SRI SATYA SAI BABA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Sathya Sai Baba (born Sathya Narayana Raju with the family name Ratnakaram, circa 1926-1929) is a popular, controversial Indian guru who has millions of followers and hundreds of Sathya Sai Baba groups in many countries. When he was in his teens he claimed to be the reincarnation of the fakir Shirdi Sai Baba and subsequently took the fakir’s name. He says that he is an avatar (incarnation) of Shiva and Shakti and an embodiment of love with divine powers such as omniscience and omnipotence.


He is said to manifest vibuthi (holy ash) and small objects like rings and watches daily. He claims to materialize these objects out of nothing but refused to have his materializations investigated under controlled circumstances. His followers report many, sometimes spectacular miracles of many kinds that they attribute to the Baba. He preaches a foundation of five basic values: Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence. He teaches the unity of all major world religions and says that they all lead to God. His followers and the organizations that he has founded are involved in many charity projects, providing free modern hospitals and water projects serving thousands in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and the city of Chennai (Madras). In his ashram and around it there are various buildings including a University and a World Religions Museum. He has founded schools all over India.


Critics, including rationalist Sanal Edamaruku, ex-follower turned skeptic skeptic Basava Premanand and the pianist David Bailey claim that these materializations are done by sleight of hand, which they say can be verified with video movies available on the internet. They also claim that he has inappropriate sexual relations with young men and boys. Testimonies of these sexual molestations are available on the internet. Another point of criticism is the unresolved killings of four men in Sai Baba’s private quarters in 1993.