Shri Saibaba of Shirdi inspires unflinching faith and conviction from the Sai devotees. His simple and straightforward messages strike an immediate chord with people of any faith. Saibaba has imparted eleven assurances to the mankind inspiring confidence among His disciples.
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LIFE OF SHIRDI SAI BABA
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.
It is believed that at a tender age of 16 yrs Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained their till his death. He found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or 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. Sai Baba did not leave any 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.
Encouraged charity and 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.”
His most concise message for one and all alike was “Why fear when I am here”. Saibaba said that he was a slave in the service of those who loved him. He was ever living to help those who turn to him and that he has to take care of his children day and night.
Saibaba’s mission was to restore belief in god and according to him, “I give people what they want in the hope that they will begin to want what I want to give them (knowledge of the Ultimate).” He then taught values of total surrender to the Almighty Master (ALLAH MALIK EK- The only ONE) and experiences his grace.
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.
ASSURANCE OF SAI BABA
Here are the eleven assurances that Shri Sai Baba disseminated to the world:
- Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi’s soil, his sufferings would come to an end.
- The wretched and miserable would rise into plenty of joy and happiness, as soon as they climb the steps of my Mosque.
- I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
- My tomb shall bless and speak the needs of my devotees.
- I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
- My mortal remains would speak from my tomb.
- I am ever living to help and guide all, who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me.
- If you look at me I look at you.
- If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it.
- If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
- There shall be no want in the house of my devotees.
SHIRDI SAI BABA BHAJANS
Sai Baba of Shirdi is among the epoch making spiritual gurus of India, who has a magnetic pull from the devotees haling from across the world. With his amazing miraculous powers Sai Baba has millions of devotees that pray to him for his blessings. There are several sweet and endearing bhajans that sung in praise of Sai Baba.
Songs, bhajans, prayers being a melodious way to feel closer to someone, has effected into making of several bhajans that are sung and played all across the world by the Sai Baba devotees.
In fact audio-visual media has played a great role in popularizing such bhajans on Sai Baba of Shirdi. In the year 1977 a movie on Sai Baba was produced named Shirdi Ke Sai Baba. The movie has some great bhajans and religious songs such as “sai baaba bolo dagmag jag yeh dole” and “sainaath tere hazaaron haath sainaath tere hazaaron haath”. Indian Television serial producers have also come with serial on the life of Sai Baba with many popular bhajans attracting the devotees in hordes. Sai Baba is the latest serial produced by the veteran Ramanand Sagar capturing the essence of Sai Baba with various melodious bhajans on Sai Baba having earned great popularity among the devotees.
There are many other bhajans that are sung with great religious fervor and devotion. Some of them are as follows: Aali Prasadachi Wat, Akra Vachan, Ananta Tula Re, Aarti Saibaba, Ata Swami, Ghoshna, Gurubrahma Guruvishnu, Hari Om, Jai Jai Sainath, Kadhi Na Ruso, Lopaley, Ovaloo Aarati, Sada Satswarupam, Sai Digambara, Tuj Kay Magu.
LEGACY OF SAI BABA OF SHIRDI
Shri Saibaba is among the most influential spiritual gurus of India, who lived at a nondescript village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra. With his miraculous powers and captivating teachings he rules the heart of millions of his devotees, whose number is ever growing with each passing day.
He is also among the most recognizable gurus whose image can be found throughout India, sometimes simply as a fashion statement or kept along as accessories. Worn as pendants and kept in lockets Saibaba makes his presence in all corners of India. He lived in the cusp of two centuries i.e., between 1838 and 1918. During this time Shri Saibaba made a great impact on the psyche of the people coming under his influence. With his simple and trite philosophy combined with his clairvoyant prowess, Saibaba’s legacy is still on among his ever growing number of followers.
Today, many religious teachers, groups and organizations promote his teachings and devotion to Sai. Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is the most prominent promoter of Saibaba’s legacy all across the world. The trust also takes care of the shrines and temples in Shirdi. All-India Sai Samaj, founded by B.V. Narasimha Swamiji, publishes books on Sai Baba as well as administrates the temples of Sai Baba built all over India.
There are a great number of followers of Sai Baba, who have achieved fame as spiritual figures. Among the most popular of such gurus are Upasni Maharaj of Sakori and Meher Baba of Ahmednagar. There have been at least three gurus and two youngsters, who have claimed to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. Among them the most famous is Sathya Sai Baba who lives at Puttaparthi Andhra Pradesh, India. Sathya Sai Baba has immense popularity across the world with devotees thronging from all across the world.
Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi’s legacy is also lived through the multitude of literature that has been written on him. Sai literature has the widest possible dimension covering almost every aspect of Saibaba. Scholars across the world have studied the life and philosophy of Saibaba and tried to understand and decipher the quintessential Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Sai temples that are built all over the world are also carrying the legacy of Shri Saibaba of Shirdi. With over 2,000 major Sai temples in different parts of India and 150 abroad, the conviction and faith on Sai Baba are lived and professed enriching the lifestyle of his devotees and mankind at large.
TEMPLE COMPLEX SHIRDI
The Saibaba temple is situated in the heart of Shirdi village spreading in approximately 200sqmts, attracting thousands of pilgrims from across the world. The temple premises has several of important sites connected to Saibaba of Shirdi that are venerated by all the devotees. Here we are discussing the important sites inside the complex of Shirdi Saibaba temple.
Chavadi literally means village office. In Shirdi Sai temple Chavadi is located on the right side of Dwarkamai. Saibaba used to alternatively sleep in Chavadi, during the last decades of his life. Chavadi is open to devotees from 5am to 9pm. Inside the Chavadi there is large portrait of Saibaba. It also has a wooden bed on which Saibaba was given his last bath before passed away in Dwarkamai. The building also has the framed photo of the cross-legged Saibaba which is taken out on procession on festivals and each Sunday.
Khandoba temple holds a special place in Shirdi, since this was the site which saw the coming of Saibaba in his tender years dressed in kafni. It is believed that when this young man, with flowing beards and sparkling eyes, approached the temple premises as one of the guest of a wedding party, the temple priest Mhalsapati greeted him as ‘Ya Sai’. This name led to the appellation and evolution of one of the most admired spiritual gurus of India.
Earlier the temple lay on the periphery of the village and Khandoba was the tutelary deity of the Mhalsapati family. Peaceful and secluded ambience of the temple impressed Saibaba. At the entrance to the temple is a large banyan tree which is mentioned in the ‘Shri Sai Satcharitra’ as the place where the bullock cart halted. It is now commemorated with a small shrine and ‘padukas’ or footwear of Saibaba lay at its base.
Samadhi Mandir houses Saibaba’s tomb and was originally constructed as a wada (large private house) during Saibaba’s last years. The Samadhi Mandir has the statue of Saibaba all in white marble sitting in relaxed, natural and majestic demeanor gazing at the millions of devotees who throng the temple for his blessings.
The daily routine of the temple resumes at 5 in the morning with Bhoopali, a morning song, and closes at 10 in the night after the Shej aarati is sung. Only on three occasions the temple is kept open overnight i.e. on Gurupurnima, Dassera, and Ramnavmi. Every Thursday and on each festival, a Palakhi with Baba’s photo is taken out from the temple.
Gurusthan means the place of the Guru. It is significant because here Saibaba spent most of his time here, when he first came to Shirdi. It is also the same place where, according to Saibaba, the tomb of his own guru was located by the Neem tree. The neem tree is still extant in the Gurusthan and there is also a pair of marble padukas on a pedestal, a ‘Shivalinga’ and a statue of Baba. A small dhuni on a stand is kept in front of the shrine, which is lit on Thursday and Friday. Gurusthan is a wonderful place sit and meditate in peace that generates an inner peace leading to unison with Sai Baba.
Dwarkamai in one of the cherished treasure troves of Shirdi associated with Saibaba. When Shri Sai Baba came to Shridhi with a marriage procession, he stayed at Dwarkamai and remained there till the very end of his life. It is situated on the right of the entrance of Samadhi Mandir. Here Saibaba used to heal the sufferers and the sick.
Dwarkamai used to be an old mosque in a very bad shape. Saibaba restored its sanctity turning it into Dwarkamai. It has a portrait of Saibaba and a big stone where he used to sit. Dwarkamai has the Kolamba, water pot and the grinding stone associated with Saibaba. It also has a chariot and a palkhi.
Lendi is an important place where Saibaba used to spend his time everyday. It has some tombs, a shrine and a perpetually burning lamp lit by Saibaba and placed between the two trees he planted.
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