Sathya Sai Baba . . . history of a guru
Sathya Sai Baba was an Indian guru, spiritual figure, mystic, choreographer, philanthropist and educator.
He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi who was considered a god and a miracle worker, whose teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim beliefs, and who died in 1918.
Baba himself died last year at the age of 84, despite saying he would live until he was 96.
His life brought him both fame and controversy and his picture is displayed in millions of homes and on car dashboards.
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Lockets bearing his photo are worn by many followers as a symbol of good fortune and are often kept in wallets for spiritual protection.
Baba had ashrams – spiritual retreats – in 126 countries and also ran a network of hospitals, clinics and schools. Many of these offered free treatment or education, with Baba's work seen in more than 160 countries.
He taught the unity of all religions, and some followers see him as a god.
According to Wikipedia, estimates of the size of his following are between six million and 100 million.