Priests chanted Hindu hymns as the funeral of Sathya Sai Baba was conducted Wednesday morning in Puttaparti, the small town in Southern India where he lived and which he made famous.
The hundreds of thousands of people who lined up to pay their last tributes to the spiritual leader whom they called a "living god”" included ordinary people, high-ranking officials, top politicians, and businessmen. With his appeal cutting across religious faiths, Tibetan monks and Sikh priests were also among those who paid homage to India’s most prominent guru.
The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama mourned the Indian guru's demise. In his condolence message issued Monday, he said, “I am saddened by the passing away of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the respected spiritual leader. I would like to convey my condolences and prayers to all the followers, devotees and admirers of the late spiritual leader.”
Sri Sathya Sai Baba breathed his last at a hospital in his hometown of Puttaparti on 24 April. He was 84.
Half a million devotees have attended the funeral of a guru whose massive following in India and overseas included many rich and powerful people. Sathya Sai Baba’s followers looked upon him as a divine incarnation and believed he had mystical powers.