Sathya Sai Baba visits Ashok Chavan’s
residence, blesses him
Mumbai, Nov 1 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, Maharashtra’s
chief minister-designate Ashok Chavan hosted his spiritual guru,
Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, here Sunday afternoon.
Chavan had specially invited Sathya Sai Baba to visit Varsha, the
official residence of the state chief minister at Malabar Hill in
south Mumbai, according to a government official.
Clad in his traditional saffron robe with his trademark hairstyle,
Sathya Sai Baba entered Varsha shortly after 12.30 p.m., the
Chavan, along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters Srijaya
and Sujaya, received the dignitary on the white steps of Varsha
which had been specially decorated with saffron-coloured flowers,
flags and buntings for the occasion.
“The occasion is strictly a private, family affair… nobody from the
government or his staff or the party is invited,” the official told
Sathya Sai Baba, who arrived here from Pune Saturday morning, will
conduct a special pooja at the chief minister’s residence in the
presence of the Chavan family.
As a mark of respect to the visiting dignitary, Chavan may also wash
Sathya Sai Baba’s feet, though no official is willing to go on
Later, Chavan will host a lunch in honour of Sathya Sai Baba in the
private dining hall of Varsha, which is usually reserved for VVIPs
who visit the place.
The chief minister has never kept his devotion and admiration for
Sathya Sai Baba under wraps. He seeks his blessings regularly in
times of need and goes to express his gratitude when his wishes are
In fact, shortly after his party’s victory in last month’s assembly
elections, Chavan had rushed to thank his spiritual guru.
Though this is Sathya Sai Baba’s first visit to the the state chief
minister’s residence, he is no stranger to politicians and leaders
across the political spectrum.
Among his most prominent admirers and devotees was the former prime
minister, the late P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Heavy security arrangements were made for the VVIP guru in the area.
The Malabar Hill, with the Arabian Sea on three sides, is home for
VVIPs and celebrities including the chief justice of Bombay High
Court and other judges, ministers, top government officials,
legislators, foreign diplomats, scientists, leading industrialists
and businessmen, head honchos of multinationals and even a few film
Prior to his Varsha sojourn, Sathya Sai Baba - visiting the state
after nine years - also held widely-patronised public discourses in
different parts of Mumbai.
He also attended a religious concert by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam
in Goregaon Saturday evening, and interacted with officials of his
various charitable interests in Maharashtra and Mumbai.
Sathya Sai Baba arrived in Pune last Wednesday from Puttaparthi by a
private chartered aircraft on a three-day visit and inaugurated a
temple complex, Sri Sathya Sai Pandurang Kshetra at Hadshi.
Power Inc takes a breather, gets down to
1 Nov 2009, 2358 hrs IST, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Temporal and spiritual power intermingled in Mumbai on
Sunday as devotees — both the humble and the great and the good — of
the spiritual leader Shri Sathya Sai Baba lined up to receive his
Big chiefs of the financial sector and India Inc turned out in large
numbers to seek the Baba’s blessings. The morning prayer in the
Mumbai suburb of Andheri was attended by an eclectic collection of
dignitaries. These included ICICI Bank chairman, KV Kamath, the
chairman and MD of the Union Bank of India, MV Nair, Kotak Bank’s
vice-chairman and MD Uday Kotak, Gunit Chadha, the head of Deutsche
Bank’s India operations, PMS Prasad, a director on the board of
Reliance Industries (RIL), India’s largest private sector company,
and Meera Sanyal, a banker and an independent candidate from the
South Mumbai parliamentary constituency.
At a prayer meeting on Sunday, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok
Chavan, BJP leader Gopinath Munde and many other dignitaries sought
the Swami’s blessings at a darshan organised in Mahakali Caves,
Chief minister Ashok Chavan prayed for his new administration. “The
government needs the Swamiji’s touch and his blessings. We hope to
run the government according to his principles,” Mr Chavan said on
The CM wasn’t the only dignitary queuing up for a sprinkling of the
spiritual stardust. A clutch of serving and former judges, including
former Supreme Court judge BM Srikrishna (of the Srikrishna
Commission fame) and a number of prominent lawyers and doctors were
Mr Kamath, who spoke on the occasion, referred to the insights
thrown up in the course of a two-day conference on the ‘Ethics and
the world of finance’ held in August 2009 at the Sathya Sai Baba
University at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. That conference was
attended by two RBI governors, the incumbent Duvvuri Subbarao and
his predecessor YV Reddy. Besides the assorted dignitaries,
thousands lined up for a darshan, first at Andheri and later at
Later in the day, the chief minister and his family hosted the
Sathya Sai Baba at Varsha, the Maharashtra CM’s residence in
Mumbai’s Malabar Hill. Predictably, some of this attracted criticism
from people of a rationalist bent of mind who said that the CM’s
actions were not in consonance with the state’s secular traditions.
Pictures of Mr Chavan paying obeisance to the Sathya Sai Baba were
flashed by some Hindi and Marathi television channels.
That’s unlikely to deter the CM, who recalled his family’s three
decade-long relationship with the spiritual leader. His father SB
Chavan, two times Maharashtra CM and former Union finance minister
under Rajiv Gandhi, had been similarly criticised in 1975. But the
media critics of that era had later realised their error, Chavan Jr
Both Mr Chavan and Mr Kamath praised the selflessness of the
volunteers, many from affluent backgrounds, working at various
hospitals and educational institutions run by the Sathya Sai Seva
Shri Sathya Sai Baba is on five-day visit to Maharashtra. The Sathya
Sai Seva Organisation runs a number of schools and four hospitals.
The organisation was recently in the forefront of relief work for
cyclone victims in Orissa and flood victims in West Bengal.
Parts of the report from Sunday Pioneer
mailed to us:
Along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters
Srijaya and Sujaya, Chavan received the spiritual guru at the gate
of Varsha around 12.30 pm. The Chavan couple performed padyapuja of
Satya Sai Baba. The spiritual guru, who spent more than an hour with
Chavan and other VIP devotees, had lunch at Varsha, sources in the
CM’s residence said.
This is perhaps for the first time that any Chief Minister of
Maharashtra has played host to a spiritual leader at his official
A large number of senior politicians and industrialists turned out
at the CM’s residence to have darshan and seek blessings of Satya
Sai Baba. These included former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil,
senior NCP leader Praful Patel, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress
Committee chief Manikrao Thakre, Mumbai Congress unit president
Kripa Shankar Singh, State Legislative Council chairman Shivajirao
Deshmukh, industrialist Ashok Hinduja and leading builder Niranjan
Held at the Chief Minister’s official residence, Satya Sai Baba’s
visit was described by the Chavan camp as a “private affair”. Only
select guests were present at Varsha on the occasion.
It was not just the Congress leader who was playing host to Satya
Sai Baba. Senior NCP leader and outgoing State Home Minister Jayant
Patil also performed a puja to the spiritual leader at his official
residence “Royal Stone” later in the evening.
Earlier in the day, NCP’s Mumbai unit president Sachin Ahir
performed puja to Satya Sai Baba at Jamboori Maidan at Worli in
South-Central Mumbai, where the godman participated in a
A staunch follower of Satya Sai Baba, Ashok Chavan met the spiritual
leader for the third time since the State Assembly poll. A day after
the polling, Chavan Jr had rushed to Puttaparthi in Anantapur
district of Andhra Pradesh to seek the blessings of Satya Sai Baba.
Chavan Jr last met his spiritual guru along with his wife Ameeta at
Hadshi, a village near Pune, on Friday. Sunday’s was Chavan’s third
meeting with Satya Sai Baba since October 13, 2009.