Shirdi Sai devotees always chant the name of “Sai”. It has become a mantra for them. In this post let’s see what does “Sai” mean as explained and described by Shri. Ramkrishna Paramhans.
The meaning of ‘Sai’ can be understood well by reading ‘Shri Ramkrishna Vachanamrut’. One would be surprised to know that the meaning of the word revolves around the life of Sai Baba. It is more surprising that when Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans explained it, he was living in Bengal. Before we proceed to analyse the meaning of the word ‘Sai’, first some similarities between the lifestyle of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans and Shirdi Sai Baba has to studied as the meaning has some relation of it.
Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans and Shirdi Sai Baba lived in almost similar era. Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans birth was in the year 1837 and Sai Baba’s birth was in the year 1838 (approximately). Both the saints had similar philosophies and teachings. Both preached that all the religions are one. People of all religion go to the same God, only Their names and forms were different. People of all religions should live with brotherhood remembering the fact. Ram of Hindus, Allah of Muslims and Jesus of Christians are one and same. People call them by such names according to their castes and creed, but in the end they are calling only one God.
Both the saints ask the same question to their devotees to think and act, that though there exists similarity of Gods, then why people quarrel with each other? Why do they behave live fools? They only emphasized that people should live in unison. Though the paths are different, everybody has to go the same destination. It is said that saints know each other and are one with each other.
Once Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans was seated in a room of Dakshineshwar temple. The author of famous work ‘Shri Ramkrishna Vachnamrut’, Shri Master Maharaj was also present. At that time, Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans explained the meaning of ‘Sai’ in His pravachan (discourse), “In the context of self-realisation, the one who has acquired the world i.e. a Siddha Purush is said to be Koul, according to Vedant, he is Paramhans, so according to Boul Vaishnav (a sub custom of Bengal) he is called Sai. Boul Vaishnav of Bengal and Varkari of Maharastra are similar. So Sai is the last milestone. When Boul’s became Siddha, they are called ‘Sai’. There is total indifference in this situation. The people wear a necklace of which is half made up of cow’s bones and the other half is made up of tulsi (Tulsi is herb considered as auspicious as per Hindu tradition). This Siddha person follow and respect both Hindu and Muslim religion. He is ‘Neer’ for Hindus and a ‘Peer’ for Muslims.
The following in an excerpt from The Gospel of Shri RamKrishna
According to the Sakti cultthe siddha is acalled a koul, and according to the Vedanta, a paramhansa. The Bauls call him a Sai. They say,”No one is greater than Sai. The Sai is a Man of Supreme Perfection” He doesnt see any differentiation in the world. He wears a necklac. one half made of cow bones and the other of the sacred Tulsi-plant. He calls the Ultimate Truth “Aalekh – The Incomprehensible One”. The Vedas call It “Brahman”. About the jivas Bouls say, “They come from Aalekh and they go unto Aalekh”. That is to say, the individual soul has come from the Unmanifest and goes back to the Unmanifest.
In this way, Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans has explained the meaning of word ‘Sai’. We can see the character of Sai Baba same as the meaning. Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans used to sing a bhajan “Ek Aise Bhavka Fakir Aayaa Hai, Jo Hinduo Ka Devataa Aur Musalamano Ka Peer Hai”.
One more surprising fact is that in the year 1886, Sai Baba took Samadhi for three days and in the same year, Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans had also taken Samadhi. Saints only know their deeds and actions, though they seems to differ in some way or the other, there is no doubt that they both were one and they proceed in unison.
Thus it is clear from this that when Sai Baba first came to Shirdi, Goddess Saraswati only spoke in the voice of Mhalsapati ‘Ya Sai – Come Sai’
Source : Transalated from Gujarati Magazine ‘Dwarkamai‘