The mortal remains of iconic spiritual guru Sri Satya Sai Baba, who drew millions of devotees from across the world with his magnetic aura and will be remembered for his service to mankind, was laid to rest with full state honours on Wednesday in Prashanti Nilayam.
The moving ceremony took place in Sai Kulavant Hall, amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns by priests, bringing the curtain down on a divine era. Millions across the globe and thousands of people in the pilgrim town bid a tearful adieu.
In his trademark ochre gown, throughout his life Baba provided solace to millions with his 5-point formula for humanity: satya (truth) dharma (righteousness), shanti (peace) prem (love) and ahimsa (non-violence).
A larger-than-life gold/marble statue will be installed soon, along the lines of Shirdi Sai Baba, near the maha samadhi or grave. As is the practice with most great saints, Baba’s body was placed with his head to the south. He was interred at the same place where he would deliver spiritual lectures and give daily darshan to his devotees at 10.15 am. Shouts of “Jai Bhagavan Satya Sai ki jai” filled the air.
Mr R.J. Rathnakar, Baba’s nephew and the son of Baba’s brother Janakiramiah, performed the last rites on behalf of the family. He broke down several times during the rituals.
The hall was packed with relatives, Sri Satya Sai trust members, VVIPS, Sai volunteers, and media from across the world.
In keeping with tradition, devotees, women in particular, were not allowed to witness the final ritual of placing the body in the grave. The exceptions were nephew Mr Rathnakar, family members, priests, close friends and a few seva dal volunteers.
The flowing red curtains around the grave were closed for the ceremonies around 9.40 am and opened only at 10.24 am. Asian Age