Some researchers believe Sathya Sai Baba first mentioned Prema Sai Baba on July 6,1963, in his famous speech called, “Shiva-Shakti”. Then, Sathya Sai Baba was 37 years old.
This information is not entirely accurate, because the first time he spoke about Prema Sai Baba was much earlier, in 1944, when he was eighteen years old. We will talk about this in the following chapters, but now let's return to the lecture, which went down in history under the name "Shiva-Shakti".
It was in this famous lecture that Sathya Sai Baba told the audience about the mythological conversation between the god, Shiva, and the goddess, Shakti, in which the sage, Bharadwaja, took part. The mythological story says that in ancient times the sage, Bharadwaja, performed the great Vedic fire ritual of worshiping the gods, which is called Homa (Yagya).
After completing the ritual, the sage went to the sacred mountain, Kailash, where he met with the god, Shiva, and the goddess, Shakti. As a sign of blessing, God Shiva and Goddess Shakti said they would take human birth and incarnate among the descendants of the sage, Bharadwaja, three times. According to legend, Lord Shiva was born as Shirdi Sai Baba in the 19th century.
God Shiva and Goddess Shakti then incarnated together in the village of Puttaparthi in the 20th century as Sathya Sai Baba. Finally, Goddess Shakti incarnated as Prema Sai Baba in the village of Doddamallur in the 21st century.
Where exactly Shirdi Sai Baba was born is unknown. Sathya Sai Baba was born in the village of Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), where he founded his main ashram. In one of the predictions, Sathya Sai Baba talked about his future birth as Prema Sai Baba in the village of Gunaparthi (there are also predictions about the village of Doddamallur).
Some devotees tried to find out from Sathya Sai Baba the details of the location of the village of Gunaparthi, since no one could find a similar village on the map of India. Answering these questions, Sathya Sai Baba stated there was no such village, yet. However, after the birth of Prema Sai Baba, a village would be built in the state of Karnataka where Prema Sai Baba would live, and this village would be called Gunaparthi.
According to legend, in ancient times, the god, Shiva, said he would take on a human form, having been born three times in the family of the sage, Bharadwaja. According to this legend, God Shiva incarnated as Shirdi Sai Baba (1835-1918), God Shiva and Goddess Shakti together incarnated as Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011), and Goddess Shakti incarnated as Prema Sai Baba in 2012.
In considering this mythological story, I ask myself several questions. Does the Avatar belong to any religious tradition or ethnic culture? What if God is beyond religion and ethnicity? Should we interpret the three Sai Avatars solely from the point of view of Hinduism? Again, I don’t think so.
Each person can perceive the three Sai Avatars from the point of view of any religious tradition; for example, from the point of view of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. People associate Krishna with Hinduism, considering him a Hindu. Obviously, the physical body of Krishna was Indian, but the reality of his consciousness was beyond the illusion of the manifested universe, beyond religion and ethnicity.
Jesus Christ is associated with the Biblical tradition and Jewish nationality. However, the consciousness of Jesus Christ was beyond the manifested illusion, although the body completely belonged to the Semitic ethnic group.
Let's get back to the legend of the three incarnations of Sai. According to the story, Sathya Sai Baba was the incarnation of the god Shiva and the goddess Shakti.
In this life, I am a Christian. Among my friends there are Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists … all of them are also devotees and followers of Sai Baba. Can we think about the meaning and mission of the three Sai Avatars not in the terminology of Hinduism, but in the terminology of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism? Yes, because the three Sai Avatars are a universal phenomenon that does not belong to any religion. God is beyond religion being the source of all religions.
If you intuitively feel the three Sai Avatars are indeed incarnations of God Shiva and Goddess Shakti, great. However, if it is closer and more comfortable for you to interpret the three Sai Avatars from any other point of view, in the context of any other religious tradition, then that is your right.
In most religions, there are predictions that in the future God, or a messenger from God, will incarnate on Earth with a special mission of spiritual transformation of mankind. Christians are waiting for another birth of Jesus Christ, Buddhists are waiting for the birth of Buddha Maitreya, and Jews are waiting for the coming of the Messiah.
Hindus say that in the future Kalki Avatar should be incarnated, who will become the tenth incarnation of the god, Vishnu. In some areas of Islam there are predictions about the birth of a divine prophet in the future; he is called Imam Mahdi.
Divine masters, who are expected in various religions, should, in accordance with the prophecies, bring the good news and spiritually transform all of humanity. The question arises, will it be one Avatar, which different religions call by different names, or should we expect many Avatars?
The Second Coming of Christ, Buddhist Maitreya, Jewish Messiah, Islamic Imam Mahdi and Hindu Kalki. Will it be the same divine incarnation under different names, or are they many different incarnations? It’s a difficult question; at the moment, I don't know how to answer it.
Alas, each religious tradition is trying to preach its exclusivity, including the peculiarity of "its own" divine savior of mankind. It is difficult for Christians to imagine that the savior of the future can incarnate outside the Christian religion. It is impossible for Hindus to assume that the Avatar of the future may not be a Hindu. The same thing happens in the minds of Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
Some believe the three Sai Avatars are divine incarnations prophesied in the prophecies of all religions. Many devotees claim it is the three Sai Avatars that are the Hindu divine incarnation of Kalki Avatar, who absorbed the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Buddhist Maitreya, the Islamic Imam Mahdi, and the Jewish Messiah.
The above point of view is not accepted by everyone. Admittedly, for the majority, the various divine incarnations predicted within different religions are still different teachers of humanity who should come to Earth under various circumstances. I am not ready to comment on such points of view because this is a matter of a personal system of beliefs and sensations.