISHNA’s words in the BHAGAVAD GITA, Sai Baba says that whenever disharmony overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish peace and to reeducate the human community.
   Sai Baba’s influence is considerable; active devotees and centers organized around his work and message exist throughout the world. His per-sonal conduct, however, has been the subject of numerous charges, including sexual misconduct and fraud. His international headquarters are in Puttaparthi, Andra Pradesh, India.
   Further reading: Roy Eugene Davis, The Teachings of Sri Satya Sai Baba (Lakemont, Ga.: CSA Press, 1991); Satya Pal Ruhela, In Search of Sai Divine: A Comprehensive Research Review of Writings and Researches on Sri Sathya Sai Baba Avatar (Delhi: Print House, n.d.); T. B. Singh, Satya Sai Baba: Godman of India Today (Delhi: Hind Pocket Books 1976); Brian Steel, The Satya Sai Baba Compendium: A Guide to the First Seventy Years (New York: Weiser, 1997).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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