Sai Baba of Shirdi is a saint. He lived in a small village named Shirdi in India. No one knows for sure where he was born, who his parents were or even what his real name was. He arrived in Shirdi around 1858 when was he about 20 years old. He lived in a dilapidated mosque and led a simple, ascetic life. People called him Sai Baba. Sai means saint or mother. Baba means father. Sai Baba lived in Shirdi until he passed away on October 15, 1918. Through simple words and stories, Baba taught how to live a purposeful life. He practiced what he taught; hence, his practices became his gospel. Thousands became his followers during his life time and millions after his death. His main messages are as follows:
- We should love and serve every person and animal since all living beings have a Godly trait.
- We should feed the hungry and provide for the needy since those are the highest forms service we can offer in the name of God.
- We should practice our religion while respecting all other religious traditions since different religions are different ways to try to understand and worship God.
In the Hindu tradition, Saints are revered and worshiped. Shirdi, where Baba’s body was laid to rest, has since become a major pilgrimage destination in India. Today, there are thousands of temples around the world, including about a hundred in the US, where Sai Baba is worshipped and his teachings are practiced.