Sai Baba devotees celebrate Avataar declaration day
Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 20: Avataar declaration day, the first after spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba's demise, was celebrated Thursday with prayers in this Andhra Pradesh pilgrim town.
Special prayers were held at Prashanti Nilayam, the ashram and the final abode of Sai Baba. An official of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust told IANS that devotees spent the day in prayers and quiet contemplation of his often repeated statement: "I am divine, but you too are divine. The only difference is I know about my divinity and you are unaware of it."
It was the first annunciation or Avataar declaration day after Sai Baba's death April 25 at age 85.
It was on this day in 1940 that Sai Baba, at the age of 14, declared that he was an Avatar or incarnation of God.
Then known as Rathnakaram Sathya Narayana Raju, he returned from school one day, cast away his books in front of his sister-in-law and announced: "I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai Baba! My devotees beckon me. I have work to attend to. I am leaving!"
Sathya Sai Baba declared that he was the second of triple incarnation, the first being Shirdi Sai Baba, a popular saint of late 19th and early 20th centuries in Maharashtra.
Before his death in 1918, Shirdi Sai Baba had reportedly told devotees that he would born again after eight years in Madras Presidency.
Sathya Sai Baba was born at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district, then part of Madras Presidency, in 1926.
In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba predicted that he will re-incarnate as Prema Sai Baba in the Mandya district of Karnataka, eight years after he leaves his body.