SHIRDI SAI BABA

SaiBaba, also known as “Sai Baba of Shirdi”, was an Indian guru, yogi and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim followers as a saint.

Popular among both Hindus and Muslims,

Shri SaiBaba became a great building force between the two disparate communities. He regularly recited Hindu and Muslim prayers. His Hindu followers considered him to be an avatar or reincarnation of Shiva and Dattatreya and he was regarded as a sadguru and an incarnation of Kabir.

The name ‘Sai Baba’ is a combination of Persian and Indian origin; Sāī (Sa’ih) is the Persian term for “holy one” or “saint”, usually attributed to Islamic ascetics, whereas Bābā is a word, meaning “father” used in Indian languages.
The appellative thus refers to SaiBaba as being a “holy father” or “saintly father”. His parentage, birth details, and life before the age of sixteen are obscure, which has led to a variety of speculations and theories attempting to explain the SaiBaba’s origins.

In his life and teachings, he tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam:

SaiBaba lived in a mosque, was buried in a Hindu temple, practised Hindu and Muslim rituals, and taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions. One of his well known epigrams says of God: “Allah Maalik” (“God is Master”).

SaiBaba remains a very popular saint, especially in India, 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.

His philosophy ingrained ‘Shraddha’ meaning faith and ‘Saburi’ meaning compassion. According to him Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.

He said that everyone was the soul and not the body. He advised his disciples and followers to overcome the negative features of character and develop the good ones. He taught them that all fate was determined by karma. Shirdi SaiBaba remains a popular saint and is worshipped mainly in Maharashtra, southern Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Debate on his Hindu or Muslim origins continues to take place. He is also revered by several notable Hindu and Sufi religious leaders. Some of his disciples received fame as spiritual figures and saints.

Shri SaiBaba left his physical body in October 15, 1918… but he is believed to be with us even more now than he was earlier…

SaiBaba left no written works. All his teachings were oral and catchy. His sayings were short, crisp and in layman language with which the common mass could easily associate. His teachings were the combined elements of Hinduism and Islam.

SaiBaba would ask his followers for money(dakshina), which he would give away to the poor and other devotees, the same day and spendthe rest on buying wood to maintain Dhuni. According to his followers he did it in order to rid them of greed and material attachment.

SaiBaba encouraged charity and the importance of sharing with others. 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 be certainly 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.”

Today, Shri Saibaba has millions of devotees in India and abroad. Shirdi, the obscure village in Maharashtra has become a pilgrimage destination much as Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Varanasi. With over 25,000 pilgrims thronging in here each day the number of pilgrims climb to over a hundred thousand on holidays and festival days. 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.

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