Malaysian devotees pay last respect to Sathya Sai Baba

April 25th, 2011 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, April 25 (IANS) Devotees of Sathya Sai Baba paid their last respects to the Indian spiritual leader, who died Sunday, in various places across Malaysia.

Over 200 people gathered at a Sai Baba centre in the national capital.

“Tonight we have about twice our usual attendance. We mourn his passing as we would for a close family member.

“Baba was more than a teacher to us. He was like a parent to his devotees,” Sri Sathya Sai Central Council of Malaysia president Suresh Govind said after the prayer session at the centre in Bangsar locality Sunday.

He said prayers at 47 Sai Baba centres would be held until Sai Baba’s funeral Tuesday.

The followers at the Sai Baba Bangsar centre performed `bhajans’ (devotional songs) and shared their experiences of how Sai Baba impacted their lives.

“Through Baba’s teachings, I learned to always be positive in whatever task I undertake,” said R. Ramachandra, 67, a follower for over 20 years.

Sai Baba’ devotees include ethnic Chinese.

Lim Mai Li, 35, had come to the Bangsar centre to pay her respects.

“I do not feel sad, as I know Baba is always here as long as we continue to practise his teachings,” she said.

In Penang, some Sai Baba devotees who had planned to visit him at his ashram in Puttapathi said they were shocked to hear of his death.

Santha Narayanan, 39, said she and her family had bought air tickets for the trip May 27.

“We will still go to Chennai. We might go to the ashram to see his temporary resting place.

“Although, he is physically not around, he will continue to live in the hearts and minds of devotees,” she said.

His death “has left a void among his followers worldwide”, a Malaysian daily said Monday.

“For thousands of his followers, the death of their spiritual leader is the loss of hope they had in life,” said T. Selva, a devotee wrote in The Star.

Selva narrated experiences gained during the visits to Puttaparathi.

“During my visits, I did not witness any miracle but devotees in his presence returned experiencing marvels and a sense of relief, peace, fulfillment, joy and being cured.

“One of the best gifts Baba has given my family was his teachings on human values through his balvikas (Sunday classes) for children, which were conducted for free by his devotees worldwide.

“My three children grew up learning the values as an art of living and now they have grown up to be fine examples of responsible citizens who display unconditional love, care and selfless service to mankind,” Selva said.

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