Sai Baba of Shirdi Sai Baba, an Indian religious figure who lived from the mid-19th Century to 1918. He was considered a Guru and holy man to both Hindus and Muslims.
Sai Baba of Shirdi taught that all religions led to the same goal, and sought to show the underlying unity between the Muslim and Hindu faiths. One of his most famous sayings was “God is the Owner of us All”
His early life has few reliable sources. It is suggested he was brought up in the village of Pathri, by a fakir and his wife. A disciple of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Das Ganu, said he was later looked after by Venkusha.
When Sai Baba was sixteen years old he first arrived in the village of Shirdi in Maharashtra. He lived a very ascetic life, spending many hours in prayer and meditation. Some called him a saint; others were less impressed by this ascetic. He stayed in a Khabdoba temple, and later a dilapidated mosque.
Without any preaching or attempt to attract followers, people were drawn to his presence, and he began to attract followers from both the Hindu and Muslim faith.
As well as teaching spirituality and tolerance of religions, he was also known for his ability to create miracles, such as materialising objects out of thin air. As his life progressed, increasingly big crowds were attracted to wherever he went.
Sai lived in Shirdi all his life and was buried in the Buty Wada, also known as Samadhi Mandir.
His religion, philosophy and practices
Sai left no written records, but a strong oral legacy of teachings and parables. This sayings and teaching have been written down by his disciples. One of his favourite teachings was the omnipresence of God – “Why do you fear when I am always here. He has no beginning and no end.”
Sai could be a strict spiritual teacher, getting angry with his disciples to shake their egoistic views
Sai Baba made eleven assurances to his devotees:
1. Whosoever puts their feet on Shirdi soil, their sufferings will come to an end.
2. The wretched and miserable will rise to joy and happiness as soon as they climb the steps of the mosque.
3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
5. I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
6. My mortal remains will speak from my tomb.
7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me.
8. If you look to me, I look to you.
9. If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it.
10. If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
11. There shall be no want in the house of my devotee.
His eleven famous sayings are:
1. No harm shall befall him who sets his foot on the soil of Shirdi.
2. He who cometh to My Samadhi, his sorrow and suffering shall cease.
3. Though I be no more in flesh and blood, I shall ever protect My devotees.
4. Trust in Me and your prayer shall be answered.
5. Know that My Spirit is immortal. Know this for yourself.
6. Show unto Me he who sought refuge and been turned away.
7. In whatever faith men worship Me, even so do I render to them.
8. Not in vain is My Promise that I shall ever lighten your burden.
9. Knock, and the door shall open. Ask and ye shall be granted.
10. To him who surrenders unto Me totally I shall be ever indebted.
11. Blessed is he who has become one with Me.
An important aspect of Sai Baba’s teachings was the distribution of sacred udhi (ash) to his followers. This has symbolic meaning and some disciples claimed miracles from this sacred ash. He also asked visitors for money, which he would distribute to others later in the day. This was to improve the karma of his disciples.
The Shri Sai Satcharita, by Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar, gives a devotional account of Sai Baba’s life.
Sai Baba is among the most popular of Indian saints and has a large following throughout India, his image is one of most popular religions icons of India. His samadhi is a well-known place of pilgrimage.
At least three gurus have claimed to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. The most famous is Sathya Sai Baba.
Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Sai Baba of Shirdi“, Oxford, UK – www.biographyonline.net. Last updated 19th May 2013.
Shri Sai Baba
SHri Sai Baba at Amazon
Spiritual figures – Famous saints, mystics and religious figures. Including Jesus Christ, The Buddha, Lord Krishna, St Teresa of Avila.
Famous saints – Famous saints from the main religious traditions of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Includes St Francis of Assisi, Mirabai and Guru Nanak.