Sai Baba was a saint who practiced and preached love to all. He was a spiritual guru (teacher) who transcended the boundaries of all religions. His philosophy is based on ‘Shraddha’ and ‘Saburi’ (faith and compassion respectively). He got his name from two words combined, ‘Sai’ meaning holy or saintly and ‘Baba’ meaning father therefore he is considered the holy father or saintly father. He is also called ‘Sakshat Eshwar’ which makes him an incarnation of God. Some people consider him the incarnation of ShivaShiva
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Legend of his Life
There is no mention of the exact date of his birth nor is his real name known. He started living in a village named Shirdi in Maharashtra since 1838 for three years, left the place for a year and then returned and resided permanently in a mosque till 1918. Though it was a mosque, he gave it a Hindu name, Dwarkamay (named after the birthplace of Krishna, Dwarka).
At a tender age of 16, he started meditating and performing strict penance. Neither a hot day nor cold winds affected his practice. People started visiting him in amazement. He lived in a simple manner, sleeping on the floor, using brick as his headrest. He begged for his food and wore a long robe and a cloth cap.
People were mesmerized by the glow on his face and charm in his words. He sang ‘Bhajans’ (Hindu hymns) and also danced with fakirs (Muslim saints). He read and preached both Hindu and Muslim scriptures. He didn’t leave any written words behind, and he only gave oral teachings in the layman language.
Sai Baba’s Teachings
Sai Baba always encouraged his followers to chant God’s name and believe in his existence. He said that one God governs us all and we should all kneel down in front of him. Living with morals and without any discrimination was the best way of leading life. He taught charity and patience to others. Loving everyone was the key to peaceful existence.
He also emphasized on helping others without expecting anything in return. He believed that people ask for help only if they feel a connection. It is good to give water to thirsty, space to a wanderer, food to hungry and clothes to a naked man but if you can’t, say no to them with humbleness. Don’t be rude and shun them out.
Assurances to Devotees
He told his devotees to trust him and give all their sorrows to him. He will not let anyone out and alone. He will always accompany them and find solutions to their problems. One who seeks help will get refuge. Their burdens will lighten and he will in indebted to anyone who places his trust in him and he will bless them. Two of his most famous sayings are “Why do you fear when I am here” and “He (God) has no beginning… He has no end”.
It is also believed that Sai Baba could perform miracles like the materializing things from thin air, curing the incurable sick, mindreading, etc. He also visited many followers in their dreams and gave them advice on their problems.
Though almost every district has a temple or shrine dedicated to Sai Baba. The most famous temple in his name is in Shirdi and almost 20,000 pilgrims visit the shrine every single day.