Indian television ran nonstop news coverage on Sunday of the guru’s death, while officials and celebrities expressed sadness over an “irreparable loss.”
“Sri Satya Sai Baba was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life, even as they followed the religion of their choice,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement. “The nation deeply mourns his passing away.”
Andhra Pradesh state, where Puttaparti is located, declared four days of mourning, with its top official calling Sai Baba “a symbol of love, affection and passion.”
“Sri Satya Sai Baba has given his great self to the service of humanity,” Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said. “He will be remembered for ages to come by all sections of people all over the world.”
Prediction: as the Indian middle class waxes Sai Baba will be viewed as a trailblazing religious entrepreneur. There will be many more in his mold.