Sai Baba of Shirdi (Unknown – October 15, 1918), also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian guru and yogi, regarded by his followers as an incarnation of God. Some of his Hindu devotees believe that he was an incarnation of Shiva or Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Sadguru. There are many stories and eyewitness accounts of miracles he performed. He is a well-known figure in many parts of the world, but especially in India, where he is much revered.
The name ‘Sai Baba’ is a combination of Persian and Indian origin; S?? (Sa’ih) is the Persian term for “well learned” or “knowledgeable”, usually attributed to Islamic ascetics, whereas Baba (honorific) is a word meaning “father; grandfather; old man; sir” used in Indo-Aryan languages. The appellative thus refers to Sai Baba 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 Sai Baba’s origins. In his life and teachings he tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam: Sai Baba lived in a mosque which he called Dwarakamayi, practised Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions and was buried in a Hindu temple in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams says of God: “Sabka Malik Ek” (“One God governs all”) which traces its root to the Bhagavad-Gita and Islam in general, and Sufism, in particular. He always uttered “Allah Malik” – Lord is the sole protector. He had no love for perishable things, and was always engrossed in self-realization, which was his sole concern.