When he began having strange experiences at the young age of 14, family and neighbours thought he was possessed by demons. When he said world leaders would one day seek his blessings, he was laughed at by people in his village.
Half a century later, the small village of Puttaparthi is the spiritual abode of many leaders and millions of devotees from around the globe.
On November 23, Sri Sathya Sai Baba turns 80. And the village is preparing for a huge celebration.
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Photograph, courtesy: www.srisathyasai.org.in | Text: Rupali Nimkar