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Sai Baba of Shirdi (September 28, 1835– October 15, 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian guru and yogi, regarded by his followers as an incarnation of God. Some of his Hindu devotees believe that he was an incarnation of Shiva or Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Sadguru. There are many stories and eyewitness accounts of miracles he performed. He is a well-known figure in many parts of the world, but especially in India, where he is much revered.

The name 'Sai Baba' is a combination of Persian and Indian origin; Sāī (Sa'ih) is the Persian term for "well learned" or "knowledgeable", usually attributed to Islamic ascetics, whereas Baba (honorific) is a word meaning "father; grandfather; old man; sir" used in Indo-Aryan languages. The appellative thus refers to Sai Baba as being a "holy father" or "saintly father".[1] His parentage, birth details, and life before the age of sixteen are obscure, which has led to a variety of speculations and theories attempting to explain Sai Baba's origins. In his life and teachings he tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam: Sai Baba lived in a mosque which he called Dwarakamayi, practised Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions and was buried in a Hindu temple in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams says of God: "Sabka Malik Ek" ("One God governs all") which traces its root to the Bhagavad-Gita and Islam in general, and Sufism, in particular. He always uttered "Allah Malik" - Lord is the sole protector. He had no love for perishable things, and was always engrossed in self-realization, which was his sole concern.

Sai Baba taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, devotion to God and guru. His teachings combined elements of Hinduism and Islam and tried to achieve communal harmony between these religions.

Sai Baba remains a very popular saint[2] and is worshiped by people around the world. Debate over his Hindu or Muslim origins continues to take place.[3] He is also revered by several notable Hindu and Sufi religious leaders.[who?] Some of his disciples received fame as spiritual figures and saints such as Upasni Maharaj and Meher Baba.

Contents

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Early years

Sai Baba's origin is completely unknown to this day. He did not disclose to anyone where he was born nor where he grew up. Because of his unknown past, various communities have claimed that he belongs to them. Nothing has been substantiated, however. It is known that he spent considerable period with fakirs. His attire resembled that of a Muslim fakir. There is mosque at Shirdi which he visited regularly.

Baba reportedly arrived at the village of Shirdi in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India, when he was about 16 years old. Although there is no agreement among biographers on the date of this event, it is generally accepted that Baba stayed in Shirdi for three years, disappeared for a year and returned permanently around 1858, which posits a possible birth year of 1838.[4] Some claim Baba was born on 28 September, 1835, with no apparent reason on how the date was arrived at. In any case, the only agreement amongst historians and his devotees is that there is no conclusive evidence of his birthday and place. He led an ascetic life, sitting motionless under a neem tree and meditating while sitting in an asana. The Sai Satcharita recounts the reaction of the villagers

The people of the village were wonder-struck to see such a young lad practicing hard penance, not minding heat or cold. By day he associated with no one, by night he was afraid of nobody.[5]

His presence attracted the curiosity of the villagers and the religiously-inclined such as Mhalsapati, Appa Jogle and Kashinatha regularly visited him, while others such as the village children considered him mad and threw stones at him.[6] After some time he left the village, and it is unknown where he stayed at that time or what happened to him. However, there are some indications that he met with many saints and fakirs, and worked as a weaver; he claimed to have fought with the army of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[7]

Shirdi and teaching

In 1858 Sai Baba returned to Shirdi with Chand Patil's wedding procession. After alighting near the Khandoba temple he was greeted with the words "Ya Sai" (welcome saint) by the temple priest Mhalsapati. The name Sai stuck to him and some time later he started being known as Sai Baba.[8] It was around this time that Baba adopted his famous style of dress, consisting of a knee-length one-piece robe (kafni) and a cloth cap. Ramgir Bua, a devotee, testified that Baba was dressed like an athlete and sported 'long hair flowing down to his buttocks' when he arrived in Shirdi, and that he never had his head shaved. It was only after Baba forfeited a wrestling match with one Mohdin Tamboli that he took up the kafni and cloth cap, articles of typically Sufi clothing.[9] This attire contributed to Baba's identification as a Muslim fakir, and was a reason for initial indifference and hostility against him in a predominantly Hindu village.[10] According to B.V. Narasimhaswami, a posthumous follower who was widely praised as Sai Baba's "apostle", this attitude was prevalent even among some of his devotees in Shirdi, even up to 1954.[11]

For four to five years Baba lived under a neem tree, and often wandered for long periods in the jungle in and around Shirdi. His manner was said to be withdrawn and uncommunicative as he undertook long periods of meditation.[12] He was eventually persuaded to take up residence in an old and dilapidated mosque and lived a solitary life there, surviving by begging for alms and receiving itinerant Hindu or Muslim visitors. In the mosque he maintained a sacred fire which is referred to as a dhuni, from which he had the custom of giving sacred ash ('Udhi') to his guests before they left and which was believed to have healing powers and protection from dangerous situations. At first he performed the function of a local hakim and treated the sick by application of Udhi. Baba also delivered spiritual teachings to his visitors, recommending the reading of sacred Hindu texts along with the Qur'an, especially insisting on the indispensability of the unbroken remembrance of God's name (dhikr, japa). He often expressed himself in a cryptic manner with the use of parables, symbols and allegories.[13] He participated in religious festivals and was also in the habit of preparing food for his visitors, which he distributed to them as prasad. Sai Baba's entertainment was dancing and singing religious songs (he enjoyed the songs of Kabir most). His behaviour was sometimes uncouth and violent.[14][15]

After 1910 Sai Baba's fame began to spread in Mumbai. Numerous people started visiting him, because they regarded him as a saint (or even an avatar) with the power of performing miracles.[16] and they built his first ever temple at Bhivpuri, Karjat as desired by Sai Baba.[17][18]

Mahasamadhi

Sai Baba took Mahasamadhi on October 15, 1918 at 2.30pm. He took samadhi on the lap of one of his devotees with hardly any belongings, and was buried in the "Buty Wada" according to his wish. Later a mandir was built there known as the "Samadhi Mandir".[19]

This day was a very holy day for Hindus as well as for Muslims as Hindu's festival 'dassera' and Muslim's festival 'muharram' had come on the same day. Sai Baba is a symbol of unity of religions, especially Hinduism and Islam, and he left his body on this very holy day when 'dassera' and 'muharram' came simultaneously. This is also a great sign of his greatness as people believe that great soul leaves the earth on some holy day.

Notable disciples

Sai Baba left behind no spiritual heirs and appointed no disciples. In fact, he did not even provide formal initiation. Some disciples of Sai Baba achieved fame as spiritual figures like Upasni Maharaj of Sakori and Meher Baba of Ahmednagar. After Sai Baba died, his devotees offered the daily Aarti to Upasani Maharaj when he paid a visit to Shirdi, two times with an interval of 10 years.

 

 

Teachings and practices

 

Shirdi Sai Baba, leaning against the wall of his masjid, with devotees

In his personal practice, Sai Baba observed worship procedures belonging to Hinduism and Islam; he shunned any kind of regular rituals but allowed the practice of namaz, chanting of Al-Fatiha, and Qur'an readings at Muslim festival times.[20] Occasionally reciting the Al-Fatiha himself, Baba also enjoyed listening to moulu and qawwali accompanied with the tabla and sarangi twice daily.[21] He also wore clothing reminiscent of a Sufi fakir. Sai Baba also opposed all sorts of persecutions on religious or caste background.

Sai Baba of Shirdi was also an opponent of religious orthodoxy - both Hindu and Muslim.[22] Although Sai Baba himself led the life of an ascetic, he advised his followers to lead an ordinary family life.

Sai Baba encouraged his devotees to pray, chant God's name and read holy scriptures - he told Muslims to study the Qur'an, and Hindus, texts like the Ramayana, Vishnu Sahasranam, Bhagavad Gita (and commentaries to it), Yoga Vasistha.[23] He was impressed by the philosophy of Bhagvad Gita and want people should follow the facts of life written in Bhagvad Gita in their life to make life more meaningful and beautiful.He advised his devotees and followers to lead a moral life, help others,love every living being without any discrimination, treat them with love and develop two important features of character: faith (Shraddha) and patience (Saburi). He also criticized atheism.[24] In his teachings Sai Baba emphasised the importance of performing one's duties without attachment to earthly matters and being ever content regardless of the situation.

Sai Baba also interpreted the religious texts of both faiths. According to what the people who stayed with him said and wrote he had a profound knowledge of them. He explained the meaning of the Hindu scriptures in the spirit of Advaita Vedanta. This was the character of his philosophy. It also had numerous elements of bhakti. The three main Hindu spiritual paths - Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga - were visible in the teachings of Sai Baba.[25] Another example of the way he combined both faiths is the Hindu name he gave to his mosque, Dwarakamai.[26]

Sai Baba said that God penetrates everything and lives in every being, and as well that God is the essence of each of them. He emphasised the complete oneness of God which was very close to the Islamic tawhid and the Hindu doctrine, e.g. of the Upanishads. Sai Baba said that the world and all that the human may give is transient and only God and his gifts are eternal. Sai Baba also emphasised the importance of devotion to God - bhakti - and surrender to his will. He also talked about the need of faith and devotion to one's spiritual preceptor (guru). He said that everyone was the soul and not the body. He advised his disciples and followers to overcome the negative features of character and develop the good ones. He taught them that all fate was determined by karma.

Sai Baba left no written works. His teachings were oral, typically short, pithy sayings rather than elaborate discourses. Sai would ask his followers for money (dakshina), which he would give away to the poor and other devotees the same day and spend the rest on buying wood to maintain Dhuni. According to his followers he did it in order to rid them of greed and material attachment.

Sai encouraged charity and the importance of sharing with others. He said: "Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect. Shri Hari (God) will be certainly pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked and your verandah to strangers for sitting and resting. If anybody wants any money from you and you are not inclined to give, do not give, but do not bark at him like a dog."[27] Other favourite sayings of his were: "Why do you fear when I am here",[28] "He has no beginning... He has no end."[28] Sai Baba made eleven assurances to his devotees:

 

 

 

 

Sai Baba of Shirdi (took samadhi in 1918)

  1. Whosoever puts their feet on Shirdi soil, their sufferings will come to an end.
  2. The wretched and miserable will rise to joy and happiness as soon as they climb the steps of Dwarakamai (Mosque).
  3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
  4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
  5. I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
  6. My mortal remains will speak from My tomb.
  7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to Me, who surrender to Me and who seek refuge in Me.
  8. If you look at Me, I look at you.
  9. If you cast your burden on Me, I shall surely bear it.
  10. If you seek My advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
  11. There shall be no want in the house of My devotee.

Worship and devotees

The Shirdi Sai Baba movement began in the 19th century, during his life, while he was staying in Shirdi. A local Khandoba priest - Mhalsapathy - is believed to have been his first devotee. However, in the 19th century Sai Baba's followers were only a small group of Shirdi inhabitants and a few people from other parts of India. It started developing in the 20th century and even faster in 1910 with the Sankirtans of Das Ganu (one of Sai's devotees) who spread Sai Baba's fame to the whole of India. Since 1910 numerous Hindus and Muslims from all parts of India started coming to Shirdi. During his life Hindus worshipped him with Hindu rituals and Muslims revered him greatly, considering him to be a saint. Later (in the last years of Sai Baba's life) Christians and Zoroastrians started joining the Shirdi Sai movement.[2]

The Sai Baba mandir in Shirdi is active and every day worship of Sai is conducted in it. Pilgrims visit Shirdi every day. Shirdi Baba is especially revered and worshipped in the state of Maharashtra and in Gujarat. A religious organisation of Sai Baba's devotees called the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is based there. The first ever Sai Baba temple is situated at Bhivpuri,Karjat.

The devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba have spread all over India.[2] According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Religion there is at least one Sai Baba mandir in nearly every Indian city.[2] His image is quite popular in India.[2] Some ordinary non-religious publishing houses (such as Sterling Publishers) publish books about Shirdi Sai written by his devotees.[29] Shirdi is among the major Hindu places of pilgrimage.[30] The Shirdi Sai Baba movement is partially organised. Only a part of his followers and devotees belong to the Shri Saibaba Sansthan or to other religious organisations that worship him.

Beyond India the Shirdi Sai movement has spread to other countries such as the U.S. or the Caribbean. Sai Baba mandirs and organisations of his devotees have been built in countries including Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA. The Shirdi Sai Baba movement is one of the main Hindu religious movements in English-speaking countries.[31]

According to estimates the Sai mandir in Shirdi is visited by around twenty thousand pilgrims a day and during religious festivals this number amounts to a hundred thousand.[32]

Sai Baba had many notable disciples:

  1. Nana Chandorkar: Deputy Collector – legend has it that Baba saved his daughter from labor complications).
  2. Mhasalapathi: Priest of Khandoba Temple in Shirdi. He is the first one to have addressed Baba as Sai Baba.
  3. Ganapathi Rao: Popularly known as Das Ganu, police Constable, later resigned to become an ascetic.
  4. Tatya Patil: Ganapathi Rao's son had immense faith in Sai Baba and served him until Sai Baba died.
  5. Madhava Rao Deshpande later known as Shama, one of the staunch devotees of Sai Baba
  6. Hemadpant: Baba allowed him to keep memos and write Sai Sat Charitra

Reported Miracles

Sai Baba's millions of disciples, followers and devotees believe that he had performed many miracles. Some of them were: bilocation, exorcisms, curing the incurably sick, helping his devotees in need in a miraculous way, reading the minds of others. Numerous inhabitants of Shirdi talked about these miracles. Some of them even wrote about them in books. They talked and wrote about how they (and others) were the witnesses of his unusual Yogic powers: levitation, entering a state of Samādhi at wish, even removing his limbs and sticking them back to his body (Khanda Yoga) or doing the same with his intestines.

According to his followers he appeared to them after his death, in dreams, visions and even in bodily form, whence he often gave them advice. His devotees have many stories and experiences to tell.[33] Many books have been written on these events.

Historical sources

Biographers of Sai Baba of Shirdi (e.g. Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar, Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja, Smriti Srinivas, Antonio Rigopolous) when writing about him base it on what people who knew Sai Baba said and wrote. Another source they use is the Shirdi Diary written by Ganesh Shrikrishna Khaparde, which describes every day of the author's stay at Shirdi. When speculating about the unknown episodes of Sai Baba's life, they mainly base their conclusions on his own words.

The most important source about Sai's life is the Shri Sai Satcharita written in Marathi, in 1916 by Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar (translated into English by Nagesh Vasudevanand Gunaji with English title: Shri Sai Satcharitra) whom Sai Baba nicknamed Hemadpant, which is an account of his life, teachings and miracles. Other important sources about Sai Baba are books by B. V. Narasimhaswamiji such as Sri Sai Baba's Charters and Sayings or Devotee's Experiences of Sai Baba. Sri Sai Baba and His Teachings by Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja is an indepth study of Sai's life's routine and activities.

 

 

In various religions

 

 

Sai Baba depicted on a tapestry

Hinduism

During Sai Baba's life, the Hindu saint Anandanath of Yewala declared Sai Baba a spiritual "diamond".[34] Another saint, Gangagir, called him a "jewel".[34] Sri Beedkar Maharaj greatly revered Sai Baba, and in 1873, when he met him he bestowed the title Jagadguru upon him.[35][36] Sai Baba was also greatly respected by Vasudevananda Saraswati (known as Tembye Swami).[37] Sai of Shirdi was also revered by a group of Shaivic yogis, to which he belonged, known as the Nath-Panchayat.[38] Swami Kaleshwar publicly worships Sai Baba, and treats him as a great saint and his own guru.[39]

Other religions

Sai Baba is considered a Pir by some Sufi groups. Meher Baba declared Baba to be a Qutub-e-Irshad - the highest of the five Qutubs.[40] Baba is also worshipped by prominent Zoroastrians such as Nanabhoy Palkhivala and Homi Bhabha, and has been cited as the most popular non-Zoroastrian religious figure attracting the attention of Zoroastrians.[41]

In culture

Sacral art and architecture

In India, in nearly every larger city there is at least one temple dedicated to Sai Baba.[2] There are even some in towns and cities outside India. In the mosque in Shirdi in which Sai Baba lived there is a life-size portrait of him by Shama Rao Jaykar, an artist from Mumbai. Numerous monuments and statues depicting Sai Baba, which serve a religious function, have also been made. One of them, made of marble by a sculptor named Balaji Vasant Talim, is in the Samadhi Mandir in Shirdi where Sai Baba was buried.[42] In Sai Baba temples, his devotees play various kinds of devotional religious music, such as aarti.[43]

Indian Postal Service released a commemorative stamp on Sai Baba on 20 May 2008.[44]

Film and television

Sai Baba has been the subject of several feature films produced by India's film industry.

Year Film Title role Director Language Notes
1977 Shirdi ke Sai Baba Sudhir Dalvi Ashok V. Bhushan Hindi Also featuring Manoj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Sachin, Prem Nath
1986 Sri Shirdi Saibaba Mahathyam Vijayachander K. Vasu Telugu Dubbed into Hindi as Shirdi Sai Baba Ki Kahani, into Tamil as Sri Shiridi Saibaba
1989 Bhagavan shri Sai Baba Sai prakash Sai prakash Kannada  
1993 Sai Baba Yashwant Dutt Babasaheb S. Fattelal Marathi Also featuring Lalita Pawar
2001 Shirdi Sai Baba Sudhir Dalvi Deepak Balraj Vij Hindi Also featuring Dharmendra, Rohini Hattangadi, Suresh Oberoi
2005 Ishwarya Avatar Sai Baba Mukul Nag Ramanand Sagar Hindi Composite movie drawn from Sagar's TV serial, Sai Baba.
2008 Malik Ek Jackie Shroff Deepak Balraj Vij Hindi Expected release in 2008. Also featuring Manoj Kumar, Divya Dutta, Rohini Hattangadi, Zarina Wahab and Anup Jalota as Das Ganu.
  • In the popular Hindi film Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Rishi Kapoor playing the Muslim character Akbar sings "Shirdi Wale Sai Baba" in a temple. Laxmikant Pyarelal composed the music, Anand Bakshi wrote the lyrics, and Mohammed Rafi was the playback singer. The song became a hit and is still played today.
  • A more recent Hindi TV series, "Sai Baba" was made by Ramanand Sagar and broadcast by Star Plus in 2006, with 31-year old Mukul Nag in the title role.[45] This series is telecasted on Star Vijay, a Tamil Channel, every Friday 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
  • A TV serial on Sai Baba is telecasted on Star TV network every Sunday at 8:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. by Prof. C. V. Vijendra in Hyderabad.

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 3. ISBN 0791412687. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Srinivas Sathya Sai Baba movement
  3. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. xxiii. ISBN 0791412687. 
  4. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 45. ISBN 0791412687. 
  5. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 46. ISBN 0791412687. 
  6. ^ Parthasarathy, Rangaswami (1997). God Who Walked On Earth: The Life and Times of Shirdi Sai Baba. Sterling Publishing. pp. 15. ISBN 81-207-1809-7. 
  7. ^ (To Balakrishna Upasani Shastri) "I was at the battle in which the Rani of Jhansi took part. I was then in the army." Quoted in Narasimhaswami, B.V. (1986). Sri Sai Baba's Charters & Sayings. All-India Sai Samaj, Madras. pp. 209. 
  8. ^ Bharadwaja, Acharya E. (1996). Sai Baba The Master. India: Sree Guru Paduka Publications. pp. 21. 
  9. ^ Warren, Marianne (1997). Unravelling the Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism. Sterling Publishers. pp. 104. ISBN 81-207-2147-0. 
  10. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0791412687. 
  11. ^ Narasimhaswami, B.V. (1990). Life of Sai Baba (Vol. 1). Madras: All-India Sai Samaj. pp. 24. : "One very closely associated devotee of his, now living, still believes that Baba was 'only a Mohammadan.' What can 'only a Mohammadan' mean? It means that even after 25 years of personal experience of him and 36 years of his post mortem glories, the devotee treats him as a communalist just as he did when Baba was in the flesh."
    Narasimhaswami, B.V. (1990). Life of Sai Baba (Vol. 1). Madras: All-India Sai Samaj. pp. 24–25. : "Baba wished to convince the devotee, if he was a Hindu, that he was Mahavishnu, Lakshminarayan, etc., and he bade water flow from his feet as Ganga issued from Mahavishnu's feet. The devotee saw it and praised him as 'Rama Vara', but as for the water coming from his feet, that devotee simply sprinkled a few drops on his head and would not drink it coming as it did from a Mohammadan's feet. So great was the prejudice of ages that even one, who thought of him as Vishnu, thought he was a 'Muslim Vishnu'. Prejudices die hard and the devotee wondered and wonders how people can believe that Baba was a Brahmin and that his parents were Brahmins when he had lived all his life in a mosque and when he was believed to be a Muslim."
  12. ^ Warren, Marianne (1997). Unravelling the Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism. Sterling Publishers. pp. 45. ISBN 81-207-2147-0. 
  13. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 86. ISBN 0791412687. 
  14. ^ "That Shirdi Sai Baba was eccentric is well-attested, for it seems that he was sometimes of uncouth and violent behaviour." In Bowen, David (1988). The Sathya Sai Baba Community in Bradford: Its origins and development, religious beliefs and practices. Leeds: University Press. pp. 135. 
  15. ^ "Of unpredictable moods, devotees remember him as both loving and harsh. When he got angry, often for no apparent reason, he would scream or abuse people, sometimes for hours at an end, at times even tearing off his own clothes." In Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. xxxiii. ISBN 0791412687. 
  16. ^ Warren, Marianne (1997). Unravelling the Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism. Sterling Publishers. pp. 340–341. ISBN 81-207-2147-0. 
  17. ^ http://saileelas.org/articles/events/bhivpuri.html
  18. ^ Sai Ananta - Kaka Saheb Dixit Trust of Shri Sai Baba at www.saiananta.com
  19. ^ Dabholkar/Gunaji Shri Sai Satcharita/Shri Sai Satcharitra chapters 42, 43, 44 [1] [2]
  20. ^ Warren, Marianne (1999). Unravelling The Enigma: Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism. Sterling Publishers. pp. 29. ISBN 8120721470. 
  21. ^ Ibid. p.30
  22. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 139. ISBN 0791412687. 
  23. ^ Dabholkar/Gunaji Shri Sai Satcharita/Shri Sai Satcharitra chapter 27. He was impressed by the philosophy of Bhagvad Gita and wanted people to follow the facts of life written in Bhagvad Gita in their own lives to make it more beautiful.http://www.saibaba.org/satcharitra/sai27.html]
  24. ^ Dabholkar/Gunaji Shri Sai Satcharita/Shri Sai Satcharitra chapter 3 [3]
  25. ^ Rigopoulos, Antonio (1993). The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi. SUNY. pp. 261–352. ISBN 0791412687. 
  26. ^ Hoiberg, Dale; I. Ramchandani (2000). "Students' Britannica India". Popular Prakashan. http://books.google.com/books?id=ISFBJarYX7YC&pg=PA324&ots=1vYEoNWtwv&dq=%22Sai+Baba+of+Shirdi%22&sig=i_gEG0qxDKxFR7AuWhsXxbjITBg&output=html. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  27. ^ Dabholkar (alias Hemadpant) Shri Sai Satcharita Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Shirdi, (translated from Marathi into English by Nagesh V. Gunaji in 1944) available online or downloadable
  28. ^ a b "Saibaba.org". http://chavadi.saibaba.org:8080/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  29. ^ "Sai Literature". http://www.shirdibaba.org/books/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  30. ^ Gibson L. Modern World Religions: Hinduism - Pupil Book Core p. 42
  31. ^ Brady R., Coward H. G., Hinnels J. H. "The South Asian Religious Diaspora in Britain, Canada, and the United States" p. 93 [4]
  32. ^ "Temple Complex". http://www.shrisaibabasansthan.org/main_english/shirdi/templecomplex.asp. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  33. ^ Ruhela Sri Shirdi Sai Baba - the universal master p. 141-154
  34. ^ a b "Who is Shirdi Sai Baba"". http://templeofpeace.org/history.html. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  35. ^ "A Short Biography of Shree Sadguru Beedkar Maharaj". http://www.swamisamarth.com/parampara/beedkar_biography.html#An%20Avadhoot%20appears%20in%20front%20of%20Shree%20Beedkar%20Maharaj. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  36. ^ "Beedkar Maharaj". Sai Vichaar, Oct 06, 2005, volume 8, issue 2001. http://www.saibaba.org/newsletter8-21.html. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  37. ^ Dabholkar/Gunaji Shri Sai Satcharita/Shri Sai Satcharitra chapter 50 [5]
  38. ^ Ruhela Sri Shirdi Sai Baba - the universal master p. 27
  39. ^ "Sri Kaleshwar:: The Divine Lineage". http://kaleshwar.org/en/lineage_divinelineage. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  40. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau: "Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba", Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 64
  41. ^ Hinnels J. R. Zoroastrians Diaspora: religion and migration p. 109
  42. ^ Ruhela Sri Shirdi Sai Baba - The Universal Master
  43. ^ "Welcome to Shirdi Sai Trust - Arathi Timings". http://shirdisaitrust.org/sst_arathi_timings.html. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  44. ^ "Indian Postal Service site". http://www.indiapost.gov.in/stamps2008.html. 
  45. ^ "TV's fascination for the gods". http://www.blonnet.com/life/2005/10/07/stories/2005100700180400.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 

Further reading

  • Arulneyam, Durai, The Gospel of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. A Holy Spiritual Path, New Delhi, Sterling, 2008. ISBN 978-81-207-3997-0
  • Bharadwaja, Acharya, Sai Baba the Master, Andhra Pradesh, Sree Guru Paduka Publications, 1996
  • Dabholkar, Govindrao Raghunath (alias Hemadpant) Shri Sai Satcharita Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Shirdi, (translated from Marathi into English by Nagesh V. Gunaji in 1944) available online or downloadable
  • Dabholkar, Govind Raghunath "Shri Sai satcharita : the life and teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba" (1999)
  • Hoiberg, D. & Ramchandani, I.; Sai Baba of Shirdi, in: Students' Britannica India. Page available online
  • Kamath, M.V. & Kher, V.B., Sai Baba of Shirdi: A Unique Saint, India: Jaico Publishing House (1997). ISBN 81-7224-030-9
  • Osborne, Arthur, The Incredible Sai Baba. The Life and Miracles of a Modern-day Saint, Hyderabad, Orient Longman, 1957.
  • Panday, Balkrishna, Sai Baba’s 261 Leelas. A Treasure House of Miracles, New Delhi, Sterling, 2004. ISBN 81-207-2727-4
  • Parthasarathy, Rangaswami, God Who Walked on Earth. The Life and Times of Shirdi Sai Baba, New Delhi, Sterling, 1996. ISBN 81-207-1809-7
  • Rigopoulos, Antonio The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi State University of New York press, Albany, (1993) ISBN 0-7914-1268-7
  • Ruhela, S. P. (ed), What Researchers Say about Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, Faridabad, Sai Age Publications, 1994.
  • Venkataraman, Krishnaswamy, Shirdi Stories, Srishti Publishers, New Delhi, 2002. ISBN 81-87075-84-8
  • Warren, Marianne, Unravelling the Enigma. Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism, Revised edition, New Delhi, Sterling Publishing, 2004. ISBN 81-207-2147-0
  • White, Charles S. J. The Sai Baba Movement: Approaches to the Study of India Saints in Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Aug., 1972), pp. 863–878
  • Williams, Alison, Experiencing Sai Baba’s Shirdi. A Guide, revised edition, Shirdi, Saipatham Publications. 2004 ISBN 81-88560-00-6

 

 

SAI CHALISA

Aarumbh

Pehle Sai ke charno mein, apna sheesh nivauo maiy, Kaise Shirdi Sai aaye, saara haal sunau maiy. ||1|| Kaun hai mata, pita kaun hai, yeh na kisi ne bhi jaana, Kaha janam Sai ne dhara, prashan paheli raha bana. ||2|| Koee kahe Ayodhya ke, yeh Ramchandra bhagvan hain, Koee kehta Saibaba, pavan putra Hanuman hain. ||3|| Koee kehta mangal murti, Shri Gajanan hain Sai, Koee kehta Gokul-Mohan Devki Nandan hain Sai. ||4|| Shanker samajh bhakt kaee to, baba ko bhajhte rahte, Koee kahe avtar datt ka, pooja Sai ki karte. ||5|| Kuch bhi mano unko tum, pur sai hain sachche bhagvan, Bade dayalu deen-bandhu, kitno ko diya jivan-daan. ||6|| Kaee varsh pehle ki ghatna, tumhe sunaunga mein baat,  Keesy bhagyashaali ki Shirdi mein aaee thi barat. ||7|| Aaya saath usi ke tha, baalak aik bahut sunder, Aaya aaker vahin bus gaya, paavan Shirdi kiya nagar. ||8|| Kaee dino tak raha bhatakta, bhiksha maangi usne dar dar, Aur dikhaee aisee leela, jug mein jo ho gaee amar. ||9|| Jaise-jaise umar badi, badti hee vaisy gaee shaan, n Ghar ghar hone laga nagar mein, Sai baba kaa gungaan. ||10|| Digdigant mein laga goonjane, phir to Saiji ka naam, Deen-dhukhi ki raksha karna, yahi raha baba ka kaam. ||11|| Baba ke charno mein ja kar, jo kehta mein hoo nirdhan, Daya usee par hoti unkee, khul jaate dhukh ke bandhan. ||12|| Kabhi kisee ne maangi bhiksha, do baba mujhko suntaan, Aivom astoo tub kaihkar Sai de te thay usko vardaan. ||13|| Swayam dhukhi baba ho jaate, deen-dukhijan ka lukh haal, Anteh: karan bhi Sai ka, sagar jaisa raha vishal. ||14|| Bhakt ek madrasi aaya, ghar ka bahut bada dhanvaan, Maal khajana behadh uskaa, keval nahi rahi suntaan. ||15|| Laga manane Sainath ko, baba mujh per daya karo, Junjha se junkrit naiya ko, tum hee mairee par karo. ||16|| Kuldeepak ke bina andhera, chchaya hua ghar mein mere, Isee liye aaya hoon baba, hokar sharnagat tere. ||17|| Kuldeepak ke abhav mein, vyarth hai daulat ki maya, Aaj bhikhari ban kar baba, sharan tumhari mein aaya, ||18|| De de mujhko putra-daan, mein rini rahoonga jivan bhar, Aur kisi ki aas na mujko, siraf bharosa hai tum per. ||19|| Anunaye-vinaye bahut ki usne, charano mein dhar ke sheesh, Tub prasana hokar baba ne, diya bhakta ko yeh aashish. ||20|| ‘Allah bhala karega tera,' putra janam ho tere ghar, Kripa rahegi tum per uski, aur tere uss balak per. ||21|| Ab tak nahi kisi ne paya, sai ki kripa ka paar, Putra ratan de madrasi ko, dhanya kiya uska sansaar. ||22|| Tan-man se jo bhaje usi ka jug mein hota hai uddhar, Sanch ko aanch nahi haiy koee, sada jooth ki hoti haar. ||23|| Mein hoon sada sahare uske, sada rahoonga uska daas, Sai jaisa prabhu mila haiy, itni ki kum haiy kya aas. ||24|| Mera bhi din tha ik aisa, milti nahi mujhe thi roti, Tan per kapda duur raha tha, sheish rahi nanhi si langoti, ||25|| Sarita sammukh hone per bhi mein pyasa ka pyasa tha, Durdin mera mere ooper, davagani barsata tha. ||26|| Dharti ke atirikt jagat mein, mera kuch avalumbh na tha, Bana bhikhari maiy duniya mein, dar dar thokar khata tha. ||27|| Aise mein ik mitra mila jo, param bhakt Sai ka tha, Janjalon se mukt, magar iss, jagti mein veh bhi mujh sa tha. ||28|| Baba ke darshan ke khatir, mil dono ne kiya vichaar, Sai jaise daya murti ke darshan ko ho gaiye taiyar. ||29|| Paavan Shirdi nagari mein ja kar, dhekhi matvaali murti, Dhanya janam ho gaya ki humne jab dhekhi Sai ki surti. ||30|| Jabse kiye hai darshan humne, dukh sara kaphur ho gaya, Sankat saare mite aur vipdaon ka ant ho gaya. ||31|| Maan aur sammaan mila, bhiksha mein humko baba se, Prati bambit ho uthe jagat mein, hum Sai ki abha se. ||32|| Baba ne sammaan diya haiy, maan diya is jivan mein, Iska hee sambal le mein, hasta jaunga jivan mein. ||33|| Sai ki leela ka mere, mun par aisa assar hua, Lagta, jagti ke kan-kan mein, jaise ho veh bhara hua. ||34|| 'Kashiram' baba ka bhakt, iss Shirdi mein rehta tha, Maiy Sai ka Sai mera, veh duniya se kehta tha. ||35|| Seekar svayam vastra bechta, gram nagar bazaro mein, Jhankrit uski hridh-tantri thi, Sai ki jhankaron se. ||36|| Stabdh nisha thi, thay soye, rajni aanchal me chand sitare, Nahi soojhta raha hath ka, hath timiri ke mare. ||37|| Vastra bech kar lote raha tha, hai! Haath se 'kaashi', Vichitr bada sanyoga ki uss din aata tha veh akaki. ||38|| Gher raah mein khare ho gaye, usse kutil, anyaayi, Maaro kaato looto iski, hee dhvani pari sunaee. ||39|| Loot peet kar usse vahan se, kutil gaye champat ho, Aaghaton se marmahat ho, usne di thi sangya kho. ||40|| Bahut der tak para raha veh, vahin usi halat mein, Jaane kab kuch hosh ho utha, usko kisi palak mein. ||41|| Anjane hee uske muh se, nikal para tha Sai, Jiski prati dhvani Shirdi mein, baba ko parri sunai. ||42|| Shubdh utha ho manas unka, baba gaye vikal ho, Lagta jaise ghatna sari, ghati unhi ke sunmukh ho. ||43|| Unmadi se idhar udhar tab, baba lage bhatakne, Sunmukh chizein jo bhi aiee, unkoo lage patkne. ||44|| Aur dhadhakte angaro mein, baba ne kar dala, Huye sashankit sabhi vaha, lakh tandav nritya nirala. ||45|| Samajh gaye sab log ki koi, bhakt para sankat mein, Shubit khare thai sabhi vaha par, pare huye vismaiye mein. ||46|| Usse bachane ke hi khatir, baba aaj vikal hai, Uski hi piraa se pirit, unka ant sthal hai. ||47|| Itne me hi vidhi ne apni, vichitrata dhikhlayi, Lukh kar jisko janta ko, shradha sarita lehrayee. ||48|| Lekar sanghya heen bhakt ko, gaari ek vaha aayee, Sunmukh apne dekh bhakt ko, Sai ki aankhe bhar aayee. ||49|| Shant, dheer, gambhir sindhu sa, baba ka anthsthal, Aaj na jane kyon reh-rehkar, ho jaata tha chanchal. ||50|| Aaj daya ki murti svayum tha bana hua upchaari, Aur bhakt ke liye aaj tha, dev bana prati haari. ||51|| Aaj bhakti ki vishum pariksha mein, safal hua tha Kaashi, Uske hee darshan ki khatir, thai umre nagar-nivasi. ||52|| Jab bhi aur jahan bhi koyee, bhakt pare sankat mein, Uski raksha karne baba jate hai pulbhur mein. ||53|| Yug yug ka hai satya yeh, nahi koi nayee kahani, Aapat grast bhakt jab hota, jate khudh antar yami. ||54|| Bhedh bhaav se pare pujari manavta ke thai sai, Jitne pyare Hindu-Muslim uutne hi Sikh Isai. ||55|| Bhed bhaav mandir masjid ka tor phor baba ne dala, Ram rahim sabhi unke thai, Krishan Karim Allah Tala. ||56|| Ghante ki pratidhvani se gunja, masjid ka kona kona, Mile paraspar Hindu Muslim, pyar bada din din doona. ||57|| Chamatkar tha kitna sundar, parichaye iss kaya ne dee, Aur neem karvahat mein bhi mithaas baba ne bhar dee. ||58|| Sabko sneha diya Sai ne, sabko suntul pyar kiya, Jo kuch jisne bhi chaha, baba ne usko vahi diya. ||59|| Aise snehsheel bhajan ka, naam sada jo japa kare, Parvat jaisa dhukh na kyoon ho, palbhar mein veh door tare. ||60|| Sai jaisa daata humne, aare nahi dekha koi, Jiske keval darshan se hee, saari vipda door gayee. ||61|| Tan mein Sai, man mein Sai, Sai bhajha karo, Apne tan ki sudh budh khokur, sudh uski tum kiya karo. ||62|| Jab tu apni sudh tajkur, baba ki sudh kiya karega, Aur raat din baba, baba, baba hi tu rata karega. ||63|| To baba ko aare! vivash ho, sudh teri leni hee hogi, Teri har icha baba ko, puree hee karni hogi. ||64|| Jungal jungal bhatak na pagal, aur dhundne baba ko, Ek jagah keval Shirdi mein, tu paiga baba ko. ||65|| Dhanya jagat mein prani hai veh, jisne baba ko paya, Dukh mein sukh mein prahar aath ho, sai ka hee gune gaya. ||66|| Gire sankat ke parvat, chahe bijli hi toot pare, Sai ka le naam sada tum, sunmukh sub ke raho arre. ||67||Iss budhe ki sunn karamat, tum ho jaoge hairaan, Dang reh sunkar jisko, jane kitne chatur sujaan. ||68|| Ek baar Shirdi mein sadhu dhongi tha koi aaya, Bholi bhali nagar nivasi janta ko tha bharmaya. ||69|| Jari, butiyan unhe dhikha kar, karne laga vaha bhashan, Kehne laga sunno shrotagan, ghar mera hai vrindavan. ||70|| Aushadhi mere paas ek hai, aur ajab iss mein shakti, Iske sevan karne se hi, ho jaati dukh se mukti. ||71|| Aggar mukta hona chaho tum, sankat se bimari se, To hai mera numra nivaidan, har nar se har nari se, ||72|| Lo kharid tum isko, sevan vidhiyan hai nyari, Yadyapi tuch vastu hai yeh, gun uske hai atisheh bhari. ||73|| Jo hai suntaan heen yeh yadi, meri aushdhi ko khaye, Putra ratan ho parapat, aare aur veh mooh manga phal paye. ||74|| Aushadh meri jo na kharide, jeevan bhar pachtayega, Mujh jaisa prani shayad hi, aare yaha aa payega. ||75|| Duniya do din ka mela hai, mauj shaunk tum bhi kar lo, Gar is se milta hai, sub kuch, tum bhi isko le lo. ||76|| Hairani barti janta ki, lakh iski kaarastaani, Pramudit veh bhi man hi man tha, lakh logo ki nadani. ||77|| Khabar suna ne baba ko yeh, gaya daud kar sevak ek, Sun kar bhukuti tani aur, vismaran ho gaya sabhi vivek. ||78|| Hukum diya sevak ko, satvar pakar dusht ko lao, Ya Shirdi ki seema se, kapti ko duur bhagao. ||79|| Mere rehte bholi bhali, shirdi ki janta ko, Kaun neech aisa jo, sahas karta hai chalne ko. ||80|| Pulbhur mai hi aise dhongi, kapti neech lootere ko, Maha naash ke maha gart mein, phahuncha doon jivan bhar ko. ||81|| Tanik mila aabhaas madari, krur kutil anyayi ko, Kaal nachta hai ab sir par, gussa aaya Sai ko. ||82|| Pal bhar mein sab khel bandh kar, bhaga sir par rakh kar pairr, Socha tha sabh hi ab, bhagvan nahi hai ab khair. ||83|| Such hai Sai jaisa daani, mil na sakega jag mein, Ansh iish ka Sai baba, unhe na kuch bhi mushkil jag mein. ||84|| Sneh, sheel, sojanya, aadi ka abhushan dharan kar, Badta iss duniya mein jo bhi, manav sevaye path par. ||85|| Vahi jeet leta hai jagti, ke jan jan ka anthsthal, Uski ek udasi hi jag ko kar deti hai vrihal. ||86|| Jab jab jug mein bhar paap ka bar bar ho jaata hai, Usse mita ne ke hi khatir, avtari ho aata hai. ||87|| Paap aur anyaya sabhi kuch, iss jagti ka har ke, Duur bhaga deta duniya ke danav ko shan bhar mein. ||88|| Sneh sudha ki dhar barasne, lagti hai duniya mein, Gale paraspar milne lagte, jan jan hai aapas mein. ||89|| Aisse hee avtari Sai, mrityulok mein aakar, Samta ka yeh paath paraya, sabko apna aap mitakar. ||90|| Naam dwarka masjid ka , rakha Shirdi ne, Haap taap, suntaap mitaya, jo kuch aaya Sai ne. ||91|| Sada yaad mein mast ram ki, baithe rehte thai Sai, Peher aath hee naam ram ka, bhajte rehte thai Sai. ||92|| Sookhee rookhee tazi baasi, chahe ya hovai pakvaan, Sada pyar ke bhooke Sai ke, khatir thai sabhi samaan. ||93|| Sneh aur shradha se apni, jan jo kuch de jaate thay, Bade chaav se uss bhojan ko, baba paavan karte thay. ||94|| Kabhi kabhi man behlane ko, baba baag mein jate thay, Pramudit man nirukh prakrati, chatta ko veh hote thay. ||95|| Rang-birange pushp baag ke manam manam hil dul karke, Beehar birane man mein bhi sneh salil bhar jate thai. ||96|| Aise su-madhur bela mein bhi, dukh aafat bipda kai maare, Apne man ki vyatha sunane, jan rehte baba ko ghere. ||97|| Sunkar jinki karun katha ko, nayan kamal bhar aate thay, De vibhuti har vyatha, shanti, unke uur mein bhar dete thay. ||98|| Jaane kya adhbut, shakti, uuss vibhuti mein hoti thi, Jo dharan karke mastak par, dukh saara har leti thi. ||99|| Dhanya manuj veh sakshaat darshan, jo baba Sai ke paye, Dhanya kamal kar unke jinse, charan kamal veh parsai. ||100|| Kaash nirbhaiy tumko bhi, saakshat Sai mil jaata, Varshon se ujra chaman apna, phir se aaj khil-jata. ||101|| Gar pakar mein charan shri ke, nahi chorta umar bhar,Mana leta mein jaroor unko gar rooth te Sai mujh par!! ||102||

Samapt.

 

 

Sai Baba Aarti

Aarti is a devotional prayer that has devotees standing before the image of a deity or consecrated saint accompanied with singing of devotional songs in unison. This singing is often accompanied by other musical instruments such as bells, gongs and cymbals. In Hindu rituals aarti is a rich and vibrant event, when the deity is adorned with garlands and showered with flowers along with aromatic incense sticks and waving of panchmukhi diya or five-wicks oil lamp around His figure in clockwise.

After offering the aarti before the deity, it is brought before all the devotees, who then pass their hands by turns over the sacred flame of the aarti lamp and quickly bring them closer to their faces and heads as a gesture of receiving the auspicious energy from the holy flame.

At Shirdi, there are four aarti sessions all through the day, during which devotees congregate invoking Sai Baba, seeking His blessings. Saibaba's aarti is sung in Marathi. As a living manifestation of the abstract concept of God, Shri Sai Baba is an epitome of the supreme power that guides, protects and support. This yearning that has created a bond of love and faith between Sai and his devotee is expressed through the aarti.

Aarti is performed four times everyday in Saipuram. The day begins with the invocation of Shri Sai Baba with the morning aarti called the Kakkad Aarti at 5.15am. Madhyan Aarti or Midday aarti is held at 12noon. The evening aarti or the Sandhya Aarti takes place at 6.30pm and the day closes with Shej Aarti or Night aarti at 10pm. With Shej Aarti darshan of Shri Saibaba gets over till the next day. Priests attend on him during all these rituals and rites. During these aartis devotees make offerings to Saibaba in the form of new clothes, flowers, fruits and sweets, etc. A little bit of Udi or sacred ash is also given to the devotees as a token of love from Shri Sai at the end of the rituals.

 

 

Life of Shirdi Saibaba

Shri Saibaba of Shirdi lived between 1838 and 1918, whose real name, birthplace and date of birth are not known. An Indian spiritual guru and a fakir that transcended the barriers of religions, Saibaba of Shirdi was regarded with great reverence by both Hindu and Muslim followers. He lived in a mosque and after death his body was cremated in a temple.

His philosophy ingrained 'Shraddha' meaning faith and 'Saburi' meaning compassion. According to him Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.

It is believed that at a tender age of 16 yrs Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained their till his death. He found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or Saint.

Saibaba of Shirdi lived an extremely simple and austere life, sleeping on the floor of temple and later taking a ruined mosque as his shelter. With his arrival to Shirdi, in no time he began exhibiting a hypnotic attraction among people as they began flocking to him. He is attributed many miracles doing things that were beyond a mortal's power. He never discouraged these attributes and soon his fame spread like wild fire. Many pilgrims came seeking his blessings. Such was his hypnotism that even the mundane of his activities attracted large crowds.

Popular among both Hindus and Muslims, Shri Saibaba became a great building force between the two disparate communities. He regularly recited Hindu and Muslim prayers. His Hindu followers considered him to be an avatar or reincarnation of Shiva and Dattatreya. Sai Baba did not leave any written works. All his teachings were oral and catchy. His sayings were short, crisp and in layman language with which the common mass could easily associate.

Saibaba encouraged charity and said, "Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect."

Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi was unique in the sense that he lived his message through the essence of his being. He lived among the common people adorning a torn kafni (long robe), sleeping over a mat while using brick as his headrest and got his food by begging. Such was his smile that radiated a mystical charisma and deep seated inward look that hypnotized the people who visited him.

His most concise message for one and all alike was "Why fear when I am here".
Saibaba said that he was a slave in the service of those who loved him. He was ever living to help those who turn to him and that he has to take care of his children day and night.

Saibaba's mission was to restore belief in god and according to him, "I give people what they want in the hope that they will begin to want what I want to give them (knowledge of the Ultimate)." He then taught values of total surrender to the Almighty Master (ALLAH MALIK EK- The only ONE) and experiences his grace.

Today, Shri Saibaba has millions of devotees in India and abroad. Shirdi, the obscure village in Maharashtra has become a pilgrimage destination much as Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Varanasi. With over 25,000 pilgrims thronging in here each day the number of pilgrims climb to over a hundred thousand on holidays and festival days. There are over 2,000 major Sai temples in different parts of India and 150 abroad in places as far-flung as Canada and Kenya, Singapore and England.
 

 

 

 

Best Time to Visit Shirdi

Monsoons : June to August
Ramnavami : March/April
Guru Purnima : July
Vijayadashmi (Sri Sai Punyatithi) : October

Shirdi is the holy abode of Shri Sai Baba and thousands of pilgrims throng the town each day from across India and beyond. You can visit the Shri Saibaba temple at anytime you wish, however Monsoons i.e., between June and August are the period considered to be the best time to be here. Reason being the weather, which is simply so pleasant and inviting. You don't need to bother about sweat and heat; with drizzling and cool breeze all around your mystical journey to Shirdi becomes heavenly. Winters are also quite a good time to visit Shirdi. Winters are not harsh in here and temperature can dip to 7 degree Celsius.

However, you can plan your trip or pilgrimage to Shirdi during one of the three major festivals that are celebrated here with great fervor and excitement. These three festivals are Ram Navami, Guru Purnima and Vijayadashamai. During these festivals thousands of devotees flock in here and the whole atmosphere of the Shirdi becomes vibrant with puja, bhajan (music), rath yatra (processions with palanquin) and many more events.

You can come to participate in Ramanavami at Shirdi, celebrated every year in March or April. It is also the time when Saibaba's urus is held. Urus is a muslim festival that is celebrated to honor a saint. This shows the kind of communal harmony that weaves people of different faiths at Shirdi. This year that is in 2007, Shirdi is celebrating the Ramnavami from 26th to 28th of March.

Gurupurnima or Full Moon is also a wonderful time to visit Shirdi. In 2007, Shirdi is celebrating Guru Purnima from 28th to 30th July. This is the time devotees all across the world converge in Shirdi to seek Saibaba's blessings. There is also Vyasa Puja that is held during Guru Purnima, in honor of Ved Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata.

Vijayadashmi is a big festival in Shirdi, venerated as a holy day when Shri Saibaba left his mortal body for heavenly abode. The festival is celebrated as Shri Sai Punyathithi in Shirdi attracting great number of devotees from all over the world. This year the festival is celebrated from 20th to 23rd October.

You can choose any of the festive seasons to make a spiritual journey to Shirdi and of course any other time is equally fulfilling.