Shirdi Sai Baba
(Dedicated to Sai Baba)
Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba was an Indian spiritual leader who is regarded by his devotees as a saint, a fakir, a satguru and an incarnation (avatar) of God. He was revered by both his Hindu and Muslim devotees during, as well as after his life.
According to accounts from his life, he preached the importance of realization of the self and criticized love towards perishable things. His teachings concentrate on a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. He stressed the importance of surrender to the true Satguru, who, having trod the path to divine consciousness, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.
Sai Baba also condemned distinction based on religion or caste. It remains unclear if he was a Muslim or a Hindu. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba. His teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived, practiced both Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and took samadhi in Shirdi.
Shri Sai Baba is revered as one of the greatest saints ever seen in India, endowed with unprecedented powers, and is worshipped as a God incarnate. (SAI meaning Sakshaat Ishwar) – GOD THE ABSOLUTE.
This mysterious Fakir first made his appearance in Shirdi as a youth and remained there throughout his long life. He transformed the lives of those who met him and continuously is doing so even after his Samadhi in 1918 for those whose hearts are touched by his love and who pray and call him at any emergency in life for his blessings.
Baba stated that his mission is to “Give Blessings” without discrimination to all, and he proves it in myriad ways by healing the sick, saving lives, protecting the vulnerable, averting accidents, granting offspring, facilitating financial gain, bringing people into harmony within themselves and with each other and, above all, in effecting the spiritual evolution and transformation of those who came to him as the last resort.
Baba is, as one of his contemporary devotees put it, “The embodiment of the supreme spirit lighting the sadhakas (seekers’) path by his every word and action”.
To his devotees, Baba is nothing less than a God. This has been a matter of experience and not imaginary.
“I look at all with an equal eye”
An outstanding aspect of Sai Baba is that he is beyond distinctions of religion, caste or creed. He embodied all religions and preached the universal religion of love.
Devotees of all faiths 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. Baba had great regard for his Hindu devotees and their Gurus and he responded to their needs and permitted worship according to the Hindu and other religious rituals. At the same time, his dwelling place was a Masjid (Mosque) and the name of Allah was ever on his lips. He described himself as in Service to GOD (ALLAH) and as a soul ever remembering ALLAH -(YAD – A – HAKKA)
People today flock Shirdi in ever-increasing numbers to pay homage to the divine and to experience the truth of Baba’s promise that he would be active in answering devotee’s prayers even from his tomb. Like ten commandments Baba has given eleven assurances to humanity for welfare.
Baba 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. He then taught values of total surrender to the Almighty Master (ALLAH MALIK HAI- The only ONE) and experience his grace.
In coming to Baba’s Shirdi his children experience the truth about how Baba unfailingly fulfills his commitments to his devotees by coming to their rescue in times of crisis.
|4:00 am||Temple open|
|4:30 am||Kakad Aarti (morning)|
|5:00 am||Bhajan in Saibaba Mandir|
|5.05 am||Holy Bath of Shri Sai Baba (Mangal Snaan) in Samadhi Mandir|
|5:35 am||Aarti “Shirdi Majhe Pandharpur”|
|5:40 am||Darshan begins in Samadhi Mandir|
|9:00 am||Abhishek Pooja|
|11:30 am||Dhuni Pooja with rice and ghee in Dwarkamai|
|12:00||Mid day Aarti|
|4:00 PM||Pothi (Devotional reading/Study) in Samadhi Mandir|
|At Sunset||Dhoop Aarti|
|8:30 – 10:00 PM||Devotional Songs in Samadhi Mandir and other Cultural Programmes (if any)|
|9:00 PM||Chavadi and Gurusthan closes|
|9:30 PM||In Dwarkamai water is given to Baba, a mosquito net is hung and the hanging lamp is lit|
|9:45 PM||Dwarkamai (the upper part) closes|
|10:30 PM||Shej (night) Aarti, after this , a shawl is wrapped around the statue in the Samadhi Mandir, a Rudraksha mala is put around baba’s neck, Mosquito net is hung, and a glass of water kept there|
|11:15 PM||Samadhi Mandir closes after night Arati|
TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL ROUTES
The nearest airport is Aurangabad Airport which is 130 kilometres away from Shridi. The airport is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. You can board a taxi or a cab or a bus to reach Shirdi from Aurangabad.
The nearest airport to Shirdi is at Nashik, which is 75 km away. Aurangabad airport is at a distance of 130 km which is connected by all the major towns of India. You can also come till Mumbai by air and travel down 296km to reach Shirdi.
The Sainagar Shirdi that connects the town to Chennai, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam via Secunderabad, Mysore and other cities and railway stations like Ahmednagar railway station which is 83 km from the heart of Shirdi. Kopargaon station which is 15 km from Shirdi is on the route of Karnataka Express from New Delhi to Bangalore. Manmad is another important station about 58km from Shirdi which carries a number of trains from Mumbai and Delhi.
Shirdi can be reached by taking a bus from all major cities of Maharashtra. You can take MTDC bus or private taxi.
Sai Baba was a born to a Brahmin couple of Patri which was in the Nizam state of British India. Where his parents handed over him to the fakir. These were the words revealed by baba in his last days. But Date of birth is still unknown to the world. There are lots of communities who claims that Baba belong to their respective communities but none of them proven.
Baba came to village Shirdi in Maharastra at age of 16 for the first time. People wondered looking at him that a boy at a very tender age doing deep meditation sitting in asana under a Neem tree, without food and even water for several days. This made to grew lots of curiosity on young baba. Bayajabai, wife of village chief occasionally enquired about the welfare of the sai Baba in his childhood. Gradually she started bringing food to Baba. As the days passed baba started treating her as his mother. Mhalspati, the village chief and a priest, once possessed by lord khandoba, uttered that there is a holy spirit here pointing towards the Sai Baba. Baba pointed towards the neem tree and asked to dig it to roots. The villagers followed the words of Baba and started digging it. As the layers of earth passed on, they found a slab made of stone, oil lamps glowing without any oil and air too, Which was completely opposite to science. In the same place they found a vessel which is in the shape of cow mouth on a wooden table. Baba clarified that this is the holy place where his guru had done penance. He also suggested that instead of worshipping me(sai baba), worship the tree and leave it untouched. Till today no one touched it. This tree is the first stop of a pilgrim in shirdi
Baba was an unique personality who earned a huge attention towards him, in the day time he was not associated with any one and not afraid of any one. Some people thought that he was mad and even hurt him physically by throwing stones at him. Initially Baba spent about 3 years at Shirdi. After this, for a period of one year Baba left Shirdi and very little was known about sai baba during that period. He met many saints, fakirs and even worked as weaver as history says.
In the year of 1858, Baba returned to Shirdi permanently. For about five years of time Baba took his accommodation under the neem tree and very often Baba used to wander in the jungle near Shirdi was very uncommunicative as Baba spent lot of his time in meditation. Gradually Baba shifted his accommodation to a nearby mosque. Many Hindus and Muslims were visiting Baba. In the mosque Baba maintained sacred fire which was called dhuni. Baba gave sacred ash to the entire visitor. People believe that ash is the best medicine to heal for all health issues.
Baba was god for all and used to participate in all religious festival. Baba had a habit of cooking and the same was distributed among all devotees as “Prasad” at the time of their visit. Baba best pass time was singing (religious) and dancing. Many believed that baba was a saint and even as god. As the time passed on the volume of visitors to Shirdi gradually increased.
The birth and the early life of Shri Saibaba are not much known. From the year 1858, Baba lived in the village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra for over sixty years. Baba came to Shirdi in 1858 accompanying a wedding procession as a guest of honor. He was greeted my Mahalsapathi “Ya – Sai”(Welcome Sai). Baba accepted that name to be eternally his and spent his early days at Shirdi, under a neem tree and later lived in the masjid which he named Dwarkamai or Mother Dwarka (Dwarka is the holy city associated with Lord Krishna).
Chand Patil was once riding through the forest when suddenly he felt an acute urge to smoke. To his great dismay, however, he found that he did not have the wherewithal to ignite a fire to light his chelum with. Seeing Sai Baba seated under a tree, the rider approached him for a match. Baba had no matches, but just by thrusting the tongs nearly, he produced flames. The rider witnessing the miracle, realizes Baba’s divine stature and kneels to him in devotion ……
Here is an instance of a devotee’s burning love for the master. Baijabai daily sought out Baba in the forest where he lived in the early days, in order to bring him food, which she lovingly prepared for him. Baba raises his hand in a gesture of blessing.
Service is the badge of God’s kingdom. Radha Krishna Mai voluntarily assumed the duty of sweeping the ashram compound daily. This was her way of showing her adoration for the Master.
Saibaba was the common man’s God. He lived with them; he slept and ate with them. He had no pretensions of any kind. Baba used to feed the fakirs and devotees and even cook for them. The food that Baba made seemed to grow in abundance and there was always enough for everyone. The touch of a Sat-Purusha unlocks the storehouse of the Goddess Annapoorna’s unlimited resources.
Saibaba was very fond of children. He used to spend part of his day playing, chit-chatting or humoring with the children of the village.
Saibaba used to sit on the steps of the Dwarkamayee at Shirdi, absorbed in the divine bliss of music. Saibaba’s appreciation of talent and the warm encouragement He gave to those who had talent were priceless gifts from the Master.
Saibaba in the company of devotees and fakirs used to dance and sing in divine bliss, with small trinkets tied around his ankles. Songs he song were mostly in Persian or Arabic or sometimes some popular songs of Kabir.
Saibaba had a profound love and compassion for suffering humanity. The master used to personally attend to the needs of the sick as a physician and a nurse.
Saibaba’s knowledge of the Shastras, the Geeta, the Quran and other scriptures was phenomenal. Without studying or reading books, Baba possessed a rare proficiency in all the scriptures, and he could quote a verse or a line from these books and scriptures to show where a particular truth lay embedded.
Saibaba distributed the holy ‘Udi’ – the panacea for all troubles – to his bhaktas. ‘Udi’ is the ash from the perpetual sacred fire – Dhuni – lit by Baba a hundred years ago. The Udi is the token of his divine grace to all who come to him for help.
Saibaba ploughed up the village common land and raised a flower garden thereon; he watered the plants, carrying pots full of water on his shoulders. In the later years, he spent a few hours in this Lendi garden, which he himself had laid out in the early days.
He begged for alms and shared what he got with his devotees and all the creatures around him. He never kept any food in reserve for the next meal. At times Baba would scold a grudging housewife by saying- “Mother, you have so many chapaties, so much rice and this or that vegetable in your pots, why refuse a bit of food to a Fakir?”. The gentle prodding and the accuracy of the strange fakir’s pronouncements would remove the veil of maya from these women who would then rush to put all with them at his feet, as an offering of Love.
Laxmibai Shinde used to offer Saibaba bread and milk every day with love and devotion. Baba accepted and took the offering she made. She was so special to Saibaba that just before his passing away, Saibaba gave her Rs.5/- and Rs.4/- in all Rs.9/-. The figure 9 is special and is indicative of the nine types of devotion viz., (1) Shravana (Hearing); (2) Kirtana (Praying); (3) Smarana (Remembering); (4) Padasevana (resorting to the feet); (5) Archana (Worship); (6) Namaskara (Bowing); (7) Dasya (Service); (8) Sakhyatva (Friendship); (9) Atmanivedana (surrender of the self).
The 15th October 1918 was a sorrowful day for the little village of Shirdi, for, in the heavy hours of the noon, the beloved master suddenly breathed his last. Quietly and unobrusively, Baba gave up his body and let his head fall gently on the shoulders of a near disciple. Though Saibaba might have left his mortal coil, he still is alive for his devotees. He is a Living God. Even today, though he has left his gross body, we feel his presence and obtain his grace and protection every day.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
The three main festivals are celebrated in Shirdi. They are Ramnavami (March/April), Guru Purnima (July), and Vijayadashami (September). These festivals are celebrated with great passion, verve, and artfulness. There is a program of puja, music (bhajan) public parayana (reading of scriptures and devotional texts) and exuberant processions with the palanquin and the Rath (cart). The Samadhi Mandir remains open all night during one of these days with Dwarkamai being open the previous night and there are all-night bhajan and qawwali sessions at various locations in the village. Printed programs with full details are available at the Sansthan Office.
Important Festivals Celebrated By
The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, At Shirdi Year 2017-18 Shake 1938-39
|Shri Ram Navami From 03.04.2017 to 05.04.2017|
|1st Day||Chaitra Sh. 7/8||Monday (Begins)||03.04.2017|
|2nd Day||Chaitra Sh. 8/9||Tuesday (Main Day)||04.04.2017|
|3rd Day||Chaitra Sh. 9||Wednesday (Ends)||05.04.2017|
|Shri Gurupournima From 08.07.2017 to 10.07.2017|
|1st Day||Ashadha Sh. 14||Saturday (Begins)||08.07.2017|
|2nd Day||Ashadha Sh. 15||Sunday (Main Day)||09.07.2017|
|3rd Day||Ashadha Kr. 1||Monday (Ends)||10.07.2017|
|Shri Punyatithi From 29.09.2017 to 02.09.2017|
|1st Day||Ashwin Sh. 8||Friday||29.09.2017|
|2nd Day||Ashwin Sh. 9||Saturday||30.09.2017|
|3rd Day||Ashwin Sh. 10||Sunday||01.10.2017|
|4th Day||Ashwin Sh. 11||Monday||02.10.2017|
For more details, check the following site:
Being a Hindu pilgrimage town, Shirdi is strictly vegetarian. Everything from the hotels you stay in that serve food to the restaurants will all serve strictly vegetarian food.