What Do Maduro & India Have in Common? Sathya Sai Baba, Apparently

Strange as it may sound, Maduro is a fervent devotee of India’s late spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba.

3 min read
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Sathya Sai Baba.

As the tensions in Venezuela are reaching a boiling point amidst one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, pressure is mounting on the embattled President Nicolas Maduro to step down from his position.

Strange as it may sound, Maduro is reported to be a fervent devotee of India’s late spiritual guru and philanthropist Sathya Sai Baba, believed by many to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba.

In 2005, Maduro had visited Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, along with his wife Cilia Forbes and sought the spiritual guru’s blessings, according to the Hindustan Times.

“Maduro visited Prashanti Nilayam four or five times, including once after the Swami attained Maha Samadhi. Whenever he visited, he was accompanied by a large Venezuelan delegation and would stay at Shanti Bhavan, the VIP guest house.”
Anantharaman, Media Coordinator of Sai Central Trust to TOI

A photograph showing Maduro crouched at the feet of the orange-clad guru confirms the visit. It is also speculated that Maduro had a kept a picture of Sai Baba in his office.

A month after Swami’s Maha Samadhi, the Venezuelan Assembly passed a condolence resolution and also declared a day of national mourning on 24 May 2011, according to Sathya Sai Baba organisation.

 Nicolas Maduro, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, and his wife Cilia with Sathya Sai Baba in 2005.
Nicolas Maduro, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, and his wife Cilia with Sathya Sai Baba in 2005.
(Photo Courtesy: Free Press Journal)

Venezuela is one among the 113 countries where the Sathya Sai Baba movement is active. The first Sai Centre was opened in Caracas in 1974, while the first workshop for EHV (education in human values) teachers was held in 1987.

That’s not all, the Sai trust runs a school and the Institute of Human values, besides holding medical camps for the needy.

In addition, it has organised public meetings to inform the public about Swami and his work in several cities such as Caracas, Maracay, Maracaibo, Barquismeto, Cumana, Ciudad, Bolivar, Puerto Ordaz, Merida, and Margarita Island, which have been attended by more than 3,000 people.

So how did Sai Baba come to be known in Venezuela? According to the Sai Baba trust, devotees Arlette Meyer and Elizabeth Palmer visited Baba in 1972. Arlette, after a few encounters, became an ardent devotee of Baba. After translating a book on him, called 'Man of Miracles' into Spanish, Arlette opened the first Sai Centre in Venezuela in Caracas on 22 August 1974.

What’s So Compelling About Sathya Sai Baba?

The spiritual leader has been associated with numerous accounts of paranormal phenomena across the world. One such purported instance from Venezuela is of him miraculously appearing in the sky after saving a plane from crashing.

As the story goes, when the airplane began to lose height dangerously, the pilot called out to the air hostess, a known Baba devotee, to pray to her Guru. She called out to Baba, and the aircraft miraculously stabilised. Looking out, she saw Baba in the sky, and he remained there for over 20 minutes.

The authenticity of the incident has never been verified, but this is one among many such stories that proclaim Sai Baba’s omnipresence.

While Sai Baba is known to have healed many people, he is best known for his routine materialisations of vibhuti. Many people have witnessed a gentle wave of his hand and produce vibhuti or white ash, which is supposed to have curative powers. Howard Murphet, who was an author and devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, mentioned many miracles of Sai Baba in his book, Man of Miracles as well. One such example of his manifestation of vibhuti can be seen in this video below (authenticity not verified):

(With inputs from Hindustan Times and Times of India.)

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