Sri Sathya Baba who passed away in April this year has left behind a rich legacy and nearly 3 million followers. He put the small town of the Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh on the global map with his development projects. The town has some state of the art hospitals, several schools and colleges. In fact, the temple town owes much of its economy to Sri Sathya Baba. At the time of his death there was great trepidation as to what would happen to the town without the throngs of devotees who came to have a darshan of their spiritual leader.
Battles over the wealth of the trust have also added to the controversy since the guru passed away as he had not appointed a successor.
The trust, for its part, has not let these controversies stand in the way of the 86th birth anniversary celebrations of their divine leader who was believed to have been born on November 23 in 1923. The birthday celebrations have always been a high point in the town’s calendar and many in Puttaparthi were keenly awaiting this year’s celebration to see if the town could still draw devotees without the Sai Baba’s physical presence. The birthday celebrations began with the Rathotsavam of Sri Venugopala Swamy and Sri Anjaneya Swamy in Prashanti Nilayam. Both are Gods who Sai Baba used to worship when he was alive.
Several prominent dignitaries were present at the function including Tamil Nadu Governor Konijeti Rosiah who was the guest of honour at the celebrations. Of course, lakhs of the Baba’s followers had also come for the celebrations.
The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahasamadhi of Sathya Sai Baba had a silver throne placed next to it as an act of reverence and the hall was bedecked with flowers and gold pillars. A musical concert with Anup Jalota and mandolin maestro U Srinivas and a drama by students at the Sri Sathya Sai Centre for Higher learning were also part of the program.
Watch slideshow of images from the celebrations