|Shirdi Sai Baba|
Shirdi was a very small and insignificant village in Maharashtra, quite unknown to most people. It is in the district of Ahmednagar. One has to cross the Godavari river at a place called Kopergaon before reaching Shirdi. For some inexplicable reason known only to himself, this was the place chosen by the great saint, Shirdi Sai Baba to make His appearance. Today it has become a flourishing town attracting millions of devotees from all over the world because it was on this blessed spot that Sai Baba played his immortal “lilas”.
It is said that no one can go to Shirdi without Baba’s permission so I prayed to him to grant my request. Hardly a week later a series of episodes took place which can only be termed as a “miracle”. A set of people whom I had never met arranged the whole trip for us. The person who arranged the trip – is one Mr. Lokesh- an ardent Sai devotee. He has been organizing tours for the past seven years now. We came to know of this only a week back through a friend of ours and ever since that magical moment, everything started falling in place very rightly and at a quick pace. We were quite overwhelmed as can be imagined but decided to play along with Baba’s lilas. The travel arrangements were done to perfection by Mr. Lokesh-[the Tour conductor] and in no time our trip was finalized and we were on our way. We were more than twenty persons going on this trip and for many – it was the first time to Shirdi temple to have that magical feeling of exhilaration on seeing Sai Baba!
|The Old Shirdi Village|
|The Original Samadhi Temple|
|The Renovated Splendid Samadhi Temple|
“ Raghupati Raghava Rajaram
|Inside of the Samadhi Mandir|
|View of the Samadhi of Sri Sai Baba|
|Devotees seated in Dwarakamai|
|Dilapidated Shirdi Masjid [also known as the|
|Renovated Dwarakamai-Long Queue |
|Sai Baba sitting near "Dhuni"|
|Renovated Chavadi of today|
Sai Baba first came to Shirdi in the form of Bal Yogi - a child ascetic. He was first spotted seated under a neem tree. THis place came to be known as Gurusthan. The Gurusthan was renovated on 30th September, 1941. After this the present temple was built. There is a small shrine in Gurusthan. On an elevated platform of this shrine a big portrait of Lord Sai Baba is placed. On the side is a marble statue of Baba. In front of the portrait is a Shiva lingam and the Nandi. Photos of twelve Jyotirlingas are also kept in the temple. Here burning of incense is done to get rid of problems in once life.
Another landmark which our Guide pointed out, is the Neem Tree, which has been preserved. It was under this tree which Baba sat when he first came to Shirdi in the latter half of the 19th century, some say, as a young boy of 16. A mantap has been built round the tree and it is called Gurusthan. To protect the tree from the bark being peeled off by devotees., a trunk has been covered by a shield. There is always a long queue of devotees during pradakshina of the tree and its sacredness is exemplified in this prayer”
|The Sacred Neem Tree|
- The Kakad Arati [Morning Arati] before sunrise at 5 a.m – Prayers are intended to wake Him up and seek His darshan.
- The Noon Arati [ Madyan Arati] Prayers are offered in His name to remove the wordly sufferings of all and show the path to the unfortunate ones.
- The Evening Arati [ Dhoop Arati] at sunset – Prayers are offered surrendering to Him in full faith.
- The Night Arati [ Shej Arati] at 10 p.m – Prayers are offered when Baba is put to bed.
|The Kakad Arati|
|Arati in Progress|
|Large Gathering at the Arati|
- Sri Rama Navami
- Guru Poorima and
- Dasara or Punya Tithi.
|Rama Navami Festival|
|The House of Mahlsathy|
|The House of Laxmi Bai Shinde|
We came to know from our Guide and also the Sansthan officials that a few days before Baba passed away, Baba called her and gave her nine coins to preserve and worship. These coins are imbedded in the heart of a statue of Lakshmi Bai kept in the centre of the house.
Other landmarks in the temple complex which remind one of the times of Baba are the samadhis of Tatya Patil, a favourite child and devotee of Baba, whose mother Bayyaji Bai used to chase Baba in the forest and hills to feed him and who Baba claimed was his sister in a previous birth, and that of Abdul the personal attendant of Baba who served Baba faithfully till the last and became a yogi himself, ministering to the needs of Baba’s devotees.