SAI BABA - Our Inspiration
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba (Ca. 1838 – Oct 1918) who lived in Shirdi, Ahmednagar District lying in the present day State of Maharashtra, India, was a saint who encouraged all spiritual traditions and never discriminated between various faiths and creeds present in India during His time. He was very much ahead of His times and lived in the spirit of true secularism, and while He always had ‘Allah Malik’ (God is our lord and protector) on His lips, while blessing His Hindu devotees, He would say ‘… do as I have said and Narayana will bless you.’
While He inhabited a dilapidated mosque which He, with deep intelligence and wisdom, called it ‘Dwarakamayi’ – an abode of His for about sixty years till His death – He had a sacred fire (The Dhuni) burning in the mosque in the Agnihotri and Nath traditions of Hinduism.
Shri Sai Baba was famously known to ask money (called Dakshina – an offering of gratitude to a Guru for His guidance) from His devotees but no one could accurately unravel the rationale behind His methods: If two men approached Him, He would ask only one of them; If someone offered Him ten rupees, He would keep only two rupees and return the rest. However quite often He extracted large sums even emptying people’s pockets in the process. “I cannot take a paisa from anyone unless the Fakir (God) points out…” He would say. However, a police inquest when He attained Samadhi recorded that He had no more than a meagre sum of sixteen rupees in His possession: this despite several thousands of rupees passing through His hands daily. He used to distribute all His collections each day among the poor and the needy and other fakirs who drew sustenance from Him.
As Govind R. Dabholkar (Hemadpant) has recorded in his ‘Shri Sai Satcharita’ :-
“If considered a Hindu, He looked like a Muslim; and if a Muslim, He exhibited all the qualities of a good Hindu. …” (Chapter 7 verse 4)
“Ramanavami is really a Hindu festival; but He himself got it celebrated… In the square in front, would the cradle be put up and he would have the Ram Kirtan performed. On the same night He would also give permission to the Muslims to take out the SANDAL procession” (Chapter 7 verse 6 & 7)
“If He is called a Hindu, He always lived in a mosque, and if He is called a Muslim, the sacred fire burns day and night in the mosque.” (Verse 14)