Bishwa Nath Singh:
A humble obeisance to the lotus feet of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi and homage to Him by Bishwa Nath Singh.
.Bishwa Nath Singh :
Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi of Andhra Pradesh of India was known as Sathyanarayana Raju during his childhood who was born to Eswaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village of Puttaparthi, in what was the Madras Presidency of India on the 23rd November of 1926 to which his mother Eswaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles. As a child, he was described as "unusually intelligent" and charitable. He was exceptionally talented in drama, music, dance and writing, and was an avid composer of poems and plays.He was said to be capable of materializing objects such as food and sweets out of thin air. Raju completed Elementary School at Bukkapatnam and then joined the high school at Uravakonda.On March 8,1940, while living with his elder brother Seshama Raju in Uravakonda, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion and had become unconsciousness for several hours. Within the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya's behavior. There were "symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence." He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge."Doctors believed his behavior to be hysteria His parents brought Sathya home to Puttaparthi where they took him to many priests, "doctors" and exorcists. Finally, at the age of fourteen, he realized His true calling in life and renounced the world.23Puttaparthi of Andhra Pradesh of India rd May 1940, Sathya rose from bed as usual, but after some time, He called the members of the household around Him, gave them sugar candy and flowers taken from nowhere. At this, the neighbours too rushed in. He gave them each a ball of rice cooked in milk, flowers and sugar candy concretised by a mere wave of the handAt this, Venkama Raju was stunned into silence; the stick slid from his hands. He stood staring at Sathya trying to grasp the implications of that announcement - “I am Sai Baba." But, Sathya continued, “I belong to Apasthamba Sutra; I am of the Bharadwaja Gothra; I am Sai Baba; I have come to ward off all your troubles; keep your houses clean and pure." The elder brother, Seshama Raju went near Him, and asked, "What do you mean by 'Sai Baba'?" He did not reply, but only said this much - "Your Venkavadhootha prayed that I be born in your family. So, I came." The father felt that Sai Baba was a Muslim spirit speaking through the boy and so, he asked, "What are we to do with you?” Prompt came the answer; "Worship Me!" "When?" "Every Thursday! Keep your minds and houses pure." One Thursday, someone challenged Sathyanarayana and asked Him, “If you are Sai Baba show us some proof, now!" Baba replied, “Yes, I shall" and asked for some jasmine flowers. With a quick gesture, He threw them on the floor and said "Look." They saw that the flowers had formed, while falling, the Telugu letters, ‘Sai Baba’! .On the 20th day of October, 1940, the day after all returned from Hampi, Sathyanarayana started for school as usual. However, within a few minutes, He returned to the house. Standing on the outer doorstep, He cast aside the books He was carrying and called out, “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai". The sister-in-law came from the kitchen, only to be blinded by the splendour of the halo around Baba's head! He addressed her, “I am going; I don't belong to you; Maya (delusion) has gone; My Bhaktas (devotees) are calling Me; I have My Work; I can't stay here any longer." When the brother hurried home on hearing all this, Baba only told him, "Give up all your efforts to 'cure' Me. I am Sai; I do not consider Myself related to you". In spite of repeated pleas, Sathya would not step into that building again. He moved in into the garden of the Excise Inspector Sri Anjaneyulu's bungalow, and sat on a rock in the midst of the trees. People came into the garden from all directions bringing flowers, fruits, incense and camphor to worship Him. The garden resonated with the voices of hundreds singing bhajans (devotional singing) and following the lines of the first prayer that Sri Sathya Sai taught them. “Manasa Bhajare Gurucharanam Dusthara Bhava Sagara Tharanam “(O Mind! Meditate on the Feet of the Guru, which will take you across the wearisome sea of Samsara or worldly existence.)A photographer came with a camera to capture a beautiful picture of the young Swami. He wanted to remove a crude stone that was right in front of Him, but Baba did not heed to the prayer. He clicked nevertheless and lo! When the photo was developed, the stone had become an image of Shirdi Sai Baba! A few days later, Baba left Uravakonda for Puttaparthi. There, He shifted to the house of Karnam (the village headman) whose aged and devout wife Subbamma attended on Him with love and affection and welcomed all devotees into her spacious house; she spared no effort to make their stay happy and comfortable. Baba often speaks about her dedicated service, working incessantly from dawn to dusk, cooking and making other arrangements for the hordes of devotees who began to land in Puttaparthi every day. As the number of devotees swelled, a mandir (temple) was constructed in February 1947, where He began to reside and grant darshan. On 23rd November 1950, Prasanthi Nilayam (The Abode of Supreme Peace) was inaugurated, which remains till today the central venue for Bhagawan’s darshan and the festival celebrations that take place in His Divine Presence.Sri Sathya Sai Baba supported a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in over one hundred sixty six countries.The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (now changed to Sri Sathya Sai University) in Prashanthi Nilayam is the only college in India to have received an "A++" rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission). Sri Sathya Sai University for which Baba is the Chancellor, has three campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men,one at Whitefield, Bangalore for men and one at Anantapur for women. His charity supports an institute for Indian classical music called the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music. Baba's educational institutions aim to impart character education along with excellence in academics with emphasis on human values and ethics.Sri Sathya Sai Baba chaired the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions in Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura regions. In addition, a Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School as well as a world class hospital and research institute are being constructed on over two hundred acres (0.81 km2) to serve the destitute population. Baba has said that the campus will be modeled after Puttaparthi and will infuse spirituality with academics.The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi is a two hundred twenty bed facility that provides free surgical and medical care and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on November 22,1991. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Bangalore is a three hundred thirty three bed hospital meant to benefit the poor.The hospital was inaugurated on January 19,2001 by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.The hospital has provided free medical care to over two & half patients. The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 and provides complex surgeries, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has treated over two million patients.The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two specialty hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in IndiaThe Trust has also funded several major drinking water projects. One project completed in 1996 supplies water to 1.2 million people in about seven hundred fifty villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh The second drinking water project, completed in the year 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a rebuilt waterway named "Sathya Sai Ganga Canal. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had praised the Chennai water project and Sri Sathya Sai Baba's involvement. The other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting four and half lakh people in one hundred seventy nine villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefitting three and half lakh people in one hundred forty one villages. In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust had started a drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra. In 2008, two million people in the state of Orissa were affected by floods. As a relief measure, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, had built six hundred ninety nine houses as a part of their first phase in 16 villages by March 2009, Sathya Sai Baba's Educare program seeks to found schools throughout the world with the goal of educating children in the five human values. According to the Sai Educare site, schools have been founded in thirty three countries, including Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and PeruThe positive influence of Sathya Sai is unprecedented in the annals of education in Zambia. Sai Baba's education ideals as embodied in his human values-based approach in education are an eye opener to educationists in ZambiaIn Canada, the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational organization, ranked the Sri Sathya Sai School of Canada as one of the top 37 elementary schools in Ontario. On 23 November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the service rendered by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network Radio Sai Global Harmony was launched through the World Space Organization, United States. Dr Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread . Sri Sathya Sai Baba's message of global harmony and peaceIn January 2007, an event was held in Chennai Nehru stadium organized by the Chennai Citizens Conclave to thank Sathya Sai Baba for the two hundred crore water project which brought water from the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function. His Sathya Sai Baba had responded publicly to the allegations leveled against Him by some disgruntled people on December 25,2000:"Some people out of their mean-mindedness are trying to tarnish the image of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I am not after name and fame. So, I do not lose anything by their false allegations. My glory will go on increasing day by day. It will never diminish even a bit if they were to publicize their false allegations in the whole world in bold letters. Some devotees seem to be perturbed over these false statements. They are not true devotees at all. Having known the mighty power of Sai, why should they be afraid of the 'cawing of crows'? One should not get carried away by all that is written on walls, said in political meetings or the vulgar tales carried by the print media”Sri Sathya Sai Baba was an institution in himself who lived and died for the wlfare of mankind as whole for cause of humanity.He will be adored and cherished for ever as one of the great saga of modern era. Though, he left this worldly abode on the 24th of April 2011 at 7: 40 A.M. in the Hospital close to His Ashram at Puttaparthi and his last rites will be performed today after bathing His dead body with holy waters brought from nine holy rivers with solemn dignity amidst chanting of Vedic Mantras as per rituals of Hindu religious rites but His memories will always remain present in our heart to rule over our mind and thoughts.He will be given Mahasmadhi with great honor. Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to His lotus feet and pay our respectful homage and floral tribute that godly man who will always remain close to our heart!Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi of Andhra Pradesh of India whose Mahasamadhi will be given shortly today on the 27th of April 2011 at the Sai Kulwant hall of Puttaparthi where He used to give His darshan ( glimpse/audience) to His disciples and followers in the past. He will be always adored and cherished as godly man for his social-service for cause of humanity who lived and died for well-being of people at large .Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to His lotus feet and pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to Him who will be remembered and cherished for ever and remain alive in our heart and thoughts!
By Bishwa Nath Singh:
(Wall Photos-three in number of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi)