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Shirdi Sai History

 

Sai Baba, Shrdi Sai Baba, Shirdi Sai

 

Period: Born – unknown, left his body: 15 October 1918

(approximately 80 years old)

 

There have been innumerable saints in India, each one outdoing the other in their devotion to God, yet there has never been a saint like  Shirdi Sai Baba, who is so much relevant today. Baba was a shining example of a saint or an avatar who lived amongst his people, bearing their eccentricities, vices and quirks and need be even performing miracles to make them believe in God, because otherwise it is difficult to convince another human being in the existence of God. What is also unusual about Shirdi Sai Baba and that maybe because of the very strong impact he had on the Indian psyche at that time, that his Hindu devotees still worship him as though he were one of their Gods like Shiva, Rama and Krishna.

Who was Shirdi Saibaba? Where did he come from? Who were his parents? Was he a saint from the Middle East or from India? How did he land up in Shirdi? There are many such answered questions about his life and maybe he wanted to keep it that way. He did not want his past to come in the way of his life’s message to the people. It seems baba just came at a particular time in history when Hindu and Muslim relations were at their lowest. His avatar was for a very specific purpose i.e. to bring the two communities together, and preach to the people that religion is man-made. His most famous sayings are “Sabka Malik Ek” – “Everyone has one god only” and the two pillars on which his entire philosophical teachings rested upon were two words, “Shraddha” and “Saburi” – Faith and Patience.

His other names are Sainath, Shirdi ke Sai Baba, Sai Maharaj.

His avatar was for a very specific purpose i.e. to bring the two communities together, and preach to the people that religion is man-made. His most famous sayings are “Sabka Malik Ek” – “Everyone has one god only” and the two pillars on which his entire philosophical teachings rested upon were two words, “Shraddha” and “Saburi” – Faith and Patience.

SUMMARY CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF EVENTS

-He was born between 1838- 1842 AD at place called Pathri, in Marathwada, in the Nizam’s dominion.

– He left home at the tender age of eight in the company of a Sufi fakir between 1846 to 1850 AD.

– He came to Paithan – Aurangabad terrain and wandered all over Marathwada and maybe elsewhere from the age of 8 – 25/30 years.

– He stayed in Aurangabad and instructed a fakir by the name of Bade Baba, alias Fakir Baba alias Fakir Peer Mohammad Yasinmia for 12 years.

– He first came to Shirdi between 1868 – 1872 AD with Chand Patil of Dhupkhed, who came for the marriage of his sister with Hamid, the son of Aminbhai of Shirdi. He then stayed as a guest of Aminbhai. After a few days, Sai Baba and Chand Patil left for Aurangabad. Two months later, however, Sai Baba returned alone to Shirdi.

-When Sai Baba arrived in Shirdi, he was a young man between 25-30 years, tempered by the discipline of tapas and austerity.

When Sai Baba arrived in Shirdi, he was a young man between 25-30 years, tempered by the discipline of tapas and austerity.

– On his arrival in Shirdi, Sai Baba toyed with the idea of taking up his residence in Rahata (West of Shirdi) and enquired of Chandrabhan Seth, who had business interests in Marathwada for a suitable place. Seth offered him Pawarwada, owned by the Sand family but Sai Baba finally decided in favor of Shirdi for his abode.

Sai Baba Matt Coated Painting

Sai Baba Matt Coated Painting

– At Shirdi, he initially stayed on the outskirts of the village in Babul forest for about 2.5 years, then under a neem tree for 4-5 years and finally shifted to the dilapidated masjid (Dwarkamai). During this period he had no proper food. He received the sustenance he needed from Bayajabai, mother of one Tatya Kote Patil and the wife of one Narayan Teli.

Sai Baba Canvas Painting

Sai Baba Canvas Painting

– When Sai Baba came to shirdi there were two sadhus already in residence in the village. One was Devidas who had come to Shirdi 12 years earlier as a lad of 10-11 years and had put up in the local Maruti temple and the other was Janakidas Gosavi of the Mahanubhava Sect.

Nanasaheb Dengle And Sai Baba Canvas Painting

Nanasaheb Dengle And Sai Baba Canvas Painting

– Gangagir Bua of Puntambe, a well-known holy person of the Vaishnava Sect would often visit Shirdi. He told Nanasaheb Dengle of Nimgaon (a village east of Shirdi) that Sai Baba is a Chintamani (a gem from Swarga supposed to yield its possessor everything wanted). On hearing that, it is said, Nanasaheb Dengle went to the babul forest and bowed at Sai Baba’s feet.

At Shirdi, he initially stayed on the outskirts of the village in Babul forest for about 2.5 years, then under a neem tree for 4-5 years and finally shifted to the dilapidated masjid (Dwarkamai). During this period he had no proper food.

Sai Baba Photo

Sai Baba Photo

– Sai Baba would go for alms every morning and stand before the houses of Bayajabai Kote Patil, Patilbua Gondkar, Nandram Savairam and Appaji Kote who would dutifully give him food.

– Bidkar Maharaj, a disciple of Akkalkot Swami met Sai baba in 1873.

– By 1878 Mhalsapati, Appa kulkarni, Jagle and Nanasaheb Dengle of Nimgaon accepted Sai Baba as their mentor and sadguru. Nanasaheb Dengle knew many government officials as he moved in government circles.

– By 1878-79 (40 years now) Sai Baba was getting recognition. Chidambar Keshav Gadgil, Mamlatdar, was the first important government official to consider sai Baba as a jnani and call on him.

– Madhavrao Deshpande, who was for sometime a teacher in the primary school at Shirdi also accepted Sai Baba as his Saduru around 1881.

– Anandnath Maharaj, a disciple of Akkalkot Swami went to see Sai Baba in 1885. He told the villagers that Sai Baba was a genuine diamond lying on a dung heap.

– In 1885 (age nearing 50) – went into a trance for three whole days.

Sai Baba Helping Others

Sai Baba Helping Others

– The villagers considered Sai Baba as a mad fakir, but for all that they would go to him with trifling health problems like fever or a stomach ache in the belief that he would cure them. At first baba would give them indigenous remedies, but later started giving them udi from his dhuni.

The villagers considered Sai Baba as a mad fakir, but for all that they would go to him with trifling health problems like fever or a stomach ache in the belief that he would cure them. At first baba would give them indigenous remedies, but later started giving them udi from his dhuni.

– Abdul, servitor of fakir Aminuddin of Nanded came to Shirdi in 1889. Around 1890 Sai baba went to stay at Rahata with Javar Ali for the some time.

– In 1890 Shankarrao Raghunath Deshpande, alias Nanasaheb Nimonkar (Inamdar of Nimon) first met Baba at the Maruti temple at Rahata. A year later, Narayan Govind, alias Nanasaheb Chandorkar, personal assistant to the collector of Ahmednagar, first met Baba.

– Ganpat Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe, alias Das Gunu, met baba in 1892. That same year baba wrought the miracle of lighting lamps, in the masjid where he was staying, with water instead of oil. (baba 54 years old).

– In 1894 Muslims, led by one Kazi of Sangamner, opposed the worship of Baba in the mosque.

– It was decided to hold the Annual Urs fair in Shirdi from 1896-97 on Ram Navami day.

– In 1904 Rao Bahadur Hari Vinayak Sathe, Deputy Collector, widowed in 1900 went to Shirdi to take Sai Baba’s advice whether he should remarry as advised by his friends. He erected the first Wada in 1908 known as Sathewada, where devotees could stay in Shirdi.

Sai Baba Canvas Painting

Sai Baba Canvas Painting

– Sai Baba performs one more miracle in 1904. It is known as Jamner incident when Ramgirbua alias Bapugir went at the instance of Sai Baba with his aarti and udi for the smooth and safe delivery of Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s daughter Minatai Ganesh Kuvalekar and Sai Baba drove the tonga dressed in the garb of a Garhwali Rajput from Jalgaon to Jamner where both the driver and the tonga suddenly vanished.

Sai Baba performs one more miracle in 1904. It is known as Jamner incident when Ramgirbua alias Bapugir went at the instance of Sai Baba with his aarti and udi for the smooth and safe delivery of Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s daughter Minatai Ganesh Kuvalekar and Sai Baba drove the tonga dressed in the garb of a Garhwali Rajput from Jalgaon to Jamner where both the driver and the tonga suddenly vanished.

Shirdi Sai Image

Shirdi Sai Image

– Balasaheb Bhate, Mamledar of Kopargaon (1904-1909) an atheist, went out of curiousity to see Sai Baba, became his devotee, prematurely retired from service and settled in Shridi.

-Congregational worship of Sai Baba commenced in 1909 (70 years old).

– Bade Baba, alias Fakir Baba alias Fakir Peer Mohammad Yasinmia whom Sai Baba had instructed for 12 years came to stay at Shirdi in 1909.

– Sai Baba who used to speak in simple, direct language began to speak in parables and symbology from 1910 as the number of his visitors began to grow in volume.

– Hari Sitaram Dikshit, a prominent solicitor and MLC first met Sai Baba in 1909.

-The foundation of Dikshitwada was laid on 10th February, 1910. The construction was completed in April 1911.

Dwarka Photo

Dwarka Photo

– From 10th February 1910 onwards, Shej arti (night arti) of Baba every alternate day was started.

– Govind Raghunath alias Annasaheb Dabholkar, author of Shri Sai Satcharita first met Sai Baba in 1910.

– Ganesh Shrikrishna alias Dadasaheb Khaparde, Member, Central Legislative Assembly and autor of Shirdi Diary first visited Shirdi on 5th December, 1910.

 Sai Baba who used to speak in simple, direct language began to speak in parables and symbology from 1910 as the number of his visitors began to grow in volume.

Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak Photo

Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak Photo

– Vaman Prangovind Patel, later known as Swami Sai Sharan Anand first met baba on 11th Decembe, 1911.

– Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak visited Shirdi on 19th May, 1917 to see Baba.

– Sai baba entered into mahasamadhi on 15th October 1918. (80 years old)

Pantis

Pantis

MIRACLES ASSOCIATED WITH BABA

Lighting of the lamps with water

Long before baba’s fame spread, he was fond of burning lights in his masjid and other mandirs. But for the oil needed in those little earthenware lights that he lit, he depended on the generosity of the grocers of shirdi. He had made it a rule to light pantis (earthenware lights) in the masjid every morning and he would call on the grocers for small donations. But there came a time when the grocers tired of giving oil free to sai baba and one day they bluntly refused to oblige him, saying they had no fresh stocks. Without a word of protest baba returned to the masjid. Into those eartherware lamps he poured water and lighted the wicks. The lamps continued to burn deep into the midnight. The matter came to the notice of the grocers who now came to baba with profuse apologies. Baba pardoned them, but he warned them never to lie again. “You could have refused to give me the oil, but did you have to say you didn’t have fresh stocks?” he admonished them. But he had made his point.

Into those earthenware lamps he poured water and lighted the wicks. The lamps continued to burn deep into the midnight.


Stopping the rain

Miracles Of Shirdi Sai

Miracles Of Shirdi Sai

There is the story of one Rao Bahadur Moreshwar Fradhan who had come to Shirdi to take Sai Baba’s darshan along with his wife. As the couple was about to leave, it began to rain heavily. Thunder and lightning rent the air. As the Pradhan couple looked round in dismay, Sai Baba prayed. “Oh Allah!” he intoned, “let the rains cease. My children are going home. Let them go peacefully!” The storm thereupon ceased, the downpour reduced to slight drizzle and the Pradhans were able to reach their destination safely.

Well At Shirdi

Well At Shirdi

Raising the water level in well

When Sai Baba first came to Shirdi it had of no basic facilities. There was a well put only in name. It had no natural spring water and if ever there had been one, it must long ago have dried up. Water had to be fetched from a distance. When, therefore, Sai Baba gave his permission to the villagers to celebrate the Ram Navami Fair, (Baba’s Birthday) the big problem facing the organizers was one of water supply. So what should they do but go to Sai Baba with their problem? “‘Oh yes,” said Sai Baba, ‘so you want plenty of water, do you? Here, take this and drop it in the well and wait and see.” “This,” turned up to be a platter of flowers on which some prasad (blessed food) had been placed along with the remnants of alms Baba had received earlier in the day. The villagers had no qualms about doing as they were told to do. Their faith in Sai Baba was total. No sooner had that platter of leaves been dropped in the well, it is said, water rose from the bottom as if by divine command and completely filled it. And great was the rejoicing of the people.

There is the story of one Rao Bahadur Moreshwar Fradhan who had come to Shirdi to take Sai Baba’s darshan along with his wife. As the couple was about to leave, it began to rain heavily. Thunder and lightning rent the air. As the Pradhan couple looked round in dismay, Sai Baba prayed. “Oh Allah!” he intoned, “let the rains cease. My children are going home. Let them go peacefully!” The storm thereupon ceased, the downpour reduced to slight drizzle and the Pradhans were able to reach their destination safely.

Flow of Godavari (river) from Baba’s feet

Shirdi Sai Canvas Painting

Shirdi Sai Canvas Painting

These were instances of things they had seen with their own eyes. It was not secondhand information they had gathered. Sai Baba was to them as real as their homes and their fields and their cattle and the distant hills. Das Ganu once had an unforgettable experience. On a festive occasion, he sought Baba’s permission to go to a place called Singba on the banks of the Godavari to have a bath in the holy waters. “No,” Baba replied resolutely, “where is the need to go all the way when the Godavari is here right at my feet?” Das Ganu was vexed. He was willing to concede that Ganga the holy river (Baba frequently referred to Godavari as Ganga) rose from the feet of Sri Narayana (one among the Hindu trinity of Gods) himself, but his faith was not deep enough to believe that the waters of the Godavari could spring form the feet of his master, Sri Sai. Baba who was reading Das Ganu’s mind decided that this was the time to strengthen Das Ganu’s faith. He told his devotee: “come closer to me and hold the hollow of your palms at my feet!”. As soon as he did so water flowed freely out of the toes of the master’s feet and filled the hollow of Das Ganu’s palms in no time. His joy knew no limits. He sprinkled the water on his head and his body and distributed some more among the assembled devotees as tirtha (holy water).

Raising from the dead

Shirdi Poster

Shirdi Poster

The daughter of the maternal aunt of vasudeo sitaram ratanjankar who had come to shirdi had this experience. The girl was having high fever and the doctors said that he had developed tuberculosis. Medical help was of no use and all hopes had been practically given up. She was given udi but she wanted baba’s darshan and so, despite her precarious health she was bought to shirdi. But baba was furious that the girl should have not been put to so much inconvenience and let off a volley of abuse. “Place her on a kambal (thick woolen cloth) and give her only water” he ordered. His orders were obeyed. The girl survived for seven days on a water diet. On the 8th day she breathed her last early in the morning.

The daughter of the maternal aunt of vasudeo sitaram ratanjankar who had come to shirdi had this experience. The girl was having high fever and the doctors said that he had developed tuberculosis. Medical help was of no use and all hopes had been practically given up. She was given udi but she wanted baba’s darshan and so, despite her precarious health she was bought to shirdi. But baba was furious that the girl should have not been put to so much inconvenience and let off a volley of abuse. “Place her on a kambal (thick woolen cloth) and give her only water” he ordered. His orders were obeyed. The girl survived for seven days on a water diet. On the 8th day she breathed her last early in the morning.

Shirdi Sai Rally

Shirdi Sai Rally

She died just about the time that baba was to get up. He had been sleeping at the chavadi but that day he did not get up at his regular time. No one tried to wake him up. Nevertheless funeral arrangements had to be made. The family was distraught and the women folk began weeping around.

Suddenly they noticed that the girl given up as dead was stirring. In another few seconds people around her observed her yawning and looking bewildered. When the initial shock was over, they heard her tell her tale. She said, “she was being forcibly led by a dark man when she called for baba in her distress”. She saw baba come with his staff and belabor the dark man who let go of her. Baba thereafter led her to a chavadi. She ahd never been to the chavadi where baba habitually slept, but she described it in vivid and accurate terms.

While this conversation was going on in dikshitwada where the ratanjankars were staying, others at the chavadi were wondering why baba was still asleep, which was very unusual of him. That had never before happened. Baba was always up early and his oversleeping was unheard of.

Shirdi Sai Baba Canvas Painting

Shirdi Sai Baba Canvas Painting

Without warning, baba woke up suddenly, shouting loudly and hitting the ground with his staff and ran in the direction of dikshitwada.

 

 

 

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