16 Oct 2014

Shirdi Sai Baba - a Dear Friend of Sri Swami Vishwananda

Celebrations of Shirdi Sai Baba Mahasamadhi, 2014
Every year, on 15th October, we celebrate the Mahasamadhi of Shirdi Sai Baba. Yesterday, we all rejoiced with the surprise special announcement that Sri Swami Vishwananda would grace us with his physical presence during evening prayers, at Shree Peetha Nilaya. During this last week, Swamiji had a very busy schedule, which included giving Darshan to several thousands of people in Portugal and Spain, so we didn't expect to see him physically around Shree Peetha Nilaya. However, He came and personally performed the evening puja and the Abishekam on the Shirdi Sai Baba murti.
Sri Swami Vishwananda performs Abishekam on the Shirdi Sai Baba murti
Then, he sang a few Shirdi Sai Baba bhajans with so much devotion and in such a sweet way, that one could melt a heart of stone.
Sri Swami Vishwananda singing Shirdi Sai Baba bhajans
At the end of prayers, everybody had the opportunity to venerate the relics of Shirdi Sai Baba.

Sri Swami Vishwananda does the Arati on the relics of Shirdi Sai Baba
Once during a Satsang someone asked Sri Swami Vishwananda, ‘What kind of connection do you have with Shirdi Sai Baba?’ His answer was: “Shirdi Sai is a very dear friend. You see, like Shirdi Sai there are many great souls. He was a very close friend of God. And whoever is a close friend of God, is also my close friend. Furthermore, Shirdi Sai was the first Realised Soul that came to me, of course, Mahavatar Babaji was also there. The first encounter I had with Shirdi Sai was when I was eight-years-old, so I have a deep connection to him.”
Celebrations of Shirdi Sai Baba Mahasamadhi, 2009
During the Celebrations of Shirdi Sai Baba Mahasamadhi in 2009, Sri Swami Vishwananda told us about his first encounter with Shirdi Sai: “Actually, it’s funny. I will tell you now how I encountered him...I remember one time before the New Year. I was then in the fourth class, in the primary school and there was this one girl who had a shop. For the New Year she always gave calendars. So, this time she brought to the school a bunch of calendars and was distributing them. She had Durga, Venkateshwara, Maha Vishnu, Shiva, all this. There was also one with Shirdi Sai. First she gave me the Maha Vishnu calendar. I was not feeling happy, because I knew that if I would go home my auntie would take this calendar from me, so I was really not feeling at ease at all. I knew that she would take it from me, so I was feeling bad at the same time. Then, it was around lunchtime, the girl who gave the calendars came to me and said, ‘You are not so happy with this picture, are you?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am not so happy about it. Can I have something else?’ By that time she had already distributed everything and there was only one left, which was the one of Shirdi. She asked, ‘Do you want this one?’ Then, I still remember how I could see my grandmother’s face saying, ‘Oh, my God, a Muslim God. What you want to do with this?’ I remember how I was thinking of that and I said, ‘Yes! I want this one!’ So, I returned the Vishnu and took the calendar of Shirdi Sai... This was our first encounter. But the funny thing was, when this picture came things started to change in the house. My auntie, my father’s little sister, started to go to one of the main temples of Shirdi Sai every Thursday...Then my family really opened up and there were pictures of Shirdi everywhere (JL3, p. 246-248).

According to Ravi, a cousin of Sri Swami Vishwananda, Shirdi Sai Baba appeared to both of them, later on, in Vacoas, Mauritius. The whole experience was already posted in this blog.