Was Satya Sai Baba an Avatar?


Did Yoganandaji ever talk about Satya Sai Baba? was Sai Baba an avatar?

—Kailash Menon, Saudi Arabia


Dear Kailash,

As far as I know, Paramhansa Yogananda never made any public comments about Satya Sai Baba. This may be because Sai Baba’s public work had not begun when Yogananda returned to India in 1935 – a time when Sai Baba and Yogananda could have met – and there was very little public awareness of Sai Baba outside of India by the time of Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi in 1952.

However Nayaswami Kriyananda did meet Satya Sai Baba in India in the early 1970s and described his visit to Sai Baba’s ashram in his book “A Visit to the Saints of India.” Kriyananda spoke very favorably about his experience with Sai Baba.

Here is a brief excerpt from the book describing the end of Kriyananda’s three day visit:

He materialized a necklace for me. One moment his hand was held out; the next moment, it held the necklace. “Wear it always,” he said. “It will help your body, and also your mind. It can also be used to heal others.” (I’m informed that he has told only two others that the necklaces he has given them can be used to heal others.)

I asked him to bless the members of my community. Baba replied with a sweet smile:

“Of course. That is my duty. I must bless them!” He gave me a large envelope full of sacred ash to give to everyone there.

During these three days Baba has shown much love and attention to me – more so, probably, than to anyone else. But what has impressed me most has been the inner consciousness that I’ve felt from him. And when he put this necklace on me, I at once felt blessings permeating me. I realized that the necklace itself was nothing; it was given me only as a vehicle for more subtle blessings.

Was Satya Sai Baba an avatar? He could have been, but we don’t know. His was a great work. But the divine stature of a saint cannot be determined by outward measures. Only another avatar can truly say.

Warm regards,
Joseph (Puru) Selbie