Sai Baba's tryst with namma Mysuru

History: He was a guest of the palace on an invitation from the royal scion in 1986

Mourning: Followers of Baba praying at the Sathya Sai Seva Kshetra at Chamarajapuram in Mysore on Sunday.  dh photo

The Baba who built a spiritual empire around him was connected to Mysore in many ways and had a huge devout following from the region. In fact, right now the Vice-Chancellor of Sathya Sai University is Prof J Shashidhara Prasad, who served as the vice chancellor of Mysore Varsity before assuming this role in July 2010.

Though, Sathya Sai Baba visited city for a brief day-long visit three times in more than half-a-decade, his followers are serving for a social cause through the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation in city. After his first visit to city in 1964, Sai Baba was a state guest of the royal family of Mysore in 1986. “He loved the natural environment and ecology. During his visit to Bandipur and Nagarahole for relaxation, Baba stopped briefly in Mysore and was invited as guest in the palace on invitation from royal scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar,” sources at the organisation told Deccan Herald.  

For the third time Baba visited the city was in 1994 again a  stopover on his way to Ooty. He stayed at the residence of then vice-chancellor of University of Mysore Dr Selvi Das on her invitation. He also gave darshan for his followers, ardent devotees and interacted with them on spirituality and related issues; Rajesh, Public Relations Officer for the Organisation recalled.

Baba’s connection with Mysore is of almost half a century old. He first visited the city in 1964 to lay the foundation for the school started by his follower Sunandamma Narasimha Iyengar in Vontikoppal. Narasimha Iyengar family was an ardent devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba and believed that Sathya Sai is reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. They named their school in Jayalakshmipuram after Sathya Sai which is now known as Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Mahila Mathu Makkala Koota. “The school offers free education up to class VII in Kannada medium. In recent years, the strength of the children has dwindled from about 600 to 250 students as parents have begun to admit their children in English medium schools,” Prasad, president of Sri Sathya Sai School said.

Also, the Sathya Sai Organisation of Mysore runs a free school and hostel for the deaf and dumb children till class X in Bannimantap. About 110 students are studying in the special school.

A pall of gloom descended at the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation in Chamarajapuram as the news of his death broke out in the morning. His followers gathered at Sathya Sai Centre on M G Road to pay their last respects and prayed for his soul to rest in peace. The followers gathered in the evening to pray for Baba’s soul paying a silent tribute. “The Organisation will hold a day-long Bhajan programme on Wednesday when the last rites of Sathya Sai begins in Puttaparthi,” said Rajesh.

Rajesh recalls that Baba wanted to hear the Rudram (a vedic chanting) from the group of devotees from Mysore during the annual conference held in Puttaparthi two years ago. The organisation holds regular classes on vedic chanting for the followers and devotees throughout the year. 

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