All faiths to converge for Baba's burial

Last journey: Twelve priests from AP, will perform traditional rituals

All faiths to converge for Baba's burial

Besides, representatives of all religious groups, including Islam and Buddhism, will be present at Prashanthi Nilayam, where Sai Baba’s body will be lowered into a 6-9 foot-deep grave measuring six feet in length and three in width.

Emani Purushotham Avadhani, one of the priests, told Deccan Herald: “The rituals will be performed under the instructions of Kondukuri Kondavadhani, the chief priest and indications are that the process will begin by 7:30 am on Wednesday.” All pre-burial arrangements will be completed by Tuesday.

Inauspicious time

Wednesday’s rituals, which will be led by Baba’s nephew R J Ratnakar, will be completed by 11:30 am because the time after that, according to the Hindu calendar, is inauspicious.

Claiming that he felt privileged to have been chosen to perform the rituals for Sai Baba’s last rites, Avadhani said: “Not many people get the kind of rituals performed at their last rites, it requires them to be of special spiritual status for this. In my lifetime, I have only seen the Kanchi Jagadguru get such a send off.” The priests have arrived from Rajamundhry, Talarevu, Kabaleshwarapura and Dhraksharamacheru, all in Andhra Pradesh, and holy water has been brought here from the rivers Cauvery, Godavari and Saraswathi Theerthai.

Among the many rituals expected to be performed, Navadhanya Prakriya, readings from Yajur Veda, Avahana and Maha Avahana with which the ceremony would end, were some of the important ones, Avadhani said.

Sources close to Sai Baba’s family told Deccan Herald that after Wednesday, the burial spot would remain as a mound for at least a week or so until the family observed the 11th day ritual and only then would the process of erecting a shrine begin.

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