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Who is Shirdi Sai Baba
|Date of Birth||1838|
|Died||15 October 1918|
Shirdi, Bombay Presidency, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)
|Resting place||Samadhi Mandir, Shirdi|
Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, had been an Indian spiritual master who was seen as a manifestation of Sri Dattaguru by his devotees and was also described as a saint and a fakir. During and after his lifetime, he was venerated by both Hindu and Muslim believers.
According to life reports, he advocated the necessity of “self-realization” and chastised “passion for perishable things.” His teachings emphasise a moral code based on love, forgiveness, service to others, generosity, contentment, inner peace, and loyalty to God and guru. He emphasised the significance of surrendering to the real Satguru, who will guide the student through the jungle of spiritual training after having walked the path to divine consciousness.
Discrimination based on religion or caste was also opposed by Sai Baba. It’s unclear whether he was a Hindu or a Muslim. To Sai Baba, however, none of this mattered. His teachings blended Hinduism and Islam: he gave the mosque where he lived the Hindu name Dwarakamayi, performed both Hindu and Muslim ceremonies, lectured using words and figures from both traditions, and died in Shirdi. Allah Malik (God is King) and Sabka Malik Ek (Everyone’s Master is One) are two of his well-known epigrams that are linked with both Hinduism and Islam. “Look to me, and I will look to you,” he is supposed to have stated, as well as “Allah tera bhala karega.” He was thought to be Dattatreya’s manifestation.
Life of Sai Baba
Although Sai Baba’s roots are uncertain, there are some indicators that he was born near Shirdi. Historical research into Shirdi genealogy supports the hypothesis that Baba was given the name Haribhau Bhusari when he was born. Baba was well-known for his evasive, dishonest, and conflicting responses to enquiries about his ancestry and origins, dismissing the material as irrelevant. He allegedly told a close disciple, Mahalsapati, that he was born in the village of Pathri to Deshastha Brahmin parents and was committed to the care of a Muslim fakir as a child. On another occasion, Baba allegedly stated that the fakir’s wife had left him in the care of a Hindu guru named Venkusa of Selu, and that he had been Venkusa’s follower for 12 years. The majority of writers acknowledge Sai Baba’s Hindu (rather than Islamic) ancestry, but others accept both hypotheses (that Sai Baba was first brought up by a fakir, and then by a guru).
Baba is said to have arrived in the village of Shirdi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar District when he was about sixteen years old. Although biographers disagree on the exact date, it is widely assumed that Baba resided in Shirdi for three years, then vanished for a year before returning permanently around 1858, just after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. This suggests that he was born in the year 1838. He lived like an ascetic, sitting still under a neem tree and meditating in an asana. The peasants’ reactions are described in the Sai Satcharita.
The residents of the village were astounded to see such a young lad putting in such long hours of penance, regardless of the heat or cold. He hung out with no one during the day and was terrified of no one at night.
Some of the village’s religiously motivated residents (Mahalsapati, Appa Jogle, and Kashinatha) came to see him on a daily basis. The villagers thought he was insane and flung stones at him. He left the village after a period of time, and it is unknown where he went or what happened to him. There are hints that he visited several saints and fakirs and worked as a weaver; he claimed to have fought with Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi’s army during the 1857 Indian Rebellion.
Why he is Called Sai Baba?
In 1858, Sai Baba returned to Shirdi. When he arrived at Shirdi’s Khandoba Mandir, the temple priest Mahalsapati greeted him with “Aao, Sai!” (“Come on in, Sai!”) From that point on, he was known as Sai Baba.
He began wearing a knee-length one-piece Kafni robe and a fabric cap around this period. When Sai Baba arrived at Shirdi, Ramgir Bua, a devotee, claimed that he was clothed like an athlete and had ‘long hair flowing down to the end of his spine,’ and that he never shaved his head. Baba only began wearing the kafni and cloth cap after forfeiting a wrestling contest with one Mohiddin Tamboli. Baba’s dress contributed to his identification as a Muslim fakir, which was one of the reasons for the village’s early enmity toward him.
Baba lived under a neem tree for four to five years and walked for lengthy times in the Shirdi jungle. As he meditated for long periods of time, his demeanour was described as withdrawn and uncommunicative. He was eventually convinced to take up residence in an ancient and decaying mosque, where he lived alone, subsist on alms and receiving wandering Hindu and Muslim visitors. He kept a sacred fire (a dhuni) in the mosque and gave sacred ash (‘Udi’) to his visitors before they left. The ash was thought to have apotropaic and therapeutic properties. He served as a local hakim, administering ashes to ailing people. Sai Baba also gave spiritual instructions to his visitors, advising Hindus to read the Ramayana and Bhagavat Gita and Muslims to read the Qur’an. He emphasised the importance of continuous remembering of God’s name (dhikr) and frequently used cryptic language like as parables, symbols, and allegories to explain himself.
Baba is said to have tended a garden called Lendi Baug, which was named after a local river called Lendi. The garden still exists, and pilgrims visit it to see the temples (samadhis) of people and animals involved with Sai Baba’s life.
Sai Baba’s First Temple (Mandir)
Sai Baba’s renown began to spread in Mumbai in 1910. A large number of people began to visit him, believing him to be a saint with the ability to perform miracles or even an avatar. His first temple was established in Bhivpuri, Karjat.
Shirdi Sai Baba Cause of Death
Shirdi Sai Baba told several of his devotees in August 1918 that he would soon be “leaving his mortal body.” He got a high fever and stopped eating around the end of September. He urged his pupils to recite sacred passages to him as his condition worsened, however he continued to receive visits. On the same day of the Vijayadashami holiday that year, he died on October 15, 1918. His bones were interred in Buti Wada in Shirdi, which later became Shree Samadhi Mandir or Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, which is still in use today.
Shirdi Sai Baba Teachings and Philosophy
Nobody goes somewhere until there is a relationship or connection. If any men or creatures approach you, do not dismiss them rudely; instead, welcome them and treat them with respect. If you provide water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and your verandah to strangers for sitting and relaxing, Sri Hari (God) will undoubtedly be pleased. If someone asks you for money and you don’t want to give it, don’t give it, but don’t bark at him like a dog.Shirdi Sai Baba Teachings
All persecution based on religion or caste was condemned by Sai Baba. He was a devout Christian, Hindu, and Muslim who opposed religious rigidity.
Sai Baba taught his followers to pray, chant God’s name, and read sacred texts. He advised Muslims to read the Qur’an and Hindus to study the Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Vasistha, among other classics. He was moved by the Bhagavad Gita’s ideology and encouraged others to adopt it in their own life. He urged his devotees and followers to live a moral life, to help others, to love all living beings without discrimination, and to cultivate two fundamental character traits: faith (Shraddha) and patience (Saburi). He was an outspoken opponent of atheism.
In his teachings, Sai Baba emphasised the significance of carrying out one’s responsibilities without attachment to earthly things and remaining content no matter what. In his personal practise, Sai Baba followed Islamic worship protocols; he avoided regular rituals but allowed the practise of Salah, Al-Fatiha chanting, and Qur’an readings during Muslim festival periods. Baba adored listening to mawlid and qawwali accompanied by the tabla and sarangi twice daily, in addition to reciting the Al-Fatiha on occasion.
Both Islam and Hinduism had religious writings that Sai Baba understood. In the spirit of Advaita Vedanta, he revealed the significance of Hindu scriptures. His ideology included many bhakti themes. His teachings were influenced by the three primary Hindu spiritual paths: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Karma Yoga.
Is Sai Baba a Hindu or a Muslim?
Shirdi Sai Baba himself had a mysterious image, refusing to affiliate with either of the two religions. His Muslim followers were adamant that he belonged to their fold, referring to him as an avali. He was also regarded as one of them by Hindu bhaktas, as he frequently linked himself with their gods and practises. Sai Baba desired to belong to everyone and to be shared by everyone. When asked whether he was Hindu or Muslim, he would frequently become enraged. He once told a follower: “You’ve been with me for the past eighteen years. Is Sai implying that you are only three and a half cubits tall?” Sai Baba was able to avert violence between the two communities, and in fact, he was able to bring them together in a peaceful atmosphere. Devotees chant the following stanza in the midday arti: “There is no distinction between Hindus and Muslims in terms of substance or core concept. You were born in a human body to draw attention to this. You have a soft spot for both Hindus and Muslims. This is demonstrated by Sai, who pervades everything and is the soul of everything.”
Baba would frequently discuss Hindu gods, quoting sacred writings or even commenting on portions from the Bhagavadgita, the Isha Upanishad, and other scriptures. Krishna and Rama’s names appear to have been particularly meaningful to him. Baba would always talk about Allah and the Koran with his Muslim followers, often quoting Persian verses. “Allah rakhega vaiia rahena,” or “Let us be content with what we have and submit our will to Allah,” was one of his favourite phrases. Sai calmed his audience on multiple times by stressing that he, too, was merely a devotee of Allah, a modest faqir with two arms and two legs. Parsis and even a few Christians would later flock to Shirdi. All religions were revered by Sai Baba, who believed that all religions are just different pathways leading to the same ultimate goal. His idea of universal humanity’s unity, which appealed to everyone, was extremely similar to Sufism in Islam. “Being one and lord of all meant that all of God’s creatures were part of one large family,” Sikand writes. “This idea was completely consistent with… Sufi teachings, which hold that God’s light is present in every creature, indeed in every atom of His creation.” Sai Baba advised his Hindu disciples to read their holy scriptures and choose their own course. All paths were equally valid in his eyes, and “Ishwar” (the Hindu God) and “Allah” were interchangeable.
People who came to his home were so taken aback to see Hindus, Muslims, and others living peacefully together that it changed their lives and belief systems in many cases.
Sai Baba Miracles
Bilocation, levitation, mindreading, materialisation, exorcisms, entering a state of Samdhi at will, lighting lamps with water, removing his limbs or intestines and sticking them back to his body (khandana yoga), curing the incurably sick, appearing beaten when another was beaten, preventing a mosque from falling down are among the miracles claimed by Sai Baba’s disciples and devotees. He also provided them Darshan (vision) in the shape of Sri Rama, Krishna, Vithoba, Shiva, and a variety of other gods, depending on devotees’ faith.
He appeared to his followers in their dreams, according to his disciples, and gave them counsel. Many anecdotes have been documented by his disciples.