Sai Baba of Shirdi

    Sai Baba of Shirdi (1838 – 15 October 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was a spiritual master who was and is regarded by his devotees as a saint, fakir, avatar (an incarnation of God), or sadguru, according to their individual proclivities and beliefs. He was stated by his Muslim devotees, and during, as well as after, his life on earth it remained uncertain if he was a Muslim or Hindu himself. This however was of no consequence to Sai Baba himself.Sai Baba stressed the importance of surrender to the guidance of the true Sadguru or Murshad, who, having gone the path to divine consciousness himself, will lead the disciple through the jungle of spiritual training.

    Sai Baba remains a very popular saint, especially in India, and is worshipped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and Guru. He gave no distinction based on religion or caste, and his teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam.

    The early life of Sai Baba is still cloaked in mystery as there isn't any reliable record of the Baba's birth and parentage. It is believed that Sai Baba was born in 1838 in Pathri, Maharashtra and arrived at Shirdi in 1872. At Shirdi, Sai Baba stayed on the outskirts of the village in Babul forest and used to meditate under a Azadirachta indica for long hours. Some villagers revered the saintly figure and gave him food for sustenance.

    Sai Baba's lifestyle and teachings were notable for their syncretism. He named the disused mosque he lived in Dwarakamayi after Dwarka, the abode of Krishna. He practised Muslim rituals and taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions. One of his well known epigrams, "Sabka Malik Ek" ("One God governs all"), is associated with Islam and Sufism. He also said, "Trust in me and your prayer shall be answered". He always uttered "Allah Malik" ("Allah is King")