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Spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Contributed by Anonymous on Sunday, April 24 @ 10:04:36 CDT

ReligionTNN | Apr 24, 2011

HYDERABAD/PUTTAPARTHI: Sathya Sai Baba, who had millions of followers across the world, is no more. Baba's heart stopped beating at 7.28 am on Sunday morning.

He had been on ventilator support for many days with all his vital parameters failing. He was being treated at the super speciality hospital that he himself had created for the masses. Doctors confirmed that Sai Baba died of cardio-respiratory failure.

The last rites of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba will be performed on Wednesday with full state honours. This was announced by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who rushed to the town after news of the death.

Baba's body will be kept for darshan at Sai Kulwant Hall in Puttaparthi for two days - Monday and Tuesday. Arrangements will be made for darshan after 6:00 pm today at the hall. About 4 lakh people are expected to come to Puttaparthi, a small town of 25,000 in Andhra Pradesh's Ananatpur district. This includes VVIPs, VIPs and common devotees from across the globe and India.

A pall of gloom descended on this town, 450 km from Hyderabad, as the news of Sai Baba's death spread. His family members, four ministers and government officials rushed to the hospital following reports that Sai Baba's condition had deteriorated further. (Read: Pall of gloom descends on Puttaparthi)

There has been a complete shutdown in the town since morning following reports about deterioration in the condition of Sai Baba.

For the first time since Baba was admitted to Sathya Sai Baba super speciality on March 27, the doctors did not issue a morning bulletin on Sunday.

Although everybody was preparing for the inevitable for the last few days, a decision had been taken by representatives of Baba's family and members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust to not pull the plug from the ventilator.

Devotees had been praying for a miracle and had kept their faith that the 86-year-old Baba would rise once again and give darshan to the faithful. (In Pics: Magic of Sai Baba)

The Central trust was headed by Sathya Sai Baba himself and had luminaries like PN Bhagwati, former chief justice of India, SV Giri, retired central vigilance commissioner as members amongst others. A nephew of Baba, Ratnakar was also part of the trust. The trust secretary, K Chakravarthi, who influenced by Baba resigned from the IAS to devote himself to the service of the godman, executed all the programmes of the organisation.

Since this is all powerful body, it has to be seen as to who becomes the new chairman. But indications are that nephew Ratnakar who otherwise runs a cable TV operation and a gas agency will play a more active role.

Satyajit, the personal caregiver of the Baba and a product of the university at Puttaparthi set up by the godman will also play a key role. It is believed that Satyajit, still in his early thirtees, has the support of most trust members and also that of Chakravarthi. A whole array of philanthropic activities including water supply is carried on by the trust.

All eyes on seven key people at Puttaparthi
HYDERABAD: With the death of Sathya Sai Baba, all eyes are on seven key people associated with his powerful Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), who may call the shots from now on.

With Baba leaving a huge spiritual empire of an estimated Rs 40,000 crore ($9 billion) but not a successor, the following people may decide on the coming events at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district.

Trust secretary K Chakravarthi: A former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official and the only trust member with cheque signing power. A former district collector of Anantapur, Chakravarthi, who hails from Tamil Nadu, quit the IAS on Baba's advice and joined him in 1981. Considered an authority on financial matters, he served as the registrar of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning till 1994, when Baba made him the trust secretary.

Trust members - S V Giri: Former IAS official who served as chief vigilance commissioner. He too resigned his job in 1998 to join as the vice chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University. He was instrumental in building a network of Sai educational institutions.

PN Bhagwati: A former chief justice of India, he is the most well-known and respectable face of the trust. A staunch devotee of Baba, he joined the trust as its member on Baba's advice.

Indulal Shah: A chartered accountant turned entrepreneur. He is the founder and international advisor of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and runs the global network of Sai institutions.

Venu Srinivasan: The chairman and managing director of TVS Motors heads the Indian chapter of the Sai network of institutions.

RJ Ratnakar: The only family member of Sai Baba on the trust. Baba made his nephew a member in 2010 in place of his father Janakiram, who died in 2005. The 39-year-old runs a cable TV network in Puttaparthi and owns a petrol bunk.

Baba's personal caregiver Satyajit: Though not a member of the trust, he was very close to Baba as his personal caregiver. Last year, Baba is believed to have suggested that Satyajit should become a member of the trust. The 33-year-old, also hailing from Tamil Nadu, has done his MBA from Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He had joined the Sathya Sai school at the age of five.



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