Shirdi Sai Baba is one of the most revered saints in India. Today he’s worshipped by millions of devotees worldwide who preach and practice his spiritual teachings to make this world a better place to live. This blog will help you learn everything about Sai, the spiritual master who left a huge and powerful impact on his followers.
Sai first came to Shirdi (a small town in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra), at the age of around 16. There was/is no evidence of his parents or birthplace. He stayed in Shirdi for 3 years whereafter he went disappeared for a year. Nonetheless, he permanently came back to Shirdi in 1858.
Sai led a simple ascetic life, sitting in an asana, calmly meditating under a neem tree. The village people were quite surprised to see such a young child practicing penance, without minding heat, cold, and rain. By the day, he’d not interact with anybody and by night, he’d fear nobody.
Some of the religious villagers like Mahalsapati, Kashinatha, and Appa Jogle got inclined towards Sai and started regularly visiting him. However, the children considered him mad and used to throw stones at him.
Evolution of Sai Baba over time
Sai Baba’s real name is not known to anyone. The name ‘Sai’ was given to him by the village temple priest, Mahalsapati. For almost 5 years, Sai took his shelter under a neem tree and was often found wandering around in the jungle. Over time, he moved to a nearby mosque where he used to maintain a sacred fire known as Dhuni. The ashes obtained from Dhuni were said to have medicinal properties and were used among the villagers to cure all health issues.
Every day, a number of visitors used to come to meet Sai Baba. Sai was also very fond of cooking. Whatever he used to cook for himself, he always ensured to share some portion of it with his devotees as Prasad.
The best thing about Sai Baba was that he never believed in caste and religion. For him, everyone was equal and was guided by one almighty force. He used to take part in all the festivals be it Diwali for the Hindus or Eid for the Muslims.
Artistic Representations of Sai Baba
One would often find Sai Baba idols or picturization in mainly two poses. One is where he’s sitting on a stone pedestal with his one hand in aashirwad (Vitarka) mudra, showering his devotees with all his blessings. Another is the one wherein you will see him pointing toward the sky with one of his fingers. This gesture of Sai symbolizes one of his most famous sayings i.e., Sabka Maalik Ek - One God, Governs all!
Stories and miracles associated with Sai Baba
One of the most popular evidence of Sai Baba’s miracles is the Lighting of Lamps using water. Sai Baba always lighted his masjid and other nearby temples with earthen lamps. For this, the local grocers used to offer him oil as a small donation. However, over time, the grocers were annoyed about giving him oil for free. So the next time, when Sai came to their store, he was returned back by the grocers saying that there were no fresh stocks available.
Upon hearing this, Sai returned back without saying a word. But he couldn’t the masjid covered in the dark. So he started lighting the earthen lamps using water instead of oil, which to everyone's surprise burned deeply into the midnight. Sai literally lit diyas out of water, such strong was his power.
Later when the grocers came to know of this incident, they rushed toward Sai asking for apologies. Sai being a kind soul forgave them but warned them about not lying ever again. He said, ‘You could have refused me to give the oil, but you lied saying that there weren’t any fresh stocks available’.
Popular Sai Baba Tenples
Today, Sai Baba is worshipped across the world in the form of idols. Moreover, there are over 2000 temples built in the name of Sai. some of these most famous temples are listed as under
Shri Sai Janmasthan Mandir in Pathri, Maharashtra
The biggest Sai Baba temple in India, Shri Sai Janmasthan Mandir is located in Pathri. It is believed that Sai was born in a small village of Pathri. Hence in his memory, this temple was constructed in 1994 in the same location.
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Mylapore, Chennai
Built-in 1952, this is the oldest and the biggest Sai Baba temple in India. It is managed and run by the All India Sai Samaj founded by Mr. Nararsimhaswami almost around 7 decades back. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple offers you a pleasant and peaceful environment, to help you better connect with the almighty.
Shri Shirdi Sai Temple in Lodhi Road, Delhi
Shri Shirdi Sai Temple, Delhi is one of the most popular temples in India. It features a huge statue of Sai Baba made of finest quality white marble. Being situated along the road, one can easily see the idol while passing by on their way.
Care and Maintenance
If you have a Sai Baba idol at your home, know that it requires special care and maintenance to ensure that the idol remains all new and shining. Concerning this, here are some tips to help you with the care and maintenance of Sai Baba idols:
- Always use a soft, clean cloth to clean the idol regularly.
- Avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners for cleaning.
- Try to keep the idol away from heat, moisture, or direct sunlight.
- If you have a brass idol, apply a thin coat of oil or varnish every once in a while to maintain its shine.
Sai Baba has always been an inspiration for all. Even today, people across the world preach and practice his spiritual teachings to lead a better life. Sai always believed that we all are governed by one lord and hence we are all equal regardless of which caste, religion, and race we come from. And this is the primary reason that people from all religions worship and follow him today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q1. What materials are commonly used in crafting Sai Baba Idols?
Sai Baba idols are commonly made using brass, polyresin, marble, and wood.
Q2. Can Sai Baba Statues be personalized for individual preferences?
Yes, Sai Baba statues can be personalized as per your individual preferences.
Q3. What role do Sai Baba Idols play in fostering a sense of community among devotees?
Sai Baba always emphasized promoting unity among people of different religions and faiths. His acts and service of kindness and empathy always directed people to follow a path of truth and spirituality.
Q4. Can Sai Baba Statues be used for meditation and prayer?
Yes, Sai Baba statues can be used for meditation and prayer.
Q5. Where can one find authentic and quality Sai Baba Statues for purchase?
You can check various online platforms and home decor brands like Artarium that offer authentic and best-quality Sai Baba idols for purchase.