Sunday, April 24, 2011
Indian spiritual leader Sai Baba dies at 85
PUTTAPARTHI, India, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most popular and influential spiritual leaders, died Sunday at age of 85 at a hospital in his home town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.
Sathya Sai Baba's body will be kept at the Sai Kulwant Hall in Puttaparthi for two days -- Monday and Tuesday. Arrangements will be made for darshan (last glimpse) Sunday evening at the hall.
Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Geeta Reddy said that Sai Baba's body would be buried Wednesday in Puttaparthi.
Sai Baba's response to medical treatment had been slow, doctors attending him said Sunday.
He was on intermittent hemodialysis and on assisted respiration until Saturday evening at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medial Sciences at Puttaparthi.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has left for Puttaparthi to pay homage to the Baba.
Sai Baba was admitted to the super-specialty hospital on March 28 following problems related to heart and lungs. Doctors treating him said he was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction.
Sathya Sai Baba was born in 1926 into an ordinary family at Puttapathi village in Andhra Pradesh. He was named Sathyanarayana. As a child he was unusually intelligent and never showed any interest in worldly things. When he was just 14 years old, Sathyanarayana announced that he was a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.
His miracles like creating Ash and gold rings from vacuum made him a household name across India soon. His ashram at Puttaparthi became a famous religious center within just 20 years.
From prime ministers, presidents, kings, ambassadors, sports stars, movie stars and ordinary people, millions thronged his ashram seeking his blessings for over 50 years. He founded over 1, 500 Sathya Sai Centers in 114 countries across the globe.
One of India's most famous spiritual leaders, Sai Baba led a life dedicated to philanthropy marred by the occasional controversies.
Thousands of devotees had gathered in his hometown since March 28 to pay their last respects.
Editor: Tang Danlu