ABOUT SHIRDI SAI BABA
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba was a Spiritual Master who lived in the village of Shirdi, India during the late 19th and early 20th century.
His advent was rather mysterious. He first appeared as a young lad of 16 performing deep meditation under a Neem tree on the outskirts of Shirdi, a village in the state of Maharashtra in India. Nobody knew who His parents were or where He came from. But the villagers were very quickly attracted to Him and sensed something special about this personality.
He then disappeared and returned after a period of 4 years after which He settled permanently in Shirdi until 1918. During this period of about 60 years His fame grew widely. He initially began to help the sick by acting as Hakim (Doctor) using natural remedies. But some of his “cures” seem to defy even the widest knowledge of conventional medicine and indeed the laws of nature. He was able to make the blind see again, the lame began to walk and numerous other cases where death was a certainty but was avoided thanks to His intervention.
Thus His fame spread far and wide, well beyond the borders of Shirdi, right across India and beyond. People made special pilgrimages from far and wide to seek his help in temporal and spiritual matters. Even other well known sages and saints of the time came to pay their respects to Shirdi Sai Baba, thus acknowledging Him as a Perfect Master of the highest spiritual order (a “Sadguru”).
Many rich and famous people of the time also came to see Shri Sai to seek his help in various temporal problems and would shower Him with gifts and money. Although He would help all, He never craved for all this wealth and would give it all away, being left with nothing by the end of each day.
He led a very simple life, dressed in a plain kafni (long robe) which was often torn. He begged his food from a few houses in Shirdi but even that He would share gladly with the poor and hungry including animals and birds that flocked to Him.
Shirdi Sai Baba made no distinction amongst those who came to seek His help and treated all with the same love and compassion. People of different castes or religion, rich or poor, the healthy or those afflicted with disease, people or animals…to Him the whole world was one. In particular He stressed the importance of unity, compassion and tolerance. He celebrated Hindu festivals with the same fervour as Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Budhist festivals. He often explained that there were several paths to enlightenment but that God was universal. “Sab ka Malik Ek Hai” was his motto (God is the universal Lord).
Due to Shri Sai’s love, compassion and rendering of help in all matters big or small, His devotees (which numbered thousands even during his lifetime) were smitten by Him and sought his help in everyday matters. When Baba become precariously sick close to his Mahasamadhi (leaving his mortal body) in 1918, people became very sad, wondering how they would manage without Him. However, he gave 11 assurances to His devotees that placed their minds at rest and hold true even today.
Shirdi Sai Baba’s 11 vachan (assurances):
1. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
2. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
3. I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
4. My mortal remains would speak from my tomb.
5. Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi soil, his sufferings would come to an end.
6. If you cast your burden on me,I shall surely bear it.
7. If you seek my advice and help,it shall be given to you at once.
8. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me.
9. There shall be no want in the house of my devotees.
10. If you look to me, I look to you.
11. The wretched and miserable would rise into plenty of joy and happiness, as soon as they climb the steps of my samadhi.
In order to realise the above, Shri Sai told his devotees to hold dearly the tenets of “Shraddha” (Faith) and “Saburi” (Patience). Not all prayers are answered according to the indivdual’s time expectations, but with Faith and Patience, they will surely be realised.
More on Shirdi Sai Baba’s life can be read in the book Shri Sai Satcharitra. Copies are available from many Shirdi Sai temples across India and abroad. You can also request copies from us at: email@example.com
Shri Shirdi Sai Sansthan(UK)
UK Registered Charity (No. 1160336)