“I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb.” This promise, made by Shri Sai Baba during the time of his demise, remains in the hearts of his millions of followers. The tomb or the Samadhi Mandir of Shri Sai Baba at Shirdi is the most significant place where the visitors get touched by the essence of the saint’s powerful blessings. It is believed that Shri Sai Baba was the avatar of God himself. He could heal any physical ailments of the people in just a matter of time. Even after getting a glance at his eyes, it is said that the wishes of the people become true and he can also slay any possibility of misfortune from the fate of the people. He touched the lives of millions of his followers who hailed from across the globe. It is said that, even after his death, Sai Baba is omnipresent. The followers also claim that one glance at baba’s feet would portray to that person Baba’s eyes.
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The devotion spread across the Temple of Shirdi
At the holy shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba, one can sure come across millions of devotees who eagerly wait in the queue to get at least one glance of the Lord. To offer Baba, people carry garlands, flowers, fruits and even sweets and keep the kit at the Samadhi. There are several other people to offer the saint with valuable gifts like shawls, books, and even keys for any new possession. All of the worshippers of the temple struggle since the early opening hours of the temple to touch his feet at the tomb. One can hear loud words of hail in the name of Sai Baba echoing inside the temple premises. One can also witness the bhajan singers singing and the people lisping the chants and praying to the Lord with eyes closed and hands folded. During the festivals, the darshan queue stretches for up to hundreds of meters across many villages on the way. So the temple trust has now constructed a complex for the worshippers where they can stand and wait for their turn to get the glance of the Lord. Thousands of people visit the Shirdi temple every day.
The origin of the tomb or the Samadhi at Shirdi
The present shrine or the tomb of Sai Baba was initially constructed as his private house, during the years when Sai Baba was an ailing patient. This land previously belonged to Baba who grew plants and flowers on it. The flowers which bloomed out of the plants, was distributed and offered to the nearby temples by him. The shrine was built by the wealthiest follower of Baba, Gopalrao Booty, the plan of which came to his dreams. After waking up from his dream, Gopalrao pondered to search for the significance. He saw that his friend Shama was in tears. On being asked, Shama declared that even he had the same dream as him, and they together built the temple later on. The construction work of the temple began in the year 1915. Since it is built out of stone, the establishment is also known as data di wada or stone house of Shirdi. It is said that Shama was in charge of the supervision of the basement construction and the construction of the ground floor. Later, Bapusaheb took over this job of the supervision of the construction work. While Sai Baba was passing across this site on his way to the town of Lendi, he used to offer certain suggestions. With the progress of the building, Booty consulted with Baba if any temple could be included at the shrine’s ground floor along with the statue of Lord Krishna. Baba readily agreed to this proposal and gave permission to booty for the installation of the lord’s statue. He said that only after the completion of the temple, Sai Baba along with his ardent devotees would inhabit the place and then they will serve the people with joy and happiness. Booty’s associate in this project, Shama, asked Sai Baba the auspicious time of inaugurating the shrine and in answer Sai Baba fetched a coconut and broke a coconut as the good one for the work to begin. The foundation was laid quickly, followed by the construction of the pedestal on which, the idol of Muralidhar or Lord Krishna was placed.
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Sai Baba’s unforeseen entrance at the Shrine
At the time, when Sai Baba fell tremendously ill, his devotees, fearing the worst, felt that Baba will not be able to see the construction work completed. To Booty, the entire construction felt as baseless if Sai Baba could not get to live in there. With his body fading fast, Sai Baba was carried to the incomplete wada from the masjid on the 15th day of October in the year 1918. After his death, the body of Sai Baba was carried to the shrine and then buried under the pedestal where the statue of Lord Krishna was to be placed later on.
Sai Baba’s Mahasamadhi
The very date of 15th October 1918, when Sai Baba died or took Mahasamadhi, it was considered to be a very auspicious days for his ardent followers. The time was also considered to be holy as he died during the very month of Ramzan. October 15th at that year was the time when the Navaratri witnessed its last or the final day of auspicious Vijaya Dashami. Baba could foresee his death day, so he notified the authority of the masjid that on the ninth day of the ninth month Allah would be taking away the light which He had lit. Sai Baba also sent a few offerings to the Masjid so that Fakir Shamsuddin Mia could conduct qawals, moulu and feed the poor as well. Until his last moments, Baba embraced people belonging from both the crucial sectors of Indian society, Hindu and Muslim. As the news of Baba’s death spread, thousands of people came to the place to get a last glance of his Earthly existence at Shirdi.
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