About Saibaba

Who is Shirdi Saibaba

Who is Sai Baba? This is not an easy question to answer! Even if we were to assemble all the available information, an adequate explanation is likely to elude us. One might as well ask "what" as much as "who", for how to describe the indescribable? How to explain the inexplicable? And how to speak about the unspeakably mysterious? As G. R. Dabholkar (alias Hemadpant), the illustrious author of the Sri Sai Satcharitra helplessly submitted, "Who can describe Baba's boundless love and his wonderful natural knowledge and his all-pervasiveness?" In fact, here Hemadpant has given us a clue to Baba's identity: for many of his devotees, Baba is an embodiment of love, "boundless love", and once we begin to explore the question of who Baba is, we realize that it is not something to be described, but rather something each of us can experience for ourselves. Then, as Hemadpant says, "Blessed are they who can experience one or all of these!" Sai Baba is revered as one of the greatest saints ever seen in India, endowed with unprecedented powers and worshipped as a God incarnate. This mysterious being, who arrived unannounced in Shirdi as a youth and remained there throughout his long life, transformed the lives of those who met him and continues to do so for those whose hearts are touched by his love.

about shirdi saibaba

Baba stated that his mission is to "give blessings" and he proves it in myriad ways: healing the sick, saving lives, protecting the vulnerable, averting accidents, granting offspring, facilitating financial gain, bringing people into harmony with themselves and each other and, above all, in effecting the spiritual evolution and transformation of those who come to him. Baba is, as one of his contemporary devotees put it, "the embodiment of the Supreme Spirit, lighting the sadhakas' path by his every word and action." To his devotees, Baba is nothing less than God. An outstanding aspect of Sai Baba is that he is beyond distinctions of religion, caste or creed. Some believe him to be Hindu, others see him as a Muslim. He embodied all religions yet was free from all strictures. Hindus and Muslims find their meeting point in Sai, and people from all communities and all walks of life are united by the great love and reverence Baba inspires in them. "I look on all with an equal eye," said Baba, and he would brook no dispute or religious bigotry among his disparate devotees. As Sri Babuji observes in Arati Sai Baba, "Not identifying in totality with any religious community, by steering himself along an unbiased middle path of transcendence, seems to be the constant leitmotif of Baba's lifestyle. The popular notion is that Baba expressed himself as a Hindu to Hindus and as a Muslim to Muslims. However, in most cases Baba acted vice versa, insisting that the Hindus should accept him as a fakir and the Muslims as a Brahmin!" Hindus could claim Baba as their own as he responded to their needs and permitted worship according to their rituals, but they could not deny the fact that his dwelling place was a mosque and the name of Allah was ever on his lips. As for Sai Baba’s style of teaching, he did not deliver lectures and rarely gave formal teachings. Rather, he taught by parable, direct experience, and the example of his own life. Baba's way is to cater directly to the needs of each individual and he did not require his devotees to take up any rituals or conventionally prescribed practice, nor did he favour any particular path over another. Baba generally discouraged people from changing their chosen form of worship. Indeed, once when a Hindu devotee converted to Islam, Baba slapped him and exclaimed, "What! You have changed your father?" The Sri Sai Satcharitra (Ch. 19) reveals an inkling of the infinite variety of methods that Baba used to "teach" his devotees. "Sometimes Baba observed a long silence which was, in a way, his dissertation on Brahman; at other times, he was Consciousness-Bliss incarnate, surrounded by his devotees. Sometimes he spoke in parables, and at other times, indulged in wit and humour. At times, he was quite unambiguous; and at times he seemed enraged. Sometimes he gave his teachings in a nutshell, at other times he argued at length. Many a time, he was very plain. In this way, he gave varied instructions to many, according to their requirements." In everyday life, Baba never missed an opportunity to point out something that would benefit an individual's evolution. This could come in the form of direct instruction, or devotees might be put in circumstances where they were forced to realize something: "Like a loving mother forcing bitter but wholesome medicines down the throats of her children for the sake of their health, Sai Baba imparted spiritual instructions to His devotees." (Ch.11) Baba's "teachings" sometimes appear contradictory, but this is because it was tailored to what a particular individual needed at a particular time. Thus sometimes he would encourage the reading of specific scriptures, but at other times, also sitting quietly; sometimes doing japa, but also ceasing to do japa; activity in the world, but also temporary withdrawal from it; puja to one's ishtadevata (chosen deity) and kirtan (including namasaptaha - singing God's name continuously for seven days), but on other occasions he would show that there was no need for such things, and so on. There are also several instances recorded of Baba reinforcing a devotee's faith by manifesting to them in the form of their ishtadevata. Above all, however, Baba taught through an experience of love. The limitless love he extended to his devotees was reflected in their loving devotion and dependence on him. Baba spoke memorably about the great love between himself and his own guru; it was indescribable, he said, all-compelling, and filled them both with unsurpassable bliss. It is this powerful emotion that Baba triggers in his devotees, which then becomes the basis for all his teaching. Thus, more than anything else, Baba advocated trust and dependence on the sadguru, who, he repeatedly said, would take care of everything. Baba's love and protection was such that it is often described as "motherly". The written experiences of the devotees and even the arati songs abound with joyful references to this; Baba also often spoke of his "children". As Sri Babuji wrote in Arati Sai Baba, "If we are to sum up Sai Baba's life, it is the spontaneous overflow of bounteous grace, in the form of spiritual and temporal well-being, inundating those who take refuge in him." For Sai Baba not only guided spiritual aspirants to the final destination, but he also looked compassionately on those seeking fulfilment of worldly desires. He is the epitome of Sri Babuji's statement that "the sadguru is the bridge which fuses the spiritual with the material". Once when a devotee objected to people going to Baba only for temporal benefit, Baba rebuked him, saying, "Don't think like that! That's what my people come to me for! First they get their desires fulfiled, then once they are comfortably placed in life they follow me and progress further." In what has now become a famous adage, he once said, "I give my devotees what they ask for until they ask for what I want to give." To this day, examples proliferate of how Baba is daily catering to the needs of the millions who worship him. They give us a small glimpse of Baba's unique greatness - his omniscience, omnipresence, his divine identity - and his overflowing love for all beings.

Sai Baba’s Daily Routine

about shirdi saibaba

It is foolhardy to attempt to confine and describe the day-to-day activities of Sri Sai Baba to a particular timetable, while he himself was beyond the limitations of time and space. However, let us, within our human limitations, attempt to see what he did daily at Shirdi. Baba would rise before the rosy dawn first blushed across the sky, and meditate while sitting leaning on the pillar besides the dhuni. No one would get the chance to see what he was doing at that time. He would allow no one to come near or to be even within fifty feet of him. After a while he would softly chant words like, “Yaade Haq,” “Allah Vali Hai,” and “Allah Maalik Hai” and perform some yogic mudras in between. Only Abdul Baba and Madhav Fasle would enter the mosque and do the normal housekeeping work, such as sweeping the floor of the mosque, trimming the wicks of the lamps and refilling them with oil, and placing the firewood near the dhuni. As the day broke, Bhagoji Shinde would enter the mosque and would softly massage Baba’s hand and feet. Baba’s hand was burnt in 1910 when he put his hand in the fire of the dhuni to save a child from being burnt. Bhagoji would open the previous days’ bandage and after softly massaging the scar with ghee (clarified butter), would tie on a new one. He performed this service to Baba daily for eight years, till his mahasamadhi. Perhaps Baba’s burn injury may have healed after a few days, but Bhagoji’s devotion and love for Baba made him continue with the service. He was indeed a blessed soul. After this Bhagoji would get the pipe ready and hand it over to Baba. Baba would take a couple of puffs and hand it back to him again. It would be about 7 to 7.30 am by the time all this was over. By then the devotees would have reached the mosque for the darshan of Baba. Baba would describe to them how he had saved his devotees who were far away from harm during the previous night, and how he had conveyed those who died during the night, safely to heaven. The devotees would later learn that whatever Baba had stated was true when the devotees from distant places came to Shirdi to thank Baba and narrate their experiences. While this was going on Madhav Fasle and Tukaram and other such attendants would fill buckets with water. Baba never brushed his teeth. He would rinse his mouth and wash his face, hands and feet. The way he washed his face was so delicate that one loved to watch him. Those suffering from leprosy would take the water Baba had used to rinse his mouth and would devotedly apply it to the effected parts of their bodies. The water would help them in proportion to their faith in Baba. While Baba was washing his face the devotees would start coming for the Kakad arati with mace, fans and other ceremonial accoutrements. Baba would welcome them like a mother welcomes her children. Later the devotees would take udi from Baba and depart for their daily chores. The Kakad arati and the Sej arati would only be performed at chavadi on alternate days. Baba did not bathe every day. A daily bath is forbidden to fakirs. In the early days he would bathe either in the Lendi garden or amongst the bushes outside the village. Later he started bathing at the mosque. The attendants would bring two copper vessels full of hot water and two vessels of cold water and lower the curtains around the mosque. Baba would mix the water to his liking and slowly bathe, taking an hour and a half for the bath. He would then stand near the dhuni while the close devotees wiped dry his back, neck and head. Devotees would treat the water used by Baba as holy and used it to cure their diseases. Ramji of Nasik, who was mentally ill and had come to Shirdi, became normal after drinking this water. As a mark of his gratitude he presented Baba with a stone to stand on while bathing. This stone was in Dwarakamai. Now if you happen to visit Shirdi you can see the Bathing Stone in Sai Baba Museum. Baba would bathe once in seven or eight days. Sometimes he would not bathe for even five to six weeks. When any devotee questioned him regarding this he would say, “I have just bathed in the Ganges, why should I bathe again?” What need does the ever-pure one have for bathing when he, by mere will, can make rivers flow from his toes? Baba would look very neat and clean even when he did not bathe. He would wear a green cloth after bathing, and after rinsing his kufni, place it near the dhuni to dry. He would put it on again after it had dried. He wore it at all times except after the bath. His kufnis were made of coarse cloth. The devotees would plead with Baba to change them when they became too old and torn, and only then would Baba wear a new one. Tatya would be bent upon making Baba throw away his bedraggled and torn kufni for a new one. He would go close to Baba on the pretext of talking to him and saying, “Baba, what is this? Your kufni seems to be torn!” and would put his fingers in the holes and tear them to make them even bigger, thus making them impossible to mend. He would then feign innocence and insist on Baba changing it saying, “Baba, your kufni is badly torn, you must change it immediately.” Baba could then no longer avoid wearing a new one. He would call for Kashinath Shimpi, a cloth merchant and say, “Kashinath, get me a kufni!” Once Kashinath brought it, he would pay much more for it than it cost. He would wear the new kufni and throw the old one into the dhuni. Normally whenever Baba wore a new kufni, he would distribute new kufnis to the poor fakirs and other sadhus at the mosque. So it was a festival for them whenever Baba changed his kufni. Once in 1914 Baba was distributing kufnis at the mosque. A devotee called Narke who was standing there wished that he too would get a kufni from the hands of Baba. The moment the thought entered his mind, Baba turned to him and said, “No, the Fakir is not agreeable to your getting a kufni. What am I to do?” Baba would sometimes call a barber called Bala and have his head shaved. He would also have his moustache shaped by him and reward him handsomely. At about 8 a.m., Baba would start on his rounds for alms. He went to the houses of Ganapati Tatya Patil (Bayajabai), Appaji Patil, Sakharam Shelke, Waman Gondkar and Nanduram Marwadi. To them fell the good fortune of giving sustenance to the One who was the sustainer of life in all the worlds. Baba had a different way of calling for alms at each of the houses at which he begged. He would say, “Abaad-e-abaad, Allah bhala karega,” and bless the housewives. He would say, “Bayaja maa! Jevan de! Roti lao (give food, get the roti)!” at the house of Bayajabai. He would stand In front of the houses of Appaji Patil and Waman Gondkar and calling them by name would say, “Bhakri de (give roti).” He would stand in front of Sakharam’s house and call for his wife, “Itlayi Bai! Roti lao.” He would go last to the house of Nanduram Marwadi and say either, “Nanduram bhakri de,” or call his wife Radhabai, “Bopidi Bai bhakri de.” “Bopidi” means “to stutter” in Marathi, and as Radhabai had a slight stammer, Baba sometimes called her by that name. He would shout at her, “Why so much delay?” if she were late in bringing the food for Baba. Sometimes, even when no special occasion such as a festival warranted it, he would say, “Bopidi Bai, mitha lao” (get the sweetmeats). She would leave all her work and make puran polies for Baba whenever he asked for sweetmeats. He would put a piece in his mouth and distribute the rest to the devotees present there. Baba went only to these houses for alms and he would always go to them in the same order, but there was no saying how many times a day he would go. There were sometimes occasions when he went seven or eight times a day. “Baba went eight times a day for alms in the first three years,” says Sri Bayyaji Appakote Patil, “He then went four times a day for the next three years, and twice a day for the next twelve years, and in the last days he would go only once a day.” When Baba went to Bayajabai’s house for alms, she would plead with him to sit a while in the house and eat his food there. Baba never entered any house as a rule, however, he could not refuse the loving supplication of the motherly Bayajabai and so he would sometimes sit on the platform abutting the forecourt of her house. The devoted Bayajabai never sent Baba away empty-handed no matter how many times he went for alms. She would eagerly come running out of the house and put at least some pickles or papadam in Baba’s alms-bag. Baba called her his sister; she was indeed blessed. She had seen the greatness and the glory of Baba when the whole world was unaware of him, and had resolved, even in those early days, not to eat till she had fed him. Her life in the previous birth must indeed have been meritorious for her to have such discernment. The housewives of Shirdi in those days may not have been highly educated or considered cultured by the so-called high society, however we must salute them for their rare qualities of devotion and love for Baba. Ahmed Nagar district was reeling under a famine in 1876, two years after Baba came to Shirdi. Baba would then only beg at the houses of those who were relatively well off - Nanduram and Bayaja Bai. He would get half a roti at both of these houses during the famine. Later when the devotees recognized the divinity in Baba, they started coming to Shirdi in droves. Even when the richer devotees placed the choicest delicacies in front of him, he still begged his food and ate whatever he got as alms. He never even looked at the luxuries and rich articles surrounding him. He, who came to be known to this world as a fakir, lived on as a fakir till the end. He never cooked solely for himself, nor did he keep anything for the morrow. Even in the last days when he was so unwell that he could not go for alms himself, he would send someone else in his stead and eat whatever was obtained. Baba sometimes suffered from constipation and diseases of the intestines. Then he would make a soup of the sonamukhi leaf and some other herbs and drink it and also give some to the devotees who were present. When he suffered from eye ailments such as conjunctivitis, he would make a paste of black pepper and put it in his eyes. Apart from these occasional illnesses, he suffered a lot from asthma. Close devotees would cry to see Baba’s suffering when he had a bout of asthma. Once when Raghuvir Purandare saw him suffering badly from asthma and started weeping, Baba had to console him, “Oh Brother, what do you think has happened to me? Do not worry. It will be better shortly.” Baba would not desist from going begging even when he was so ill. Sometimes when he was ill and in no state to even walk, the devotees would support him and take him around to the five houses. Once when Baba was severely ill a devotee presented him with a wheelchair. We can see this wheelchair today in Chavadi. Baba touched it once and set it aside. He never used it. When he was too ill to go for alms some close devotees would go in his stead. Some of these fortunate souls were, Sri Madhavrao Deshpande (Shama), Sri Balakram, Sri Wamanrao Patel (Sri Sai Sarananand) and Professor G.G. Narke. Sri Sai Sarananand wrote thus in his memoirs, “Once, as Sri Balakrao was away from Shirdi, I had the opportunity to go for Baba’s afternoon round of alms for many days. I used to get alms from Sri Jog’s house and milk from another house.” G.G.Narke, seeing the fortunate Sri Sai Saranananda, thought in his mind that he should also have the good fortune of begging food for Baba. Once, he did not have time to change his clothes, and came to the mosque dressed in his normal suit and a hat. Baba said, “This man will go today for alms for me.” Narke went happily for alms in those clothes. He got the rare chance of begging alms for Baba for a period of four months. Baba would put a cloth alms-bag around his shoulder and carry a tin when he went begging. He would put all the solid stuff such as rotis and curries in the bag and the liquids, such as milk and curds in the tin. He never hankered after tastes and would instruct the devotees to disregard taste. Baba always followed the same alms route every day. He started from Dwarakamai and after crossing in front of Chavadi went to the houses of Sakharam Shelke and Wamanrao Gondkar. He then went to the houses of (Appaji) Bayayaji Patil and Tatyakote Patil (Bayajabai) which were a little distance away. Lastly he went to Nanduram Marwadi’s house. In those days, there was a small heap of stones on the way coming from Bayyaji Patil’s house. Baba would stop there and would feed the dogs and crows from the alms he had received. Baba’s padukas had been installed there as a commemoration. When Sri Sai Baba Sansthan was widening the "Palkhi Road" the front portion of Narasimha Lodge was slated to be broken. In that portion these Padukas were partly embedded in the wall. Hence, these Padukas were removed from that place and installed in Sai Baba Temple at Korhale about 8 KM from Shirdi. As soon as Baba reached Dwarakamai after completing his rounds, he would place a little food in the dhuni as an offering, and would put the rest in the earthenware plate (kolumba) placed inside the mosque. As there was no cover on top of the kolumba, the dogs, cats, ants and flies would eat their fill from it. Anyone could take food from it. No one would be stopped from taking his or its fill. The woman who cleaned the mosque would freely take seven or eight rotis every day. Baba would daily go to Lendi in the morning between 8.30 and 9.30. He would normally use footwear only when he went to Lendi, and even that was subject to change as fancy took him. He would first come out of the mosque and stand leaning on the wall a while. After that he would stand opposite the Maruti temple to the monkey God Hanuman, and gazing fiercely at the temple would move his hands about making some kind of signals. He would then stand at the crossroads at Gurusthan as if talking to someone, and then proceed further. The devotees who were staying at the wada and those who had recently arrived would have the darshan of Baba there. They would all be standing in lines, eagerly awaiting Baba's arrival from the mosque. Baba would slowly move down the lines, lovingly greeting each devotee by name, and smiling his benediction at them. He would then turn left and proceed towards the house of Pilaji Gurve. He would cross in front of the Vitthal temple and turn right towards the Kanifnath temple (located opposite the post office). He would walk a little further and turning another right would enter the Lendi. He used Lendi to complete his daily toilet. Where the neem and the fig trees are presently located in the Lendi, an ever burning lamp (nanda deep) was lit in a small depression in the ground. Curtains made of jute bags were placed all around the lamp and Baba would sit there for some time, always sitting with his back to the lamp and not looking at it. Abdul Baba used to look after the cleaning of the place and putting the oil in the lamps. He would fill two pots with water as soon as Baba arrived there. Baba would sprinkle the water from those pots in all directions while making some signs. He would not allow anybody to stay there while he did this, even Abdul Baba had to stay away during that time and the devotees who had accompanied Baba to Lendi would also stand outside and wait for Baba. Baba had himself planted the neem and the fig trees there. One of these plants was weak initially and did not take, so Baba used to daily bend it this way and that, and it became strong and grew well by his nectar-like touch. After spending some time at Lendi, Baba would return to the mosque the same way as in the morning; he never changed this route even once. He gave a lot of importance to a fixed routine or a certain way of doing things. The work may be small or big, but Baba would never agree to an iota of change in it. As the rush of devotees increased, the daily trip to Lendi started looking like a ceremonial festival procession. As soon as Baba came out of the mosque on his way there, Bhagoji Shinde would hold a ceremonial umbrella, delicately embroidered with tassles, over his head. Nanasaheb Nimonkar and Booty would walk on the right and left of Baba, and this fine appearance was a grand sight. The original photograph of this procession is still available. It would be around 10 am by the time Baba returned to the mosque from the Lendi garden. His royal court would then be held till 11.30. Some devotees would come to him and tell him of their afflictions, hopes and fears, others would seek his advice. Some would pray to him to satisfy their desires. Singers, dancers, magicians would come and after displaying their arts would go away suitably rewarded by Baba. Baba would usually give them two rupees each. Devotees would come with offerings to Baba and he would touch these offerings with his hand as a token of acceptance and return to the devotees as his prasad. Sometimes he would have the offering distributed to all the devotees present. Only rarely would he take a little of the offering and put it in his mouth. Those whose offering was thus accepted by Baba would be ecstatic with happiness. In the mango season Baba would taste a little of the fruit every day and order them to be distributed to everyone. Other times he would buy mangoes and have them distributed to all. Baba would give the sweetmeats offered to him mostly to the children as some of the children used to come to him every day. In case the offering arrived when the children were not present, he would have the delicacies kept aside to give to them later. Baba loved children. He would talk to them gently and with love. He would never tolerate anyone talking harshly or beating children. Whilst he was so intimate and garrulous with the children, he was a model of brevity when talking to the grownups. He would smile but never laugh. He used to recount small fables when he was in a pleasant mood. These tales were usually the life story of one of the devotees present, who would be wonder struck at Baba’s omniscience. These stories would sometime contain admonishments too. Only those persons to whom the admonishment was meant for, would understand the story. The others would assume that the story was about someone or of someone’s previous life. Sometimes the devotees would totally forget the story told by Baba and try as they might, they would not be able to remember it even if they got together as a group to refresh their memories. Everyone was astonished by this. At 11.30 the bell in the mosque went. This was the sign to the devotees that it was time for the noon Arati. All the devotees, wherever they were, would hurry to the mosque and take part in the Arati which would normally start at midday. Baba was worshipped with flowers and sandalwood paste. The ladies would stand in front of Baba in the mosque while the men would stand in the forecourt . Baba’s face would light up with an otherworldly light at this time. Many devotees have written in their diaries that two eyes were not sufficient to drink in the glory, power and beauty of Baba at the times of Arati. One may see Khaparde’s diary for more details. One can imagine how enchanting a spectacle Baba’s aratis were, when he was extant. After the noon Arati, Baba would bless all the devotees, give them udi and would send them home. He would lovingly greet devotees and ask each one to have his food and return again to the mosque. Later he would mix his alms with some of the offerings and eat his food together with ten to twelve devotees. Tatya Patil, Ramachandra Patil and Bayyaji Patil would sit on Baba’s left and the fakir of Malegaon (Bade Baba), Shama, Booty and Kaka Saheb Dixit would sit on his right. Tatya, Ramachandra and Bayyaji would eat from one single plate, while Baba and the Fakir of Malegaon would eat from another. Baba never had his midday meal alone and he would not sit for the meal unless Bade Baba was present. The devotees would wash their hands and feet and sit on either side of Baba, and after mixing all the offerings would keep the vessel in front of Baba. As soon as they sat down to eat the curtains in front of the mosque would be lowered down and no one else was allowed to enter it. Baba would offer the food to god and send a part of it outside as his prasad to be distributed to the devotees. Baba would take the remaining food and mix it with one part of milk, one part of sugar and one part of rotis and knead well. This would be distributed to all. Later Nimonkar and Shama would serve all the devotees who sat with Baba. If there were a particular food that a devotee liked very much, Baba would have more of it served to him. Shama was given a large helping of semolina pudding at meals as he was fond of it. M W Pradhan describes these occasions thus, “I used to eat with Baba at the mosque. Baba would serve us himself and heap our plates with food. I used to send a part of it to my house which would suffice for the entire household. Baba used to give each of us a fruit at the end of the meal. He noticed that my son Babu did not care for cooked food and gave him fruit instead.” Sometimes Baba would cook food himself and feed his devotees. He had two vessels which were big enough to cook for fifty to a hundred people. On the day that he decided to cook for the devotees Baba would go to the market and get all the condiments and groceries himself. He would do all the work such as lighting the fire, grinding the herbs and condiments and the cooking all by himself. (We can see the fireplace used by Baba to cook food at the mosque to this day). He would cook sweet rice pudding or milk rice pudding or mutton pilau. He would insert his bare hand instead of a ladle in to the boiling cauldron and stir and mix the food while it was cooking. Astoundingly, his hands were never burned. Sometimes he would cook gravy and add rotis to it. Other times he would cook gruel and serve it to the devotees together with buttermilk, or he would grind wheat and cook large rotis on the fire of the dhuni. Those rotis would be large and have many layers and one roti would satiate even the hungriest. He would never let the vegetarians draw near when he was cooking with meat. Once the food was ready he would have the maulvi offer it to god and later send a little to the houses of Mahalsapati and Tatya. Later the remainder would be distributed to all the devotees. After 1910, the number of devotees increased and the offerings also grew, so Baba stopped cooking food. The food offerings given as naivedya to Baba would feed 150-200 devotees daily at the mosque. Once all had finished their meal, Sagun Meru Naik would clean up the place. As Baba sat in his place, he would offer him betel leaf and nut along with a glass of water and two rupees as dakshina. No one would be allowed to stay at the mosque after the noon meal. Baba would send everyone away and stay alone at the mosque between 1.00 and 2.30 pm. Baba always had a brick with him which he used to look after very carefully. He would say that the brick was a prasad from his guru. He would keep the brick under his head when he slept. Whenever he sat down he kept the brick to his right and rest his right hand on it. Baba never slept during the day and never rested his back on the wall when sitting. He would sit alone unobserved by all and take out an old cloth bag. There would be some old worn out coins in it. They were of various denominations such as four annas, two annas half a rupee, one paisa and so on. (A rupee had sixteen annas in the currency of that time.) He would take out these coins and rub them vigorously saying, “This is Nana’s; this is Kaka’s, this Somya’s and this Damya’s”. If he heard anyone’s footsteps nearing him, he would at once hide the coins in the bag. What those coins indicated or why Baba rubbed them thus was an unfathomable mystery. Baba never told anyone about those coins. It was also during this time of solitude that he would repair the holes in his old and worn out kafni Baba would again go at 2.30 pm to Lendi garden and return. He held court once again at the mosque after he returned from the Lendi garden. After this, in the evening, Sri Sai would walk about the forecourt of the mosque. He would stand next to the boundary wall of the mosque and talk to the passers-by. Sometimes he would talk in some coded words that only he could understand. He used to say things like, “Ten snakes have left, and many more will come”. “Vani (the merchants) and Teli (the oil sellers) have troubled me too much. I am not going to stay in this mosque any longer. I am going away from here.” Sometimes he would really start to go away from the mosque and Shirdi. This would be conveyed to Tatya who would come running to Baba and pacify him saying, “I will punish those who have troubled you. I will not let you leave Shirdi and go away. In any case do not go today. We will see about your departure tomorrow.” Only Baba knows why he threatened to leave Shirdi. After allowing him to be cajoled into staying by Tatya, Baba would sit as usual in the mosque and talk to the devotees as if nothing was amiss. One can see small padukas, which have been placed where Baba used to stand at the boundary wall of the Mosque to talk to the passers-by. Padukas have been placed on the wall where he had rested his hand. It is said that Baba used to stand there sometimes and watch the sunset. Baba used to walk about the street abutting the mosque in the evenings. The people would stand in line on both sides of the street at that time. Baba would walk slowly talking to each person and enquire about his welfare. The evening arati was given to Baba between 6 – 6.30 pm. After the arati it was time for Sri Sai Baba to hold court again where the devotees could come and tell him of the troubles plaguing them and get his blessings. Baba used to demand and take dakshina from the devotees. Every day around 8 pm Baba would give away all the cash he had taken that day as dakshina. This charity continued all his life. He would give a fixed amount to each devotee every day. The devotees would consider it their salary. He used to give Rs.55 to Bade Baba, Rs.35 to Sri Tatya, Rs.7 to Jante Musalman, Rs.4 each to Bayyaji Patil Kote, Bhogoji and Ramachandra Patil and so on. Ramachandra Patil would give Baba four pieces of crystallised sugar in return for the four rupees he received from him. Baba would give a rupee each to the newly wed bride and groom when they came to him for blessings. On the occasion of festivals such as Ramanavami he would give two bundles of one rupee notes to Dada Kelkar and Bade Baba and instruct them to distribute the money. Many fakirs and mendicants stayed at Shirdi living on the food offerings, which came to Sri Sai Baba. He would give them each a quarter of a rupee a day. In the evening the balladeers, the storytellers, artists, dancers, acrobats would come to Baba and display their skills. Sri Sai Baba used to give them two rupees each. After all this was finished Tatya would bring rotis and milk for Baba’s repast. Baba would eat sparingly from that and give the remainder to the devotees as his prasad. He used to give 35 rupees to Tatya at that time. If it were the day for Baba to sleep at Dwarkamai, all would take Baba’s blessings and udi and would depart for their homes. Baba never permitted anyone except for Mahalsapati and Tatya to sleep with him at the mosque. Once there was a storm and a huge downpour of rain at Shirdi. As the mosque was in a dilapidated condition the devotees pleaded with Baba to sleep in Chavadi. They entreated him but Baba did not budge. Then a devotee called Narayan Teli summoned up his courage and lifted Baba and carried him on his shoulders to Chavadi disregarding Baba’s angry shouts. In this way Baba slept in Chavadi for the night. From this day onwards he slept on alternate nights at Chavadi. Baba slept on the right portion of Chavadi, and some of the devotees slept on the left portion as it had been separated with a railing. The Chavadi Festival was conducted grandly on these days. Radhakrishna Ayi and Abdul Baba would sprinkle water on the road from the mosque to Chavadi to prevent the dust from rising. They would then decorate the entire distance with coloured powder in various designs. Cloths would be placed on the ground for Baba to walk on as befitting royalty. Then Tatya would come to the mosque to tell Baba to get ready to go to Chavadi. Baba would however not move from his place. Tatya would put his hands under Baba’s arms and lift him up to a standing position. As Baba started, he would place a gold embroidered shawl around his shoulders. Tatya walking on the left side and Mahalsapati on the right side of Baba would accompany him to Chavadi. Baba would first stir and rearrange the firewood of the dhuni with his right foot and extinguish the lamp with his right hand and then start for Chavadi. Tatya would hold Baba’s left hand and Mahalsapati would hold Baba’s right hand while walking him to Chavadi. As Baba was getting ready to climb down the steps of the mosque Pilaji Gurve would play the shehnai. The devotees would start singing bhajans. The horse Shamkarna would be decorated beautifully and would lead the procession. The palanquin with Sri Sai Baba’s padukas came next. The procession was lit with glittering lamps of various colours and was a magnificent sight. On one side the sound of musical instruments, on the other the bhajans by the devotees, and on another the shouts of “All hail to Sai Maharaj” would reach the skies. The devotees would throw flowers and coloured powder on Sai Maharaj as he stepped majestically as befits a king of the universe. He would progress slowly along in his awesome majesty and grandeur bestowing his kindly glance of grace. A well-decorated ceremonial umbrella was held aloft by Jog. As Baba came to the end of the Chavadi he would turn towards the Maruti temple and make some mystical movements. Chavadi would be well decorated with coloured lamps and mirrors to welcome Sri Sai Baba. As Baba reached Chavadi, Tatya would go in first and place a seat for Baba along with a plank for him to lean on and adorn him with a coat. Nana Saheb Nimonkar would hold the ceremonial umbrella, which would be revolving majestically. As Baba seated himself opposite the door, Jog would wash Baba’s feet in a silver salver and applying sandal paste would offer betel leaf and nut to him. The devotees would make obeisance to the lotus feet of Sai Maharaj. Shama would make a chillim ready by this time and lighting it would offer it to Baba. Sri Sai would take a few puffs and then hand it over to Mahalsapati. Later it would make the rounds of all devotees. Kondya would make some betel leaf and nut ready and offer them to Baba. Sai Maharaj would eat some and give the remainder to the devotees. The Sej arati would be performed at this time. After the completion of the arati the devotees would all take leave of Sri Sai Baba and go home. Baba would permit all to go home but would call Tatya and say, “Go if you must, but do come in the night and see me.” Tatya would agree to do so and take his leave. Sri Sai Baba, who is the saviour of this world, may act as if he sleeps, as he has to follow the rules of the nature regarding the bodily form he has assumed. But his glance of kind compassion is ever upon us. He will keep his kindly eye on us – his children, and always protect us. (Source: Saipatham Magazine – May, July, August and September 2001).

Why go to Shirdi when Sai Baba is present everywhere?

Baba is omnipresent! Isn't he? He is everywhere. Why does one need to go all the way to Shirdi to worship him? You can do that wherever you are!" This is the "advice" that many Sai devotees who frequently visit Shirdi very often encounter from their elders, friends and relatives. No doubt the advice not only reflects sound philosophical wisdom but also conforms to what Baba used to say, "Those who think that Baba is a person with a three-and-a-half cubic body or that I am present only in Shirdi haven't seen me at all!" The essential purport of Baba's wonderful deeds and dictum is to make us experience his presence shining in all beings everywhere or, to put it in Baba's words, "wherever you look". To have that "look" should be the object and vision of a Sai devotee. All religions, however, stipulate in one form or other, that seekers should bathe in sacred waters, make pilgrimages to important shrines and visit saints, their tombs or the places where they dwelled. Indian epic literature is permeated with eulogies to such sacred places. The Islamic tradition dictates that every Muslim should make the pilgrimage to Mecca (haj) at least once in a lifetime. The Sufi tradition places great importance on taking refuge in saints and visiting their dargahs (tombs). Aithareya Brahmanam says, "There is no happiness for a person who does not make a pilgrimage. Any individual, however noble he or she may be, inevitably errs. Indra is the friend of one who undertakes a pilgrimage. So, go thou on pilgrimage!" The scriptures, on the one hand exhort us to realize the One which is everywhere and present in all living beings, and on the other hand insist on visiting holy places! How could these two seemingly opposite stands be reconciled? Apart from what is said in the scriptures, going on pilgrimage is also an example set for us by great sages. The Puranas say that saints and even gods used to stay in sacred places for tapas. Great teachers of Vedanta such as Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and Vallabha travelled at length to various holy places with fervent zeal. It is worth noting that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was blissfully immersed in the ocean of Krishna devotion and saw the form of his Lord everywhere, made enthusiastic and frequent visits to holy places, as did other great ones, such as Meerabai, Jnaneshwar Maharaj, Sant Namdev, Tukaram Maharaj, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and others. It is obvious that they undertook pilgrimages not because they were unable to see God otherwise! Not only did these great ones travelled to holy places with great enthusiasm, but they counselled others to make a point of frequently undertaking such pilgrimages. The Varkari tradition, which was instrumental in spreading Panduranga bhakti, was established by Jnaneshwar Maharaj and Namdev, and popularized by sants such as Eknath and Tukaram. The tradition enjoins that every seeker should undertake a pilgrimage to Pandharpur at least once a year. The Marathi word varkari means "one who makes a pilgrimage". The importance given to pilgrimage is evident in the name given to the tradition. It is a pilgrimage which is both external and internal. The purpose of the external journey is to have darshan of Lord Vittal in Pandharpur, and thereby to have his darshan inwardly (i.e. to experience his presence) in all beings everywhere. There is, however, something we should bear in mind here. The scriptures and saints encourage pilgrimage as an aid to self-control and self-realization - not to absolve the pilgrim of his or her sins or to secure a short route to heaven. Many verses in our Puranas appear saying, "Papa pariharardham, punya samupajanardham" (to wash away sins and gain merit). Several scholars opine that these were the interpolations of the priestly class to popularize pilgrimage. However, the notion that one can blithely continue to commit sins and then go on periodic pilgrimages to counter them has been categorically condemned by the great sages and scriptures. The Devi Bhagavatam, for instance, censures such motives: "Only those who keep their hearts pure stand to gain from pilgrimages, others even commit a sin by that." On close examination we see that these places of pilgrimage were originally the dwellings of great saints, or where their tombs lie. Over the course of time (thanks to the creative interpretation of Puranic commentators) their origins slipped into oblivion and were gradually replaced with stories connected to various deities. According to the scriptures, the sanctity of the Himalayas, the Ganga and other holy places is due to the spiritual power of the tapas performed there over the centuries by great souls. It then becomes clear why even great saints and realized beings visit holy places so devotedly. Great sages visit holy places and teerthas (holy waters) again and again to purify them and enhance their sanctity. Seekers, however, should visit them to free their minds of distractions and to accelerate their inward journey to their destination. It is a thousand times easier and more efficacious to meditate in such places than at home, as they have been sanctified by the presence of the great ones. As soon as seekers go there, their minds are spontaneously drawn into the Presence. Doing spiritual practice at home is like rowing a boat against the wind in a turbulent river, whereas practice in the presence of great sages or in holy places is like sailing with the wind and current behind us - effortless and tension-free. Psychotronics recognizes that when a strong resolve or emotion arises in a person, its power is impressed in that space, influencing those who come into its proximity later. Any seeker who has even a little experience in meditation instantly notices such an influence. However, care should be exercised when choosing a place for sadhana, especially when the seeker does not have the guidance of a competent guru. Each place has its own effect or influence and the seeker must choose one that is suitable to their samskaras. If it is not compatible it will not be helpful to their sadhana and at times could even be harmful. Based on this principle the sages have revealed a secret for successful sadhana: seekers who are sincere in their purpose should visit their guru as often as they can, while those who are totally dedicated to sadhana should stay with the guru (or at their tomb) until the goal is reached. The great ones have not only shared this counsel with us but many of them lived it too. Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi is a recent and outstanding example of this. An exponent of the advaita school who urged all to realize the "I" glowing in the heart and to enquire into the question "Who am I?", Bhagavan's devotion, love and affection for Arunachala sometimes puzzles his devotees. He realized the Self at his home in Madurai, but even after that he cherished an intense longing for the darshan of Lord Arunachaleswara, which impelled him swiftly to that place and kept him there for the remainder of his life, never leaving it for a moment. Bhagavan used to say that Arunachaleswara was his guru and that Arunachala was his gurusthan (the place of his Master).

Shirdi Sai Baba's Assurances

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.
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.


Shirdi Sai Baba's Assurances

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 to me, I look to 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.


Important Information to Sai Devotees

This saibaba website is a non-commercial devotional site, where devotees can know the detailed information about the guru saibaba. With the blessings of saibaba this website is designed for the sai devotees. Devotees please note there will not be any kind of fund raising or money collecting from the devotees or from any one through this site. If someone is asking of anykind please do not encourge and please do call or mail me and you can find my contact information in contact page.

Through this website i pray to Lord Saibaba to make me as His humble instrument in presenting some facts on His life and preachings. My dream would be fulfilled if this brings people closer to Sree Shirdi Sai Baba. You can also join this effort by inspiring your friends to visit this site and invoke His blessings.

To recieve daily Saibaba Aarti Photos and Saibaba Samadhi Mandir Photos kindly contact me.