Shirdi Sai Nath
Shirdi is a holy place famous for the mystic saint Sai Baba. Shirdi is 97 kmsaway from Nashik. Sai Baba spent his life and also breathed his last in Shirdi. In the memory of Sai Baba, a big marble temple has been built in Shirdi, which attracts devotees from all over India and abroad. Sai Baba is worshipped with great reverence among all sects and religions of India. He is specially famous amongst all the Indian film industrialists and businessmen. Thursdays are of special significance for the devotees, who flock for Aarati and Prasad on this day. Sai Baba's teachings were in leading a simple life and in the oneness of God. His saying SABKA MALIK EK meaning there is only one God and he isthe Master of all.
The place where he breathed his last is called as Samadhisthan, which is considered by devotees as a holy place. Eternal Dhuni (fireplace), Dwarkabai Mosque are also regarded as holy places. Ashrama of Sri Upasani Maharaj and Sri Godavari Mataji at Sakori are two kilometers away from Shirdi. Samadhisthan of Sri Janardan Swami and Shri Jangli Maharaj Mandir are at Kopergaon Road, 5 kms away from Shirdi.
Sai Baba Trust called Sai Baba Sansthan takes care of the temple and worship arrangements. They also provide accommodation and food for the visitors at Dharmashala (caravansaray) and at Bhakta Niwas i.e. Shelter for Devotees. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, The Pilgrim Inn and other hotels are also available. Fairs are held in Shirdi on Ramnavami, Guru Poornima and Dashahara.
The Mystic Fakir of Shirdi was no ordinary mortal , he was An Avatar . The Supreme Sadguru Sainath is the Omnipresent Being , existing ceaslessly . Memoirs of Lord Sainath have touched the lives across Globe , the Peerless Guru has enlightened millions and taken into his fold . It is a rare boon to experience formless (Nirakar) God , millions have been hallowed by Lord Shirdi Sai Baba's presence in their lives both with his Divine Form and Nirakar ( formless ) attribute . Forms are Many but God is one , all forms lead to the same Supreme Truth residing in all hearts . Without Shradha & Saburi man cannot move forward towards the penultimate goal of all lives i.e Self Realization . Complete Surrender towards our Sadguru Sainath will make life simple and carefree . When the Divine Lord is willing to take our burden , willing to Love us like a thousand Mothers , willing to rescue us from all sorrows and tribulations , it is Our foremost duty to Keep unwavering Faith on him & follow on the path of Truth as Our Beloved Lord Sai has taught us . We will find him always there to guide us , guard us & Love us . For refuge other then him , is none.
Shirdi Sai baba's Background:-
Although SaiBaba's origins are unknown, some indications exist that suggest that he was born not far from Shirdi.
Historical researches into genealogies in Shirdi give support to the theory that Baba could have been born with the name Haribhau Bhusari. SaiBaba was notorious for giving vague, misleading and contradictory replies to questions concerning his parentage and origins, brusquely stating the information was unimportant.
He had reportedly stated to a close follower, Mhalsapati, that he has been born of Brahmin parents in the village of Pathri and had been entrusted into the care of a fakir in his infancy. On another occasion, Baba reportedly said that the fakir's wife had left him in the care of a Hindu guru, Venkusa of Selu, and that he had stayed with Venkusa for twelve years as his disciple. This dichotomy has given rise to two major theories regarding SaiBaba's background, with the majority of writers supporting the Hindu background over the Islamic, while others combine both the theories (that Sai Baba was first brought up by a fakir and then by a guru).
SaiBaba reportedly arrived at the village of Shirdi in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India, when he was about sixteen years old.
Although there is no agreement among biographers about the date of this event, it is generally accepted that SaiBaba stayed in Shirdi for three years, disappeared for a year and returned permanently around 1858, which posits a possible birthyear of 1838. He led an ascetic life, sitting motionless under a neem tree and meditating while sitting in an asana.
The Sai Satcharita recounts the reaction of the villagers: "The people of the village were wonder-struck to see such a young lad practicing hard penance, not minding heat or cold. By day he associated with no one, by night he was afraid of nobody."
His presence attracted the curiosity of the villagers and the religiously-inclined such as Mhalsapati, Appa Jogle and Kashinatha regularly visited him, while others such as the village children considered him mad and threw stones at him. After some time he left the village, and it is unknown where he stayed at that time or what happened to him.
However, there are some indications that he met with many saints and fakirs, and worked as a weaver; he claimed to have fought with the army of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Return to Shirdi:-
In the year 1858 Sai Baba returned to Shirdi. Around this time he adopted his famous style of dress consisting of a knee-length one-piece Kafni robe and a cloth cap. Ramgir Bua, a devotee, testified that Sai Baba was dressed like an athlete and sported 'long hair flowing down to the end of his spine' when he arrived in Shirdi, and that he never had his head shaved. It was only after Baba forfeited a wrestling match with one Mohiddin Tamboli that he took up the kafni and cloth cap, articles of typical Sufi clothing.This attire contributed to Baba's identification as a Muslim fakir and was a reason for initial indifference and hostility against him in a predominantly Hindu village.
For four to five years Baba lived under a neem tree and often wandered for long periods in the jungle around Shirdi. His manner was said to be withdrawn and uncommunicative as he undertook long periods of meditation. He was eventually persuaded to take up residence in an old and dilapidated mosque and lived a solitary life there, surviving by begging for alms, and receiving itinerant Hindu or Muslim visitors. In the mosque he maintained a sacred fire which is referred to as a dhuni, from which he gave sacred ashes ('Udhi') to his guests before they left. The ash was believed to have healing and apotropaic powers. He performed the function of a local hakim and treated the sick by application of ashes. Sai Baba also delivered spiritual teachings to his visitors, recommending the reading of sacred Hindu texts along with the Qur'an. He insisted on the indispensability of the unbroken remembrance of God's name (dhikr, japa), and often expressed himself in a cryptic manner with the use of parables, symbols and allegories.
After 1910 Sai Baba's fame began to spread in Mumbai. Numerous people started visiting him, because they regarded him as a saint with the power of performing miracles or even as an Avatar.They built his first temple at Bhivpuri, Karjat.
The temple premises of Shri Saibaba is spread in approximately 200 sq. mtrs. It is situated in the heart of Shirdi village and is a major center of pilgrims from all over the world.
On an average, daily 25,000 devotees visit Shirdi village, to have the Darshan of Shri Saibaba. In the festival season, more than 1,00,000 devotees visit the Temple everyday. The Temple premises is renovated in the year 1998-99 and now is equipped with all necessary facilities like Darshan Lane, Prasadalay (Lunch and Dinner), Donation Counters, Prasad Counters, Canteen, Railway Reservation Counter, Book Stall etc. The accommodation facilities are also provided by the Sansthan.
Teachings and practices of Shirdi Saibaba:-
Shirdi Sai Baba was especially impressed by the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita and encouraged people to follow its message in their own lives.
For example, He emphasized the importance of performing one’s duties without attachment to earthly matters and of being content regardless of the situation.
In terms of spiritual qualities, He declared that there are two important features of character:
1) Shraddha – Faith, unflinching perseverance in the face of all obstacles
2) Saburi – Patience, waiting with patience and love for the right time for any action to come to fruition.
In his personal practice, SaiBaba observed worship procedures belonging to Hinduism and Islam; he shunned any kind of regular rituals but allowed the practice of namaz, chanting of Al-Fatiha, and Qur'an readings at Muslim festival times. Occasionally reciting the Al-Fatiha himself, SaiBaba also enjoyed listening to moulu and qawwali accompanied with the tabla and sarangi twice daily. He also wore clothing reminiscent of a Sufi fakir. SaiBaba also opposed all sorts of persecutions on religious or caste background. (In India at the times when he lived religious intolerance and conflicts were common).
saibabaSaiBaba of Shirdi was also an opponent of religious orthodoxy - both Hindu and Muslim. Although SaiBaba himself led the life of an ascetic, he advised his followers to lead an ordinary family life.
SaiBaba encouraged his devotees to pray, chant God's name and read holy scriptures - he told Muslims to study the Qur'an and Hindus texts like the Ramayana, Vishnu Sahasranam, Bhagavad Gita (and commentaries to it), Yoga Vasistha. He advised his devotees and followers to lead a moral life, help others, treat them with love and develop two important features of character: faith (Shraddha) and patience (Saburi). He also criticized atheism. In his teachings SaiBaba emphasised the importance of performing one's duties without attachment to earthly matters and being ever content regardless of the situation.
SaiBaba also interpreted the religious texts of both faiths. According to what the people who stayed with him said and wrote he had a profound knowledge of them. He explained the meaning of the Hindu scriptures in the spirit of Advaita Vedanta. This was the character of his philosophy. It also had numerous elements of bhakti. The three main Hindu spiritual paths - Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga - were visible in the teachings of SaiBaba.
Another example of the way he combined both faiths is the Hindu name he gave to his mosque, Dwarakamai.
SaiBaba said that God penetrates everything and lives in every being, and as well that God is the essence of each of them. He emphasised the complete oneness of God which was very close to the Islamic tawhid and the Hindu doctrine, e.g. of the Upanishads. SaiBaba said that the world and all that the human may give is transient and only God and his gifts are eternal. SaiBaba also emphasised the importance of devotion to God - bhakti - and surrender to his will. He also talked about the need of faith and devotion to one's spiritual preceptor (guru).
He said that everyone was the soul and not the body. He advised his disciples and followers to overcome the negative features of character and develop the good ones. He taught them that all fate was determined by karma.
SaiBaba left no written works. His teachings were oral, typically short, pithy sayings rather than elaborate discourses. SaiBaba would ask his followers for money (dakshina), which he would give away to the poor and other devotees the same day and spend the rest on matches. According to his followers he did it in order to rid them of greed and material attachment.
SaiBaba encouraged charity and the importance of sharing with others. He said: "Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect. Shri Hari (God) will be certainly pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked and your verandah to strangers for sitting and resting. If anybody wants any money from you and you are not inclined to give, do not give, but do not bark at him like a dog."
Value of Lighting lamps :-
Lighting lamps has always been shirdi saibabas most important activity while he lived. Baba used to light lamps in Dwarakamai and my Guru has said Laxmibhai has helped sai to light these lamp somedays. When few shop keepers of shirdi gave problems to sai and din't gave him oil to light lamps, Baba used water in the tin pot and poured in the lamps. To the surprise of everyone , the lamps glow beautifully .By grace of sai the lamps were lit just by using water.
We must understand a beautiful thing about this incident. Sai is a saint with Astama siddhi. Siddhi is a holy power to gain anything and everything one needs.A saint who gained Astama siddhi can alone command nature but these days people get cheated by false saints who just act as if they have powers.
Any pure saint who has gained the state of "Astama siddhi " will never misuse it .I mean, they won't use it unnecessarily . They follow the law of God and Nature. The 18 sidhars also sometimes has used their astama siddhi beyond the law of nature but its for the welfare of human race. Simililarly our shirdi saibaba with his powers made the lamps to glow just with the water.
He himself is said to have come out of a three day Samadhi (death) in 1886. He was a clairvoyant. It seems that the elements like fire, air and water obeyed his orders. He could order storms to cease and cold breeze to blow, to save people or comfort them. He blessed childless couples and they had children. He is credited with being physically present at more than one place. He could cure the incurably sick. He could restore the eyesight to the blind. He could light lamps with just water. Many of those who witnessed the miracles or benefitted from them, have left accounts of them. His miracles were meant to help the distressed and not to demonstrate his divine nature. All these entailed his being regarded as a living god by some of his close admirers/disciples.
Value of Chanting sai sai sai :-
Chanting is also like yoga.The good vibration of chanting "sai " "aum namah shivaya" Aum Namo Narayanaya" "Hare krishna, hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram hare hare" all these chants creates a vibration in our body and mind.It creates in us a divine energy . For shirdi saibaba devotees we have baba's wonderful assurance that all we have to do is to say
Sai Sai Ssai....our previous births bad karma will be washed away and sai will bless us with the rewards of out devotion.
Remember sai alone in your mind and say sai sai sai....sai sai sai...sai sai sai ...countless times....! shirdi saibaba will wash away your bad karma and bless you fulfilling all your wishes.
If i have made a seperate website to help shirdi saibaba devotees learn the importance of saying "sai sai sai " , it means shirdi saibaba wants me to spread this message. It is sai who has made you come to this site and requesting you to remember him. In this fast world, you wont have time for such things but we all waste time worrying and discussing our problems with friends and relatives.Its good. But if you remember shirdi saibaba and chant "sai sai sai" atleast few minutes or hours per day , shirdi saibaba will also remember you and atleast prove that he is there for you.
Please chant sai's name without expectations, with total devotion and love on our sweet shirdi saibaba. Make it as a habit. Some day sai is surely going to bless you with a peace and prosperity
Last Words of Sai Baba:-
Sai Baba attained ‘mahasamadhi’ on October 15, 1918. Before his death, he said, "Do not think I am dead and gone. You will hear me from my Samadhi and I shall guide you." The millions of devotees who keep his image in their homes, and the thousands who throng to Shridi every year, is a testimony to the greatness and continuing popularity of Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Story of Shirdi Sai Baba's death:-
Ramachandra Patil, a disciple of Shirdi Sai Baba was sick and the medicine wasn't helping. he was very tired and was anticipating death. One night he saw his guru in a dream standing near his bed, he begged him "Dear Guru! I have no desire on Life, please tell me when will I die?"
Baba replied "Don't be afraid, you will get better soon, but I'm worried about Tatya. He will die on the coming VijayaDashami day. Don't till this to him".
Patil got better soon, but he was worried that Tatya will die very soon. As the VijayaDashami day approached Tatya got sick and his health kept deteriorating. Sai Baba's health also deteriorated as the Vijayadashami approached. Tatya was very sick, everyone thought he would definitely die soon. But a strange thing happened, Baba left body and Tatya lived. Great Guru had taken his disciple's Karma on himself.
Khandoba was the tutelary deity of the Mhalsapati family, and Mhalsapati was the temple’s hereditary priest. Khandoba, originally a pastoral deity, is popular in Maharashtra and is now worshipped as a form of Shiva. The temple here was a simple, rural temple; today, it is a small, well-maintained and neatly kept building.
The idol of Khandoba – a colourful image – is flanked on either side by one of his two wives. On the right sits Mhalsa, and on the left is Baanai, who represents the business community. Mhalsa is worshipped as a form of Parvati and Baanyani is venerated as a form of Goddess Ganga.
Gurusthan means “place of the Guru”. It is both where Baba spent most of his time when he first came to Shirdi, and also where, according to Baba, the tomb of his own Guru is located by the neem tree. Gurusthan is therefore one of the most important places in Shirdi.. From underneath the NEEM tree there is an underground tunnel or passage leading to the place of Dwarkamai as told by an old lady.
The shrine which houses Baba’s tomb was originally constructed as a wada (large private house) during Baba’s last years in his physical body. It is built on some land that Baba had tended as a garden. Sai Baba seemed to like growing plants and in his early days he cleared and levelled this land, which had been used as dumping ground. Using seeds that he had brought from Rahata, he planted it with jasmine and marigold. For about three years Baba would water the plants every day and distribute the flowers to the local temples. Now that his tomb is here and Baba is receiving so many devotees, it seems that he is nurturing plants of a different nature – and still sowing seeds.
Lendi Garden(Baba’s place of penance and paradise):-
In Baba’s time, Lendi was an area of wasteland between two small streams, the Lendi and the Sira (now dried up). Baba used this area for toilet purposes. He would leave the mosque for Lendi around nine o’ clock in the morning accompanied by some devotees. However, none was allowed inside with him except Abdul Baba.
Nanda Deep (“lamp of bliss”, also known as Akhanda Deep – “perpetually burning lamp”) is placed between the trees and was originally lit by Baba. Later, he instructed Abdul Baba to see that it was kept burning.
Chavadi means “village office”, and was the place where taxes were collected, village records kept and visiting officials put up. After Baba’s mahasamadhi the Sansthan acquired Chavadi, and until the late 1930s, used it for storing books and accommodating pilgrims. The village offices have long been relocated and Chavadi is kept as a shrine to Baba and is open to all.
Sai Baba is intimately connected with this place, as he used to sleep here on alternate nights, during the last decade of his life. The routine was started on one wild and stormy night, around 1909. It was raining heavily, and water was coming through the leaky walls of the mosque. The devotees tried their best to persuade Baba to move out, if only until the water had subsided, but Baba did not want to go. Eventually, they virtually forced him to leave, by picking him up and half-carrying him to Chavadi. From that day onwards, Baba would spend alternate nights here.
Hanuman (Maruti) Mandir – (Hanuman represents power of cosmic wind)
On the lane that runs between Dwarkamai and Chavadi is the Hanuman Mandir, one of the oldest temples in Shirdi. marked by a pair of trees enclosed by a circular railing, It is also known as the Maruti Mandir. Unusually, the temple faces south and there were two Hanuman statues here, side by side.
Just behind the new outdoor theatre is a row of three small temples. They are dedicated to Ganesh,Shani (i.e. Saturn) and Mahadev (i.e. Shiva). Baba's local devotee, Tatya Kote Patil, was fond of offering lamps here. The shrines were rebuilt and enlarged in l999 as part of the re-modelling of the Temple complex.
The small samadhi of the tiger, commemorated by a statue in Dwarkamai and said to have received mukti from Baba, is a few feet from the Mahadev shrine.
Mahalaxmi Temple – (Devi – Temple symbol of cosmic power - energy):-
This temple is just by the side Pilgrims Inn (MTDC) by Pimpalwadi Road, about five minutes walk from Dwarkamai Baba occassionally visited it on his begging rounds and the temple is mentioned in the Sri Sai Satcharitra as Baba once sent his devotee there on an unusal mission Bala Ganpat Shimpi had tried all sorts of medicine to cure his malaria, but nothing worked and he had a raging fever. Baba gave him a curious prescription " Give a black dog some rice mixed with curd in front of the Laxmi temple” Shimpi wondered how he could carry out this instruction, but he found the necessary ingredients and took them to the temple. There he saw a black dog wagging its tail. The dog ate the proffered food and Shimpi quickly recovered. The temple has recently been restructured.
Narasimha Temple – (One of the God incarnations):-
This is near Chavadi next to where Sakharam Shelke's house used to be (one of those from which Baba took bhiksha), and was built by his descendants in the mid l960's Its compound houses the samadhis of Sakharam's son and daughter in law and that of Ramgiri Bua ("Babugir" of the Jamner leela).
There are two Jain temples within close proximity of each other. The first is on the main Nagar-Manmad Road opposite to the gate no. 1. It was built by Sri Jain Swethambara Theertha Trust and is noted for the absence of any iron-not even one nail- in its construction, as metal is held to be unconducive to meditation. The main idol is of Adeshwar Bhagavan.
The other temple is the Shish Mahal which, as its name (shish) implies, has its inside walls and ceiling covered with mosaic mirror pieces. The idol here is Sri Shantiniwas Maharaj l6th Teerthanka. The temple was built by the Shri Shantniwas Digambar temple Committee. To get there, continue along the main road in the direction of Nagar/Pune. and turn off down an unpaved track on the right, by the Municipal 0ffice. The temple is a few hundred metres down here on the right.
The three main festivals are celebrated in Shirdi. They are Ramnavami (March/April), Guru Purnima (July),and Vijayadashami (September). These festivals are celebrated with great passion, verve and he artfulness. There is a programme of puja, music (bhajan) public parayana (reading of scriptures and devotional texts) and exuberant processions with the palanquin and the Rath (cart). The Samadhi Mandir remains open all night during one of these days with Dwarkamai being open the previous night and there are all night bhajan and qawali sessions at various locations in the village. Printed programmes with full details are available at the Sansthan Office.
With an Urs, or a Muslim celebration. The practise began in 1890 when a Gopal Gund wanted to celebrate having a child after many childless years. Baba, a fakir, who had mysteriously appeared in the village, but sat in meditation like a Hindu yogi, lived in a dilapidated masjid, which he called his Dwarakamayi, and was worshipped by the Hindus to whom he gave vibhuti or sacred ash as prasad, suggested an urs, something that would bring both communities together, which by 1912 became the local celebration of the Ramnavami festival.
Accomidation In Shirdi:-
Sai Ashram Phase 1 consisting of 1536 rooms can accommodate 9000 devotees.1152 common rooms with attached bath room and 384 A.C. rooms. In addition, there is a common services block with a restaurant for devotees. It also has an Open Air Theatre (OAT) to accommodate about 2000 devotees for Sai Kirtans, Bhajans and other cultural programs. The OAT is also designed to accommodate Saibaba Palkhis and Padayatris
The Dwarawati is two minutes walking distance from the Bus stand. It is built recently in the year 2008. It has 334 rooms & dormitories & large rooms to accommodate small groups or families of six to ten people. It also have 80 AC Rooms .This complex is also well equipped with the facilities like the parking space, 24 hr. water supply, electricity supply (with full capacity generator back-up) & the security
Sansthan is taking care of the common Devotees by providing the accommodations at fairly affordable prices. A simple room (non-attached with latrine & bathroom) with common facilities, is available merely at the charge of Rs. 50/-, which can accommodate four person. And the A.C. suits are also available at the charge of Rs.900/- per day.
New Bhakta Niwas:-
The New Bhakta Niwas is the biggest accommodation complex consisting 542 rooms of various categories. It is about 01 Kilometer away, on south of the Mandir Complex, on the Highway itself. Free bus service, shuttling between the New Bhakta Niwas & the Mandir Complex is provided round the clock. This complex is well equipped with the parking space, canteen facility, 24 Hr. water, electricity supply (with full capacity generator back-up) and the security. It is equipped with the solar hot water system.
How To reach:-
By Air :-
The nearest airport to Shirdi is at Nashik, 75kms away, Aurangabad is at a distance of 150kms, which is connected by all the major towns of India. You can also come till Mumbai by air and travel down to 296kms to reach Shirdi. Mumbai has both international and domestic airports that grant connectivity to the world. Domestic airport in Pune is about 231kms from Shirdi. There are regular public and private transport operators that ensure your easy access to the sanctum of Saibaba.
By Rail/Train :-
Kopergaon on Daund-Manmad Line is an important railway station about 16kms from Shirdi. This station is on the route of the Karnataka Express from New Delhi to Bangalore. Manmad is another important station about 58kms from Shirdi which carries a number trains from Mumbai and Delhi. Shirdi has a computerized Railway Ticket Booking Center within the temple premises. From here you can have railway tickets of whichever destination all through India.
By Road :-
Shirdi can be reached by taking a Bus from almost all major cities of Maharashtra. Shirdi is on the Ahmednagar-Manmad Highway, 250 km from Mumbai and 75 km from Nashik. MTDC runs buses from all major destinations.
For Booking Visit Online.sai.org.in