The Vice-President, the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Congress president were among those who condoled the death of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday morning.

Lauding the work done by various institutions set up by the Baba to promote egalitarian values, education, and public health, they said the Baba's “words and actions have lit the lamp of love in the hearts of devotees.”

In his message, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said the Baba's message of love should be the guiding light in this trying hour.

Expressing “deep and profound sadness” over the death of the 86-year-old Baba, the Prime Minister said he was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life even as they followed the religion of their choice.

Egalitarian values

“Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as a preacher of the highest human values, was an iconic figure for over five decades. He endeared himself to the people through various institutions, with headquarters at Prashanthi Nilayam, that promoted egalitarian values, education and public health,” Dr. Singh said.

He said the Baba believed that it was the duty of every person to ensure that all people had access to the basic requirements for sustenance of life.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the news greatly pained her. “He was a spiritual person in whom lakhs of people had faith. In his lifetime, he inspired the people of this country and those abroad towards spiritualism and religion,” she said in her condolence message.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani and Nitin Gadkari, in separate messages, expressed their grief and sorrow at the passing away of the Baba.

Mr. Advani said that in modern times stalwarts like Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi were reckoned as ideals for the country, and of the titans in the spiritual field in present day India, few had had the phenomenal following the Baba had.

Mr. Gadkari, who condoled the Baba's death said, “The departure of such a great cultural and social icon of global fame from the spiritual world has left a void, which will remain unfulfilled for a long time to come.”

In his condolence message, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said he had the “unique privilege” of knowing the spiritual leader for a number of years. “The most impressive part of his personality was the love and compassion that he always brought into his endeavours,” he said.

Expressing her deep sadness, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said: “I am pained to know about the sad demise of Sathya Sai Baba.”

“Baba's inspirational presence and his eternal message of love and compassion have enlightened the people across the world,” she said in her message.

“Great loss to mankind”

Kolkata Special Correspondent reports:

West Bengal Governor M. K. Narayanan expressed his deep and heart-felt condolences at the death of Sai Baba.

In his condolence message, the Governor said: “Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's greatest savants, has attained Mahasamadhi. This is a sad day for all humanity and a great loss to mankind. He brought hope and succour to millions of people in India and across the world. And his was a life of sacrifice for the betterment of humanity.”

“At a time when the world is going through a series of tragedies and problems, the demise of such a godly person like Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a loss to our civilisation,” the message said.

Mata mourns Baba

Kollam Staff Reporter reports:

Mata Amritanandamayi of the Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram, near here, has mourned the Baba.

In a message, she said: “The demise of the body was inevitable. But like the sun, which neither rises nor sets, consciousness was indestructible. The message of love and compassion given by Sai Baba had the power to inspire all. Through the implementation of his teachings, he would live forever. May his devotees be able to follow the path of truth and dharma shown by him.”

Keywords: Sathya Sai Baba