At the time of his death in 2011, Baba had over 5 crore followers worldwide. 
At the time of his death in 2011, Baba had over 5 crore followers worldwide. (Photo Courtesy:
  • 1. Who Was Sai Baba?
  • 2. What Were the Controversies Around Him?
  • 3. How Did he Die & What Followed?
  • 4. How Are His Followers Continuing his Legacy?
  • 5. Will He 'Reincarnate'?
Miracles, Controversy & Charity: Life & Legacy of Sathya Sai Baba

At the time of his death in 2011, Sathya Sai Baba had at least 5 crore followers, including famous cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, as well as actors like Aishwarya Rai. While his claims that he could conjure gold chains and watches out of thin air earned him staunch critics, crores of devotees remain faithful to Sai Baba because of his spiritual and philanthropic work.

Years after Sathya Sai Baba’s death, the schools, hospitals, and drinking water projects started by him continue to serve people across the country. The money and gold donated by his devotees has been used by a charitable trust to provide services like subsidised education and healthcare for the underprivileged.

The Quint takes a look at the life and legacy of the one of prominent spiritual leaders of India.

  • 1. Who Was Sai Baba?

    Sathya Sai Baba’s birthname was Sathya Narayana Raju. He was born in 1926 in Puttaparthi, which was part of the erstwhile Madras Presidency and now part of Andhra Pradesh. According to the accounts of his devotees, in 1940, at the age of 14, he survived a scorpion bite. Following which, Raju announced himself a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba.

    At the time of his death in 2011, Baba had over 5 crore followers worldwide. 
    File photo of Sathya Sai Baba as a young man.

    His popularity grew over the years, and in 1944, the first ‘Mandir’ in his name was built in his hometown. Over the years, several other temples and other establishments were built for him across the country.

    As part of philanthropical works, he started Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation in the 1960s. Sai Baba founded many schools and colleges, hospitals, and other charitable institutions in India and abroad through this trust.


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