The divine consecration of the world’s first temple dedicated to the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba took place on Sept. 8. Devotees of the late Avatar, who passed away on Easter Sunday, April 24, built the temple at Swagatham Sai Mandir in Coimbatore, Southern India. The consecration service was conducted in traditional Hindu style.
The Swagathamsai Trust
reveals that the temple contains a special statue of Sai Baba, made of makrana marble from Jaipur. The trust admits
“It is indeed difficult to capture the resplendent beauty of our Swami in an idol, but earnest attempts and prayers are being made to be able to portray even an infinitesimal fraction of the charm and power of His beautiful physical form.”
The statue, which can be viewed in this video
, stands 3 ft 9 inches tall and weighs 600 kilograms. The figure is sculpted wearing white robes rather than the orange robes which Sai Baba most usually appeared in. A garland of colored flowers is interwoven around the head of Sai Baba, which depicts his familiar black locks.
A devotee who worked on the construction of the temple said
“Now this is the first time, we presume, we have constructed a temple for Bhagwan Shri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian spiritual leader) of our Puttaparthi (situated in the Anantapur district of India's southern Andhra Pradesh state) here in Coimbatore, Swagatham Sai Mandir premises” Sify News
Many devotees were devastated by the early death of the man they believe to the reincarnation of God, refusing to accept his mortal passing. Sai Baba had predicted his own death would take place at the age of 96 and as he is not predicted to be reborn until 2030, his passing has been acutely felt.
Although the temple at Swagatham is thought to be the first to be built in dedication of the Avatar, there are Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 165 countries. He had an estimated following of between six to 30 million followers worldwide, including many prominent celebrities and politicians.
However the guru was not without his detractors, many of whom claimed his miracles were mere tricks. Much was made of the allegations that Sai Baba seduced young men who came to his Ashram, Prasanthi Nileyam, in his birthplace of Puttaparthi. The details can be found on Saiguru net
. The Ashram was also the scene of the deaths of four young men in the Avatar’s bedroom.
Despite the allegations made against him Sai Baba never faced any charges and millions of devotees continued to have faith in him. Further details regarding Sai Baba’s life can be found on Sathysai Organization official web site
Following his death the Sai Baba Trust has been handling his estate, worth an estimated $9 billion.