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The mysterious story of birth of Saibaba of Shirdi!

Updated on March 20, 2017

The boy Sai

His birth was a mystery but narrated by Sathya Sai

While reading “Sai Satcharita”, a book on the life of famous saint of Maharashtra, who lived in Shirdi for sixty years or so, I came across an interesting anecdote. The author of the book “Hemadpant” had a serious discussion with another devotee saying “all poisonous creatures like the snake and scorpion should be killed when we come across them! The other devotee refuted this point stating ‘we should not harm them if they don’t attack us. This argument went for hours and ultimately Hemadpant lost his peace of mind. He concluded that the ego is the main cause of arguments. Later, when they went to see Saibaba in the Masjid, Saibaba told them ‘whether it is snake or scorpion, in all creatures God resides. Unless prompted by god, no creature will harm us. Hence we should avoid vain killing of any creature! It was astonishing, even without mooting about the topic; Saibaba himself has given the verdict for the argument which took place far away from the Masjid. From this episode, it is clear that Saibaba is the indweller of each one as the Self. This is how his close devotees regarded him. But listen to Saibaba when he said, “I am the servant of God; “Allah Malik” meaning “God is the Master and I am just a humble servant!

None could gauge Saibaba by his outward looks or talk. Sometimes he behaved like a madcap, getting angry with one and all, throwing everything out! At that time, his eyes will be red like fire and it will roll around causing panic to the devotees! But, soon he will calm down and talk endearingly with one and all. He used to say, “If a mother drive away her baby, if the ocean refuse its waves, I may do so; But I will never forsake my devotee! In spite of his holy demeanor, he was begging his food from four or five houses. He will receive the solid food in a cloth wound around his shoulder and the liquid part in a tin. After collecting food thus from the five houses, He will mix everything in a pot, offer it in sanctification to god and distribute the rest among the gathered devotees, himself partaking few morsels from it. The remaining food will be left in the pot. The women who cleaned the Masjid often took six or seven pieces of bread from it. The rest of the food was eaten by cats and dogs! This was the daily routine of Saibaba! He never drove away the cats or dogs. He has supreme love for all the creatures and hence everyone treated him as a ‘Mahant or supreme Saint! For the devotees he was none other than God in human vesture!

Sai as a boy with his Guru Venkusa!

Saibaba's parents and how he was born?

Naturally, everyone was curious to know about his native place, his parents etc. But Saibaba never clarified this point. Sometimes, he will say I came from Pathri from erstwhile Nizam State. But he won’t reveal more. Fortunately Sathya Saibaba, who was considered as a reincarnation of Shirdi Baba had revealed about Saibaba’s birth details. It seems that his parents were Ganga bhava and Devagiri amma. They were both old without any children in spite of numerous prayers to God. After a long wait, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi wanted to test this pious couple. Gangabhava was a boatman who earned few rupees by taking people across the river in his boat. He never had a desire to accumulate money, but he was content with what little he earned by plying the boat. On that day, there was incessant storm and copious rain. Gangabhava feared that his boat will be carried away by the tide in the river. Hence he told his wife to bolt inside while he will take care of the boat by staying in there! After her husband left, she ate her meals, bolted inside and took rest. In the mid of night, she heard someone tapping the door. Thinking that her husband might have turned up, she opened the door to find an elderly man seeking a place to sleep since there is continuous rain. She said, he can take rest on the outside verandah and shown the place. Again she went inside and bolted. Now, there was tap on the door. She opened it to find that the elderly man was hungry and he needed some food. She went inside and found curd and rice and she mixed it and gave it to the elderly person. She again retired for sleep but awakened by another tap on the door. Unable to understand what the old man wants, she opened the door. But this time, he said, his legs were paining and he needed someone to press it. This was too much for her. She went into the prayer room and cried to mother goddess to save her from this embarrassing situation. Soon she went by the rear door and enquired in the streets, ‘if there is anyone who will help the old man by taking money? Finding none, she went inside her house praying. Soon there was a thud on the door. She opened it to find a women telling her, she was away and someone told her that a old man needed service. Satisfied with the help, Devagiriamma pointed out the old man and bolted the door. Soon, there was the familiar thud on the door. She opened the door and to her surprise, Lord Shiva was there with her consort Mother Parvati. She immediately prostrated at their feet. They blessed her profusely for her devotion and good manners. They told her, ‘we are quite pleased with your prayer and in fact, I had come as an old man while Parvati came later as a maid to help me! We bless you that you will have a daughter. Devagiriamma could not believe her own ears.

Sri Sathya Sai reveals the secrets of Saibaba!

The boon of Lord Shiva who took birth as Saibaba!

Before departing, Lord Shiva assured her that he will himself incarnate as her son! This was a monumental blessing to the childless Devagiriamma! Again she prostrated before the Divine couple and they vanished from there! Devagiriamma could not sleep for the rest of night and she was anxious to tell the good news to her husband. After dawn, his husband returned but he won’t believe the story and said, it is your hallucination or dream. In a few days, Devagiriamma become pregnant and after nine months, she delivered a daughter. Gangabhava started believing his wife. Again after few months, she was pregnant for the second time and even while she was in the advanced stage of pregnancy, Gangabhava developed detachment and he thought, ‘you aare lucky and you got to see the Divine couple but alas! I am not so fortunate and even after your telling I didn’t believe your words. Now I am leaving in quest of the Divine! But Devagiriamma persisted that she too would accompany him. On the way, she developed labor pains and she delivered a boy but left it there covered by some leaves. A Muslim, who went there to ease, heard the cry of the baby. Looking around, he saw the newborn left covered with leaves. He called for the mother but in vain. Hence he took the baby boy to his house and handed over to his wife. That boy was really Saibaba. After the death of her husband, the lady handed over the boy to a Hindu monk named Venka who took the boy under his custody and taught him many spiritual lessons. After twelve years, he was asked to travel in the Western direction. Many disciples of the monk were jealous of Saibaba! One day, a boy hurled a brick at the head of Saibaba but the monk took it on his head and he was profusely bleeding. Saibaba tore open his cloth and bandaged his Guru but he was asked to go away in the Western direction and finally he reached Shirdi when he was a lad of sixteen years!

Shirdi Samadhi temple (Buti wada)

Saibaba is a mysterious saint lived in Shirdi.

Do you believe the story of birth of Saibaba?

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