According to an intimate devotee, Shirdi Baba told him that He was a Brahmin of Pathari and was handed over to a Fakir in His infancy.
Shirdi Sai Baba lived in Shirdi for about 60 years shedding His body on the 15th October 1918.
Shirdi Sai loved all people regardless of their religion, reconciling Hindus & Moslems. He was an opponent of religious orthodoxy, the class system and atheism.
Although he himself led the life of an asthetic, he advised his followers to lead an ordinary family life. He was known to have an uncouth and violent temper, especially with undisciplined disciples. He was moody, but all this was for the benefit of the people. He taught that God penetrates everything and lives in every being and that God is the essence of each of them. He emphasised the importance of Bhakti, devotion to God and surrender to His will.
He said only God and His gifts are eternal. He talked about the need of faith and devotion to one’s spiritual Guru.
Shirdi Sai encouraged his followers to pray, chant God’s name and read Holy Scriptures. He advised his followers to overcome the negative features of character & develop the good ones. He taught the moral code of love, forgiveness and charity.
The Jothi tradition was emphasized by Shirdi Sai Baba.
He guaranteed the welfare of the Bhaktas thus:
“There will never be any dearth or scarcity regarding food and clothes in any devotee’s homes. It is my special characteristic that I always look to and provide for the welfare of these devotees, who worship Me wholeheartedly with their minds ever fixed on me. Lord Krishna also said the same in the Gita. Therefore strive not much for food and clothes. If you want anything, beg of the Lord. Leave worldly honours, try to get the Lord’s grace and blessings. Do not be deluded by worldly honour. Let all the senses and the mind be ever devoted to the worship of the Lord. Fix the mind in remembering Me always.
The author of this story, Hemadpant, said that in about 1910 he visited Shirdi in order to have the darshan of Sai Baba. He was wonderstruck to see the following phenomenon:
“After washing his mouth and face, Sai Baba began to make preparation for grinding wheat. He had wheat on a sack on the floor and thereon sat a handmill. He rolled up the sleeves of His kafni, and started grinding the wheat, a few handfuls at a time. He thought “What business did Baba have with grinding wheat when he possessed nothing, stored nothing and lived on alms?”
Four bold women took His implements and took over the grinding. He was at first displeased, then, on seeing their love and devotion, He was pleased. However they began to wonder why he was doing it and began to remove it. Surely it was to be given to the villagers. Baba, who was calm and quiet until now, began to abuse them saying “Ladies are you gone mad? Whose father’s property are you looting away? Have I borrowed the wheat from any of you that you can take the flour? Now please do this, take the flour and throw it on the village border limits.”
On hearing this women felt ashamed and did as they were bid.
Hamadpant enquired what it all meant and was told that a Cholera epidemic was spreading in the village and that this was Baba’s remedy against it. It was not wheat that was ground but the Cholera itself that was ground to pieces and pushed out of the village! The cholera epidemic subsided.
Sai Baba’s Sanction and Promise
If a man utters my name with love, I shall fulfil all his wishes and increase his devotion. If he sings earnestly My Life and My deeds, him I shall beset in front and back and on all sides. Those devotees who are attached to Me heart and soul, will naturally feel happiness when they hear these stories.
Believe Me, if anyone sings My Leelas, I will give him infinite joy and everlasting contentment. It is my special characteristic to free any person who surrenders completely to Me and who worships Me faithfully and who remembers Me and who meditates on me constantly.
How can they be conscious of worldly objects and sensations, who utter My name, who worship Me, who think of My stories and My life and who always remember Me? I shall draw out my devotees from the jaws of Death.
If My stories are listened to, all the diseases will be got rid of. So hear my stories with respect, and think and meditate on this, assimilate them. This is the way of happiness and contentment. The pride and egoism of my devotees will vanish, the mind of the hearers will be set at rest, and if it has wholehearted and complete faith, it will be one with Supreme Consciousness.
The simple remembrance of My name as ‘Sai Sai’ will do away with the sins of speech and hearing.
A Childless Woman
This lady had been married for 27 years. She had made a number of vows to Gods & Goddesses in order to have children with no success. In one last attempt she visited Shirdi , staying for two months, serving Baba , but whenever she went to the Temple, she found it full and Baba surrounded by devotees. Eventually she asked a close devotee named Shama to intercede for her. This man had been with Baba for 72 generations (Baba said this).
He told her to sit ready with a coconut and joss sticks in the open courtyard at the time of Baba’s meals and he would beckon her up when the time was right. He called the woman and she bowed and presented the coconut and joss sticks.
Baba teased them saying “Will the coconut give her any issue? How people are foolish and fancy such things!” They discussed it a while, Shama protesting to Baba and finally Baba yielded saying “She will have issue in 12 months.” And so it came to pass a son was born 12 months later. The parents returned to Baba and gave Him R$500 which constructed a shed for His horse, Shyama-karma.
Sai Baba…….. Hindu or Mahomedan
Sai Baba knew all the yogic practises including Dhauti (stomach cleaning with a piece of linen), the well known Khandayoga i.e. separating His limbs and joining them again and Samadhi etc. If you think Him a Muslim, He looked like a pious Hindu. If you think Him to be a Hindu, He looked like a Muslim. No one really knew what culture He was.
He celebrated the Hindu festival of Rama-Navami with all due formalities, and at the same time permitted the “Sandal” procession of the Mahomedans.
His ears were pierced according to Hindu fashion, but He advocated the practise of circumcision according to the other culture.
He lived in the Masjid. If Mahomedan, He always had the Dhuni sacred fire there, and did other things in this temple which were contrary to this religion, e.g. grinding on the handmill, blowing of the conch and bells, bhajans. Giving of food and worship of Baba’s feet were always allowed.
Muslim and Hindu worshipped Him. Those who went to make enquiries about His nationality were captured by His darshan. No one could decide on His nationality and no wonder, for he who completely surrenders himself to the Lord, by getting rid of his egoism and body consciousness thus becomes one with Him and has nothing to do with caste or nationality.
Early in His life, Sai Baba practised medicine in His village. He was always successful with His treatments and became famous as a Doctor. People benefited enormously by having His darshans. Some became hale & hearty, wicked people became good. In many cases leprosy was cured, many got their desires fulfilled, the blind had their sight restored and the lame could walk again.
His fame spread far and wide and pilgrims flocked to see Him.
Now, 92 years after His death, Shirdi Sai Baba is still revered. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world travel to the Holy place of Shirdi to pay their respects and pray for His boons and blessings.