Shri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi died a few weeks ago. It was the bold headline news for all newspapers and TV channels. Our ancient literatures say that near the Ashramas of Rishis, both tiger and deer would drink water together from the same pond. I remembered that when I saw on TV Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, L. K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi all together at the venue, where Baba’s body was lying in State.
Newspapers also narrated the various miracles performed by the Baba. One bhakta said that he was cured of his incurable illness by Baba. In another case a dead person was brought back to life by the Baba. The most astounding report was that of Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer. At least some people may remember that he was a cabinet minister in the first communist government under EMS Namboodiripad in Kerala. He was (and probably still claims to be), an avowed atheist, though after the death of his wife, her soul often visited him. Some years back he was suffering from failing eye-sight. He went to Whitefield to meet Sai Baba. He could see Baba from a distance only as a vague figure. Then Baba came near Iyer and greeted him. At that time Justice Iyer could see Baba very clearly. Then onwards his eye-sight was fully restored. The story was narrated by Iyer himself in the Times of India.
There were also a few detractors for Satya Sai Baba. One of them was Prof: Abraham Kovoor. Many may not have heard of Dr. Bhagavantham. He was considered a top scientist and had also served as Scientific Advisor for Defence. In his narration once he went to see Sai Baba along with the Vice President of Seiko Watch Company in Japan. On seeing the Japanese gentleman, Baba brought a watch from air and handed over to him. The Japanese gentleman was astounded to see that it was the proto-type of the next generation watch, which Seiko was planning to introduce in the market. Prof Kovoor wrote to Dr. Bhagavantham to get details of the incident including the name and address of the Japanese gentleman. There was no reply. Then Prof: Kovur himself wrote to Seiko watch company. He got a reply that neither their Vice President nor any other senior officer of the Company knew anything about Mr. Satya Sai Baba. Prof: Narasimham, who was, I think Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University challenged Satya Sai Baba. He got disgraced. The Times of India reported that all of them were dead, as though they died because they opposed Satya Sai Baba.
Raj Kiran was a well known actor several years ago. Then he suddenly vanished and many of his friends thought he was dead. Very recently he was found in a mental asylum in USA. In the nineties he allegedly tried to kill Satya Sai Baba and was jailed. Finally he landed in a mental asylum. Was it because of Satya Sai Bhabha?
Baba claimed that he was an Avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba. He also claimed that whereas other god-men and women were only messengers of God, he was God Himself. Tatvamasi Aham Brahmasmi. It means that all of us are God, not just Satya Sai Baba alone. He claimed that he would live up to 96 years and would maintain his youthfulness until then. He died 11 years too early and old age had visibly caught up with him. With age bones become brittle and break even with a small fall. He fell twice. Once he broke his hip and on another occasion his shoulder bone. During the last years of his life he was on a wheel-chair. He had an expensive imported car. The seat next to the driver’s seat in the car could be turned towards the door, to enable Sai Baba to transfer himself from the wheel-chair to the car seat. I saw in TV Mr. Karunanidhi visiting his daughter Kanimozhi in Tihar jail. He, as well as his attendants, had to exert considerably to move from the wheel-chair to the car seat. I thought that, now Satya Sai Baba was dead, Mr. Karunanidhi could have purchased or borrowed that car. He claims that he was atheist. But I hear that his son Stalin was a Bhakta of Sai Baba.
When Satya Sai Baba was on his death-bed, the attending doctors were issuing medical bulletins, reporting the failure of his vital organs one by one. It appeared that his body also was similar to the bodies of others.
Mahakavi Kalidasa said that the kings of Ikshvaku dynasty were Rajarshis. They were icchamrityus, which meant they could choose the time of their deaths. When they felt that it was time to reject their mortal body, they went to the Himalayas and meditated. Through their yogic powers they raised their prana to the head. Then their skulls split and the prana escaped leaving the body. Alas, but Sai Baba had to die like other mortals, his being Bhagavan, notwithstanding.