Lakhs of devotees are flocking from India and many other countries to Shirdi for darshan of Sai Baba. As many devotees should get the benefit of darshan of Sai Baba, now Kakad Arti starts from 4:30 AM and Shej Arti from 10:00 PM from Shukla Paksh of Chaitra month as per Hindu calendar.
The teachings, importance and leelas of Sai Baba is increasing day by day in all the four directions and devotees are getting unexplainable experiences of Baba. Due to this there is a continuous increase in the number of Sai devotees who are coming to Shirdi for darshan of Samadhi of Sai Baba. Keeping this aim in mind that every devotee visiting Shirdi must get the darshan of Samadhi, it was decided to change the arti timings in the board meeting of the Sansthan by Mr. Jayant Shashane (Chairman), Mr. Shankarrao Kolhe (Vice-Chairman) and other members. So Kakad Arti that started from 5:15 AM, now starts at 4:30 AM and Shej Arti that previously started from 10:00 AM now starts at 10:30 PM. Before this decision was taken, the temple used to be open from 4:45 AM and was closed at 10:45 PM. The temple was open for darshan from 6:25 AM and was closed at 11:15 PM. At first this time was convenient as the temple had to be cleaned up and preparations had to be done before every arti. But due to the crowd of increasing number of devotees many devotees remain devoid of the darshan of Baba’s Samadhi. To this many devotees showed their disappointment. Due to the changes in the timings of these two artis, following is the daily program of the artis conducted in Shirdi.
4:00 am Temple open
4:15 am Bhupali
4:30 am Kakad Aarti (morning)
5:00 am Bhajan in Saibaba Mandir
5.05 am Holy Bath of Shri Sai Baba (Mangal Snaan) in Samadhi Mandir
5:35 am Aarti “Shirdi Majhe Pandharpur”
5:40 am Darshan begins in Samadhi Mandir
9:00 am Abhishek Pooja
8:00 – 10:30am Satyanarayana Pooja
11:30 am Dhuni Pooja with rice and ghee in Dwarkamai
12:00 pm Mid day Aarti
4:00 pm Pothi (Devotional reading/Study) in Samadhi Mandir
At Sunset Dhoop Aarti
8:30 – 10:00 PM Devotional Songs in Samadhi Mandir and other Cultural Programmes (if any)
9:00 pm Chavadi and Gurusthan closes
9:30 pm In Dwarkamai water is given to Baba, a mosquito net is hung and the hanging lamp is lit 9:45 pm Dwarkamai (the upper part) closes
10:30 pm Shej (night) Aarti, after this , a shawl is wrapped around the statue in the Samadhi Mandir, a Rudraksha mala is put around baba’s neck, Mosquito net is hung, and a glass of water kept there
11:15 pm Samadhi Mandir closes after night Arati
Over and above this, to benefit more and more devotees with regard to the abhishek pooja, it has been decided that Abhishek Pooja should be performed in three batches and it has been started from April 6th, 2008, Shukla Paksh of Chaitra month as per Hindu calendar.
At first Abhishek pooja was performed in the upper sabha mandap of Satyanarayan hall for one hour from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Sai Baba’s panchdhatu idol is kept and pooja is performed. About 150 devotees can participate in the Abhishek. A small amount of Rs. 25 was taken for participating in the pooja. As Abhishek pooja is only for 1 hour, many of the devotees cannot attend pooja even if they wish so. But now first batch starts from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM, second batch from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM and the third batch starts from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM, in this way arrangements are made for Abhishek pooja are made. Now an amount of Rs. 101 has to be given and whosoever attends it get a packet of laddoo and a coconut.
At first this arrangement has been done on trial basis, but if good response is received from the devotees it has been decided that another two batches will be started.
It must be noted here that there is no change in timings of other temples except Samadhi Mandir and also there is no change in the timings of Palki Processsion of Thursdays. During local festivals and festivals specially celebrated by Sansthan , Shej Arti is started after the procession of Chariot and Palki. Source : Sai Leela Magazine Ramnavami Special Issue May June 2008