Shirdi Sai Baba vs Sathya Sai Baba | Sai Baba – A Reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba
India is a land of miracles and saints who have spread the light of love and peace through their selfless service to the poor and needy. Four major religions of the world, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism find their roots in this holy land. Apart from saints belonging to various religions, there have been saints who could not be classified into any religion as they preached only love and humanity. Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba are two such men of God. It is hard to compare or differentiate between these two great men or avatars as they are referred to by their devotees. There are many similarities between these two saints despite many ostensible differences. This article will try to make a humble attempt to compare these two great personalities who are revered all over India and have followers and devotees in all parts of the world.
Shirdi Sai Baba
If there is one man who is revered by all communities in India, it is Shirdi Sai Baba. In every city and village of the country, you would find a temple devoted to this man, who lived all his life in Shirdi district of Maharashtra. To many, he is a deity who is still performing miracles in their lives. It is widely believed that those who once visit Shirdi are relieved of all their sins and are blessed for ever.
Very little is known about the origins of Sai Baba. Different communities claim Baba to be their own but Baba never revealed his true identity to anyone. Some say that he was a Muslim fakir while Hindus claim Baba to be a reincarnation of Lord Dattatreya. But all agree that he was a man of love for all. He lived the life of an ascetic. The word Sai is of Sanskrit origin, meaning divine, and Baba means fatherly figure. Baba had no religion to preach and his teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim sacred texts. He used to utter Sabka malik Ek, which literally means one God governs all. He preached love, compassion, forgiveness, charity, inner peace, contentment, and belief in God. It is believed that before dying in 1918, he said that he would take incarnation eight years after death.
Sathya Sai Baba
Born as Sathyanaraina Raju on 23rd November 1926 in Puttaparthy village in Andhra Pradesh, Sathya Sai Baba is revered by millions of devotees all over the world. Till the age of 14, Raju was an ordinary bright child. It is said that he was stung by a scorpion following which he remained unconscious and upon gaining consciousness, he started to recite shlokas in Sanskrit and proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. He declared that he had no worldly connections and soon had a large gathering of followers. At a young age in 1963, Sathya Sai suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks but he miraculously cured himself. He then declared that there will be another incarnation of Sai eight years after his death.
Sathya Sai Baba never preached any religion and did not ask his followers to give up on their religion. This attracted millions all over the world to his sayings. Sathya Sai boldly proclaimed to be an avatar who is beyond any scientific enquiry and measurement. He said that he could be reached only through love and external eyes could not reveal his true identity.
Sathya Sai had ashrams in over 66 countries of the world where more than 2100 centers under his trust are operating. He has a huge following that includes many prominent political figures from India and abroad. Sathya Sai left for his heavenly abode on 24th of April 2011.
Whenever people raised doubts about him being a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, Sathya Sai silenced them by proving through subtle means that he indeed is Sai Baba in another body and at another time period. Though there are apparent dissimilarities in appearance and attire, there is same selfless love and compassion for others which helped both of these saints to have a large number of followers and devotees.