Sai Baba of Shirdi




Sai Baba of Shirdi (27 September 1837 – October 15, 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim devotees as a saint. Hindu devotees consider him an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Satguru, an enlightened Sufi Pir or a Qutub. He is a well-known figure in many parts of the world, but especially in India, where he is much revered. Sai Baba's real name is unknown. The name "Sai" was given to him upon his arrival at Shirdi. No information is available regarding his birth and place of birth. Sai baba never spoke about his past life. S?? is of Sanskrit origin, meaning "Sakshat Eshwar" or the divine. The honorific "Baba" means "father; grandfather; old man; sir" in Indo-Aryan languages. Thus Sai Baba denotes "holy father" or "saintly father". He was born in a Hindu family and was adopted by a Muslim family who raised him untill he was 16. After that he went as a sannyasi to Shridi and made it his permanent home. Sai Baba had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He remains a very popular saint,and is worshipped by people around the world. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. Sai Baba's teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque he lived in, practiced Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in a Hindu temple in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, "Sabka Malik Ek " ("One God governs all"), is associated with Islam and Sufism. He always uttered "Allah Malik" ("God is King"). The many of his practices point more to him believing in the unity of God, reciting Al-Fatiha and other Qur'anic readings at Muslim festival times, listening to hamds and qawwali twice daily, practicing Salah (Namaz), wearing clothing reminiscent of a Sufi fakir, omnivore and abstaining from alcohol. A mosque still stands in Shirdi, a place in which he once lived and continued to visit regularly. According to Purdom, when Kulkarni Maharaj requested Upasni Maharaj to pay a visit to Sai Baba, Upasni replied 'Why should I go to a Muslim?' Sai Baba is revered by several notable Hindu religious leaders. Some of his disciples became famous as spiritual figures and saints, such as Mhalsapati,a priest of Kandoba temple in Shridi, Upasni Maharaj, Saint Bidkar Maharaj, Saint Gangagir, Saint Jankidas Maharaj, and Sati Godavari Mataji.

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