Getting to Know Sai Baba of Shirdi

“What is our duty? To behave properly. That is enough.”
~ Sai Baba

Who is Sai Baba of Shirdi?

India is a land of spirituality, giving birth to several spiritual gurus or leaders, some revered as God. The term Sai Baba has been given to or used by a few of them, but to me when someone says Sai Baba I automatically associate it to Shirdi Sai Baba.

No one clearly knows the origins of Sai Baba of Shirdi, he himself was never bothered about where he came from and said at times he was born from a Hindu Brahmin family and then at times he claimed he had a Muslim upbringing.

It wasn’t important to him, the only thing important were the messages and teachings that he put forth. An interesting thing is that he’s the only person who both Muslims and Hindus revere as a Saint/God in India.

In a time when division and hate are rampant his teachings based on love, forgiveness, charity, inner peace and devotion can guide us onto a better path. He never discriminated based on religion or caste and his teachings themselves utilised components from Hinduism and Islam.

He also lived in a mosque which he gave a Hindu name Dwarakamayi, and all his teachings have been handed down in a book called Shri Sai Satcharita that was written by his disciple.

Sai Baba’s influence on me

“You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it was born or even the water which sustains it.”
~ Sai Baba

During my childhood, one day when I was on my way to school, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Sabka Mallik Ek”. This is when I asked my dad what does it mean, he said it meant that everyone’s God is one.

For some reason, this line has stuck with me till date, but I never knew it was part of Shirdi Sai Baba’s teachings. In Maharashtra Shirdi Sai Baba is a huge phenomenon, people walk miles across the state bare-footed to pay homage to the place he taught from and was buried.

I often questioned this practice of devotion but not anymore, I would rather do the little I can and assist them if they need something as they pass by. But for the longest time I was not attracted to Sai Baba, the statues made of him and the clothes and ornaments that adorned them painted a picture that did not sit well with me.

Until on a trip to Bodhgaya there was this picture hanging there who it took a few moments for me to realise who it was. This is what sparked my interest in Sai Baba and was astonished to hear of the miracles he performed.

Shirdi Sai Baba’s miracles

When you see with your inner eye. Then you realize that you are God and not different from him.”
~ Sai Baba

I had met a friend over the weekend for a couple of beers, and I asked him what he thought about Sai Baba, he said I don’t know much but I know the story of the Kichdi (Pulses and Rice cooked together with spices) he made. He told me that few of the villagers came in and asked him if he could give them some food to eat. He said sure and he put a big Cauldron on the fire and started stirring it.

He never had any supplies, but he just acted as though he put something in, over time more people gathered and the aroma of the dish spread around and in the end the line of four to five people ended up being over a hundred. But Sai Baba wasn’t worried, but the people who were in the start of the line were getting annoyed. They were saying, so many have come now we won’t get anything much to eat.

Sai Baba told all of them not to worry, and he served them all, no one got less, even though the cauldron could hold food for far less there seemed to be no limit to the amount that came out of it. But that’s not all he did, may of Sai Baba’s devotees claim that he has done multiple miracles, although some seem very difficult to believe they are worth reading.

This part has been taken from Wiki,

Sai Baba’s followers claim that he performed miracles such as bilocation, levitation, mind-reading, materialisation, exorcisms, entering a state of Samādhi at will, lighting lamps with water, curing the incurably sick, and appearing beaten when another was beaten. During Darshan (sacred sighting) he appeared to people in the form of Sri Rama, Krishna, Vithoba, Shiva and other gods depending on the faith of devotees.

According to his followers, he appeared to them in their dreams and gave them advice. His devotees have documented their experiences.

Nisargadatta Maharaj, said, “Sai Baba is rooted in the absolute.” When you’re part of the absolute what isn’t possible?

Teachings of Sai Baba

“Life is a mosaic of pleasure and pain – grief is an interval between two moments of joy.”
~ Sai Baba.

Below are a few passages from the Sri Sai Satcharitra, that will help you get a peek into Sai Baba’s teachings.

“He who loves Me most, always sees Me. The whole world is desolate to him without Me, he tells no stories but Mine. He ceaselessly meditates upon Me and always chants My name. I feel indebted to him who surrenders himself completely to Me and ever remembers Me. I shall repay his debt by giving him salvation (self-realization). I am dependent on him who thinks and hungers after Me and who does not eat anything without first offering it to Me. He who thus comes to Me, becomes one with Me, just as a river gets to the sea and becomes merged (one) with it. So leaving out pride and egoism and with no trace of them, you should surrender yourself to Me Who am seated in your heart.”

“You need not go far or anywhere in search of Me. Barring your name and form, there exists in you, as well as in all beings, a sense of Being or Consciousness of Existence. That is Myself. Knowing this, you see Me inside yourself, as well as in all beings. If you practice this, you will realize all-pervasiveness, and thus attain oneness with Me.”

“Be wherever you like, do whatever you choose, remember this well that all what you do is known to Me. I am the Inner Ruler of all and seated in their hearts. I envelope all the creatures, the movable and immovable world. I am the Controller – the wire-puller of the show of this Universe. I am the mother – origin of all beings – the Harmony of three Gunas, the propeller of all senses, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. Nothing will harm him, who turns his attention towards Me, but Maya will lash or whip him who forgets Me. All the insects, ants, the visible, movable and immovable world, is My Body or Form”.

To my understanding. Sai Baba never claimed he was God, but that all of us should revere the one true Creator who lives in every living being.

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