Baba, one of the foremost saints of modern India,
the Fifth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Dattatreya
in this age of Kali, lived in the tiny village of
Shirdi in the State of Maharashtra for sixty years
and elevated it to the status of a great spiritual
centre. He never preached, toured nor discoursed.
He never advertised himself. Yet by the sheer brilliance
of his spiritual fire did he draw innumerable devotees
to him from all over the country, irrespective of
their caste, creed or religion.
Surprising as it may sound, a Saint of his stature
and fame is without a name. No one knows his original
name, time and place of birth, his religion, caste
and not even of his caste. "Sai Baba", the name
by which he came to be known, is what has been used
by one of his first devotees to greet him on his
second arrival at Shirdi. 'Sai' means a saint and
'Baba' means father. The name is thus just an expression
of love and reverence due to such a spiritual giant
as he and is not a personal name.
arrival at Shirdi was very sudden. He appeared,
one day, as a boy of sixteen or seventeen, seated
under a neem (margosa) tree in the outskirts of
the village of Shirdi, about the year 1854. He stayed
under the neem tree for about three years, not bothering
about the vagaries of the weather nor did he approach
any one for his daily needs. The boy disappeared
suddenly the way he had appeared. None knew where
he went or why. After a year or so, he again returned
to Shirdi and stayed on there for full sixty years.
Sai Baba converted an old dilapidated Mosque as
his residence and had named it as 'Dwarakamai' and
in this unique place, the essence of all the principal
creeds were united and the common worship of the
universal god brought home to each and all in a
unique and loving manner. The presence of Dhuni
(sacred fire) was a temple to the Hindus and the
Parsees, the nimbaru (niche) on the western wall
made it look like a mosque; and to the Christian
it was a church where the bells announce prayers.
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba attained his "Mahasamadhi"
on the auspicious "Vijayadasami" day in 1918.
(Also refer "Sai Baba- The Master (English)" by
Pujya Sri Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja)