1. A Modern Kalpavr̥kṣa: Sathya Sāī Bābā and the Wish-fulfilling Tree
Antonio Rigopoulos [+]
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
In Chapter 1, Antonio Rigopoulos explores the significance of divine trees in the construction of the charismatic persona of Sathya Sāī Bābā (1926–2011), the famous god-man of Puttaparthi in southern Andhra Pradesh. Particular attention is paid to the pārijāta, the tamarind tree as kalpavr̥kṣa and the vaṭa/bodhi tree, which in the saint’s hagiography are related to his advent, his miraculous powers and the meditative practice conducive to final liberation (mokṣa), respectively.