Called a miracle worker or “Godman” by some, Sathya Sai Baba was born in 1926 in Puttaparthi, a small village in India's Anantapur district. In the 1960s, as Westerners began journeying to India for spiritual reasons, his reputation and following grew. From humble beginnings, he has become an internationally known guru to millions of people worldwide and the head of 1,200 spiritual centers around the globe. Some confusion, however, surrounds his early life, perhaps due to language barriers and difficulties with interpretation.
Rather than preaching the dogma of any one religion, Sai Baba teaches that all paths lead to God. He emphasizes the value of love, truth, peace, right conduct, compassion for all beings, service and charity, devotion to God, and nonviolence. He professes to be the incarnation of Shiva, Shakti, and other Hindu gods, but points out that this is also true of everyone.
Sai Baba's daily materializations of
Using personal will and thought forms in connection with cosmic powers, Sai Baba is able to manipulate energy to produce a material result. Many accounts also testify to his miraculous healing powers as well as his ability to levitate, vanish, change the color of his garments, and control the weather.
In recent years, Sai Baba has been attacked in the press for alleged sexual misconduct, yet he continues to receive support from India's prime minister and other high-ranking officials in the Indian government. He and his followers are dedicated to providing service to the poor in India and other countries. His philanthropic projects include free educational opportunities, free health care at hospitals he established in his home town, where he still lives in an ashram, and in Bangalore, clean water programs, an airport, a railway station, and more.