Baba Sathya 1926 - 2011 (85)
Sathya Sai Baba (23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011) was a world-renowned Indian spiritual teacher.
His family were poor farmers in a remote village of southern India, at the age of 14, he declared that he was the reincarnation of a famous guru who had died in 1918. People believed him and disciples began to gather around him calling him Sai Baba (holy father ).
He began teaching, claiming that his mission was to help his fellow men and teach them how to live a life imbued with Love, Truth, Peace and Right Behaviour. Soon he built with his followers the first ashram where many people gathered to hear his teaching. After a few years, a small town was created with his followers, and with the subscriptions of his followers he started doing social work, creating schools, hospitals, mobile care units, infrastructure to provide food and drinking water to remote villages in India. In 1960 the Sathya Sai Baba organization was founded, with the purpose, according to Baba, "to activate the members in undertaking philanthropic activities as a means of spiritual progress". At one time there were more than 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers throughout the world.
Baba predicted that he would live to be 96 but he died at 84 after 3 weeks in a hospital, having had at least one stroke; he had heart problems for many years before.
Both Baba himself and his followers claimed he was "divine", they said that he had paranormal powers and could perform miracles. Two of his favorite "miracles" were to appear some kind of ashes and jewels out of nowhere. His critics argued that these were magic tricks designed to fool the ignorant. There have also been allegations of sexual abuse and his possible involvement in a murder, while after his death, questions were raised about the way of managing the finances of the Sai Baba organization as undeclared suitcases with huge sums of money and gold were found in his personal apartments.
Baba remains a controversial figure, but it is certain that he improved the lives of many Indians and that many tried to live virtuously by following his teachings.