Mr. Daniel Otieno is also from the African nation of Kenya. Born years after Sai's sacred sojourn to Africa; he was brought up in the Christian tradition. Growing up, he tried exploring Christianity through the Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal and Born Again churches.
Finally, when he was in university, he was visiting a friend who owned an electrical store. While the latter was attending to a customer, the waiting Otieno glanced at a picture of Sai Baba on the wall and read His quotations under it and was simply blown away by the power of its wisdom.
"I looked at the photo and the quotations written on that. I was instantly impressed by the wisdom. I thought he was some kind of philosopher, or a highly educated person… My friend told me it is Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He is more than a philosopher. He gave me a book called Education in Human Values by Loraine Burrows from the Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Thailand.
"One Saturday morning, I woke up and started reading it. I did not put it down until I was through…that weekend I asked for another one. What did he give me? Man of Miracles by Howard Murphet. I read it within a day and I wanted to meet this Sai Baba immediately… After a period of time, I finished my university [with a degree in Education]. That's when my friend told me that there was a conference in Puttaparthi for teachers!"
Arriving in Puttaparthi, in May 1988, while Daniel was smitten by Sai's wisdom, he still harboured some scepticism about the possibility of divinity incarnating in human form. "Because being a Christian, the concept of Avatar is very alien. Apart from Jesus Christ, we do not know any other reincarnations of God. So it was very usual for me, who has been brought up as Christian to have this scepticism", he said.
During the weeklong trip, Daniel Otieno had a deep yearning for a personal audience with Baba. On the very last day, that dream too came true.
He explained, "Swami took us inside the room. He said 'Ok. Boys from Kenya, how are you? Very good boys, very happy boys, but only one problem, you complain too much. Because, when you are out there, you are grumbling, doubting, if Swami is going to call us?' Swami told us exactly what we were talking about when we were outside."
Swami demonstrated concern for his poor health and advised him to "Eat more and eat well. Why are you so thin like this?"
Otieno admitted that at that time, he was extremely emaciated and rather unconcerned about his health. He hardly cared about the well being of his body, which Baba says, is the temple of God.
His immediate response to Baba's motherly concern was to quit smoking forever. Even before he stepped out of the interview room, he had resolved to take better care of his health. Otieno
Currently serves as the Principal of the Sathya Sai School, Uthiru in Nairobi, Kenya. He is also the Deputy Director of African Institute of Sathya Sai Education, Nairobi campus. (See photos)
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