State followers bow to guru

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 27.04.11
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Patna, April 26: Sathya Sai Baba had his share of ardent devotees among the top Bihar politicians. Former speaker Radhanandan Jha, a prolific writer who has written several books on legislative business, is foremost among them.

“Sai Baba told my father that the Almighty had decided to liberate your soul from the cage of his worldly frame when he last visited him in January 2005 and also suggested him to make munificent gift to the ashram’s workers who had served him over the years,” recalled the senior Congress leader and Radhanandan’s son, Harkhu Jha.

Harkhu said: “My father returned happily from Puttaparthi, apprised us of Sai Baba’s prophecy and died in peace a couple of days later on January 22, 2005.”

Following his father’s footsteps, Harkhu has been visiting Puttaparthi. His father visited Sai Baba every year from 1962 till he died.

Radhanandan inspired several other politicians to visit Sai Baba. The first to follow Radhanandan’s advice were octogenarian JD (U) legislator and former minister Ramashray Prasad Singh and the RJD boss, Lalu Prasad, to whom Radhanandan was very close.

Ramashray struck by heart attack twice began visiting Sathya Sai Baba in 1980s and set up his statue at his Patna home.

“Like other devotees the world over, we are sad. But we are strongly optimistic of Sai Baba taking rebirth to be amid us once again. My worship to Saibaba continues as he had given me new life,” he said.

Lalu visited Puttaparthi several times on the advice of Radhanandan, who stayed in the building adjacent to the 1 Aney Marg (then Lalu’s house) and was described as raaj-purohit (kingdom’s priest) to the Bihar “king” then.

Lalu began visiting Sai Baba after he got embroiled in the fodder scam cases in 1997.

Besides Sai Baba, several other god men have ardent followers in Bihar. Top politicians are known for associating with god men of various hues.

Devraha Baba, who had his raised hut on the bank of the Ganga in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district, was a big hit with the leaders.

Varanasi-based Bhagwan Awadhoot was a favourite with the Rajput leaders from Bihar. Led by former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Vijay Krishna, Anand Mohan and other Bihar leaders regularly visited him.