The birth and the early life of Shri Saibaba are not much known. From the year 1858, Baba lived in the village of Shirdi in the state of Maharashtra for over sixty years. Baba came to Shirdi in 1858 accompanying a wedding procession as guest of honor. He was greeted my Mahalsapathi "Ya - Sai"(Welcome Sai). Baba accepted that name to be eternally his and spent his early days at Shirdi, under a neem tree and later lived in the masjid which he named as Dwarkamai or Mother Dwarka (Dwarka is the holy city associated with Lord Krishna)....... Chand Patil was once riding through the forest when suddenly he felt an acute urge to smoke. To his great dismay, however, he found that he did not have the wherewithal to ignite a fire to light his chelum with. Seeing Sai Baba seated under a tree, the rider approached him for a match. Baba had no matches, but just by thrusting the tongs nearly, he produced flames. The rider witnessing the miracle, realizes Baba's divine stature and kneels to him in devotion
Here is an instance of a devotee's burning love for the master. Baijabai daily sought out Baba in the forest where he lived in the early days, in order to bring him food, which she lovingly prepared for him. Baba raises his hand in a gesture of blessing...... Service is the badge of God's kingdom. Radha Krishna Mai voluntarily assumed the duty of sweeping the ashram compound daily. This was her way of showing her adoration for the Master...... Saibaba was the common man's God. He lived with them; he slept and ate with them. He had no pretensions of any kind. Baba used to feed the fakirs and devotees and even cook for them. The food that Baba made seemed to grow in abundance and there was always enough for everyone. The touch of a Sat-Purusha unlocks the storehouse of the Goddess Annapoorna's unlimited resources.
Saibaba was very fond of children. He used to spend part of his day in playing, chit-chatting or humoring with the children of the village..... Saibaba used to sit on the steps of the Dwarkamayee at Shirdi, absorbed in the divine bliss of music. Saibaba's appreciation of talent, and the warm encouragement He gave to those who had talent were priceless gifts from the Master....... Saibaba in the company of devotees and fakirs used to dance and sing in divine bliss, with small tinklets tied around his ankles. Songs he song were mostly in Persian or Arabic or sometimes some popular songs of Kabir....... Saibaba had a profound love and compassion for suffering humanity. The master used to personally attend to the needs of the sick as a physician and a nurse....... Saibaba's knowledge of the Shastras, the Geeta, the Quran and other scriptures was phenomenal. Without studying or reading books, Baba possessed a rare proficiency in all the scriptures, and he could quote a verse or a line from these books and scriptures to show where a particular truth lay embedded.
Saibaba distributed the holy 'Udi' - the panacea for all troubles - to his bhaktas. 'Udi' is the ash from the perpetual sacred fire - Dhuni - lit by Baba a hundred years ago. The Udi is the token of his divine grace to all who come to him for help...... Saibaba ploughed up the village common land and raised a flower garden thereon; he watered the plants, carrying pots full of water on his shoulders. In the later years he spent a few hours in this Lendi garden, which he himself had laid out in the early days....... He begged for alms and shared what he got with his devotees and all the creatures around him. He never kept any food in reserve for the next meal. At times Baba would scold a grudging housewife by saying- "Mother, you have so many chapaties, so much rice and this or that vegetable in your pots, why refuse a bit of food to a Fakir?". The gentle prodding and the accuracy of the strange fakir's pronouncements would remove the veil of maya from these women who would then rush to put all with them at his feet, as an offering of Love.
Laxmibai Shinde used to offer Saibaba bread and milk every day with love and devotion. Baba accepted and took the offering she made. She was so special to Saibaba that just before his passing away, Saibaba gave her Rs.5/- and Rs.4/- in all Rs.9/-. The figure 9 is special and is indicative of the nine types of devotion viz., (1) Shravana (Hearing); (2) Kirtana (Praying); (3) Smarana (Remembering); (4) Padasevana (resorting to the feet); (5) Archana (Worship); (6) Namaskara (Bowing); (7) Dasya (Service); (8) Sakhyatva (Friendship); (9) Atmanivedana (surrender of the self) The 15th October 1918 was a sorrowful day for the little village of Shirdi, for in the heavy hours of the noon, the beloved master suddenly breathed his last. Quietly and unobrusively, Baba gave up his body and let his head fall gently on the shoulders of a near disciple. Though Saibaba might have left his mortal coil, he still is alive for his devotees. He is a Living God. Even today, though he has left his gross body, we feel his presence and obtain his grace and protection every day.