Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Miracles of Prashanti Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood for Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram; religious tolerance, simple living were his hallmark

By Syed Akbar
Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood as the symbol of truth (Satyam), goodness (Shivam) and beauty (Sundaram). The Baba selected Mumbai to spread the message of "Satyam", Hyderabad for "Shivam", and Chennai for
The three grand temples the Baba had established in these cities were named after the three major qualities of divinity. They stand testimony to the Baba's quest of spreading the divine message - Satyam, Shivam,
Sundaram - God is the Truth, the Good and the Beautiful.
Born at Puttaparthi on November 23, 1926, Sri Sathya Sai Baba built the edifice of his Prashanti Nilayam (abode of peace) on the pillars of love, service, goodness, right conduct, peace, non-violence, dedication,
simplicity and truth. Since these quintessential qualities of divinity are free from the material concept of religion, the Baba preached equality of all religions and unity of humankind. He declared himself as the avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba on May 23, 1940.
It was on these noble principles that the Baba had built the spiritual museum in the Prashanti Nilayam complex. The Museum of Eternal Heritage houses symbols, books, photographs and posters of holy sites
- some of them in 3D - of all the major religions in the world. Also called Sanathana Samskruti Museum, it promotes the message of the unity of all religions. The exhibits displayed highlight the main teachings of the major religions of the world as also the lives and teachings of great saints and spiritual masters.
The spiritual museum was so aesthetically designed that one gets a feeling of a real visit to the holy sites - be they that of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism. The serenity and
peace in the museum's environs further enhance the rare spiritual treat one experiences there. One can sit relaxed and recite verses from the Bhagwat Gita, the Quran, the Bible and the Guru Granth Sahib.
The Baba's teaching of "service above self" is witnessed in reality as one enters the Prashanti Nilayam. Senior officials, top businessmen and industrialists vie with one another to welcome visitors and to carry their
luggage to their allotted rooms. Baba's devotees make it a bounden duty to spend at least a week at Prashanti Nilayam serving visitors and other devotees. They keep aside the ego attached to their positions, cook food in the community kitchen, serve it in the sprawling dining hall, wash plates - all with a smiling "Sai Ram".
Right from his childhood, Sathyanarayana Raju or Sathya as the Baba was called, practised what he preached. Even as a young boy he enacted a play, "Cheppinattu Chesthara?" (do we practice what we
preach). It was an instant hit with the villagers then. As he grew up, he continued to attract devotees, with his teaching "love all serve all".
It is the plain truth in his teachings coupled with his simplicity that had made nearly three million people living in over 150 countries as his devotees. The Baba's spiritual empire now spreads over 13,000 institutions and charitable organisations including superspeciality hospitals, sports stadia, and schools. The list of his devotees reads like the who's who in every conceivable field from politics to science, and from entertainment to sports. There are more than 1000 books on the Baba.

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