Sai Baba of Shirdi also known as Sai Nath was a spiritual master who was regarded by his devotees as Saint and Guru. He was considered as an Avtara of Lord Vishanu. He was worshiped by Hindus as well as Muslims. He gave mantra of One God by “Sabka Malik Ek” to common people. He served his life as an fakir and lived in a mosque. He begs throughout his whole life for food. He is considered as the creator, maintainer and destroyer of this universe by his devotees. He is known as Shirdi Sai Baba because he lived all his life in Shirdi and died on 15th October, 1918. He taught his devotees code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity and devotion to one God.
Nobody knows the birth date and birth place of Sai Baba. According to historians Sai baba was recognized by people from 1910 onwards. Sai Baba’s real name is also unknown. This name to him was given by Mhalsapati (Priest of a temple of Shirdi) when he arrived city of Shirdi situated in Maharashtra. The word Sai means God and baba means Father, which referred him as a God Father for his devotees.
Although his birth was unknown but according to some Historians Sai Baba was born not far from Shirdi.It is believed that he was born with the name Haribhau Bhusari. When his devotees asked him about his origion, he ignored those question by saying that this information is unimportant. One another belief is that Baba said that the fakir’s wife had left him in the care of a Hindu Saint named as Venkusa of Selu. And he had stayed with Venkusa for 12 years as his disciple.
Baba arrived at the village of Shirdi when he was sixteen years old. It is believed that baba stayed for three years in Shirdi and then got disappeared. After his return he stayed in Shirdi for ever. Baba used to meditate for long hours under a neem tree in a motionless asana. At that time people of shirdi were wonder-stuck to see a very young person practicing hard penance without taking care of cold and heat. His presence attracted all the people of the village, some of them used to visit him regularly such as Mhalsapati, Appa Jogle and Kashinatha.
Baba’s famous style of dressing is never hidden from anyone. He used to wear a knee-length one-piece Kafni robe and a cloth cap. This look of Baba gave him identification of a Muslim fakir and this was a reason for initial indifference and unfriendliness against him in a Hindu village. For four to five year he lived under the tree, he also used to wander in the forests near Shirdi. It is believed that Baba have grown a garden called Lendi Baug, named after a riverlet called Lendi.
When people became aware of Baba’s identity, they asked him to live with them. But Baba accepted to live in a mosque named as Dwarkamai Masjid rather than a house. Devotees usually visited to the mosque to meet Baba. Baba gave his teachings to his devotees in the mosque. Baba lived there for 60 years and gave teachings to his devotees.
He reported many miracles throughout his life. He used to read people’s mind, cure sicknesses of his devotees. It is said that Baba used to have a fire Kunda in the Dwarakamai which he always kept alive. The ashes known as bhaboot of Fire Kunda is believed to have magical powers. Baba cure all the sicknesses of his devotees with those ashes. Bhaboot is still available at Sai Baba’s Temple in Shirdi, it is given to pilgrims as Prasadam so that they can cure their illness.
Baba was against the religion orthodoxy, he believed that there is only one God. He encourages his devotees to pray God, chant his name, worship their Guru and read Holy Scriptures. He encourages Hindus to read Ramayana, Bhagwat Gita and Yoga Vasistha and Muslims to read Quran. He encourages people to follow Bhagwat Gita in their lives. He advised his devotees to lead a moral life and help others. He said his devotees to live their live above the discrimination of cast, color and creed. He gave two important features to people to adopt in their characters, those words are Devotion (Shradha) and patience (Saburi).
In his teachings Sai Baba used to say that people should live their lives to fulfill their Duties without getting attached to earthly matters and situations. According to Shri Sai Satcharita he said that
“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. Sri Hari (God) will certainly be 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.”
Baba used to talk about the Hindu gods, quoting from sacred texts. He also kept commenting upon passages of the Bhagavadgita, the Isha Upanishad, and so forth for his devotees in his preaching’s. Lord Krishna and Lord Rama seem to have been particularly dear to his heart. He usually tell about these two people to his devotees and encouraged them to adopt their features to their normal lives. Baba also talked about Allah and Quran. He used to say that “Allah rakhega vaiia rahena”, whuch means “Let us be content with what we have, and submit our will to Allah. According to some historians Parses and Christians were also his devotees.
Once, Baba told Mhalsapati to protect his body for three days. He also said that if he did not return to bury his body at a particular spot. He told him to put two flags for all of his devotees as well as other people who wanted to pay him respect. After saying these words he left His body and he was declared dead. But Mhalsapati took care of Baba’s body for three days. He kept his head in his lap, he restricted any of authorities to come closer to Baba’s body. At the same time Shri Rama Krishnan Paramhansa, who was sublime child of Maa Kali also got sick. He also prepared to get Samadhi. At the third day baba came back and said his devotees that he met Allah and told by him that Shri Rama Krishnan Paramhansa also prepared for Samadhi, so he came back.
In August at the year of 1918, Baba told some of his devotees that he would be soon leaving his body. At the end of September he had high fever and stopped eating. At his condition he asked his devotees to recite holy texts to him and continued to meet pilgrims. On October 15th ,1918 baba took his last breath. As an Hindu saints, his devotees believed that Baba had accepted the state of samadhi and attained nirvana.
At present where Sai Baba took Samadhi is known as Sai Samadhi Mandir. A huge temple with a huge statue of Sai Baba is there by which Baba still bless his devotees with love, care and wealth. Many time miracles happened which witnessed that Baba is still there to cure his devotees from all sorrows. These days more than 25,000 pilgrimages came to visit Shirdi and took Baba’s blessings. The statue of Baba along with his Samadhi are carved out of Italian marble and draped by royal cloth known as Sai Baba;s Chola, with a gold crown and adorned with fresh flower. There is discrimination of religion to enter the temple of Sai Baba. People of any caste, color and creed can took blessings of Sai Baba.