Sai Baba, one of the foremost saints of modern India, lived in the small village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra for sixty years. Due to his presence there even after his Samadhi, today the small village has transformed itself as a great spiritual center to people from all religions.
Shri Sai Baba, inspite of his great spiritual stature, never publicized himself through discoursing, touring and preaching---unlike today’s many ‘so-called’ saints. Rather, he discouraged unnecessary publicity. But still, his spiritual perfection is still drawing innumerable devotees to him from all over the world. Even after his Samadhi in 1918, Sai Baba still continues to be a dynamic spiritual force which invokes countless devotees for their spiritual and material progress.
Sai Baba did never reveal his original name, time and place of birth, especially his religion and caste, and even the names of his parents. Through this, he has emerged as a solution to all the religious and communal differences that are destroying the world today. He preaches that God is Almighty and he has given all the souls on earth equal opportunity to reach him, whichever is the religion they belong to. ‘Sai Baba’ is the name given to him by his first devotee, Mahalsapathi – ‘Sai’ means ‘Saint’ and ‘Baba’ means ‘Father’. The name is just an expression of love, reverence and devotion.
Sai Baba never discriminated between the rich and the poor. He was equally indifferent to honour or dishonour shown to him by the people. He used to utter the name of ‘Allah’ frequently.
All religious scriptures spell that any spiritual quest does not fulfill without a proper guide or Sadguru. Shri Sai Baba has led many seekers as a Sadguru towards spiritual progress. These seekers are either drawn to him by himself or by other saints and deities.
All religions preach that God is Almighty and He is omnipresent. The omnipresence of God is clearly manifested in the various experiences that Sai Baba has given to his devotees--- anywhere, anytime. He once said, “He who thinks that I am only at Shirdi has never known me. I am omnipresent----anywhere, everywhere, all the time and in all creation. I am at Shirdi and everywhere. I am formless and everywhere! I am everything and beyond. All the Universe is in Me. Wherever you see, whatever you see, I am there.” He not only preached this, but he demonstrated the truth through his deeds (Leelas).
The spiritual perfection of a Sadguru consists in realizing his essential identity with the One Spirit of all Existence (God Almighty). Sai Baba, the Perfect Master, has demonstrated that he is in all gods of all religions-----the various gods in Hindu religion, the Allah and the Christ.
Saibaba The Master, the comprehensive life history of the saint reads, “The significances of an accomplished mystic to religion is inestimable. All major religions sprang from the mystic experience of such - the Rishis of the Vedas and Upanishads; the Masters of Taoism, the Buddha, the Christ and prophet Mohammad. All religions are sustained too, from time to time, by the saints who demonstrate in their lives, the truth of the promise of religious life, that any mortal can realize the Spirit through genuine effort. The individual seekers too derive the true interpretation of the scriptures from the lives and teachings of such. Upanishads say that a disciplined seeker has to seek the guidance of a realized sage and Sri Krishna says the same in The Bhagavadgita (ch. iv : 34). The third of the three vows of Budhism, “Sangham Sharanam Gacchami”, affirms the need to seek the association of the wise. The Chirst says, “No one can come to the Father save through me”. He finds it so essential to spiritual life that he chooses to seek baptism from John the Baptist “for righteousness’ sake”. The esoteric school of Islam, Sufism, enjoins a seeker to resort to the Pir-O-Murshad. Even modern saints like Guru Nanak and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa were divinely directed to Masters even at an advanced stage of sadhana.
The point is driven home even more powerfully in world’s mythologies. In Hinduism, Lord Dattatreya is the Avatar that manifests Himself to awaken and lead mankind to the verities of spiritual life. It is he that reveals himself in all the world’s perfect masters of wisdom. The Budha and the Bodhisattvas are said to reincarnate for the same end. Every Christian saint had declared at the moment of realization that Christ lives in him and not he. Sai Baba of Shirdi has demonstrated that the One spirit of wisdom of all saints is He.
Further, all the world’s mystical works say that association with a Master is of greater value than the study of scriptures. For the Master interprets the scriptures in a manner which is appropriate to his times and to the individual seekers and thus enables them to live up to the spirit (rather than the letter) of religion.”
The omnipresence of Shri Sai Baba demonstrated that he knows everything that has happened, happening and will happen in the lives of all creatures in the world. In addition to this, he also demonstrated that omnipresence of God is also manifested in the non-living things. This provides an effective check on the evil propensities of devotees. But still, he always said, “I am the slave of God”; “Allah Malik”.
Sai Baba promises that he will lead his devotees both materially and spiritually if they simply remember his omnipresence always----in everything they do and in everybody. Remembering his holy deeds (leelas), coupled with meditation and prayer helps the devotees to do so.
Saibaba The Master, describes the uniqueness of Saibaba, “In this context, the life of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, I feel, is unique. He does not merely teach about the omnipresent Spirit. Indeed, his verbal teaching is minimal. For there are scriptures galore to do that. But mere verbal teaching cannot strike deep root in the hearts of common folk. Sri Sai Baba has therefore taught through direct experiences. He baptized mostly through the Holy Ghost. He showed unerring, at-one-ment with all gods of Hindus, all saints, all creatures and even with so-called inanimate objects. He was ever aware of what transpired within and without his devotees everywhere. His devotees had no choice but to be aware of an omnipresent and omniscient Baba. The result is that at one stroke, their conduct and attitude to fellow-creatures were bound to conform to the highest codes of altruism.
Wherever the devotee was, he was made to recognize that Baba was, in spirit, with him indeed. The implications of this aspect of Baba are rich beyond measure. The heart of all spiritual endeavour is to cultivate the presence of the Spirit uninterruptedly and this was secured for the Sai devotee - how remarkably, the succeeding chapters illustrate. Beside this, the manifestation of the Spirit as Sri Sai Baba is unique in another respect. No one knows his caste, creed, or parentage. This anonymity lent a strange facet to his teaching. To the Hindus he was an orthodox brahmin with sacred fire, enjoining the worship of the many gods and the devout study of various Hindu scriptures; he even named the mosque as Dwarakamai and planted the Tulasi in its frontyard and then allowed himself to be worshipped by his devotees in the Hindu fashion. To the moslems, he was a moslem, a pir, living in a mosque, observing the discipline enjoined for a fakir, always uttering the Islamic Allah Malik, guiding moslem seekers like Abdul Baba along the Islamic line. To the Parsis, he was the sacred fire-worshipper. His life, too, is a living manifestation of the Sermon of the Christ and of the eight fold path of the Buddha.
Thus, in him were have a perfect model of harmony of all religions for whom this world, with all its sectarian and religious antagonisms, has been looking forward. A third feature that specially belongs to him is this: Most of the religious scriptures and holy men seem to suggest that one ought not to aspire for this or that material goal, in being devoted to a guru or god. Sri Sai Baba never laid down such a rule. Indeed, once, when a self-assured devotee dissuaded a few visitors who came to Sai Baba for the fulfillment of material needs, the Master told him not do so. The fourth unique feature is the phenomenally large number of instances in which the great fakir has been physically appearing before his devotees, even decades after his mahasamadhi literally fulfilling his verbal assurance on the great event.”
All the mystics of the world and all saints have declared that the immediate presence of a realized sage is one of the most potent forces in the spiritual advancement of Sadhak or the seeker. Contact with them induces in us inner peace and purity, restores our sense of values, wipes out illusory allurements of the senses and turns us towards spirit with renewed vigour. Besides, when approached in a proper manner, they can enable us to realize that all the saints are One in essence.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi once said that contact with the Sadguru continues even after his physical death. The tomb of Sai Baba (Samadhi) today is speaking to and leading his devotees towards spiritual perfection.
Let us all follow the great saint of today, the greatest of the great, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and make ourselves better and better human beings. Through his guidance, let us all try to make this world a better place to live in for ourselves and fellow human beings by shedding off the ill-lead religious and communal differences. Lets all follow him to shape ourselves as the most lovable children of God.