Indians don’t need any introduction to the subject of this photograph. The photograph is of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi who is revered by millions as an incarnation of God. Name of the photographer is unknown and it probably was taken in the decade of 1910. Although there exist numerous real photographs of Sai Baba -this particular one is perhaps the most famous among all.
According to some sources Sai Baba was born on 28 September 1838. There is no conclusive evidence regarding Baba’s birthplace. He came to Shirdi at the age of about 16 and remained there until he took samadhi on 15 October 1918. Sai Baba is revered both by Hindus and Muslims alike. He performed several miracles during his lifetime and preached that One God governs all (Sabka malik ek).
In Shirdi Sai Baba resided in a mosque and named it as Dwarkamai (Dwarka is an important place in Hindu mythology). It is an important indication of his efforts to promote harmony among Hindus and Muslims. His attire was that of a Muslim fakir and he asked his followers to read scripture and chant God’s name. Mahalsapati, a Khandoba priest, is considered to be Sai Baba’s first disciple. Baba considered Baija Bai as his mother.
The above given photograph is the most popular among all the photos of the Baba. This pose of Baba has been replicated in millions of paintings, statues and other art forms. Most of the Baba’s statues are made in this pose.
Sai Baba made the following eleven assurances to his devotees:
- Whosoever puts their feet on Shirdi soil, their sufferings will come to an end.
- The wretched and miserable will rise to joy and happiness as soon as they climb the steps of Dwarakamai (Mosque).
- I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
- My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
- I shall be active and vigorous even from my tomb.
- My mortal remains will speak from My tomb.
- I am ever living to help and guide all who come to Me, who surrender to Me and who seek refuge in Me.
- If you look at Me, I look at you.
- If you cast your burden on Me, I shall surely bear it.
- If you seek My advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
- There shall be no want in the house of My devotee.
Sai Baba of Shirdi has a massive following. He brought Hindus and Muslim together and asked them to stay together.
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