"He was with me from childhood (in this birth).
I saw him in a picture first time at father's business, here in US, on Nag Champa incense box/package in, i think, 2001. One day a meek-looking man, in his 50s, came as a customer. He asked me "do you know who he is?", pointing at Sathya Sai Baba's picture of Nag Champa box. I looked at the picture carefully, and said "I don't know. There are many Babas in India. He seems just like one of them."
That man did not say anything; just smiled and left after purchasing his stuff. After he was gone, I kept staring at the picture for some time, questioning within. This was first time his 'image' was stored in my memory. I used to go to a hindu temple weekly or more and help an aged priest in pujas, etc (then in his 60s). By 2004, I developed habit of reading spiritual ebooks over the Internet. I read Sai Baba's articles, and kept same thoughts about him: 'normal like other Babas, nothing great'.
In May 2005 during new temple ceremonies, one person was a devotee, he asked me jokingly "oh do you know Sai Baba?" I said "a little". Suddenly he replied, "oh, my God. He is God, let me tell you", to which i replied "not God, but yes a great saint maybe". After this short conversation, the fire to 'find out' developed more.
Though, I did not look into it until I believe October 2005 when I found myself reading about this Sathya Sai Baba over the Internet, about his 'identity' and read an article, the famous discourse on July 6 1964, where he talks of himself as Shiva-Shakti.
(how I landed on this website of this article was itself surprising!) Since I was a Shiva-devotee from childhood, my mind paused, intuition awoke and right away mind replied "He is God Shiva, the one I always loved", and remained in this state of mind for few days.
I was excited and happy, telling the few i knew about this strong 'intuition'. I started reading more about him, up to 8-10hours a day, for few months. Never in my life I was so I printed out his pictures, added to my home-shrine and started worshiping. In Feb 2006, I looked for a Sai Center and joined the only one in my city. In 2008, I first went to see him, for 4 days. in 2010, he called me in unique way to come there again; this time for 8 months. Then I left his ashram, as he watched. And after 2 months he left everyone. Many experiences, good and painful. Many stories in short time span.
I have no interest in sharing, because everyone else has more in their memories. Things I can never forget include: staring at him from the time of his coming on wheelchair/car, his sitting on wheelchair on stage until he left Kulwant Hall, his stares (most potent and unique), his all-knowing-ness/omniscient, knowing my every move, act, thought. Things he changed in me by leaving the body - regretting he did it due to my thoughts of him"