Puttaparthi: Thousands of Sai devotees thronged Bhagvan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s memorial, which was unveiled and opened for visitors at the Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram in Puttaparthi, Anantapur district on Friday to mark Guru Purnima.
The ‘mahasamadhi’, a rectangular, white marble edifice – 9 ft long, 6 ft wide and 2 ft 2 inches high, is located in the 10,000-capacity Sai Kulwant Hall, the largest of hall of the World’s biggest ashram, where Baba used to give darshan to his followers.
A large number of devotees gathered outside the ashram once again to catch a glimpse of the memorial, which is placed exactly over the spot where the spiritual guru is buried.
Sai Baba had died on April 24 with cardio-respiratory failure after spending nearly four weeks at Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences Hospital run by Satya Sai Central Trust.
He was buried inside the Sai Kulwant Hall in a private ceremony on April 27, open to key relatives and members of his trust, while thousands of devotees watched it live on the screens put up outside the ashram, waiting with bated breath for the gates to be thrown open again.
Many years ago, he had apparently expressed desire to be buried within the hall itself.
As devotees watched on, Baba’s body was lowered in a seven feet-deep pit in the hall, which was then then filled with ‘Kuruskshetra matti’ (soil), salt, silver, gold and navaratnas (nine jewels).
Sri Satya sai Central Trust has tried to keep the event on a low scale. According to the programme listed, the samadhi will be unveiled at 8 am followed by lectures by Indian and foreign speakers and then public darshan.
Every year on Guru Purnima Day, Satya Sai would give darshan, take part in bhajans and deliver a discourse.
This full-moon day in the month of Ashadam is considered auspicious and gurus are worshipped with sincerity.
Born on November 23, 1926, in Puttaparthi, Sai Baba was followed by an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide after claiming to be a reincarnation of spiritual guru Sai Baba of Shirdi at the age of 14.(INN)