New Delhi: The nation is gripped by the festive fervour of Guru Purnima which is celebrated with much gusto every year. A guru can either be a human who has helped you evolve as a better person or even a spiritual being whose path takes you towards enlightenment. This year, it falls on July 27. It is the day to pay respect and show gratitude to all our gurus (teachers/mentors/guides) in life.
The day is celebrated at various temples where devotees offer their prayers to the lord they see as their eternal Guru. In Shirdi, Sai Baba's revered temple, the day calls for huge celebrations. It's a 3-day affair which begins on Guru Purnima and people from across the world visit Shirdi Temple to seek the blessings of the Lord.
There are several mysteries, miracles and legends associated with Baba and how he came to Shirdi. But little do people know about the story behind beautifully carved Sai Baba idol seated at the famous temple.
Miracles, Mysteries behind Shirdi Sai Baba idol:
Baba is seen as a guru, spiritual saint, fakir or even satguru by devotees. People seek his blessings and believe that hurdles vanish if you pray to the lord with utmost devotion and faith. Shirdi Sai took samadhi on October 15, 1918. After 36 years from the day he took to the heavenly abode, Baba's murti or idol was placed near his samadhi. Much before the murti sthapana took place, a picture of Sai Baba was placed in the temple and devotees would come take his blessings.
It's said that because of the huge number of people coming to get a glimpse of the lord, Shirdi Sai Sansthan decided to place an idol of Baba instead of a picture. The authorities of the sansthan wanted a life-like murti of the lord to be made.
Therefore, three best sculptors were called for the task. They wanted the three selected men to first create a clay-idol of the lord; after which whoever makes the best one would be given the task to create a rock idol of the lord. However, there was only one black and white picture of Sai Baba for reference and to form the idol from it was next to impossible.
The first clay model of Baba's idol was beautifully made and several bhakts who had seen and met the Lord in person were called to see it. Baba's devotees included Rani Laxmibai. Balaji Vasantrao Talim created the idol and interestingly, the first clay modal of Baba's idol is still preserved and displayed at the Mumbai art studio of Talim family. It is said that Satguru Sai Ram came in his dream before he could start making the idol.
After the clay idol was created, the next task was to find the finest of fine stone. A devotee from a Port Trust official came to know that a marble stone has been discharged for last one and a half years at a port in Mumbai and none has come for one and a half years to claim it. It was the marble of the best quality that came from Italy. But for whom did the Italian Marble come and why did it come from Italy? Nobody knows. When Balaji Talim came to the port to see the stone he was surprised to see that the stone was of exactly the same size as they wanted for Baba's idol.
(This is the picture of Balaji Vasantrao Talim)
About 4 months later, the work of the idol was almost done. Balaji Taleem, his son and other workers were constantly working to make the idol perfect just when one worker suddenly appeared and saw a big crack near Baba's feet, fearing an air pocket. The problem was that the removal of air pocket could damage the leg by going straight ahead of the crack, in such a way that the idol could also be broken. This created tension amongst the workers.
Then they prayed to Baba together and, as it was, Baba himself conveyed that 'go ahead and do nothing'. After this, when Balaji Taleem took his hammer to take out the air pocket, the extra stone was destroyed in a miraculous manner without causing any damage to Baba's idol. After this yet another miracle while creation of Baba's idol, it was finally ready in its full glory. It was established on October 7, 1954, with Pran Pratishtha at Shirdi's Samadhi Temple on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.
Today 64 years after the idol establishment, Baba's idol is exactly like the same—glowing beautifully. Every day Baba's temple is visited by thousands of devotees. The idol of Baba bathed with hot water every morning and his clothes are changed four times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered in the form of naivaidya. After the first aarti in the morning, an Abhishekham is done with water, milk, curd and ghee. Not only this, the idol is also covered with mosquito nets at the time of Baba's sleep during the night. It is removed at 4 o'clock in the morning and a glass of water is also kept for the lord.
Several devotees throng the Shirdi Sai Baba temple to seek blessings of the lord and feel the divinity come alive.
Om Sai Ram!