Discuss as:

Thousands gather in India for Hindu guru's funeral

Aijaz Rahi of AP reports from Puttaparti, India: Throngs of tearful devotees gathered Wednesday for the funeral of Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's best-known Hindu ascetics who was revered by millions as a divine incarnation with miraculous healing powers.

Jagadeesh NV / EPA

Devotees gather inside the Sri Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam to attend the funeral ceremony of Hindu holy man Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparti, India on April 27. Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most famous spiritual leaders with thousands of followers in the country and abroad, died aged 85 after a prolonged illness on April 24.

Jagadeesh NV / EPA

A devotee peeks out a curtain during the funeral ceremony.

The 84-year-old was buried in an auditorium in his spiritual center in southern India where his body had been lying in state for the last three days. As Sai Baba's nephew performed the last rites, Hindu priests chanting verses from sacred texts instructed him to anoint the body with oil, herbs and flowers.

Tens of thousands of devotees, many weeping and sobbing quietly, filled the auditorium and the streets outside, where they watched the funeral on a large screen. Continue reading.

Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP - Getty Images

Indian police officials spread the national flag on the transparent casket containing the body of Sathya Sai Baba.

Rafiq Maqbool / AP

Devotees wail as they watch the funeral on a big screen outside the Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram.