Sathya Sai Baba visits Ashok Chavan’s residence, blesses him

November 1st, 2009 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra’s chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan hosted his spiritual guru, Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, here Sunday afternoon.

Chavan had specially invited Sathya Sai Baba to visit Varsha, the official residence of the state chief minister at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, according to a government official.

Clad in his traditional saffron robe with his trademark hairstyle, Sathya Sai Baba entered Varsha shortly after 12.30 p.m., the official said.

Chavan, along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters Srijaya and Sujaya, received the dignitary on the white steps of Varsha which had been specially decorated with saffron-coloured flowers, flags and buntings for the occasion.

“The occasion is strictly a private, family affair… nobody from the government or his staff or the party is invited,” the official told IANS.

Sathya Sai Baba, who arrived here from Pune Saturday morning, will conduct a special pooja at the chief minister’s residence in the presence of the Chavan family.

As a mark of respect to the visiting dignitary, Chavan may also wash Sathya Sai Baba’s feet, though no official is willing to go on record.

Later, Chavan will host a lunch in honour of Sathya Sai Baba in the private dining hall of Varsha, which is usually reserved for VVIPs who visit the place.

The chief minister has never kept his devotion and admiration for Sathya Sai Baba under wraps. He seeks his blessings regularly in times of need and goes to express his gratitude when his wishes are fulfilled.

In fact, shortly after his party’s victory in last month’s assembly elections, Chavan had rushed to thank his spiritual guru.

Though this is Sathya Sai Baba’s first visit to the the state chief minister’s residence, he is no stranger to politicians and leaders across the political spectrum.

Among his most prominent admirers and devotees was the former prime minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Heavy security arrangements were made for the VVIP guru in the area.

The Malabar Hill, with the Arabian Sea on three sides, is home for VVIPs and celebrities including the chief justice of Bombay High Court and other judges, ministers, top government officials, legislators, foreign diplomats, scientists, leading industrialists and businessmen, head honchos of multinationals and even a few film stars.

Prior to his Varsha sojourn, Sathya Sai Baba - visiting the state after nine years - also held widely-patronised public discourses in different parts of Mumbai.

He also attended a religious concert by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam in Goregaon Saturday evening, and interacted with officials of his various charitable interests in Maharashtra and Mumbai.

Sathya Sai Baba arrived in Pune last Wednesday from Puttaparthi by a private chartered aircraft on a three-day visit and inaugurated a temple complex, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra at Hadshi.

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