By Aijaz Rahia
The Associated Press
PUTTAPARTI, India (AP) — Thousands of mourners paid last respects on Monday, April 25, to Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian religious leader revered by millions for spiritual and healing powers, but dismissed by some as a charlatan who passed off magic tricks as miracles.
Sai Baba’s death Sunday triggered an outpouring of grief from followers who included Indian politicians, movie stars, athletes, and industrialists. Most remembered him as a pious, selfless person who worked to help others with the billions of dollars donated to his charitable trust.
Within India, the 84-year-old guru was instantly recognizable, with a halo of frizzy dark hair and orange robes — the color of holiness in India.
His photographs adorned millions of homes, car dashboards, and lockets worn by Indian and foreign devotees. Many made annual pilgrimages to his ashram in Puttaparti, a town in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh where he was born. Read the full story