I’m now going to share my experience of visiting the Saibaba Temple at Shirdi. Shirdi is a small town in Maharashtra, India, that is famous for being the home of Sai Baba, a revered saint who lived there in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sai Baba is worshipped by millions of people across different religions and sects, as he preached universal love and harmony.
My mother had always wanted to visit Shirdi and pay her respects to Sai Baba, so she and I decided to take a trip there. We went to Shirdi from Aurangabad via Shringnapur. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a beautiful shrine that was built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba. Shirdi is the famous temple of Shri Sai Baba. It was established in 1922 to carry out the services of Shri Sai Baba.
At age of 16 years Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained there till his death. Saibaba found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or Saint Sai Baba.
Shri Saibaba of Shirdi lived between 1838 and 1918, whose real name, birthplace and date of birth are not known. An Indian spiritual guru and a fakir, Shri Shirdi Saibaba in Shirdi was regarded with great reverence by both Hindu and Muslim followers. Lord Sai lived in a mosque and after death his body was cremated in a temple.
Sri Shirdi Sai philosophy ingrained ‘Shraddha’ meaning faith and ‘Saburi’ meaning compassion. According to Lord Sai, Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.
The main attraction of the temple complex is the Samadhi Mandir, where Sai Baba’s body is entombed. This is where devotees can have darshan (viewing) of Sai Baba’s idol and offer their prayers. The idol is made of marble and is adorned with a gold crown and jewels. The Samadhi Mandir also has a silver throne where Sai Baba used to sit and bless his devotees.
The temple complex also has other places of interest, such as the Dwarkamai, where Sai Baba used to live and light a sacred fire called Dhuni; the Chavadi, where Sai Baba used to sleep every alternate night; the Gurusthan, where Sai Baba first appeared under a neem tree; and the Lendi Baug, where Sai Baba used to water plants and rest.
The temple complex is very well maintained and organized, and there are volunteers and staff who guide the visitors and ensure discipline. There are also facilities such as cloak rooms, drinking water, toilets, canteens, book stalls, etc. for the convenience of the pilgrims.
Yesterday evening, we walked from our hotel to the temple. It’s about 1 km in distance. We watched the aarti and prayed at the temple.
This morning, we walked down to the temple to offer our prayers. There was a big queue of devotees standing in great patience to have a glimpse of the Baba and to offer prayers at his feet. There is a nice system and everybody is following the discipline and peace at the temple. After a few hours of waiting, we also got our chance. The atmosphere there was tranquil and devotion, bhakti was in the air.
Visiting Shirdi was a very memorable and spiritual experience for me and my mom. We felt a sense of peace and joy in being close to Sai Baba’s presence. We also learned a lot about his life and philosophy, which can help us in our own lives. I wish dad was also with us in this trip. He is coming home on Thursday, the 16th of August 2012. We hope to visit Shirdi again soon and feel his grace once more.