The birth, birth-place or parents of Sai Baba of Shirdi is not known to any one. He first manifested Himself as a young lad of sixteen under a Neem tree in Shirdi. The people of the village were wonder-struck to see such a young lad practicing hard penance. By day he associated with none, by night he was afraid of nobody. People wondered where this young chap had turned up from. Outwardly he looked very young; but by His action he was a Great Soul. Even at that young age He seemed to be full with the knowledge of Brahman. He had no desire for worldly objects.
After a stay of three years, Sai Baba disappeared from Shirdi and reappeared after sometime later along with a marriage party. The narrative of that occurrence is as follows : A Prosperous man named Chand Patil from the village Dhoop in the Nizam State lost his mare while making a trip to Aurangabad. He searched long for the mare but with no success. While coming back disappointed, with the saddle on his back he saw a Fakir sitting under a mango tree smoking Chillum (pipe). On seeing Chand Patil pass by the way, He called out to him and asked him to have a smoke and to rest a little. The Fakir asked Chand Patil about the saddle. Chand Patil replied that it was of his mare which was lost. The Fakir asked him to make a search in the Nala close by and to Chand Patil’s wonder he found his mare there. Chand Patil thought that this Fakir was not an ordinary man, but a great saint. He requested the Fakir to come to his home and accept his hospitality. Next day He went to the Patil’s house and stayed there for some time. The Patil was a village - officer of Dhoop. His wife’s brother’s son was to be married and the bride was from Shirdi. So Patil made preparations to start for Shirdi for the marriage. The Fakir also accompanied the marriage-party to Shirdi. The marriage party returned after the ceremony but the Fakir stayed back and remained there forever.
Gradually the curious villagers started offering food to the man, but He never asked anything from any one. He shared his food with the animals. Soon the young Fakir, as He was started to be addressed, started expressing his view points with few elderly villagers. His simple language of expression and his special power of solving the problems of the poor, needy and destitutes soon made this less known Fakir, be known as Shri Sai Baba, the name given to him by Mhalsapati, the priest of Khandoba temple where the Fakir first arrived along with the marriage party. As the days passed, devotees started streaming into Shirdi in ever growing numbers. The village became a centre of pilgrimage. Gifts and presentations started flowing in but Sai Baba would distribute all among the needy and the poor.
People realised that this "Baba" was not an ordinary person but a person with extraordinary godly powers. Such powers are not known or present in normal human beings. Baba preached his principle of love and faith in humanity to all his disciples. He felt very sad over the fact that all those who came to him, came more for their own personal problems and not for attaining the ultimate goal of reaching God, which He felt could only be attained by true service to humanity.
Sai Baba strongly believed in uniformity of religion and never distinguished between anyone on the basis of caste, creed or religion. He always made it a point that those who had come to him in their hour of need and grief did not return empty handed. He performed miracles to remove the suffering of people.
Sai Baba left his body at his own will on 15th Oct. 1918. His body was laid to rest in the newly constructed Booty Wada which was later named the Samadhi Mandir.
‘Love’ has been the symbol of Sai. This ‘love’ of Sai is cosmic love, embracing all species and creation. It has no confines, no limitations, no restrictions, no inhibitions, no waxing and waning. It is synonymous with cosmic consciousness.’ His life was a lesson in simplicity and utmost sacrifice, which no ordinary man can ever achieve. This was the Baba, whose origin we try to seek. ‘Divinity’ has no beginning, nor an end. What purpose then, would a debate on it serve? Why waste time on fruitless intellectualism as to how Christ had been born of Virgin Mary, rather than concentrating on how He suffered to alleviate the suffering of mankind? Is it not enough that He was the Messiah who ameliorated the lives of countless millions of humanity and of those to follow? Is not Sai doing the same thing even today? If, as Sai said, He had no beginning and no end and was always there as a part of creation, it would lead to the question “What was there before Creation?” The answer is: Space and the Ancient One (Ananta Purusha). Ananta Purusha is the Divine soul in ‘time eternal’. Many universes come and go at His Will. He is the basis of the Creation continuum. The Sai is the Space and that Adi Purusha. How can be seek His origins? Even the Vedas are silent on this. So why should we speculate fruitlessly?
An extract from ‘Shirdi Sai Baba and other Perfect Masters’, by Shri C.B.Satpathyji by Sterling Publication.
To know more about Shri Shirdi Sai An Incarnation, His looks, The world of Shri Shirdi Sai – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Shri Sai Satcharitra – A Devine experience and much more, refer to the above mentioned book.