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Monday, July 11, 2011

SATHYA SAIBABA, A TRIBUTE: The Baba and Neo-Mayos!

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S Gurumurthy Last Updated : 11 Jul 2011 12:45:54 AM IST /

To his faithful millions, he was God; to his disbelievers he was a fake; to his detractors he was a fraud; to the cynical he was a suspect. Yet, to Karunanidhi, a professed atheist, he was a God-Saint. This sums up the public discourse on Sathya Sai Baba who passed away in April this year. But most, particularly outside his faithful lot, seem to have missed out the dimension of the great soul hidden beyond adulations and abuses — the unparalleled humanist. Here is that Baba not so well known.
Many men and women of high learning, achievements and wealth in India and outside were not just attracted to him. They revered him as the Divine Incarnate. It was his charisma that built a matchless organisation manned by hundreds of thousands of volunteers drawn from the highest echelons to the lowest strata of society. The number of volunteers registered to render from menial to clerical service exceeded six lakh. Baba’s entire work rests on this devoted cadre. A serving IAS officer would give up his job and join him as his clerk; a young IT professional would forgo his fortune, start cleaning the bhajan hall; a businessman heading a billion dollar firm would leave his business and look after one of Baba’s projects. A count of less than 1/6 of the total volunteers (91,753 to be precise) shows this telling break-up — doctors 3,173; engineers 9,760; lawyers/chartered accountants 3,521; professors and teachers 18,226; farmers and workers 41,295; industrialists 11,350; bankers 3,606; judges 71; legislators 167; journalists 261. Any more testimony needed for his charisma, organising skill and leadership?
His trusts have a corpus of several hundreds of crores of rupees. But never did he ask for donations; and he never hesitated to reject the wrong donors. Donors recount how Baba accepted their offerings after making them wait for months to test their sincerity to give. He kept all the money he received in trust for the poor and the needy in his times and in future. Even the undeposited cash and gold in his personal chamber — the Yajur Mandir — made their way to the trusts after him.

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