PM, Advani condole Sathya Sai Baba's death

PM, Advani condole Sathya Sai Baba's death

Vice President Hamid Ansari and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani also expressed sorrow at the passing away of the spiritual guru.

Manmohan Singh said Sai Baba's death was an irreparable loss to all and the nation deeply mourns his passing away.

"I express my sincere condolences to the millions of his followers, disciples and well wishers," he said in his condolence message.

Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most famous spiritual leaders with thousands of followers in the country and abroad, died at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh Sunday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 85.

The prime minister noted that Baba was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life even as they followed the religion of their choice.

"His teachings were rooted in the universal ideals of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence," Singh added.

"He endeared himself to the people through various institutions, with headquarters at Prashanti Nilayam, that promoted egalitarian values, education and public health. He believed that it is the duty of every person to ensure that all people have access to the basic requirements for sustenance of life. Sathya Sai Baba was an inspiration to people of all faiths," Singh added.

Vice-President Ansari, expressing his "deep sorrow" at Sai Baba's death, said his message of service to humanity as service to god and as a means of destroying narrow-mindedness is of eternal relevance.

Advani and Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil, both ardent followers of Sathya Sai Baba, also conveyed their condolences.

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said, "I offer a tearful homage to his great soul. I would like to go for the anthyesthi kriya (last rites). I first came in contact with him only after my incarceration during 1975-77 emergency in Bangalore jail. And after that I have been meeting him quite frequently...and it has always been inspirational for me to meet him to get his guidance," Advani said.

Patil said, "In his physical form he may not be there but in his ideas and philosophy, in his capacity to love everything in the world and his going beyond mundane things, he would always be there. That will keep us helping."

"On the one hand we may be feeling that we may not see him in his physical form and yet if we really understand what he taught us, Baba would always be there," Patil added.