Sachin Tendulkar breaks down in Puttaparthi
Puttaparthi: Iconic Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, both of whom are devotees of the late Sathya Sai Baba, on Monday paid their last respects to the godman who died on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Tendulkar skipped his birthday celebrations on Sunday to mourn the death of Sai Baba, who battled multiple-organ failure before breathing his last at 85 years of age.
The iconic batsman was accompanied by his wife Anjali during his visit to the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanti Nilayam here. The couple was moved to tears upon arriving at the hall where they sat for a while before driving off.
Gavaskar also had his wife Marshneil for company. Tears could be seen in the former batsman`s eyes even as his wife sobbed uncontrollably.
The Baba`s body has been kept here for two days for his millions of devotees to pay their last respects.
Born as Sathyanarayana Raju in a humble backward caste family on November 23, 1926, Baba emerged as one of the most popular godmen in India in modern times.
Initially he attracted attention through acts like producing articles like sacred ash and `lingam` which his detractors claimed was a sleight of hand, but later he came to be known for his founding institutions of learning and philanthropy.
Baba, who considered himself a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, was hospitalised on March 28 following problems related to heart and respiration and had been lying critical following multi-organ failure.
Surviving on ventilator support, his kidneys stopped functioning and his health suffered deterioration a few days ago when his liver also stopped functioning.
The Sai Baba leaves a big empire estimated from a conservative figure of Rs 40,000 crore to a staggering Rs 1.5 lakh crores raising questions over who will manage the Trust.