Some thoughts on Shirdi Sai Baba

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The 108 names of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba cure any feelings of sadness, regret, or anger.  Baba lifts the devotee out of the immediate circumstances that might lead to depression or disappointment and gives the devotee the cosmic vision of all-pervading divinity.  Just gazing on Baba’s picture or discussing him with like-minded individuals elevates the mind and heart.  Even the smallest act of devotion towards him will be meritorious, leading the seeker to the feet of the Lord.  Baba cares for both the material and spiritual concerns of those who seek him and serves as a refuge for all who call to him.

In meditation, I saw Baba cleaning his pipe as well as some pots and pans by a stream.  He said to me, “If a rich man has mud on his feet, will the water wash the mud from his feet?”

“Yes,” I said.

“And the same for a poor man?,” he asked. “What about a sinful man?  Will the water wash the mud from his feet as well?”

“Yes,” I said. “All of these can clean their feet with water.”

“And the same for a holy man?”

“Yes,” I said.

“So, in the same way, my name cures all manner of people of whatever negative thoughts they may have.  My name clears the problems from the lives of the devotees of any station in life.”

He directed me to carry his pots towards the temple.

“And those pots that you carry.  You move them from one place to another? A rich man or a poor man could also move them from one place to another?”

“Yes, definitely,” I said.

“And a righteous man or a sinful person could move them from one place to another?”

“Yes,” I said.

“In the same way, any person, of any background, religion, or station in life can become my devotee.  As they carry my message, so I carry them across the world of objects and relationships to the goal of liberation.”

“I am going to a huge mela,” he said.  “There will be many people there who do not know me.  They do not know my story.   They know nothing of my udi, of my works, of my samadhi.  And you will tell them about me as they come to you. I know you have a tendency to be overly worried about your past, to scrutinize yourself too greatly, but do not worry.  My name will be enough for you.”

As soon as the vision of Baba had come, it left again, and I wondered about Baba’s words.  What could he mean by this great mela?  Who would I tell about him?  There were other sayings of Baba as well, but I cannot remember them now.  I resolved to write down what I could remember and share these words, in the hopes that others would find relief from suffering.

I learned everything I know about Shirdi Sai Baba from two sources: the Sai Satcharitra by Shri Hemadpant (English version by Shri N.V. Gunaji) and the biography, Sai Baba of Shirdi: A Unique Saint, by M.V. Kamath and V.B. Kher.  Over the years, he has rescued me from distress many times, in small and large ways.  I would say to those of a skeptical frame of mind that you do not need to know why or how Sai devotion works: just try it.  Say the words, “Aum Sai, namo namah, Shri Sai, namo namah, Jaya jaya Sai, namo namah, Satguru Sai, namo namah.”  This makes an excellent walking or seated meditation, and you can find recorded versions on the internet.

I will be writing more about Shirdi Sai in the future as the inspiration comes and as my other duties permit.  Please let me know of your encounters with Sai Baba of Shirdi.  Try one of these devotions–reading a chapter of Sai Satcharitra, saying the 108 names, or performing japa–and let me know how it goes.  I will send you a picture of the image of Shirdi Sai that I made myself if you message me.