Sai Baba Ji
 

Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi ke Sai Baba, was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim devotees as a saint. Many Hindu devotees — including Hemadpant, who wrote the famous Shri Sai Satcharitra — consider him an incarnation of Lord Krishna while other devotees consider him as an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Satguru, an enlightened Sufi Pir, or a Qutub. No verifiable information is available regarding Sai Baba's birth and place of birth. 

The name 'Sai Baba' is a combination of Persian and Indian origin; Sāī (Sa'ih) is the Persian term for "holy one" or "saint", usually attributed to Islamic ascetics, whereas Bābā is a word meaning "father" used in Indian languages. The appellative thus refers to SaiBaba as being a "holy father" or "saintly father". His parentage, birth details, and life before the age of sixteen are obscure, which has led to a variety of speculations and theories attempting to explain the SaiBaba's origins. In his life and teachings he tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam: SaiBaba lived in a mosque, was buried in a Hindu temple, practised Hindu and Muslim rituals, and taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions. One of his well known epigrams says of God: "Allah Malik" ("God is Master").

Sai Baba remains a very popular saint, especially in India, and is worshiped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. Sai Baba's teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: He gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque he lived in, practiced Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, "Sabka Malik Ek " ("One God governs all"), is associated with Islam and Sufism. He always uttered "Allah Malik" ("God is King").

 

In 1858 SaiBaba returned to Shirdi with Chand Patil's wedding procession. After alighting near the Khandoba temple he was greeted with the words "Ya Sai" (welcome saint) by the temple priest Mhalsapati. The name Sai stuck to him and some time later he started being known as SaiBaba. It was around this time that Baba adopted his famous style of dress, consisting of a knee-length one-piece robe (kafni) and a cloth cap. Ramgir Bua, a devotee, testified that SaiBaba was dressed like an athlete and sported 'long hair flowing down to his buttocks' when he arrived in Shirdi, and that he never had his head shaved. It was only after SaiBaba forfeited a wrestling match with one Mohdin Tamboli did he take the kafni and cloth cap, articles of typically Sufi clothing.
This attire contributed to SaiBaba's identification as a Muslim fakir, and was a reason for initial indifference and hostility against him in a predominantly Hindu village. According to B.V. Narasimhaswami, a posthumous follower who was widely praised as Sai Baba's "apostle", recorded that this attitude was prevalent even among some of his devotees in Shirdi even up to 1954.
 
For four to five years SaiBaba lived under a neem tree, and often wandered for long periods in the jungle in and around Shirdi. His manner was said to be withdrawn and uncommunicative as he undertook long periods of meditation.
 
He was eventually persuaded to take up residence in an old and dilapidated masjid and lived a solitary life there, surviving by begging for alms and receiving itinerant Hindu or Muslim visitors. In the mosque he maintained a sacred fire which is referred to as a dhuni, from which he had the custom of giving sacred ash ('Udhi') to his guests before they left and which was believed to have healing powers and protection from dangerous situations.