belongs to a family of the Kshatriya (“warrior”) caste. He was born on November 23rd 1926 in the southern Indian Putthaparti and the fourth of five children. He was named Sathyanarayana Rayu. In his childhood, Sathyanarayana stood out trough exceptional devotion and helpfulness. During his years at school he organized groups for singing and plays on religious themes, for example, about the life of Krishna, one of the most important figures in Hindu mythology. He also amazed classmates by materializing fruits and gifts out of nowhere. Sai Baba sees himself as an purna avatar, which is the perfect embodiment of the formless absolute, the Divine on earth. An avatar (“descent from heaven”) is describes in Indian philosophy as one for the good of man, Gods incarnate as man, whose task consists in restoring the divine order of the Dharma. He is considered omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Sai Baba was raised in the context of a “Avatarian Design”, a succession of three incarnations. He himself was the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, who was born in 1835, died 1918 in the western Indian Pathri Shirdi and is equally revered by Hindus and Muslims as a saint. After the initial rejection of his claims, the number of followers soon grew rapidly, and the formerly small gathering has grown in recent years to a huge and complex consisting of schools, a university, a museum, a hospital and residential facilities for the visitors. Every year tens of thousands of devotees come to Prashanthi Nilayam, where the defining event for the follower of Sathya Sai Baba is the daily darshan. Sai Baba feels connected to all world religions and emphasizes the importance of understanding, love and tolerance.

Glossary of

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