Samadhi Mandir of Shri Sai Baba was actually owned by a millionaire from Nagpur, a famous Sai devotee Shreemant Gopalrao. Gopalrao wanted to keep an idol of Murlidhar here. However, Baba himself became Murlidhar and the Mandir became the Samadhi Mandir of Baba Important Places in Shirdi – Samadhi Mandir
Important Places in Shirdi – Samadhi Mandir
The statue, which has become such a famous and well-loved image of Baba, was not installed until 1954, thirty-six years after his Mahasamadhi, and there is an intriguing story behind it. Some white marble arrived from Italy at the Bombay docks, but nobody seemed to know anything about it who it was for, or why it had come. In the absence of a claimant, the dockyard auctioned it and the purchaser offered it to the Shirdi Sansthan (temple authorities). Impressed by the quality of the marble, they wanted to use it for an idol of Baba and gave the commission to a sculpture from Bombay, Balaji Vasant Talim. However, the latter had only one black and white photo of Baba as his model, and was struggling to get the likeness. One night Baba came to him in a dream, remarked on his difficulties and then showed him his face from various angles, encouraging Talim to study it thoroughly and remember it well. This gave Talim the filip he needed and after that the work flowed easily and the result exceeded all expectations.
The statue was installed on 7 October 1954, on Vijayadashami day. As the main object of adoration in Shirdi, the idol is accorded all due honours. Out of their love for Baba Devotees wish to provide every comfort and respect they can. Accordingly, Baba is given a hot water bath in morning, offered breakfast, lunch and dinner, has his clothes changed four times a day before each Arati and is adorned with a silver or gold crown for the Arati worship. At night a mosquito net is hung and the tomb is spread with a special white cloth, of plain cotton, of the kind that Baba’s kafni was made. Each morning at four o’clock, Baba is woken up, the mosquito net is removed, and incense is offered ( this ritual in known as bhupali ). A glass of water is kept by his side. Important Places in Shirdi – Samadhi Mandir
After the first Arati of the day, an Abhishek (ritual bathing of the idol with water, milk curd, ghee etc) is performed.
Baba has promised, “I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb,” and it is perhaps in the Mandir that we can most fully experience the phenomenon of Sai Baba and the remarkable way he has touched the hearts and lives of millions of people from all over the globe. Baba’s omniscient presence is felt when one has Baba’s glance, when one sits at Baba’s feet. Important Places in Shirdi – Samadhi Mandir
As you move around Shirdi, you will see that this sentiment informs life, worship and pilgrimage here and contributes to the mystique and magic of what we call Shirdi. Important Places in Shirdi – Samadhi Mandir