An army of followers descended on a south Indian town to pay their last respects to the spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba, amid reports of miracles and hopes of reincarnation.
Thousands of mourners landed in Puttaparthi, a town in Andhra Pradesh, to catch the last glimpse of Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away Sunday after battling for life in a hospital for 28 days. While the religious leader is revered by millions for spiritual and healing powers, critics argue that the man just had a knack of passing magic tricks as miracles.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged of strange occurrences being termed as miracles connected to the death of the guru. Hours after scented oil oozed from a Saibaba idol in Puttaparthi, reports of a second miracle poured in. Times of India, the country's leading daily, reported on the 'divine miracle' in Warangal district that took place on Sunday morning when honey reportedly started flowing from a photo frame of Saibaba in the residence of a government employee here.
In Nepal, the country that has been ruled by Prime Ministers who identified themselves as Sathya Sai Baba's devotees for decades, there has emerged a hope of reincarnation.
We believe Baba will come again to this world, a devotee is quoted as saying.
Sathya Sai Baba died at the age of 84 on Sunday after battling for his life for weeks in a hospital. Born November 23, 1926, as Sathyanarayana Raju in Puttaparti, he declared himself in 1940 as a reincarnation of another holy man called the Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Revered by his devotees for spiritual and healing powers, Sathya Sai Baba came to enjoy a global following with ashrams in more than 126 countries.