Sai Baba of Shirdi was a saint who is a guru of India, yogi and fakir. His Hindu devotees believe that he is an incarnation of Shiva or Dattatreya. Many devotees claim to have witnessed miracles he performed and many stories are spread all across the world. In India he is much revered personality.
The name 'Sai Baba' means "well learned" or "knowledgeable". The Islamic studies thus refer Sai Baba as a "holy father" or "saintly father". There is ambiguous information about his background, birth and early life i.e. before the age of sixteen. He merged both Hinduism and Islam in his teachings.
The great saint lived in a mosque called Dwarakamayi, and followed the rituals of Hindu as well as Muslim. He lived a solitary life and managed to survive by begging for alms. He used to have several epigrams. One of such epigrams "Sabka Malik Ek Hai" ("One God governs all") is rooted from Bhagavad-Gita, Islam and Sufism. He always articulated the doctrine of "Allah Malik" ("God is Master"). He occupied himself in self-realization and didn’t desire for fragile things.
Sai Baba taught love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, devotion to God and guru.It has always been a debatable matter that whether Sai Baba is Hindu or Muslim and when was he born.
Baba probably came to Shirdi at the age of 16 years. He was welcomed back in Shirdi with greeting "Ya Sai", meaning ‘welcome saint’ in Marathi by the temple priest Mhalsapati and since then he started being known as Sai Baba.
The dressing style consists of a knee-length one-piece robe (kafni) and a cloth cap that depicts typical sufi clothing; he has long white hair and beard. He led a Spartan life, living and meditating under a neem tree for four to five years.
He used to light a sacred fire known as dhuni, from which he treated masses with the sacred ash ('Udhi'). Baba also delivered spiritual teachings to his visitors, insisted on reading sacred Hindu texts along with the Qur'an, and vitalness of japa. He religiously participated in holy festivals and also prepared food for devotee which is distributed as prasad.
Sai Baba's first temple was built at Bhivpuri, Karjat as desired by Sai Baba. His famous disciples were Upasni Maharaj, Meher Baba, Saint Bidkar Maharaj, Saint Gangagir, Saint Jankidas Maharaj and Sati Godavari Mataji.
Usually fast is kept on Thursday to please Saibaba but the fact is that Saibaba never supported fasting. If someone wants to keep fast as a matter of his devotion he can follow the below procedure:This vrat can be started from any Thursday by taking Sai Baba's name. One should pray to Sai Baba with complete devotion for the fulfillment of the desire for which the Vrat is done.
- Worship Sai Baba in the morning or in evening.
- Sai Baba's photograph must be placed on a yellow cloth. Clean the photograph with clear water. Tilak of Chandan (sandalwood) and Kumkum must be applied to the photograph of Sai Baba. Yellow colored flowers or garland must be offered to Sai Baba, incense sticks and lamp must be lighted and then the main story of the vrat must be read. Sai Baba's name must be remembered and then prasad must be distributed (prasad may consist of some sweet or fruits).
- You can have only fruits, milk, tea, sweet, etc or it may also be done by having meal once a day. But it must be remembered that the vrat must not be done by not eating anything.
- If possible one must go to Sai Baba temple and if it is not possible then Sai Baba must be worshipped at home only with complete devotion.
Saibaba Fast Story
A woman named Kokila lived in a city with her husband Maheshbhai. Both of them had love for each other. But Maheshbhai’s nature was quarrelsome. He did not have sense of speaking. Neighbours were fed of Maheshbhai’s such nature, but Kokila was religious woman.
She had immense faith in God and she suffered everything without uttering a single word. Gradually her husband’s business declined and the earnings were also negligible. Now Maheshbhai did not go anywhere and stayed back at home. Moreover he was drawn to wrong path. Now his quarrelsome nature increased two fold.
It was afternoon time. An old man came and stood in front of the house of Kokila. He had a strange glow on his face. He demanded dal-chaval. Kokila gave to the old man what he demanded and folded her hands before him. The old man said May Sai bless you with happiness. Kokila said there is no happiness in my fate and narrated everything about her unhappy life to the old man.
The old man explained the Vrat for 9 Thursdays. The vrat can be done by eating fruits or by taking lunch or dinner. If possible go to Sai Temple or otherwise worship Sai Baba at home for 9 Thursdays, observe fast and donate food to the hungry people and distribute 5, 11 and 21 Sai Vrat Books according to your economic condition.
If you increase the importance of this Sai Vrat, Sai Baba will fulfill all your desires. But you must have deep faith in Sai Baba and have patience in your mind. If anybody does this Vrat and duly performs its concluding ceremony, Sai Baba fulfills his/her desires.
Kokila did the Vrat for 9 Thursdays, distributed Sai Vrat books and fed the poor on 9th Thursday. Now all the quarrels in her home had disappeared. There was complete happiness as Maheshbhai’s nature had changed. His business now came back on track. In a short period, their economic condition also improved and everything became fine.
Both husband and wife started living their life happily. One day Kokila’s brother-in-law and his wife came to their home from Surat. Casually talking they told Kokila that their children do not study well. They have failed in exams. Kokila told them about the importance of Sai Baba Vrat for 9 Thursdays and said that by worshipping by Sai Baba their children would be able to study well. But for that you must have deep faith in Sai Baba. Sai Baba helps everybody.
She explained the procedure for the vrat :
- This vrat can be done by eating fruits or by taking lunch or dinner.
- If possible go to Sai Baba temple for all 9 Thursdays.
- Any woman, man or child can do this vrat. Worship of Sai Baba photograph must be done for 9 Thursday.
- Offer flowers, light incense sticks and lamp, chant Aarti and remember Sai Baba’s name and distribute prasad.
- On 9th Thursday feed poor people.
- On 9th Thursday distribute Sai Baba Vrat Books among family members and friends.
After few days Kokila received a letter from her brother-in-law’s wife that her children do Sai Vrat and have started studying hard. She herself did Sai Baba Vrat and distributed the books in her husband’s office. She added that due to Sai Baba Vrat her friend’s daughter’s marriage was fixed in a very nice family. Moreover her neighbour’s ornament box was lost somewhere. As a result of Sai Baba Vrat someone came and returned the box after two months. In this way such miracles happened.
Now Kokila came to know that Sai Baba is really very great.
The following four Aartis (Prayers) are performed everyday at the temple in Shirdi.
- Kakad Aarati
- Madhyana Aarati
- Dhoop Aarati
- Shej Aarat