Puttaparthy grew as a village of farmers and cattle keepers. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born in Puttaparthy on Nov 23, 1926 – an auspicious Monday in the lunar month of Kartika, when Lord Shiva is especially adored. He was given the name Sathya Narayana Raju. A very significant event occurred soon after the birth of the child, which revealed the divinity of the baby. One day, it was noticed that the bed of clothes on which the baby was lying was being moved up and down in a peculiar way by something underneath. They watched with bated breath and when they looked under the bed they found a cobra underneath! The snake was playing the role of Sesha to the Seshasai! (Sesha, according to Hindu scriptures, is the serpent on whose bed of coil Lord Vishnu rests.)
His mother Easwaramma observed that little Sathya had unbounded compassion, particularly for the poor and downtrodden. Even as a toddler, He insisted that the beggar at the door be served well in spite of their own limited means and would often give His own share to the needy. When He began school, His playmates were inspired by His ability to lead them to be socially responsible, spiritually aware, and endowed with individual and national character. His friends were often fascinated by His extraordinary powers of creating things out of thin air, knowing the future, and deep understanding of scriptural wisdom.
Moreover, it was observed that when an infection of cholera swept like a poisonous miasma over the area and wiped-out entire families in the surrounding villages, Puttaparthy did not feel the blast of death. Wise men told one another that the Divine Atmosphere generated by the Bhajan group led by Sathya Narayana Rau was responsible for saving their lives.
Sathyanarayana announced on the 20th day of October 1940, “I am no longer your Sathya. I am Sai Baba”. “I am going; I don’t belong to you; Maya (delusion) has gone; My Bhaktas (devotees) are calling Me; I have My Work; I can’t stay here any longer.”
He moved into the garden of the Excise Inspector Sri Anjaneyulu’s bungalow and sat on a rock in the midst of the trees. People came into the garden from all directions bringing flowers, fruits, incense, and camphor to worship Him. The garden resonated with the voices of hundreds singing bhajans (devotional singing) and following the lines of the first prayer that Sri Sathya Sai taught them.
“Manasa Bhajare Guru charanam, Dusthara Bhava Sagara Tharanam”
(O Mind! Meditate on the Feet of the Guru, which will take you across the wearisome sea of Samsara or worldly existence.)
Who is a Poorna Avathar? The Vishwa Shakthi send to earth a Divine Advent when Dharma declines. Sri Rama at the beginning of Dwapara Yuga and Sri Krishna at the end of Dwapara Yuga are examples of Poorna Avathars. Sathya Sai Baba too is a Poorna Avathar