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Shirdi-- experience yourself
Jun 15, 2005 03:18 PM 3730 Views
(Updated Dec 19, 2005 12:55 PM)


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Shirdi is a small dusty town in the state of Maharastra which is accessible by road. It has a very small bus stand which is testimony to all the growth of Shiridi in to a very big one with so many hotels and small shops that you can not imagine.

It is a place for Sai (A saint who died long back) devotees who believe that he is an avatar of Lord Shiva. But Sai Baba (now alive) of puttaparti (near Bangalore) claimed that he was Saint Sai Baba of Shiridi in his past birth. The truth only the Babas know, you and I have no way to know. I am not a Sai Baba devotee, so I am not writing this review as a devotee. I am not an atheist but I am an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.

My wife is a devotee of Sai Baba of Shiridi and I always used to address him as ''your God'' and used to explain my philosophy. When we have 30 million Gods including their children, wives and servants and demi gods etc., how do you worship a human being that too not a living one as God (here understand that I used to question my wife like that knowing very well that she would one day read this review!!) .Any way I would not tell her about this review and she is the last person on the earth to read my reviews (you know any other review by any one else would be certainly ''better”) .

I had no choice but to take my wife to Shiridi which is nearly 600 km away from Hyderabad but before my acceptance what happened was important.

I took her one day to Saibaba temple in panjagutta(Hyderabad) and as usual I was waiting outside. She wanted a garland which I purchased for Rs.5/= ( 13 years ago a very big garland you could buy) and told her very clearly ''you have wasted my 5 Rs'' . She went inside the temple. After some time I lost my patience and stuck that bloody cigarette under my boots and walked inside the temple compound. On the staircase to the temple ,no body was there and I had to look down because RS 5/= brand new currency note was just there for me to take. What to do.? I took it. At another time again I took her to a nearest temple near a steel mill. I did not go inside but I had to bring her back home, and while coming back I took a short cut through a very small 'gully'' running along the walls of steel mill. It was very narrow so much that only my chetak scooter could go. On the opposite side a bison, fully charged starting running toward us. This means we will fall down if that big animal pushes through the lane. I almost stopped and said to my wife ''If your God is really there, the Bison would stop'' . To my utter surprise the bison suddenly stopped and because it was in a motion its tail still lifted up in a curve and it was looking at me straight a few yards in front of me. There exactly where the bison stopped the lane was a little wider . Then I went towards it and that big animal stood still as if it was allowing me to go and I passed through a very narrow gap somehow.

Nearly one year after when my wife said we should visit Shiridi I reluctantly agreed.

From Hyderabad we took ''Ajanta'' express to a destination called ''Manmad'' railway station and from there by bus to Shiridi. When we were climbing down the steps of the bus the agents of the hotels started pestering us. One person started leading us to a narrow lane behind the temple to a place which we did not know. I told him good by , I believe I even shouted at him and we came back to the main road. A little away from temple there was a newly constructed hotel where we went and as I was signing the register the agent appeared there and was speaking to the manager probably for commission.

The room was big with plenty of water and when I looked out of the window it was all open fields and parched lands with babul trees here and there. That was 13 years ago.

When I went inside it was a small queue and I could clearly see the ''Samadhi'' of the Baba and at the head of the ''Samadhi'' , there was the Baba's idol exactly a life size one in sitting position. I was not emotionally involved like his devotees and my wife, so I was simply watching everything in that cool building. When I stopped to watch the small idols of Lord Rama ,Sita and Hanuman and other articles like a pipe for ganja smoking by Baba etc in a glass cup board fixed to the wall, I found to my surprise that whole queue stopped behind me and not a single one made any comment to move. In front of all were gone. I moved ahead and when I reached Samadhi I ducked inside that iron chain separating queue and Samadhi. I went in to that islanded area and I sat right in front of Samadhi. And I closed my eyes , suddenly I was going in to deep meditation without any effort. Normally to reach that level even for a yogi is difficult ( I later learnt this bitter truth). All this was if I remember it correctly in 1992.

Three years ago my wife suggested that we should visit Shiridi I had immediately accepted. This was our second visit. In the year 2002 when we went there so many hotels , a bee line of them we could see, even much before we entered the shiridi town itself. I could hardly recognize the whole area. But the only one that did not change is the govt. bus stand. It was just the same as it was 13 years ago.

I could hardly recognize the temple surroundings and when I entered it was just before ''aarti'' time and there was heavy rush. It was a bigger building with an auditorium like high staged hall and so much commotion. I could reach near the Baba's idol but hardly noticed or even not noticed the ''Samadhi'' itself. I thought even the idol itself was bigger ( I may be wrong here, and I am not sure). My wife and I rushed in and rushed out. In the courtyard it was all stone floors and since I was not wearing shoes my feet were burning and I was jumping around like an ant in the summer. My wife just walking around that tree in the courtyard and no problem for her. She was sympathizing with me anyway.

In the hotel I explained at the reception that we would go back to Hyderabad in the evening itself so he should not take full charges. He agreed and gave us a very good ,clean room for Rs.300/= I think. This time I could get a good meal with rice to my great surprise. We came back by the same bus all the while my younger daughter playing with her ''game boy'' bothered herself the least with all the Gods and Babas.

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