Written by: Bhakti Marga
On Thursday, 15 October, at SPN, Paramahamsa Vishwananda hosted the celebration of the Maha-samadhi of the great saint, Shirdi Sai Baba. Although cold and windy outside, the abhishekam was filled with the warmth of love from a small group of musicians and devotees who sang bhajans (behind their masks, of course), and who enjoyed seeing a beloved saint honoured in this way. In speaking about Shirdi Sai, Gurudev said, 'May his blessing be upon all of you, and especially the blessing that each one finds in their life two things that he taught: that’s shraddha and sabouri. Shraddha means faith. And sabouri means patience. Faith and patience are two things that bring balance in one’s life.'
Throughout his life, Shirdi Sai Baba was a friend to all and taught that God was a friend to all. While he performed many miracles maybe the greatest testament to his life was his lasting ability to guide people to love God and overcome self-imposed limitations in their relationship to God.
When Shirdi was a small child he would run to the temples and recite the Qur’an and then run to the mosque to chant the Bhagavad Gita. Of course, this enraged the temple priest and the mosque mullah but no matter what was done by parent or priest or mullah, Shirdi Sai continued on. In Just Love 3, Paramahamsa Vishwananda says, 'Shirdi Sai Baba is such a great example, such a great saint, but he was always humble. He could have been living in a big palace if he had wanted. He gave so much to people and he is still giving so much to people. Even though he died a long time ago, there are so many people who still profit from him. One of his promises was "Even if I am dead, I shall speak through my tomb.”'
Leading up to the celebration, Rishika Abirami shared: “When Guruji first started to come to India, Shirdi was one of the first places He visited to see Shirdi Sai Baba. When I came to Shirdi for the first time, I remember having the feeling that I was visiting my grandfather’s place, like my grandfather was taking my hand and showing me around. We visited the Neem tree, which no one has touched since the time Sai Baba sat under it. As he showed his devotees later, he would sit under the tree because buried underneath was the Samadhi place of his guru. Like this, Shirdi Sai Baba taught us how important the guru is.
“When Guruji was looking at the murti of Shirdi Sai in the temple, He was inspired to have His own murti and temple at His ashram in Germany. Shree Peetha Nilaya now has temple dedicated to Shirdi Sai.
“At a certain point a dog came and stood in between Guruji and some disciples and looked at Guruji. When Guruji looked at the dog, it felt as though He communicated something to the dog and the dog left. Later on, Guruji told us that Shirdi Sai Baba had come in the form of a dog. After reading a book about him, I realized that Shirdi Sai has many stories of visiting people in the form of a dog.”
Sai means God as well as father and mother. His name translated directly means Holy Father or Divine Father. Sai Baba’s message during his time on Earth was very simple. He said to chant the name of God and read the scriptures. He taught us to love God and transcend the idea of confessions and religious boundaries and limitations. He used to say that God is one and it doesn’t matter what dress you are wearing. He welcomed both Hindu and Muslim devotees.
May we all be inspired to love God more each day!
For pictures and impressions of this auspicious celebration, go here.