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Sai Baba of Shirdi Pilgrimage Site in India

Sai Baba of Shirdi

Sai Baba of Shirdi Pilgrimage Site

Sai Baba of Shirdi (Unknown,1837- October 15, 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim devotees as a saint. Many Hindu devotees including Hemadpant who wrote the famous Shri Sai Satcharitra consider him an incarnation of Lord Krishna while other devotees consider him as an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Satguru, an enlightened Sufi Pir, or a Qutub. He is a well-known figure in many parts of the world, but especially in India, where he is much revered.
Sai Baba's real name is unknown. The name "Sai" was given to him upon his arrival at Shirdi, a town in the west-Indian state of Maharashtra, by Mhalsapati, a devotee of Kandoba Raya at the temple stairs where he first saw him. No information is available regarding his birth and place of birth. Sai baba never spoke about his past life, though he did mention to several devotees like Shyama that their relationship exists since 72 births.
Sai Baba remains a very popular saint, and is worshiped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. Sai Baba's teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque he lived in, practiced Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, " Sabka Malik Ek " ("One God governs all"), is associated with Islam and Sufism. He always uttered " Allah Malik " ("God is King").

 

 

Long time ago, at the beginning of eighteenth century a young spiritual man with brighted eyes took shelter in a mosque, in Shirdi Village (of Maharshtra State, In India) . Nobody knew from where this stranger had come . The curious villagers started offering food to the man, but he never asked anything from them. Sometimes he shared his food with the animals. Soon the young fakir, as he was started to be addressed, started expressing his view points with few elderly villagers. His simple language of expresssion and his special power of solving the problems of poor needy and destitutes soon made this less known fakir, known as Shri Sai Baba. Everyday Sai Baba would be a pauper having distributed all among the needy and the poor. But Sai Baba's life of a Fakir remained calm, unaltered and there in is the saint's Spiritual glory. People also realised that this "Baba" was no ordinary person but a person with extraordinary God powers. Sai baba strongly believed in uniformity of religion and he never distinguished anyone on the basis of caste or religion. As all good things have to end ultimately "Baba" also left his body on his own will on 15th Oct. 1918, leaving his millions of believers and followers crying. His body was laid in the Samadhi Mandir called "Booty", which he had asked his disciple to built before his death.Sai Baba was Unique, in that, he lived his message through the Essence of his Being. His life and relationship with the common man was his teaching. His most concise message for one and all alike was "Why fear when I am here". Sai Baba's attraction and appeal lie in this fact that he was a perfect model of the harmony of all religions, for whom this world - with all its sectarian and religious antagonism, had been waiting. Sai Baba lived to awaken and lead mankind to the varities of spiritual life. All were treated by him alike. Under his Hand, both the Hindus and Muslims happily took part in each others religious festivals. The caste scheme of the Hindus had no relevance with Shri Sai baba. He had introduced the tradition of group worship, group prayer and group dinning for all and would share his 'Chilum' (Tobacco pipe) with all. He even showed highest compassion for animals and birds and encouraged his devotees to feed and take care of them. He refused to accept food brought in silver and gold utensils from a queen but relished a single ROTI (hand-made bread) of a beggar woman and showered all His blessings. - Sai Baba practiced and preached humanism and universal brotherhood - prophet like. - Sai Baba established the superiority of love and compassion above egoism - Christ-like. - Sai Baba taught simplicity of livelihood and excellence of human virtue reflected in day to day conduct, Buddha-like.  

 

Sai Baba made twelve assurances to his devotees:

  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 the mosque Dwarakamayi.
  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.
  12. If you take a step towards me, I will take 100 steps towards you

Reported miracles

Sai Baba's millions of disciples and devotees believe that he performed many miracles such as bilocation, levitation, mindreading, materialization, exorcisms, making the river Yamuna, entering a state of Samadhi at will, and lightning lamps with water, removing his limbs or intestines and sticking them back to his body (khandayoga), curing the incurably sick, appearing beaten when another was beaten, after death rising on third day like Jesus Christ, preventing a mosque from falling down on people, and helping his devotees in a miraculous way. He also gave Darshan (vision) to people in the form of Rama, Krishna, Vithoba and many other Gods depending on the faith of devotees.
According to his followers he appeared to them in dreams after his death, and gave them advice. His devotees have documented many stories.

Teachings and practices

Sai Baba opposed all persecution based on religion or caste. He was an opponent of religious orthodoxy - Christian, Hindu and Muslim. Although Sai Baba himself led the life of an ascetic, he advised his followers to lead an ordinary family life.

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. Occasionally reciting the Al-Fatiha himself, Baba also enjoyed listening to moulu and qawwali accompanied with the tabla and sarangi twice daily.

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 to study texts such as the Ramayana,Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Vasistha. He advised his devotees and followers to lead a moral life, help others, love every living being without any discrimination, and develop two important features of character: faith ( Shraddha ) and patience ( Sabr ). He criticized atheism. In his teachings, Sai Baba emphasized the importance of performing one's duties without attachment to earthly matters, and of being content regardless of the situation.

Sai Baba interpreted the religious texts of both Islam and Hinduism. He explained the meaning of the Hindu scriptures in the spirit of Advaita Vedanta. His philosophy also had numerous elements of bhakti. The three main Hindu spiritual paths - Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Karma Yoga - influenced his teachings.

Sai Baba said that God penetrates every thing and every being. He emphasized the complete oneness of God which was very close to the Islamic tawhid and the Hindu doctrine of the Upanishads. Sai Baba said that the world is transient, and that only God and his gifts are eternal. He emphasized 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 guru. He said that everyone was the soul and not the body. He advised his followers to develop a virtuous character, and taught them that all fate was determined bykarma.

Sai Baba left no written works. His teachings were typically short, pithy sayings rather than elaborate discourses. Sai Baba would ask his followers for money (dakshina), some of which he would give to the poor and other devotees the same day, and the rest was used to buy wood to maintain Dhuni. According to his followers, this was done to rid them of greed and material attachment.

Sai Baba encouraged charity, and stressed the importance of sharing. 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 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." Other favorite sayings of his were: "Why do you fear when I am here", and "He has no beginning... He has no end."

Article Taken From http://www.universeonweb.com/india/indiatourist/shirdi.htm



 
 


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