Brief History of Sai Baba of Shirdi
Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi lived in Shirdi, a small village in the state of Maharashtra in India, for about sixty years between 1858 to 1918.
Earlier He was at and around Shirdi for about two years between 1852 and 1854. When He first arrived He was in a God-intoxicated state, without any consciousness of His own body, of society or of time. He used to sit and meditate under a neem (margosa) tree, wander around and live all by Himself.
A kind village woman called Bayaji took pity on Him and used to search Him out and force Him to eat. One day in 1854, He suddenly disappeared, only to reappear in 1858. No one knows where He was and what He did during this period.
The exact date and place of birth, family name and parentage of Baba are still shrouded in mystery, although researchers speculate that He was born in a village called Pathri now in Maharashtra (India), somewhere between 1835 and 1838.
Whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim is still not clear, because Baba never encouraged questions on such issues. He sported a beard and moustache, donned a long robe and hand gear and head gear like some of the Sufis, and yet had a perforation in the ears like the Hindus. He spoke in Urdu, Hindi, Maharashtrian and some South Indian languages. He participated in Hindu and Muslim festivals. His approach in short, was universal and humanitarian.
On the second arrival, He stayed in a dilapidated mosque on the outskirts of Shirdi for about sixty years, although He spent some nights in an adjacent place called Chawdi. He used to be visited by some fakirs and Sufis and also Hindu sadhus.