Amid tears, Sai Baba laid to rest

Amid tears, Sai Baba laid to rest

The body of Sai Baba, who passed away on April 24 — he had predicted he would die at the age of 96 — was laid to rest in a marbled-lined burial pit at the very spot where it was on display and from where for years he would deliver his sermons and conjure miracles.

Amid chanting of Vedic rhymes read by the priests as directed by Kandakuri Kondavadhani (the chief), with special emphasis on Yajur Veda, Baba’s nephew R J Ratnakar performed the rituals while wiping the tears that rolled down his cheeks.

Prashanti Nilayam’s Kulwant Hall, where the Baba’s body lay in state for three days for his devotees to pay their last respects was packed with his ardent followers who wept openly through the three-hour-long burial process.

Nearly a dozen leaders from other faiths like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity read out their respective scriptures, making it an all-faith occasion. Some of the Baba’s closest devotees sat around the casket containing his body attired in pristine white shirts and dhotis.

The rituals began with the Ganapathi Pooja, followed by several other rituals including the “Pancha Dhana” (five offerings) made to the Brahmins, including “go dhan” (offering of a cow).

They said that even “pinda prathishtana” was performed. The priests instructed Ratnakar to anoint the Baba’s body with oil, herbs and flowers. The body was then covered with a piece of saffron cloth.

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