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Offline JR

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A Search For the Birth Place of Shri Sai Baba
« on: March 06, 2007, 01:36:58 AM »
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  • [Intrigued by the mystery shrouding the birth, birth place and family background of Shri Sai :Baba, the writer, Shri Kher, paid a personal visit to Pathri along with his wife, picked up clues that were casually dropped in the conversation, pursued them with zeal, patiently culled the evidence and pieced it together with detachment. All evidence, he avers, points to Pathri as the birth place of Shri Sai Baba and the Yajurvedi Deshastha Brahmin family of the Bhusaris as the one in which Baba chose to take his birth. He makes a plea incidentally for the construction of a memorial on the spot consecrated by Baba's birth. The views of our readers on the conclusions arrived at by Shri Kher will be welcome.

    Editor ]

    "Sai Baba was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim but above both". Thus spoke Shri S. B. Dhumal an ardent devotee of Sai Baba and a leading lawyer of Nasik in reply to a question of a District Magistrate  This reply is undoubtedly wise and replate with meaning. A man of God, whatever be his caste or colour, is worthy of our respect. A popular Marathi saying discou¬rages the search for the origin of a river and the birth of a sage, for the fear, that the researcher may be disappointed with their humble beginnings. Whatever might have been the truth of this adage, the dictum is no longer valid. In this age of fast advancing technology, when all values are in a melting pot, even "every for¬mula of every religion has to submit to the acid test of reason and universal justice if it is to ask for universal assent ". The extended truth is applicable also to holy personages who have left their foot-prints on the sands of time. Those who have read Prof. Erik H Erikson's "Gandhi's Truth'' which describes" 'a westerner's and' a psychoanalyst's search for the historical presence of Mahatma Gandhi and for the meaning of what he called Truth" , will grasp the full implication of this statement. Researching into the questions as to the place of Sai Baba's birth, the family in which he was bom etc. may give us a historical hindsight into the later events in Sai Baba's life. In this belief my wife and I made a pilgrimage to the "birth place" of Sai Baba in Marathwada in June, 1975 and the outcome of our search is stated in this article.

    Before I do so let me record briefly the information available about the appearance of Sai Baba, his dress, his food habits, his surroundings, in Shirdi and the theories put forward about his place of birth and his family.

    Sai Baba was well-built and had arms which reached upto his knees. He was of medium height and had a fair yellowish complexion. But "one's first impression about him was derived from his eyes". There was such power and penetration in them that none could continue to look at him without feeling that Sai Baba was reading him through  and through. His ears were pierced  and he was not circumcised  indicating that he must have been a Hindu. But he dressed like a Fakir and lived in an old tumble-down mosque which was strangely called by him as Dwarkamai. A sacred fire was constantly buring in the mosque and devotees were allowed to worship him with fanfare including blowing of conches and ringing of bells.

    In the courtyard outside the mosque was a Tulsi Brindaban. Ramanavami was celebrated by His Hindu devotees in the court¬yard, in which. Sai Baba joyfully participated. At the same time, he had no objection to the local Muslims taking out a Sandal procession on the same day. He was catholic in his food habits, and is said he have partaken meat and fish in the Company of fellow-fakirs The. name of "Allah Malik" was con¬stantly on the tip of his tongue. Yet, he appeared in the garb of Rama, Krishna, Ganesh, Shiva, Hanuman, or the guru of the devotee concerned. He had intimate knowledge of Bhagwad Gita as his exposition to Shri Nanasaheb Chandorkar demonstrated. But he also recited the first chapter of Koran in the company of Muslims. He was known to be fluent in many languages, but none knew how and when he acquired such mastery. All in all, he was a phenomenon, and all that one can truly say of him was that he was cast in the mould of renowned yogis of yore, with deep influ¬ence of Sufism on him. It is significant to note in this connection, that in examination on commission issued by a Court.Sai Baba stated in reply to one of the questions that his "'creed" or religion'' was Kabir.

    Mr. H S. Dikshit, Solicitor and the most selfless devotee of Sai Baba, who sacrificed his all in the cause of his Sadguru, says in his foreword to Shri Sai Satcharita  as follows: There is no reliable information as to where he was born and who were his parents. But it can be stated authoritatively that he must have had links with the Nizam's State later called Hyderabad State which under the Scheme of Reoraanization of States in 1956 was divided on linguistic lines and merged with Andhra Pradesh, Karnatak and Maharashtra). In his conversation there were often references to places like Sailu, Jalna, Manavat, Pathri, Parabhani, Aurangabad, Bhir and Bedar. Once a visitor from Pathri came to Shirdi for Sai Baba's darshan. Sai Baba gathering information about conditions in Pathri, enquired with him about many leading citizens of Pathri. This suggests that he had special knowledge of Pathri but it cannot be stated with certainty that he was born in Pathri. It cannot be said also definitely whether Sai Baba was a Brahmin or Muslim by birth.
    Mhalsapati, one of the earliest devotees of Sai Baba, has stated that Sai Baba had told him that he (Sai Baba) was born in a Brahmin family at Pathri and his parents had handed him over to a Fakir in his childhood. Soon after Sai Baba had given him this information, a person from Pathri_ who had come on business to a nearby village called Korhala had visited Shirdi, when Sai Baba, had asked him about several residents of Pathri by their names . Mhalsapiti Bhagat was a man of a truth and integrity and was held in high esteem even by Sai Baba because of his vairagya. His testimony is. therefore, important and can be said to be indisputable .

    Sai Baba discouraged any questions about his parentage and said that Purush was his father and Maya was his mother A life long researcher and biographer observes that Sai Baba's birth remains a mystery and he had not met any individual who had direct knowledge about it.

    Another person whose testimony is weighty is Shri Vaman Prangovind Patel, Solicitor, who since he donned the robes of a Sanyasi in 1953, is known as Swami Saisharananand. The new name itself indicates the extent of his reverence for and devotion to Sai Baba. We must examine his credentials further in detail if we are to accept what he says oh the subject matter, in his biography of Sai Baba written in Gujarati.
    Shri V. P. Patel was born In 1889 and is still living. He graduated with philosophy from Elphinstone College, Bombay in 1910 and passed his LL B. in 1912. Like Swami Vivekanand, he wanted to see God face to face. He met many Sadhus but none could satisfy his desire Finally, his father suggested that he should visit Sai Baba. So once in 1911, he travelled from Bombay to Kopargaon by train and reached Shirdi by a tonga. When he reached Shirdi, Sai Baba was standing under the famous Neem tree near Sathewada. The tongawala pointed out Sai Baba to Shrj Patel Young Patel alighted and prostrated himself before Sai Baba. Imagine his wonder, when Sai Baba exclaimed to him. "God is, why do you say He is not ? " Swamiji (Shri Patel) personally narrated to the writer an account of his first encounter with Sai Baba, under the Neem tree in the fateful year 1911, which was to change the whole life of young Patel. All his doubts were silenced and he felt that he was in the presence of a Master whom he could accept as his Sadguru. and surrender to him his all. In 1913, when Patel visited Shirdi during the summer vacation, Sai Baba detained him at Shirdi for eleven months, and one day without being asked, was given permission to leave Shirdi. During his long stay, Patel was sent on begging rounds by Sai Baba, and he came into close and intimate contact with Baba. Sai Baba affectionately nick-named him "Babu ". In course of time, Shri Patel became a solicitor and practised, but his real Interest lay in matters moral and spiritual. Patel is a Savant and bas written extensively for Sastu Sahitya-Vardhak Karyalaya. He has also rendered Shri Sai-Satcharita into Chaste but simple Gujarati verse. His biography of Sai Baba in Gujarati is a must for every serious student of Sai Baba and his tenets.

    With these prepatory remarks about Swami Sai-Sharanana-nda, let us now turn to his narration of Sai Baba. He says that it is indisputable that Sai Baba considered himself a Brahmin and he got annoyed with anyone who suggested that he was not a Brahmin. In 1912, Patels father was suffering from dropsy and there was no hope of cure. In December of that year, Patel visited Shirdi. Reading his thoughts, Sai Baba asked him to get his father to Shirdi. But the thought crossed his mind, would his orthodox father come to one who looked like a Muslim? Immedia¬tely; Baba intercepted with the remark, "Am I not a Brahmin ?" Swamiji also records that the oldest devotee of Sai Baba, Mhalsapati, had been told by Baba himself that he was born in a Yajurvedi Deshastha Brahmin family at Pathri and he was handed over to a Fakir as a child .

    The tale of Sai Baba's birth is also described in article by Sunamra Sundar  as said to have been narrated to him by the noted saint Madhavnath, a summary of which appears at page 16 of Swami Sai-Sharanananda's biography of Sai Baba. The story goes that there was a Yajurvedi Deshastha Brahmin in Pathri who had three sons. Sai Baba was the eldest. When Sai Baba was five years old, a Fakir came to the Brahmin and said "Give me my own". The Brahmin replied, "Everything I have is yours". Thereupon, the Fakir asked for the eldest son and took him away. He reappeared after four years, and with the consent of the Brahmin, again took away the boy for three more years. From the age of twelve to eighteen, Sai Baba   remained   incognito   and was seen at Shirdi under the neem tree when he was nineteen.
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    Offline Raincy

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    Re: A Search For the Birth Place of Shri Sai Baba
    « Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 09:28:04 PM »
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  •               Is there a precise search of exactly birth place of Shri Sai Baba.

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