Shirdi Sai Baba – The beacon of hope

Shirdi Sai Baba - The beacon of hope
Shirdi Sai Baba - The beacon of hope

Rising above religion, Shirdi Sai Baba, the Indian sage preached simple moral and spiritual laws. While his message appeals to many in this age of complexity, others take refuge in him because of his promise to help devotees in times of crisis

A fakir in a tattered kafni (long robe) who begged for alms till his last day. Who founded no religion or sect, developed no trademark spiritual philosophy or system of practices, started no movement, initiated not a single disciple, left behind no apostles. Who breathed his last eight long decades ago and about whom very few had heard till the 1960s.

In his life and teachings he tried to embrace and reconcile both faiths: Sai Baba lived in a mosque, was buried in a Hindu temple, embraced Hindu and Muslim practices, and taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions. One of his well known epigrams says of God: “Sab ka Malik Ek” (“Everyone has One God.”)

The Sai Baba of Shirdi. 
Today, he has millions of devotees in India and other parts of the world.Shirdi, the obscure village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, in India, has become a pilgrimage destination much as Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Varanasi. The number of pilgrims go there average 25,000 a day and can climb to over a hundred thousand on holidays and festival days. They belong to every strata of society and all religions, and include politicians, film stars and rich businessmen. By conservative estimates, 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.

Significantly, all these temples have been constructed and consecrated by local initiative. Indeed, the growing Sai phenomenon is not orchestrated by a central organization, though there is the Sri Sai Baba Sansthan, which manages the affairs at Shirdi.

Sai Baba had the reputation of being clairvoyant, healing the sick, restoring eyesight, affecting events at a distance, appearing in devotees’ dreams, and exercising control over the elements. Biographies of Baba are replete with stories of how he helped his devotees out of problems and crisis. He continues to do so.

Though the last decades of his life are well documented, the little that is known about the early life ofSai Baba is disputed. He was born to Brahmin parents in 1838 in a place called Pathri in Marathwada. He was abandoned soon after and adopted by a childless Sufi fakir and his wife. Later he was put in the care of a guru (Venku Shah) where he remained for 12 years. According to another version he studied with a Sufi master Roshan Shah Miyah, in the Aurangabad area where Sufism flourished.

He was first seen in Shirdi around 1858, but had disappeared after a while. Initially, he was discarded as a mad fakir. After staying for a while on the outskirts of the village, under a neem (margosa) tree (where he said his master was buried), he finally made a dilapidated mosque his abode. When people began approaching him with health problems, he gave them some herbal remedies and later udi (sacred ash) from his continuously burning dhuni. In a few years, priest of the Khandoba village temple and others had accepted him.

In 1886 Baba went into samadhi for three days, had a direct experience of union with God, after which his spiritual powers became evident and he started acting as a pir to wandering fakirs.

The first miracle performed at Shirdi was lighting oil lamps in the mosque with water. He also saved the village from a cholera epidemic. As his fame spread, government officials, high-ranking Britishers, politicians including Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, and the wealthy started calling on him. One day, a millionaire came to Sai Baba and said he was going to start a building in Shirdi in his name. But before its completion, Baba fell ill and attained mahasamadhi on October 15, 1918.

The building now contains a silver idol of Baba and is part of what is now called the Samadhi Mandir.

What Baba preached was actually quite simple. According to him, real sorrow is the cycle of birth and death and the real happiness is liberation. He suggested: 
• Accept your lot cheerfully. If you acquire wealth, become humble the way a tree laden with fruit bows down. Money is a necessity but don’t get obsessed with it. Yet, don’t be a miser, be generous.
• Perform your duty conscientiously and with detachment, not regarding yourself as the doer.
• Surrender the fruit of action to god so that action does not bind you. It is ties of indebtedness from previous births, which bring humans and other beings together.
• Satisfy your sexual desire, albeit only with your spouse. Don’t drown in lust. Rein it with discrimination.
• Give rein to the negative states (avariciousness, anger, hatred, pride, etc.) only as much as is essential to go through the karma earmarked for this physical existence.
• To steady the mind, idol worship is a way, even though the idol is not God. If you do puja with devotion and emotion, you can concentrate better.
• Herculean effort is necessary for god-realization. There are four elements in sadhana: Discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral: that Brahman alone is true, the world is not. Next, renouncing all desire about this life or the thereafter. The third is to inculcate these qualities: control of the mind, bearing without anguish the fated pain and sorrow, remaining ensnared by maya, knowing that money, wife, children and relatives are all ephemeral. The fourth is an intense desire for liberation.

-by Parveen Chopra


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  • i have heard that he is muslims / he eat mutton / and he is a big fraud there are lot of things mentioned about him in facebook the whole page lot of evidence are there proving that shirdi sai is fraud play with heart of hindu people

  • Dear priya, if he is a fraud, first and foremost non of the people in this world would worship him or even build a temple. As far I cam across, most of the article being published in Facebook are hoax! You said he ate mutton my question is did you saw him eating mutton with you own eyes? Muslim Hindu and Buddhist nothing matters most because SAB KA MALIK EK… 🙂 Thank you and have a nice day!

  • Dear Priya. I appreciate your questions. But, I humbly tell you to rethink your association of eating meat and being a fraud. Shirdi Sai never told anyone to worship Him. He was a fakir who smoked pot and did not take bath for several days. If your yardstick for the measurement of being holy is being clean and abstaining from meat eating, you might be wrong.I do understand that a very saintly figure would give up killing other beings. Why? Because he does not want to cause pain for it. But, what will he do if a being is in extreme pain and is in the final moments of its destiny? Liberate it. Even your Gandhi thatha has acclaimed that right? Try to understand that a person’s state of mind is the only way to tell if he is / isn’t a fraud. And that is very personal between his consciousness and the Supreme force. Noone outside could possibly understand its dynamics and thereby noone is eligible to judge his intentions. Again, he never asked anyone to worship him. Just helps people who call upon him. God bless.

  • प्रियाजी नमस्ते , साईं को बदनाम करने वालो की फेसबुक पर भरमार है . वो समझते है की साईं को गाली देने से वो हमसे बड़े हिन्दू कहलायेंगे. आप उनसे debate करोगे तो गाली गलोज पे उतर आते है . और कहेंगे वेदों में साईं का वर्णन नहीं है …पुराणों में नहीं है ..आदि आदि . अब कोई इनसे logic के साथ पूछे की क्या आसाराम का वर्णन है वेद पुराण में क्या और किसी महान संत का वर्णन है वेद पुराण में …तो यह बौखला जाते है .यह आको गुमराह कनरे आपको पूरी बुक का pdf और link भी दे देंगे . और मज़े की बात तो यह है की इन्होने कभी कोई हिन्दू धर्म ग्रन्थ या वेदो को पढ़ा ही नहीं .मै बहुतो के साथ बात कर चूका हूँ फेस बुक पर . इनका पेज भी है “इतिहास का सबसे बड़ा पाखंड”. आप साईं पर और भगवन पर पूरा विश्वास रखे …साईं आपको खुद अपने होने का प्रमाण देंगे. हां और एक बात कुछ लोग जाने अनजाने में साईं को विष्णु , कृष्णा , दुर्गा माता के रूप सा बनाकर चित्रित कर रहे है जो गलत है . आप उन्हें समझाए और साईं के नाम के आगे ॐ या जय साईं लगाये . राम के साथ सिर्फ सिया राम लगाये. धन्यवाद् और आभार .

  • Dear Priya,
    Its true that Sai never asked anyone to worship him or consider him as God. He might have ate nveg those days unfortunately we were physically not alive during those days to see that and we also don;t know whether he was a saint or God himself in human form. But I like the best part is that people from all walks of life, religions, caste come to his Darbar to worship him without any discrimination or being biased. And yes you will really feel his blessings when you pray to him from the core of your Heart with true feelings. Om Sai Ram