History of Sai Baba – Mysterious Saint of 19th Century

by Sep 10, 2023


Divine personality and the life of Sai Baba inspire lakhs of people to come to the place of Shirdi. Not only in India, but also from every corner of the world, people come to get the Darshan of Saibaba.

Hence, the town of Shirdi even today holds the divinity and presence of Saibaba. Shirdi Sai Temple is a holy place in India, where every day more than 65000 devotees from all over the world come to Shirdi to worship and have darshan of Sai Baba. Special occasions such as Ram Navami witness even a bigger number of devotees who visit Shirdi.

There were many facts about him that most people unaware of which made this saint a mystical personality. He gave learnings and teachings to common people which are universally accepted. He leaved an outstanding impact of Sai Baba on lives of people.

God is the Almighty. Through these religious views, he achieved Hindu-Muslim unity. Because Saibaba blesses all devotees regardless of religion, caste and creed.

Similarly, during his time, he contributed to the elimination of caste differences in society. He often used to say to all his followers,

Sai Baba painting
Sai Baba painting

“Sabaka Malik Ek!”

It means, there is one God for all kinds of people.

These poetic commentaries of both religions are very famous. He told his followers, “Look at me (as a guru) and I will see at you.”

This beloved saint has influenced many people not only from India, but also from outside world. We have some interesting facts to share about him.

This History of Sai Baba will provide detailed account of Sai Baba. So I recommend to bookmark this page for future reference. Also make sure you subscribed to our newsletter for all updates.

Background and History of Sai Baba

This Biography of Sai Baba is really amazing if you are theist. In India, the Sai Baba of Shirdi is regarded as a spiritual master as well as a great saint. People also call him as “Sainath” and “Sairam” with devotional affection. Sai Baba was a fakir who spent his entire life as a guru.


शिर्डी साईबाबांचा इतिहास (१९१५ मध्ये काढलेला दुर्मिळ फोटो).

No one actually knew date of birth and where he born. Many rumors about his birth are prevalent among people. So some people believe he was born in a small village in Maharashtra, India, and raised by a Muslim fakir.

Some believe he was born to a Hindu Brahmin family, while others say he was born into a Muslim family. Some even think he was born in Tamil Nadu, while others claim it was Maharashtra.

Beliefs About Place of Birth

Though Sai Baba was not born in Shirdi, his birthplace should not be far from Shirdi. On asking Sai Baba about his birthplace and parents, he used to give conflicting and misleading answers. 

It is said that he told about his origin to his most close follower, “Mhalasapati.” According to prevalent story, he was born in the home of a Deshasta Brahmin family in Pathri village in Parbhani district. Also, his date of birth should be 27th September 1837.

Widely Accepted Theory about his Real Name

According to the research of genealogy of Shirdi by “Saidham Charitable Trust”, there is sound evidence that his name was “Baba Haribhau Bhusari”. Many people also support this theory.

People believed that one day his parents asked him to take care of a fakir. Later, the fakir assigned him to a Hindu guru named “Vekunsha”. Some people consider him a Muslim of the Momin tribe.

Family background

He never talked about his family or past, and his followers have different ideas about where he came from. Hence, his birth details and family background remains a mystery.

Authoritative Source about his Life

श्री साईबाबांचा मूळ फोटो ज्याचा श्री साई लीला मासिक १९२३ मध्ये उल्लेख आहे.

The books like Sai Satcharitra is considered most authoritative source to know about him. It gives complete details about his life, teachings, and miracles.

It was written in the year 1922 CE by a disciple named Hemadpant (Govind Raghunath / Annasaheb Dabholkar). This book is based on personal observations made by Hemadpant and other disciples since 1910 CE.

Place where He spent most of his Lifespan

He spent most of his life in Shirdi village. It is a village in Rahata taluka of Ahmednagar district. As a result, people started recognizing him as “Sai Baba of Shirdi.” The divine experience, peace of mind and confidence felt in Shirdi are truly incomparable. Perhaps this is the reason Shirdi has become a place of worship for millions of devotees.


Regardless of his origins, people all over the world consider Sai Baba a saint and spiritual teacher. He is famous for his miracles and helping the sick and needy. On October 15, 1918 CE Sai Baba took Samadhi at Shirdi. But his influence continues to inspire people today.

Interesting Facts

Below is a list of some of his less-known facts.

Identity of Sai Baba is a mystery till date

Till day no one knows about family of Sai Baba, where he came from, or where and when he was born. He also taught unity, keeping his real identity a secret till the end. Our work is more important than our identity this may be teaching he want to give. So he might kept his identity secret which may be that.

His encounter with a photographer

Saibaba had an interesting experience when someone asked for a photo. At first he did not want the photograph, but he eventually agreed. He agreed to let them cover only his feet.

However, the photographer ignored his condition and took a complete picture of him. But, later he realized even after taking a full photo in actual film only his feet were visible.

This event makes the character of Saibaba even more mysterious. It makes us wonder why he didn’t enjoy being photographed and what it really means.

Personality of Saibaba may have hidden layers, inviting us to explore the mystery further.

He was a Miracle Worker

His ability to perform miracles made him famous. He could heal incurable illnesses, bringing comfort and hope to the suffering.

He did not use his miracles for healing only. Sai also did other amazing things, like lighting lanterns with water. His another miracle is once he stopped epidemic isolating Shirdi with lines drawn with the help of Flour.

His miracles showed his spiritual power and made his followers believe more.

His teachings spread to other countries as well

His teachings spread out across the world. Saibaba spread a message of love, tolerance, and acceptance globally.

Globally, there were over two thousand temples of Saibaba. These temples are places for people to worship this great saint, Saibaba.

Teachings of Saibaba have a lasting impact, and these temples prove it. Every year lakhs of people visit Shirdi to experience the power of this spiritual place.

He didn’t belong to a particular religion

He had a strong stand to his principles. This made him unique. Saibaba treated everyone with respect, regardless of their religion. He did not have any biases towards a particular religion.

Saibaba went to both mosques and temples, taking part in their rituals and prayers.

His actions showed his respect for different faiths. His embodiment of religious harmony brings people together.

His primary purpose was to spread love, spirituality, and faith to everyone

Saibaba lived in Shirdi, India for five years. He spent his days meditating under the shade of a neem tree. His teachings and presence led many to have a spiritual awakening.

Saibaba aimed to spread love, inspire spirituality, and emphasize unwavering faith.

Saibaba consistently emphasized the significance of fulfilling responsibilities with dedication. He also encouraged his followers to detach themselves from material possessions. Sai emphasized on trusting in the supreme power of God, which governs all aspects of life.

Instilled fearlessness in his followers

In his teachings, Saibaba instilled a deep sense of fearlessness in his devotees. He assured them that with unwavering faith, there was nothing to be afraid of.

He believed actual strength came from trusting in the power of God that rules all parts of life. Saibaba told his followers to be brave when they face problems and trust that their faith will help and keep them safe.


What does “Sai Baba” mean?

Mhalsapati was a goldsmith by caste and a resident of Shirdi, India. He was a devout follower of Khandoba, a Hindu deity, and was initially skeptical of Sai Baba, a Muslim holy man who also lived in Shirdi. However, Mhalsapati eventually came to believe that Sai Baba was a saint and became one of his closest devotees.

Mhalsapati first called him with word “Sai”. Which means “Yavani Sant” or “Fakir” in the Marathi-Urdu-Persian language used at that time.

Ultimately, the meaning of the “Sai” is open to interpretation.

In Persian, it means “holy” or “sacred”, in Hindi, it means “father” or “protector”, in contrary in Marathi, it means “goddess” or “divine mother”.

So the meaning of Sai was can be interpreted differently in various languages.

In the context of the name “Sai Baba”, the word “Sai” is thought to be a combination of the Persian word “sai” and the Hindi word “baba”, meaning “holy father”.

The name “Sai Baba” is most commonly associated with Sai Baba of Shirdi. People knew him as a Hindu-Muslim saint who lived in India from 1838 to 1918. Keeping casteism aside, he was revered by both Hindus and Muslims.

Ultimately,  It can be seen as a symbol of holiness, protection, or divinity. It can also be seen as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all religions and cultures.

Who was Sai Baba?

Muslim people view him as Sufi Saint. Its mainly because of his teachings and practices.

Hindu people saw him as a manifestation of God, or a avatar who came for their libreation.

He mostly called as “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba”, because he was from the place named as Shirdi in India. 

Saibaba instilled a sense of togetherness and collective growth. He emphasized meditation and spiritual development for inner peace and enlightenment.

His compassionate nature and selfless service touched countless hearts of people. He believed in unity and encouraged his followers to support each other.

What was nature of Sai Baba?

He was kind and helpful to those who needed his help. His divine grace used to cure diseases of people. So, People believed it happened due to his power of miracles.

His compassionate nature and selfless service touched countless hearts of people. Saibaba always believed in unity and encouraged his followers to support each other.

He instilled a sense of togetherness and collective growth. Saibaba emphasized meditation and spiritual development for inner peace and enlightenment.

What are teachings of Sai Baba?

“Sabka Malik Ek” means “God is one for all” so everyone should stay united and help each other, because unity is strength. Because of such Sattvic thoughts, he brought people of all religions together through him. Be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Parsi or Christian, he was worshipped by all religious people.

Sai Baba described how love of material things hinders the attainment of enlightenment. He also said that the aim of human life is to achieve enlightenment.

Along with teaching enlightenment, he also taught love, compassion, forgiveness, charity, contentment, inner peace, helping others, service and reverence to God and Master.

He also told the importance of a devotion of disciple to the true Sadguru (Guru). He has taught all followers about the importance of “Shraddha” and “Saburi” which means faith and patience.

He strongly opposed discrimination based on caste and religion. According to him, whether a man is a Hindu or a Muslim, he should be treated humanely. Because there is no strength in disunity whereas, the power of unity is revolutionary.

He stayed in the mosque to work on discrimination of the religion. He called the mosque “Dwarakamai Mosque”. He studied religious rituals, traditions, words, and figures of both religions to explain both religions and its similarities.

Sai Baba worked to bring people of all religions together. Therefore, Sai Baba seems so close to people of every religion.

How can I donate to Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi?

Saibaba Trust accept donations through their online portal. One can also donate offline at designated donation counters or authorized information centers of temple primises Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi.


Images Sources

1. Featured image: History of Sai Baba – Indian Spiritual Guru, Credits: SoumyaPrakash09

2. Saibaba painting, Credits: Sunilshegaonkar

3. History of Shirdi Sai Baba (Black and White Photo taken in 1915 CE), Credits: Wikimedia

4. Original Photo of Shri Saibaba which mentioned in Shri Sai Leela Magazine 1923, Credits: V.S. Photographer

5. Shri Sai Baba feeding food to dog, Credits: Wikimedia

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