Friday, April 22, 2016

Shirdi Sai Baba too had imitators!

Given below is an extract from the book, The life and teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi by Antonio Rigopoulos. The extract is from the chapter titled, HIS LAST THREE YEARS, page 233 and can be viewed in Google Books here, https://books.google.co.in/books?id=8cMAumAoZe0C&pg=PA233:

Ramalingaswami offers some important information about Baba's last years:

When the Almighty Shri Sai Baba was in flesh and blood, there were other Sai Babas. One Sai Baba was in Kopargaon, called as Kopargaon Sai Baba. One Sai Baba was in Bandra called as Bandra Sai Baba. One Sai Baba was in Nagpur called Nagpur Sai Baba. They were all telling their devotees that they were Shri Sai Baba, thereby making their own ends meet. Even knowing all their acts and affairs, Baba tolerated and allowed them to go on in their own way as he pretty well knew the ins and outs of their actions. Gradually, all [Ravi: these other] Sai Babas vanished without leaving trace. [Ravi: end of Ramalingaswami's account]

What strikes a chord is the fact that these other Sai Babas appeared while Sai Baba of Shirdi was still living. There was even a Sai Baba at Nagpur, the "second capital of Maharashtra", proving the renown of the Shirdi faqir. Perhaps, since Sai never spoke of a successor to his gaadi or of any Guru paramparaa, these figures hoped to take his place at the time of his death.

--- end extract from The life and teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi by Antonio Rigopoulos ---

Ravi: Fascinating to know that even Shirdi Sai Baba had imitators like Kopargaon Sai Baba, Nagpur Sai Baba and Bandra Sai Baba! Kopargaon, Nagpur and Bandra are all places in the state of Maharashtra which is the state that Shirdi lies in. Bandra is a suburb of Mumbai. Hemadpant, author of Shirdi Sai Satchritra who was with Sai Baba in Shirdi for some time, lived in Bandra, see http://www.saiamrithadhara.com/Chandrabai%20Borkar%20House%20Temple.html. [BTW I have lived in Bandra (East) suburb of Mumbai in my boyhood.]

I think it perhaps is inescapable that as a powerful mystic gets famous, some others try to imitate him and succeed in getting devotees! However, the test of time is a ruthless test. Today, it is Shirdi Sai Baba who is very well known in many parts of India, and abroad too, to some extent. In stark contrast, Kopargaon Sai Baba, Nagpur Sai Baba and Bandra Sai Baba have got lost & almost forgotten in the mists of time. Note that they are remembered in the above extract for them being transient imitators of the original Shirdi Sai Baba, and not for anything else about them.

The same applies to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He had imitators while he was alive, and the imitators and communicators and mediums continue after he gave up his body (Mahasamadhi). But I have no doubt that like in the case of Shirdi Sai Baba, the ruthless force of time will sweep away all the imitators and communicators and mediums, leaving behind only the name & form of the REAL Sri Sathya Sai Baba which will be revered and worshipped for ages to come.

[I thank the author, Antonio Rigopoulos, and publisher of the book, The life and teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract from their book on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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