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 everybody 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 devotees’ 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 that 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 EK- The only ONE) and experience his grace.
In coming to Baba’s Shirdi His children experience the truth how BABA unfailingly fulfils His commitments to HIS devotees by coming to their rescue in times of crisis.
SaiBaba’s Nature and Personality
It is on account of Sai Baba that Shirdi grew into importance. It is interesting to study what sort of (a personage) Sai Baba was.
Sai Baba conquered this Samsar (worldly existence), which is like a deep sea, very difficult and hard to cross. Peace or mental calm was His ornament and He was the repository of wisdom. He was the home of Vaishnava and Shiva devotees, most liberal (like Karna) amongst liberals, the quintessence of all essences. He had no love for perishable things and was always engrossed in self-realization, which was His sole concern. He felt no pleasure in the mandane things of this world or of the world beyond. His Antarang (heart) was as clear as a mirror and His speech always rained nectar. The rich or poor people were the same to Him. He did not know or care for honor or dishonor.
Baba was the Lord of all beings. He spoke freely and mixed with all people, saw the acting and dances of ‘Nautchgirls’ and heard Gazhal songs. Still, He swerved not an inch from Samadhi (mental equilibrium). The name of Allah was always on His lips. While the world awoke, He slept; and while the world slept, He was vigilant. His abdomen (Inside) was as calm as the deep sea. His Ashram (life-stage) could not be determined, nor His actions could be definitely determined and though He sat (lived) in one place, He knew all the transactions of the world. His Darbar was imposing. He told daily hundreds of stories; still He swerved not an inch from His vow of silence. He always leaned against the wall in the Masjid or walked morning, noon and evening towards Lendi (Nala) and Chavadi; still He at all times abided in the Self. Though a Siddha, He acted like a Sadhaka. He was meek, humble and egoless, and pleased all. Such was Sai Baba, and as the soil of Shirdi was trodden by Sai Baba’s Feet, it attained extraordinary importance.
Sai Baba did not mix and speak with the people. He only gave answers when he was questioned. By day he always sat under the Neem tree, sometimes under the shade of a branch of a Babul tree near the stream at the outskirts of the village.
Many Sanyasis, Sadhakas and all sorts of men aspiring for salvation came to Sai Baba. He always walked, talked and laughed with them and always uttered with His tongue ‘Allah Malik’ (God is the sole owner). He never liked or encouraged discussion or arguments. He was always calm and controlled, though irritable at times, always preached full Vedanta (knowledge) and nobody knew till the last the real Baba.
Dress Demeanor and Daily Routine
His demeanor was quiet and sober. However on occasions he used to get ruffled because of some suggestion of calamity or evil in HIS devotees life. He did not talk frequently and was in trance. His eyes penetrating skies. Since his young days, Sai Baba grew hair on His head, never had His head shaved. He used to wear a piece of white cloth round His head along with a long flowing Kafni. The piece of white cloth on the head was twisted like matted hair and flowed down from the left ear on the back. This was not washed for weeks. He wore no shoes, no sandals. A piece of sackcloth was His seat for most of the day. He wore a coupin (waist-cloth-band) and for warding off cold he always sat in front of a Dhuni (sacred fire) facing South with His left hand resting on the wooden railing. While sleeping at Chavadi Baba used to rest HIS head on a brick.
Sai Baba visited certain houses daily and went from door to door where He stood as a beggar and called out, “Oh Mai, give Me a piece of bread” and spread out His hand to receive the same. In one hand He carried a Tumrel (tinpot) and in the other a zoli or choupadari, i.e., a rectangular piece of cloth as food collecting bag. Liquid or semi-liquid things such as soup, vegetables, milk or buttermilk were received in the tinpot, while cooked rice, bread, and such solid things were taken in the Zoli. Baba’s tongue knew no taste as He had acquired control over it. Whatever things He got in His Zoli and in the tinpot were mixed together and partaken by Baba to His heart’s content. The food collected was poured into Kolamba – a stone pot and animals and birds used to cluster around the pot to eat food. Baba never prevented them from eating.
Baba begged till noon, but His begging was very irregular. Some days He went a few rounds, on other days up to twelve noon.
In the afternoon, He used to walk at random and go at times to neighboring villages where He used to frequent the houses of some of His devotees.
Style of Teaching
As for Sai Baba’s style of teaching, He did not deliver lectures and rarely gave formal teachings. He has never written anything by way of wordy philosophy. Rather, He taught orally by parable, direct experience and the example of His own life. He assures all that each could experience. His Devine Love and blessings flew directly and not through any intermediary. All would experience fulfillment of their worldly desires and also perfect satisfaction of their craving for self realization (AATMA BODHA). There is no exception to this experience.
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 favoured any particular path over another. Baba generally discouraged people from changing their chosen form of worship in GOD and never advised total detachment from worldly life and changeover of preference for a particular deity as GOD. He advised perfect loyalty in and faith in the power and blessings of the Almighty (ALLAH MALIK) and patience for the results of action (KARMA). As a result of Baba’s grace, devotees experience self-generated conviction and faith that whatever their desires and aspirations are, they will never go unnoticed by Baba and they would not return empty-handed from SAI-COURT (DARBAR).