Baba’s birth, family and childhoodIn the latter half of nineteenth century a family devoted to Lord Shiva lived in a village in the Dharwad district of Karnataka province. The couple lives a pious life decreed and ordained by religious codes of the times. They were ever ready to welcome and serve any quest that happened to pass by. The business-savvy husband and his devoted wife led a happy and contented life and were deeply immersed in the worship of Lord Shiva. A divine soul took birth in this devoted family on an auspicious Thursday. The day of the birth of this divine consciousness fell on Guru Purnima (a full moon day falling on the day dedicated to the Guru).
After performing customary religious rituals, the infant was christened as Satya Prakash. This infant, later on, was recognized as saint Baba Prakashpuri and his devotees and disciples looked upon him as a symbol of faith. Though, there is no authentic evidence available, it can be safely presumed that Baba was born in the first decade of latter-half of the nineteenth century. This assumption is fortified by a statement made by Baba. When once a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi was made he said : “ I am a witness to his spiritual fame.” By this it may be assumed that Baba Prakashpuri must be at least twenty years old, when Shirdi Sai Baba – born in 1838 – may have attained name and fame in the spiritual realm. Indeed, Shri Sai Baba must have reached the pinnacle of his spiritual attainments by the age of forty.
The Shiva devotee family which became instrumental in bringing Baba to this ethereal world, welcomed saints with joy. The couple felt happy in serving these saints. Growing up in such a religious environment, the child Satya Prakash, was granted an easy accessibility to the great souls.
The child Satya Prakash was having an extra ordinary dream regularly and repeatedly. He would dream that instead of wearing the normal clothes worn by a boy, he was wearing the saffron clothes. It is possible that these dreams occurred because of the influence of the saffron-attired saints who frequented his house at most regular intervals. Anyway, the repeated occurrence of this dream filled the child’s heart with a strange fascination for saffron clothes. He, now, started enjoying the company of holy men and saints. It seemed that he was gradually moving towards the illumined world of school and moving towards the illumined world of spirituality. He would humbly present to the sadhus whatever he possessed. Slowly, but certainly, his mind now was moving towards the world of renunciation and detachment.
Giving up the school education, Satya Prakash become eager to sit at the feet of a Sadguru so that he could realize his spiritual self. His mother soon becomes conscious of the change in Satya Prakash’s attitude. She asked him; “Son, what is the matter? Why do you hide it from me? Tell me what troubles your mind?” On being asked thus, the son reveled his mind to the mother. At that time, he must have been eleven or twelve in age. Nevertheless, he did not leave his home for another six year. Performing the usual domestic chores, he pondered over the questions related to God. At last, the day came when he, somehow, persuaded his parents to allow him to move on the path of philanthropy and godliness. Having sought the permission from his parents, Satya Prakash, at long last, renounced his home and stepped into a world of which he had only faint hints until now.