Sai baba was a spiritual master in India, who was regarded as a satguru, fakir or saint according to the beliefs of people. He was honoured and revered by both; the Muslims and the Hindu devotees and he stressed on the importance of surrendering to the Murshid or Satguru who can lead his disciple through the path of spiritual training.
He is worshipped by his devotees all around the world. His teachings stressed on self realization, helping others, moral code of love, forgiveness, inner peace, charity, contentment and devotion to guru and God. His teachings combined preaching of Islam and Hinduism. He named the mosque in which he lived Dwarakamayi, taught using the essence of both the religions and was buried in Shirdi.
A lot of information about Sai Baba can be acquired from the book Sai SatCharitra.He had come to Ahmednagar, in the district of Maharashtra, at the age of sixteen. He practiced hard penance and sat motionless under a tree, while sitting in an asana. He left the village to join fakirs and worked as a weaver.He also served in the army of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Sai Baba stayed in Shirdi for three years and then disappeared for a year and returned to Shirdi permanently in 1858.He then had adopted his famous style of dressing comprising of one piece knee-length kafni robe and cloth cap. He lived for four to five years under a Neem tree and wandered for long periods in the jungle around Shirdi. Finally, he took shelter in a dilapidated mosque and survived on alms.
He maintained a sacred fire in the mosque from which he gave sacred ashes or Udhi to his guests. The ash was believed to have apostrophic and healing powers. He performed the function of local hakim and treated the ill with his sacred ashes. Sai Baba’s fame began to spread after the year 1910. He devotees regarded him as a great saint with miraculous powers or even avatar. They even built his temple at Bhivpuri, Karjat.
Sai Baba’s teachings opposed religious orthodoxy in Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. He encouraged his devotees to read Holy Scriptures, chant God’s name and pray.He encouraged the Hindus to read holy books like Bhagavada Gita, Yoga Vasistha and Ramayana. There are many Sai Baba temples in Indiaandin countries outside India, such asthe Netherlands, Kenya, United States,Cuba, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Pakistan,Germany andJapan.