TALES OF SAI BABA
The Saint of Shirdi
The pious flocked to Shirdi in maharashtra. Sai baba's all-encompassing love made them feel better, happier and more at peace. He could reveal himself as the supreme Deity and yet assume the form of a street dog; he could turn water to oil and save a child far way from burning flames. However, by the time he left this world, in 1918, he had also made thousands understand that good acts are the only miracle needed to find God. Nobody knows for certain when Sai Baba was born or who his parents were, or what his real name was. He arrived one day in 1872 at Shirdi in Maharashtra. He was dressed like a fakir (Muslim ascetic) and lived in a dilapidated mosque, but spoke of a Hindu guru, whom he called Venkusa. He seemed to be well acquainted with the Hindi scriptures, but at the same time was heard to quote from the Quran. The word Sai is a Persian word meaning 'saint' and Baba is a Hindi word meaning 'father'. As his name indicates, Sai Baba has both Hindu and Muslim disciples. He did not approve of conversion and believed that everyone had a right to follow his own path to God. Everything that is known about his beliefs however, is deduced from his actions. He was not given to theorising. Sai Baba died in 1918. Even during his lifetime he had become famous, and after his death, Shirdi (where he had lived for almost half a century) has become a place of pilgrimage where hundreds of devotees congregate every year. The tales in this Amar Chitra Katha are based on reports from Sai Baba's devotees.