History and Mysteries of Shirdi Sai Baba
The famous Shirdi Sai Baba also presents several mysteries for his biographers. But if we regard his known history alone, his life comes out as highly fascinating enough. His birth year, month and date are not known but his death was on 15th Oct 1918. He was born at Pathri (District Parbhani) under Nizam’s Dominion and moved over to Shirdi as a grown up. Details of almost all his youthful years till arrival in Shirdi are unknown like the 18 dark and unknown years of Jesus Christ. It seems that Sai Baba has mentioned that he was a soldier for Rani of Jhansi (1857) and so his year of birth would have been perhaps between 1835 to 1840.
However, biographer Narasimhaswamiji, Founder-President of All India Sai Samaj, has stated that his parents were Brahmins who handed him over at a tender age to a fakir. What follows merely in outline is said to be as per Baba's own accounts.
The fakir died after five years and the child went to the care of one Gopal Rao Deshmukh (called ‘Gurudeva’), a great devotee of Tirupati Balaji. After spending nearly ten years in pious learning from Gurudeva, Sai went westward from native Pathri and arrived in Shirdi. But he did not at once settle down at Shirdi. He went on some wanderings and then returned there.
Sai was how he was referred to after his fakir-like life began in Shirdi, and his real name was not known. He preached from the Hindu texts such as Ramayana, Bhagwat Gita etc and from Kuran. As per the accounts of his contemporaries, he was very familiar with these scriptures. He recommended worship, prayers, patience, faith and love. He preached Hindu-Muslim unity. All his preaching was oral and he did not leave any writings.