Simplicity is part of Indian culture and it has been possessed by spiritual leaders as well as the common man. One such great soul who was an epitome of peace, simplicity and a great guiding force was Sai Baba of Shirdi. He is worshipped by Indians irrespective of their religion. The exact information regarding date and place of birth, exact name and parents of Sai Baba is not known but He lived between 1838 and 1918. He did not belong to any religion and was far above than religion. Throughout His life Sai Baba lived in a mosque and after death His physical body was cremated in a temple.
The name Sai was given to him in Shirdi, Maharashtra. Sai is a Persian word given to ‘Sufi Saint’ and baba means ‘father’ or ‘poor old man’. Sai Baba first arrived at Shirdi when he was 16 years old. He was always seen meditating under a neem tree and led a life of an ascetic. Some villagers even considered Sai Baba bad and threw stones on him. He left the village for a year and then again came back to Shirdi in 1858. Again for four to five years he lived under a neem tree and later on Sai Baba started living in a mosque of Shirdi village. He used to live on alms and maintained a sacred fire known as dhuni in the mosque. Sai Baba used to give ashes of dhuni to all his devotees and this ash was supposed to have miraculous healing powers. Along with this, Sai Baba used to deliver spiritual teachings. Sai Baba’s teachings were greatly influenced by three Hindu spiritual paths of Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga. His worship used to include both Hindu and Islam rituals. Self-realization was what Sai Baba preached and to achieve this, one should not get attached to any sort of perishable thing. An epigram by him “sabka maalik ek” (one God governs all) is very popular and he used to utter “Allah Malik” (God is King).
Sai Baba lived his entire life teaching people love, forgiveness, inner peace, gratification and un-shattered devotion. His teachings acted as direction for his devotees. Through these, devotees were directed towards the path of salvation. Shraddha and saburi were the two fundamental principles of Sai Baba.
Shraddha is a Sanskrit word that means love and respect and faith in the divine power. Spiritual inspiration results in Shraddha that is far above than intellectual intelligence and rational belief. Only an unwavering faith in God can lead to eternity. Sai Baba believed and preached the spiritual guidance. Saburi means patience and firmness. If you want to fulfill your goal then saburi is an integral part of the entire process and must be kept alive throughout the path.
Purity of the soul, mind and heart is required on the divine path rather than the purity of the body. If your mind is impure, then all your efforts to clean your physical body would go waste. For Sai Baba, Guru was the supreme and must be given the highest respect. He asked His devotees a complete surrender to the Guru.
Sai Baba had lived a life of an ascetic but advised his followers to live a family life with simplicity. One should always chant God’s name and keep reading holy books. One should always help others and love everything without discrimination.
Sai Baba’s Miracles
Present at two locations at the same time, mindreading, lighting lamps with water, curing incurable diseases with ash, stopping the fall of the village mosque on people and many more miracles like this were performed by Sai Baba. He had even appeared to people in the form of various Gods as per the faith of the devotees. Many devotees had seen him in their dreams giving advice even after his death.
The Shirdi Diary by Ganesh Shrikrishna Khaparde is the primary source of information about Sai Baba’s life and his teachings. Another very important source of Sai Baba’s life is the Shri Sai Satcharita, written in Marathi in 1916 by Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar. The author was nick named ‘Hemadpant’ by Sai Baba. His book consists of 53 chapters including Sai Baba’s teachings, miracles and life.
Visiting the Sai Baba temple gives you peace.