PUTTAPARTHI: The 83rd birthday of Sri Sathya Saibaba was celebrated amid spiritual atmosphere in Prashanti Nilayam here on Sunday.
A large number of devotees from surrounding villages and other parts of the country and abroad attended the celebrations.
‘Bhajans’ chanting of ‘Vedic’ hymns and playing of band by students of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions marked the celebrations held in Sai Kulwanth Hall. For the second year in a row, Saibaba did not give his usual birthday discourse. He cut the birthday cake in the auditorium.
Several dignitaries, including Governor of Karnataka Rameshwar Thakur, a few Ministers from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra including J. Geeta Reddy and Ashok Chavan, personalities from the fields of sports and glamour and a large number of officials of the State government and non-officials participated in the celebrations.
Mr. Rameshwar Thakur presented a bouquet to Saibaba and sought his blessings.
Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar presented Sri Saibaba with the bat he played with in the final of 1983 World Cup Cricket in Lords, England. Clad in long white robes Sri Saibaba went round the front rows of devotees in the Sai Kulwanth Hall to bless the believers on the special occasion.
Saibaba said the school run by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust at Muddanahalli in Chickballapur district in Karnataka would be developed into a university. It would help the poor in remote areas pursue higher education.
A large number of devotees formed serpentine queues for a couple of kilometres on either side of the main entrance of Prashanti Nilayam, Ganesh Gate, from the late night of Saturday itself.
Many of them were left disappointed as they were not allowed to get into the Prashanti Nilayam to have ‘darshan’ of Sri Saibaba on the auspicious day.
Devotees were allowed into Prashanti Nilayam only to have meals (prasadam). A Marxist-turned Saibaba devotee Kunjan from Kerala said he was disappointed for not getting his darshan. He blamed lack of planning in regulating the devotees.
Another devotee from North India was in tears literally as he was not allowed to re-enter Prashanti Nilayam in the morning to have darshan of Saibaba.
Officer on Special Duty G. Vijaykumar said they had successfully regulated the flow into Prashanti Nilayam.