For the countless millions of devotees who have come into his fold, Sai
Baba is the avatar of this age. He is revered as the incarnation of
the full power of divinity. Such an auspicious advent has not occurred since
ancient days when the divinity came into human form 5000 years ago, in
another major age of mankind. Then he came as Krishna, to enact the role of
avatar of that particular age. Now, the divinity has come again in
the role of world teacher, to guide and uplift mankind at this present
critical time in human history.
Just as sweetness cannot be understood through words alone, but must be
experienced directly through the taste, so also the Sai phenomenon cannot be
understood by merely reading about him or studying his words or even
experiencing him first-hand. His truth can be known only by fully living his
teachings and practicing them in every thought, word and action of daily
life. By transforming our lives in this way, we discover our own truth. This
is the rarest of all jewels that this avatar has come to bestow on us.
It is the deeper message of the mission for which he has incarnated, namely,
that the divinity appears among us in order to remind us of our
divinity. "I know who I am," he says. "I have come to help you to realize
who you are." In essence, we are no less than he. We are God incarnate. That
is the principal teaching of his Gita. He has come as the guide to
help us realize our truth and return mankind to its divine source.
The three Incarnations of Sai
Like Allah of the Muslims, or Jahweh of the Jews, or Divine Father of the
Christians, or the Buddha Nature of the Buddhists, or Ahura Mazda of the
Parses, or the Supreme Self of the Vedantins, or the Great Spirit of the
native Americans, Sai Baba is a name for the omnipresent, supreme reality,
which in most religions is known as God. The one divinity takes on countless
names and manifests itself in countless forms. It has chosen a 250 year
period beginning in the early 19th century to manifest successively in three
human forms as avatar for this kali age, to restore
righteousness to floundering humanity. All three of these incarnations are
called Sai Baba, which means divine mother-father.
The present Sai Baba, born in 1926, is the second in a succession of
three incarnations of the Sai avatar. He is known as Sathya Sai Baba.
The first incarnation was Shirdi Sai Baba, who left his mortal body eight
years earlier in 1918. Shirdi Sai Baba lived his life exemplifying the unity
of God and the brotherhood of man, by ministering to both the Hindu and
Muslim communities of central India, each of which claimed him as their own.
For many years, he would spend alternate days living in a Hindu temple and
in a Muslim mosque.
The Sai avatar will remain in the present Sathya Sai form until
his mid 90's, well into the 21st century. Then, shortly after leaving his
physical body, he will be born again in the south of India, appearing as the
third and final incarnation. At that time he will be known as Prema Sai Baba
and will complete the mission of the Sai avatar to end this kali
age and usher in the golden age for mankind.
Sai Baba's Ashram - Prashanti Nilayam
Sathya Sai Baba took birth in the little out-of-the-way hamlet of
Puttaparthi in the south of India, near Bangalore. Now, a modern township
has sprung up there, called Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of ultimate peace,
which is his main ashram. It provides accommodations for thousands of
pilgrims from all over India and from all parts of the globe, who come to
experience Sai Baba's daily public contacts with the devotees and private
interviews for those who are fortunate to be chosen.
The ashram houses a comprehensive educational complex where
students come from all parts of India and abroad to live and study together.
Small children can come into the residential program starting at the age of
five in the primary school, then go on to the high school, college and
university levels, and finally on to the postgraduate and doctoral levels,
to complete their education twenty years later. The Sai educational system,
with campuses in various states of India, is wholly non-denominational and
completely cost-free. All the educational costs for thousands of students
are borne directly by the Sathya Sai Baba Trust.
Also at Prashanti Nilayam is the central headquarters for the worldwide
network of Sai service organizations, engaged in a wide range of community
service projects and in bringing education in human values into government
and private school systems throughout the world. Recently, the largest
specialty hospital in Asia was inaugurated at the ashram. Here
patients, no matter how poor, can come from all over the globe for open
heart surgery. They stay at the hospital with no charge for doctors,
medicine, hospital services, food or room.
Sai Baba, the Human Being and the God-Man
The hub of all this activity is Sai Baba, who from his earliest days has
attracted large numbers of people to him through his unique personal
presence. He can only be described as the personification of pure, selfless
love, the embodiment of perfect peace and bliss, the essence of all goodness.
He manifests every noble human quality that mankind admires and he
incorporates every divine quality that is characteristic of the avatar.
He has the full power of nature in his hand. He has all knowledge at his
command. He knows the past, present and future of everyone who comes to him.
He manifests himself in many parts of the world for the sake of his devotees.
These characteristics, namely omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, are
the mark of a full incarnation of the divinity.
In his teachings he befriends all faiths and emphasizes the unity of all
religions in the oneness of divinity. In his personal manner, Sai Baba
displays a majestic grace, and at the same time, an exquisite joyfulness. In
the midst of a splendorous temple and ashram, he lives in a small,
simple room, and maintains an austere life style, completely committing his
time from early morning to late at night to ministering to the needs of
those who come to him.
Not being limited to the physical plane, Sai Baba works in all dimensions,
gross and subtle, appearing through visions and dreams and inner experiences,
as well as in his physical form. As the divine teacher guiding the spiritual
unfoldment of his devotees, he inspires from within and directs from without.
He illuminates the heart and transforms the mind and reveals the greatest of
all treasures, the immortal atma, the universal self abiding in every
The Sai Advent
These two and a half centuries encompassing the Sai advent are a unique
time of great spiritual significance in the history of the world. During
this period, many saints and sages are also appearing on the earth in order
to advance the divine mission of revitalizing spiritual values and reversing
the present downward trend of moral degeneration which is engulfing the
world. In the millenia to come, generations will look back with great awe at
those of us who lived during this sacred time, much as we might look back at
those fortunate ones in other ages, who were the contemporaries of Rama or
Krishna, or of Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed or Zoroaster, and who had the
unique chance to experience their sacred presence directly.
Very rarely in the long span of human existence, has the divinity taken a
human form on earth and allowed itself to be widely recognized by many. And
even more rarely has the divinity come in all its fullness and glory as
avatar of the age, as is true today in the form of Sai Baba. Now, the
full power of God can be directly approached and experienced by all, and his
teachings, which have the authority of the source of all wisdom, can be
understood by everyone, for he speaks to us in the language and the idiom of
our present time.
Sai Baba Gita