British media lavishes praise on Sai Baba

British media on Monday described Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away in Andhra Pradesh`s Puttaparthi yesterday, as one of the most enigmatic and remarkable religious figures of the last century.

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2011, 18:37 PM IST

London: British media on Monday described
Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away in Andhra Pradesh`s
Puttaparthi yesterday, as one of the most enigmatic and
remarkable religious figures of the last century.

"Sathya Sai Baba, who died yesterday, probably aged
84, was India`s most famous, and most controversial, Swami or
holy man, and one of the most enigmatic and remarkable
religious figures of the last century," the Daily Telegraph
reported.

"To his followers, Sai Baba was a living god; a claim
he did nothing to disavow. He would frequently liken himself
to such figures as Christ, Krishna, and the Buddha, claiming
that he was the avatara of the age - an avatar being a living
incarnation of the divine," the report said.

To his detractors he was a charlatan, albeit one of
considerable ingenuity and enormous personal charisma and
power," it said.

Describing Sai Baba as one of India`s most popular and
controversial spiritual leaders, The Times said: "Sai Baba
claimed to teach messages of truth, peace, love and
non-violence and maintained that he did not require followers
to give up their previous religious beliefs."

"His popularity was huge across India, where his
following included Bollywood stars, the cricketer Sachin
Tendulkar, prime ministers, judges and civil servants.

Thousands of devotees visited his ashram daily
"travelling from far and wide, including Britain, the US,
Germany, Scandivania and Italy," the report said.

Visitors included the Duchess of York, during a tour
of Bangalore in January 1997 and Keith Critchlow, the
architect, who designed and supervised his hospital at
Puttaparthi along with other British architects and engineers.

The Guardian said "though revered by millions around
the world as a living god, he was a controversial figure,
criticised by some as a fraud protected by political
influence."

85-year-old Sai Baba died yesterday due to cardio
respiratory failure.

PTI