JAI SAI RAM
According to both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Guru Puja or Guru Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar month of Ashadha, which corresponds to June-July of the Roman calendar.
To this day Guru Purnima is one of the major celebrations in Shirdi. Shri H.V. Sathe, one of the early and close devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba, recounts, "Baba's arati and puja on ordinary days were started, but for some time there was no celebration of Guru Purnima by special worship of Baba on that day. Baba himself sent for my father-in-law (Shri Dada Kelkar) and said, ‘Do you not know that this is Guru Purnima? Bring your worship material and do your Guru Puja.’ Then we had Guru Puja on that day and this practice of celebrating Guru Purnima by all the devotees worshipping Baba then begun, has continued to date." [From Devotees’ Experiences of Shirdi Sai Baba, by B.V.Narasimhaswami]
The above account of Sathe has given way to the general belief among Sai devotees that as Baba “himself” sent for Dada Kelkar, reminded him of the Guru Purnima and asked him to render puja, the custom of celebrating Guru Purnima at Shirdi was founded by Baba himself. But a letter published in the “Shri Sai Leela” (monthly magazine) throws some light on the actual antecedents of the event. The letter was written by Shri Tatyasaheb Noolkar to Shri Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Unfortunately the date of the letter is not mentioned.
The letter reads:
"On Saturday just as I got up in bed, I remembered it was Guru Puja day and made preparations. After bhiksha [begging rounds of Sai Baba] we were permitted to perform Guru Puja. Baba allowed us to do all upachar [particulars and points of worship] quietly. He returned all dakshina that was given at the time of puja. Then He sent word to Radhakrishna and Dadabhat [Dada Kelkar, father-in-law of Rao Bahadur Sathe] that puja and arati was being done and they should come soon. So Radhakrishna sent her puja [materials] and Dada came with his puja articles."
It is evident from the above letter that some devotees who knew that it was Guru Purnima implored Baba to allow them to do Guru Puja and eventually somehow obtained his permission. Also, that it was only after meting out the permission to other devotees that Baba sent word to Dada Kelkar. The expressions, "we were permitted", "Baba allowed…. quietly" in the above letter clearly indicate Baba's attitude toward the puja, suggesting that he would have almost unwillingly nodded his assent to it at the outset. [Ref: Arati Sai Baba, by Sri Babuji]
“One Gurupurnima day, numerous devotees came to Sai Baba, and as usual, placed a book before him so that he might return it with his asirvada or blessing for them to study it with profit and benefit. Sai Baba, however, took up a book brought by one man and gave it to another, as he often does.” [From Devotees’ Experiences of Shirdi Sai Baba, by B.V.Narasimhaswami]
"I give my devotees what they ask for until they ask for what I want to give." - Shirdi Sai Baba
WHO IS SAI BABA?
There are three views regarding the question ‘Who is Sai Baba?’
1) Many people who are accustomed to perceiving things and people superficially, said that Shirdi Sai Baba was a mad fakir who lived for many years in a worn out and dilapidated masjid in Shirdi, and who talked at random and extracted money in the form of dakshina from people who went to see Him.
This view is quite wrong. To a friend of Mr. R.A.Tarkhadkar who was full of tears when he was taking Sai Baba’s leave at the time of leaving for Bombay, Baba said, “Why do you behave like a madman? Am I not with you there in Bombay?” The friend said, “I know that, but I have no experience of Your being with me there in Bombay.” Thereupon, Shirdi Sai Baba said that the person who thinks that Baba is in Shirdi only, has yet to understand Baba. Vide p. 308 of ‘Sai Leela’ magazine, dated January 15, 1925.
2) Some people said that Shirdi Sai Baba was a saint. The Mohammedans took Him for one of their pirs and the Hindus regarded Him as one of their saints. The managers of the festivals celebrated annually at Shirdi refer to Sai Baba in their announcements as the crest jewel of the saints. This view is also not correct, because:
3) Those who knew Sai Baba intimately regarded Him, and regard Him still, as God incarnate. The following are a few examples:
i. Hon. Mr. Justice M.B. Rege, B.A., L.A.B., High Court Judge, Indore, in his forward to Sai Baba’s Sayings and Charters by B.V. Narashimhaswami (page 1-2) says: Baba in the flesh was to his devotees, the embodiment of the supreme spirit, lighting the sadhakas’ path by His words and actions. The mortal body has passed away, but the “Baba” once abiding in it, now lives in the spirit eternal, helping in a silent way. He often helped and gave solace to myriads of His devotees who sought His help while He was in His physical body.
ii. A High Court judge from a state in the north made the following statement quoted on page 1 in Devotees’ Experiences by B.V. Narasimhaswami:I look upon Shri Sai Baba as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. I did so before His mahasamadhi in 1918 and do so now. To me, He is not gone. He exists even now. To me, He had no limitations. Of course, when He was with us, there was the fleshy tabernacle. That was prominently brought to our attention at times. But mostly, the infinite aspect of His was what remained before me. I thought of Him as a mental or spiritual image in which the finite and infinite blended quite perfectly - yet allowing the finite to appear before us at times. Now that the body has been cast off, the infinite Sai Baba alone remains.Read more: WHO IS SHIRDI SAI BABA ?
Jai Sai Ram
It is very well known incident that Shirdi Sai Baba gave nine coins to Smt. Laxmibai before leaving his mortal body. Laxmibai was present with Baba, in his last few moments before taking His Maha Samadhi. Baba had put his hands inside the pocket of his Kafni and gave these 9 silver coins to Laxmi maa. Laxmibai had whole heartedly served Baba for 45 years. In fact when Baba had come to Shirdi for the first time, it was Laxmibai only who had fed him. These nine coins indicated nine types of devotion of him. Moreover Shirdi Sai Baba has emphasized nine types of Bhakti.
1. Shravan (hearing)
2. Kirtan (praying)
3. Smaran (remembering)
4. Padasevan (resorting to feet)
5. Archan (worship)
6. Namaskar (bowing)
7. Dasya (service)
8. Sakhyam (friendship)
9. Atma-Nivedana (surrender of the self).
All these types of Bhakti are included in the Nine Gems of Sai Bhakti, if practiced regularly would surely make you pass the Bhavsagar (ocean of life).World Shirdi Sai Baba Organisation (UK) – WSSBO (UK) had invited Arun Gaikwad, the great grandson of Laxmi maa to bring the divine nine coins to London for darshan of our devotees in the UK. It was indeed a blessful and a beautiful darshan of Sai Baba and the divine nine coins.
On behalf of the Sai Mandir East Ham, we would like to convey our sincere appreciation to Arun Gaikwad, Sai Global Trust, Sponsors, well-wishers and volunteers who had made the event an unforgettable day.
It was overwhelming to see the joy in the face of the senior citizens who participated in the event. It was a free entry event, everyone enjoyed the the fun filled event with quiz, talks, dance, games and nice food! Thanks to all volunteers and everyone who made the event a memorable one!!