Mystical Sai Rare facts and events
Following are some less known facts about Shirdi and Sai baba:
1. Khandoba Temple
Just in front of the Khandoba temple is a rectangular sandpit, which is in fact for fire-walking. Although rarely used, there is still an annual festival where villagers gather for an exuberant night of Bhajans and express their devotion by daringly walking on hot coal bed. The festival is known as Champa Shashti and takes place in December – shashti means ‘six’ and the festival occurs six day after the new moon.
Gurusthan means “place of the guru”. It is where Baba spent most of his time when he first came to Shirdi, and also where, according to Baba, the tomb of his guru is located, by the Neem tree. Once when villagers were digging foundation for Sathe wada, just behind the Neem tree, they came across some bricks in the soil and what looked like the opening of a tunnel. Baba told them that this was the site of the tomb of his ancestors and it would be better not to disturb them. Baba said that there was a tunnel that ran from here to Chavadi. On other occasion he told that the site also contained the tomb of Kabir.
It is typically unique of Sai Baba that he regarded a place of worship – Baba’s mosque or Dwarkami – as a Mother. He once told a visitor “ Dwarka-Mai is this very mosque”. She makes those who ascend there steps fearless. This Masjid Ayi is very kind. Those who come here reach their goal.” Many devotees relate to Baba as a mother and many as a god. These to Aspects are so perfectly synthesized in Baba – his care for smallest detail as well as the ultimate spiritual attainment- is perhaps the most beautiful and unique aspect of Shirdi Sai.
4. Invisible Baba
Once, few visitors at Shirdi requested Shri Sai for permission to take his photo. Sai however refused but on being persuaded, allowed only his feet to be photographed. Taking advantage of this the visitors took his full snap. In the photograph only his Feet came out. In another instance, a photographer without Sai’s consent took his snap and the picture that came off was of the photographer’s own guru and not that of Shri Sai.
5. Shirdi is one of Maharashtra’s most important pilgrimage towns. Sai Baba, a 19th century saint who brought together people from all faiths, is the presiding deity of the shrine around which the town’s economy runs.
6. The stunning temple that stands at the center of Shirdi’s economy was constructed in 1922, four years after Sai Baba’s death, the shrine was commissioned and privately owned by one Shrimant Gopalrao, a millionaire from Nagpur, who was a devotee of Sai Baba. Today it is owned and run by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust
7. Shirdi’s literacy rate is more than the national average.
According to the 2011 census, Shirdi’s average literacy rate is 70 per cent with male literacy at 76 per cent and female literacy at 62 per cent. The national average literacy rate is 59.5 per cent.