Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi - The Omniscient World Teacher

[With thanks to Mr. K. Bharath Kumar for submission of this narrative]. 

Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi was a rare gem among the thousands of saints produced on Indian soil. He showed that God was indeed ever-present and that God was working His Leelas (divine plays) even then - when the country was subjugated by a host of foreign rulers. 

In those confused times when people had to digest both the culture changes from the Islamic period as well as changes brought by the then-ruling British system, Sri Sai Baba came as a beacon for the country - carrying within Him the power of almost all Indian Gods - be it Hindu or Mussalman or other religions - as well as providing the unifying powers to help Indians during this severe testing period in Indian history. His yogic powers appealed to people of all religions. Sai treated all people equally, regardless of their religion, creed, race or social status. To many, He appeared as an Avataar of Lord Shiva leading a simple, austere lifestyle distributing 'Vibhuti' (sacred ash) to His devotees and practisings advanced yoga to maintain His supernatural powers. As Lord Shiva, Sai demonstrated full influence over all five elements of nature. 

To Christians - He appeared as Jesus often taking the Karma of devotees and healing many children by taking their disease unto Himself. To Muslims, He was a very holy Avaalia Saint who dressed in Muslim dress and resided in a mosque. Thus, by manifesting the quintessence of the Gods of all religions, and solving all their problems, He showed to all, that God is beyond the labels of any specific religion and that there were many different paths leading to the same God - ('Allah Malik' was His favorite phrase - meaning 'God is Master'). 

Sai's infinite reservoir of love was His notable quality and what He expected from all His devotees to evolve into - and this noteworthy message to humanity He practised well even amidst the oppressive British regime. 

Sai expected only Faith (in God) and Patience (in God's timing for answering prayers) as the only two qualities He expected from devotees. He showed that human beings are psychologically similar despite ethnic and cultural differences prevalent everywhere. 

Original photo of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba

Sai Baba was the ultimate destination where all religions intersect commonly and harmoniously and showed the way to shed outward social differences. He allowed all religions to practise their rituals in His mosque, and encouraged celebrating many Hindu and Muslim festivals together at Shirdi for many years. 

Thus, He bonded the two communities together in preparation for the freedom movement later. He also advised freedom fighter Shri Lokamanya Tilak that patience and silent sacrificial service will yield desired results and requested him to adopt peaceful means to achieve freedom from British rule. 

Sai Baba accepted all offerings from all people but continued a penniless Fakir's style of life donating almost offerings to the deserving. Sai Baba advised devotees to be content with whatever Fate or God has blessed them with and work out their bad Karma putting complete faith on Him (Guru) and their favorite God. 

Despite His "pluralistic" religious identity, Sai Baba was against religious conversions of any sort and asked people to continue following ancestral deity worship and time-honoured rituals as they had done for centuries. Thus lakhs and lakhs of orthodox people grew from just mechanical ritual worship to God-realization - which was His real goal i.e., to solve devotees' temporal problems and elevate people towards spirituality. Shirdi in State of Maharashtra is today a revered holy pilgrimage spot where people from all walks of life visit and attain peace and often find their prayers answered. Sri Sai Baba's assurance to the world that He is ever alive for answering His devotees' calls has been tested and indeed had proved true for a multitude of followers around the world. 

Moving towards the future as a globalised nation, India facing challenges on many fronts - factionalism between states, frequent natural disasters, border tensions, decayed values and fallen Dharma, wanton violence, aggressive growth at the cost of nature degradation, and expected climate change complications. Sri Sai Baba's teachings of fleeting evanescence of human life, focusses on the true goals of our precious human birth. These goals are the practice of contentment, leading a simple lifestyle, brotherhood and charity – which are all crucial for the world and India. Particularly in these times where the world is caught in a vise-like grip of sense-gratification and desire attainment at all costs; decreased belief in the Divine Creator; materialistic success as the ultimate goal; disengagement of average person's human spirit from compassionate feelings for Nature, God and the poor; aggressive "dynasty-building" agendas at all levels from bottom to top of the social pyramid. 

Sai Baba was unique in that He did not take many formal disciples or successors, preach lectures or mantras, or change His meagre 'Fakir' (mendicant) ways - even after lakhs thronged to Shirdi for His blessings. His ever-living and all-encompassing spirit and physical tomb-presence will carry devotees forward to face each day bravely whatever challenge the country and world gets to meet daily. 

Aum Sairam. 

1 comment:

  1. Sri Sai is protecting us as Sai Hanuman - who is believed to be immortal. As Sai Hanuman, He is our shield, armour protecting Arjuna in his chariot warding off weapons and the attack of dark forces.He is spiritual support to all as well carrying us forward as He carried Sri Rama and Lakshmana earlier.