Born to a poor family in the village of Puttaparthi in southern Andhra Pradesh, Sathyanarayan Raju was a bright, talented and confident boy whose charitable nature and religiosity belied his tender age. Deeply suspicious of his spiritual precociousness, his father made him go through a traumatic exorcism. But the boy already had a devoted band of followers and, when he was thirteen, announced that he was the Shirdi Sai Baba reborn. Today, Sri Sathya Sai Baba has an estimated thirty million followers worldwide. Acclaimed travel writer and self-described `spiritual nomad' Bill Aitken tells us why so many"royalty, wealthy industrialists, influential politicians, as well as the poor"flock to Puttaparthi. Sai Baba's message, he reveals, can be summed up in one word: love. It is as simple as it is profound, not unlike how his devotees see the Sai himself"the embodiment of deep spirituality wedded to simplicity, elegance and grace. Yet, the Sai phenomenon is less about producing vibhuti from thin air and more about modern-day miracles. Miracles like free schools and universities, super-speciality hospitals which provide free treatment to all and revolutionary projects like the one which has brought drinking water to a million villagers in drought-prone Rayalseema. Aitken's study is neither a hagiographic exercise in myth-making nor a dry, objective account of the Sai's life. While never shy of expressing his deep love and reverence for Sai Baba, he squarely confronts the controversies and criticisms which inevitably dog those who claim acquaintance with the holy.