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In the early eighteenth century a young bearded man with sparkling eyes took shelter in a mosque, in Shirdi Village, Maharashtra, India. Nobody knew from where this stranger had come who hardly spoke a word and stayed there.
Gradually the curious villagers started offering food to the man, but he never asked anything from them. Sometimes he shared his food with the animals. Soon, he was started expressing his viewpoints with few elderly villagers. His simple language of expression, his special power of solving the problems of poor and the needy soon made him known as Shri Sai Baba. As the days passed, devotees started streaming into Shirdi village. The village was fast becoming a center of pilgrimage. As gifts and presentations flowed in, the pomp and ceremony of Sai worship were evolving. Everyday Sai Baba would be a pauper having distributed all among the needy and the poor. But Sai Baba's life of a Fakir remained calm, undisturbed, unaltered and therein is the saint's Spiritual glory.
Baba preached his principle of love and faith in humanity to all his disciples. He always felt anguished over the fact that all those who came to him were more for their own personal problems and not for attaining the ultimate goal of reaching God, which he felt, could be attained only by true service to humanity. Sai Baba strongly believed in uniformity of religion and he never distinguished anyone on the basis of caste, creed or religion. He always made it a point not to return empty handed those who had come to him in their hour of need and grief. He performed miracles to alleviate the suffering of poor people. On one occasion he restored the eyes of a blind elderly and in another occasion he lighted a lantern with water when there was no oil to burn it.
His most concise message for one and all alike was "Why fear when I am here". To take refuge in Sai, is to enter into a journey to reach the Divine Oasis of Love and drink deep from the Fountain of Life, the source of all Spiritual Energy. Wherever the devotee is, Baba makes him recognize within himself his highest aspirations and goal and at one stroke, his conduct and the attitude to fellow beings is touched with the awareness of love, understanding, patience and faith. This is the promise that Sri Sai Baba holds out to all who come to Him. Sri Sai Baba was beyond the limitations of Time and Space and thus caste, creed, position dogmas and doctrines were fundamentally unimportant to him. Nobody really knew his parentage, where he came from or which religion he practiced.
He claimed no possessions nor accepted any disciples or gave any specific teaching. Baba used to feed the fakirs and devotees and even cook for them. For those who were accustomed to meat, he cooked meat and for the others He cooked vegetarian food. To the Hindus he was an orthodox Brahmin, with a sacred fire, enjoining the worship of many gods and the devout study of various Hindu scriptures. He lived in a mosque but always referred to it as "Dwarkamay!" (Lord Krishna's birthplace is Dwaraka). To the Muslims he was a Fakir living in a mosque observing the disciplines of Islam, uttering "Allah Malik" (God is the master) guiding Muslim seekers along the lines of their own religion. To the Parsis he was the sacred fire worshipper.
His life was a living manifestation of the Sermon of the Christ and of the Eight-fold path of the Buddha. Amazingly, there are a phenomenally large number of instances in which Sai Baba has been literally physically appearing before his devotees, even decades after his passing out of the physical body. Sai Baba is constantly and simultaneously proving that he is alive in spirit and responds to our sincere prayers. .Baba once said to his devotees "I am at Shirdi and everywhere. Whatever you do, wherever you may be, ever bear this in mind, that I am always aware of everything". Sai Baba does not belong to any single tradition but to all mankind on the path of goodness, love and understanding. On 15th October 1918, "Baba" left his body on his own will, leaving his millions of believers and followers crying.
His body was laid in the Samadhi Mandir called "Booty", which he had asked his disciple to build before his death. He came to serve mankind.The most important place in Shirdi is Baba's temple - the Samadhi Mandir is his grave, which literally millions have visited and still continues to draw many more.
Sai Baba’s eleven assurances to his devotees :
1. Whosoever puts their feet on Shirdi soil, their sufferings will come to an end.
2. The wretched and miserable will rise to joy and happiness as soon as they climb the steps of My Samadhi.
3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
5. I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
6. My mortal remains will speak from My tomb.
7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to Me, who surrender to Me and who seek refuge in Me.
8. If you look to Me, I look to you.
9. If you cast your burden on Me, I shall surely bear it.
10. If you seek My advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
11. There shall be no want in the house of My devotee.