Sathya Sai Baba (23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011)
An empire worth anything between Rs.40,000 crore and Rs. 1,40,000 crore
If creating wealth of this size is a miracle, so was his birth, according to his mother, who claimed it was a miraculous conception. Born in a small village, Puttaparthi, Sai Baba’s life story is peppered with the word ‘miracle’. When he was 14, he was bitten by a scorpion and lost consciousness for many hours. When he came back to consciousness, he began singing in Sanskrit, a language he had had no exposure to. Shortly after this incident, he declared himself a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Was he a Godman or an extraordinarily talented sleight-of-hand artist? Many scpetics have challenged his ‘miracles’, but Sai Baba refused to acknowledge the arguments of scientists, saying they were incapable of understanding what spiritualism could achieve. To his devotees, Sai Baba was their religious leader and a man of miracles, one who could, indeed, create miracles.
And with that, he gained a following which grew in size and in geographies. Sathya Sai Baba’s 80th birthday celebration, for example, was reportedly attended by over 1 million devotees from over 180 countries.
His devotees included the former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
And Sachin Tendulkar.
Sai Baba created more wealth, counted in crores, than Sachin Tendulkar has scored runs…