Sai Baba of Shirdi - About Saibaba, Saibaba Introduction

Sai Baba of Shirdi - About Saibaba, Saibaba Introduction

Shirdi Sai Baba, also called Sai Baba of Shirdi, spiritual leader dear to Hindu and Muslim devotees throughout India and in diaspora communities as far flung as the United States and the Caribbean. The name Sai Baba comes from sai, a Persian word used by Muslims to denote a holy person, and baba, Hindi for father. Sai Baba’s early years are a mystery.

Sai Baba of Shirdi - About Saibaba, Saibaba Introduction




Shirdi Sai Baba, also called Sai Baba of Shirdi, spiritual leader dear to Hindu and Muslim devotees throughout India and in diaspora communities as far flung as the United States and the Caribbean. The name Sai Baba comes from sai, a Persian word used by Muslims to denote a holy person, and baba, Hindi for father. Sai Baba’s early years are a mystery. Most accounts mention his birth as a Hindu Brahman and his subsequent adoption by a Sufi fakir, or mendicant. Later in life he claimed to have had a Hindu guru. Sai Baba arrived in Shirdi, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, about 1858 and remained there until his death in 1918.

At first denounced by the villagers of Shirdi as a madman, by the turn of the century Sai Baba had a considerable following of Hindus and Muslims, attracted by his compelling teachings and his performance of apparent miracles, which often involved the granting of wishes and the healing of the sick. He wore a Muslim cap and for the better part of his life lived in an abandoned mosque in Shirdi, where he daily kept a fire burning, a practice reminiscent of some Sufi orders. Yet he named that mosque Dvarakamai, a decidedly Hindu name, and is said to have had substantial knowledge of the Puranas, the Bhagavadgita, and various branches of Hindu thought. Sai Baba’s teachings often took the form of paradoxical parables and displayed both his disdain for the rigid formalism that Hinduism and Islam could fall prey to and his empathy for the poor and diseased.

Shirdi is a major pilgrimage site, and other spiritual figures like Upasani Baba and Meher Baba credited the teachings of Sai Baba. In the late 20th and early 21st century Sathya Sai Baba claimed to be his incarnation.

Saibaba Life

His early life has few reliable sources. It is suggested he was brought up in the village of Pathri, by a fakir and his wife. A disciple of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Das Ganu, said he was later looked after by Venkusha. When Sai Baba was sixteen years old he first arrived in the village of Shirdi in Maharashtra. He lived a very ascetic life, spending many hours in prayer and meditation. Some called him a saint; others were less impressed by this ascetic. He stayed in a Khabdoba temple, and later a dilapidated mosque.

Without any preaching or attempt to attract followers, people were drawn to his presence, and he began to attract followers from both the Hindu and Muslim faith. As well as teaching spirituality and tolerance of religions, he was also known for his ability to create miracles, such as materialising objects out of thin air. As his life progressed, increasingly big crowds were attracted to wherever he went. Sai lived in Shirdi all his life and was buried in the Buty Wada, also known as Samadhi Mandir.

The Wonderful Life and Teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba

“What is new in the world? Nothing. What is old in the world? Nothing. Everything has always been and will always be.” – Shirdi Sai Baba

Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian spiritual master who was regarded by his devotees as a saint, fakir, and satguru, according to their individual proclivities and beliefs. He was revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees, and during, as well as after, his life it remained uncertain if he was a Hindu or a Muslim. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba. He stressed the importance of surrender to the true Satguru or Murshid, who, having trod the path to divine consciousness, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.

Sai Baba is worshipped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was realization of the self. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru.

He gave no distinction based on religion or caste. Sai Baba’s teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived, practiced 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 Hinduism, Islam and Sufism. He also said, “Trust in me and your prayer shall be answered”. He always uttered “Allah Malik” (“God is King”).
  • If you are wealthy, be humble. Plants bend when they bear fruit.
  • Spend money in charity; be generous and munificent but not extravagant.
  • Whatever creature comes to you, human or otherwise, treat it with consideration. 
  • See the divine in the human being. There is a wall of separation between oneself and others
  • and between you and me. Destroy this wall! I get angry with none.
  • Will a mother get angry with her children?
  • Will the ocean send back the waters to the several rivers?
  • What is our duty? To behave properly. That is enough.
  • God is not so far away. He is not in the heavens above, nor in hell below. He is always near you.
  • If you cannot endure abuse from another, just say a simple word or two, or else leave.
  • I stay by the side of whoever repeats my name.
  • Do not be obsessed by egotism,
  • imagining that you are the cause of action: everything is due to God.
  • Do not fight with anyone,
  • nor retaliate, nor slander anyone.
  • All gods are one. There is no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim.
  • Mosque and temple are the same.
  • When you see with your inner eye. Then you realize that you are God and not different from Him.
  • To God be the praise. I am only the slave of God.
  • Choose friends who will stick to you till the end, through thick and thin
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