When is World Environment Day?
June 5 is recognized globally as World Environment Day, a significant occasion dedicated to raising awareness about the crucial role trees play in our surroundings and promoting the act of planting them.
What Is World Environment Day?
World Environment Day serves as a powerful reminder for individuals worldwide to comprehend the profound significance of having trees in our lives. It highlights the pivotal role that trees play in maintaining the health and balance of our planet’s ecosystems. This observance encourages people from all walks of life to recognize the numerous benefits that trees offer, such as providing oxygen, purifying the air we breathe, mitigating climate change, preventing soil erosion, and offering habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species.
How Is World Environment Day Celebrated?
The day’s purpose extends beyond mere awareness-raising, as it aims to inspire and empower individuals to actively participate in tree planting initiatives. By encouraging people to take action, World Environment Day fosters a sense of responsibility towards the environment and promotes sustainable practices. Planting trees is a concrete and tangible way to make a positive impact on the environment and contribute to the well-being of future generations.
Why Is World Environment Day Celebrated?
This global observance serves as a platform for governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to come together and collaborate in tree planting activities. It serves as a reminder that every individual, regardless of their background, can make a difference in conserving our environment. By involving schools, businesses, and local communities, World Environment Day aims to create a collective movement towards preserving and restoring our planet’s precious ecosystems.
World Environment Day on June 5th signifies a call to action, urging everyone to appreciate the vital role of trees and actively engage in planting them. By understanding the importance of trees and participating in tree planting initiatives, we can contribute towards building a greener, healthier, and more sustainable world for ourselves and future generations.
Introduction to Lendi Baug
Many of us are familiar with the information provided in the introduction regarding World Environment Day. This serves as a hint for the subject of this post. In Chapter 7 of Shri Sai Satcharitra, we learn about how our Sai Baba nurtured and tended to a small garden, which stands today as a beautiful part of the Samadhi Mandir premises. When visiting Shirdi and seeking darshan at the Samadhi Mandir, it is a sight not to be missed—a spectacular garden that was lovingly cared for by Sai Baba Himself. During one of our trips to Shirdi, we even brought back soil from the garden and placed it in our home shrine.
On this special day, let us take a moment to remember and delve into the fascinating details of the garden known as Lendi Baug. We will embark on a virtual tour that promises to unveil lesser-known facts about this enchanting place. Join us as we explore the significance and history of Lendi Baug, immersing ourselves in its serene beauty and discovering the profound connection it holds with Sai Baba’s teachings and life.
Lendi Baug: Location in Shirdi
Nestled in the serene North East Corner of Shirdi lies Lendi Baug, a place often referred to as the earthly manifestation of Vaikuntha, a celestial paradise. It was during the initial days of Sai Baba’s stay in Shirdi that He would embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to Lendi Baug, graciously sharing His presence in the tranquility of its surroundings and today it is one of the place to visit in Shirdi.
Unearthing The History Of Lendi Baug
In the vicinity of Shirdi, there once flowed a humble stream named Lendi, lending its name to the nearby land known as “Lendi Bagh” by Baba. Baba adhered to a strict routine, faithfully making His way to Lendi Bagh in the mornings and afternoons. Accompanied by devoted Bhaktas like Butti, Bhagoji, and Nimonkar, Baba would enter the garden alone, spending precious moments there.
The ownership of Lendi Baug was eventually bestowed upon Moreshwar Pradhan, who had a significant connection with Baba. Prior to its purchase, Baba had taken Pradhan and the two sons of Chandorkar to Lendi Bagh. There, Baba dug small holes in the earth, handing Pradhan some corn to plant in those holes. He then instructed Pradhan to water them. This incident held immense significance for Pradhan, as it planted the seeds of thought in his mind to acquire this land for Baba’s use. Following this divine guidance, Pradhan purchased the garden and presented it as an offering to Baba.
From that point onward, a tradition emerged where devotees would joyously escort Baba in processions to and from Lendi Bagh. To this day, visitors to Shirdi can witness a board above the gate that proudly proclaims, “Moreshwar Pradhan Che Lendi Bagh” (Lendi Garden of Moreshwar Pradhan).
Spanning approximately an acre in length and breadth, Lendi Baug was graced by the presence of the Lendi River, a small yet renowned waterway. With a fascinating course, the Lendi flowed underground before resurfacing within the confines of Lendi Baug, dividing the garden into two distinct parts. Within the garden, the river meandered gently, resembling a tranquil stream. However, its water flow remained limited for the majority of the year. As a daily ritual, Baba would visit Lendi Baug and ceremoniously toss silver coins into the river, bestowing His blessings upon the sacred waters.
Flowers And Trees Of Lendi Baug
Lendi Baug is a treasure trove sanctified by the touch of Sai Baba’s feet. This serene garden flourishes with an abundance of trees and blooming plants, including Parijata, Champa, Chameli, Jui, and Jai. In the past, a captivating entrance adorned with flowering bougainvillea greeted visitors until the 1980s. Adjacent to the entrance, a delightful rose garden served as a haven for deer and rabbits, adding an extra touch of beauty and life to this enchanting place.
Lendi Baug is adorned with sacred trees that hold great spiritual significance. Baba himself planted and nurtured trees such as Aamra (Mango), Ambore (Tarvad), Arista (Neem), Ashwatha (Peepul), and Audumbar (Umbar). These trees, revered in Hindu mythology, are considered holy as they are believed to be inhabited by deities. Within the tranquil embrace of Lendi Baug, these sacred trees flourish, embodying the divine presence and contributing to the serene ambiance of this cherished haven.
The Tarvad plant holds a unique distinction in Lendi Baug as an all-season wonder, thriving in any condition or climate. Not bound by seasonal limitations, this remarkable plant continues to grow and flourish throughout the year. Its flowers, known for their medicinal properties, are believed to boost the immune system and possess effective qualities in controlling diabetes. Witness the extraordinary qualities of the Tarvad plant, a natural marvel contributing to the health and well-being found within the sanctuary of Lendi Baug.
Sai Baba’s Test of Devotion
In a unique display, Baba tested his devotees’ attachment to wealth. Walking to Lendi Bagh, he unveiled dazzling plates of gold in the stream. Purandare remained unfazed, uninterested in material allure. Similarly, Jyotindra Tarkhad’s sole focus was spiritual growth, as Baba presented him with lumps of gold, disregarded by his unwavering devotion. Read the full episode of Sai’s Golden Test. Experience the profound lessons of detachment and spiritual enlightenment in Baba’s tests.
Sai Baba’s Disciplined Routine & The Sacred Rituals at Lendi Baug
Despite being constantly surrounded by devoted followers, Sai Baba adhered to a strict schedule that reflected His profound sense of discipline. Like clockwork, Baba would embark on His daily pilgrimage to Lendi Baug, ensuring regular visits to this sacred haven. Each morning, around 8 a.m., Baba would make His way to Lendi Baug, immersing Himself in its serene ambiance. Then, in the afternoon, around 3 p.m., He would return to this cherished retreat once again.
At approximately 8:00 a.m., after a small darbar, Baba set forth with His beloved devotees by His side. Nana Saheb Nimonkar, a constant presence on his right, Gopal Rao Butti, faithfully at his left, and Bhagoji Shinde, holding the intricately embroidered umbrella, stood steadfastly behind him. The Chopadars, dressed in vibrant uniforms, joined the entourage, their voices resounding in joyous chants. Together, they emerged from the sanctified walls of Dwarakamai, and as they took a few steps forward, Baba paused, leaning against the embrace of his cherished abode, Dwarkamai, briefly.
Baba’s unwavering commitment to these daily visits to Lendi Baug not only showcased His devotion to nature and tranquility but also provided His devotees with an opportunity to witness and experience the divine energy that radiated from this sacred space.
Continuing their sacred march, they proceeded towards the corner in front of the Gurusthan, where Baba stood, facing the hallowed site, His gestures conveying profound significance. The devoted bhaktas residing in Sathe Wada eagerly awaited this sacred procession, their hearts brimming with reverence as they humbly prostrated before Baba.
Making a left turn, the entourage journeyed onward, pausing briefly at Pilaji Gurav’s house. Here, Baba found solace against its sturdy walls, leaving behind a sacred imprint that inspired the installation of Padukas, further sanctifying the ground. The procession continued, passing by the Vittal Mandir, a testament to divine presence, located opposite the Seva Dham Building. As they ventured forth, they reached Kanif Nath’s Mandir, a blessed site occasionally graced by Baba’s presence, situated across from the Post Office.
Every day, a musical band eagerly awaited Baba’s arrival at Lendi Baug. However, Baba preferred to enter the garden by Himself, bidding farewell to the band and devotees who would return. He would enter Lendi Baug from the west side, and once inside, He would find a comfortable spot facing the west, with His back turned towards the Nanda Deep, a lamp that symbolized earthly attachments. In this tranquil setting, Baba would spend time in solitude, immersed in His own thoughts and inner peace. The music of the band and the presence of devotees remained behind, allowing Baba to connect with the serenity of Lendi Baug on a personal level.
During Baba’s visits to Lendi Baug, Abdul Baba would bring pitchers of water. Baba would then perform a unique ritual by throwing the water in all directions while uttering incantations and chants. As the water cascaded through the air, Baba’s words carried a deeper meaning, resonating with divine vibrations. The exact words He spoke during this ritual remain a sacred mystery, adding to the mystique and reverence surrounding His presence in Lendi Baug.
Just like a caring gardener, Saibaba would visit Lendi Bagh to tend to the plants. But these plants were not ordinary; they symbolized His beloved devotees. With utmost love and care, Saibaba would nurture these plants, ensuring their growth and well-being.
Saibaba’s role as a gardener went beyond nurturing the plants. He would also pull out the weeds that grew alongside. These weeds represented the negative and harmful tendencies within us, which distract and pull us in different directions. By removing these weeds, Saibaba taught His devotees to overcome evil influences and stay focused on the path of righteousness.
In the enchanting era of the 1920s, Lendi Baug flourished with an abundance of fragrant flowering plants. Amidst this floral symphony, a variety of vibrant wildlife thrived in harmony. Peacocks proudly displayed their magnificent feathers, while graceful deer roamed freely. Playful rabbits hopped around, accompanied by agile mongooses. The melodious songs of birds added a touch of enchantment to the scene, completing the serene ambiance of Lendi Baug. This captivating haven remained untouched, preserving its natural beauty and diverse wildlife until the 1980s.
Upon completing His sacred sojourn through the tranquil garden, Baba retraced His steps, retracing the same route, returning to the embrace of Dwarkamai.
Embark on a captivating journey through Baba’s Route from Dwarkamai to Lendi Baug. Join Vinny Chitluri on an immersive tour of Shirdi and witness the sacred path Baba traversed. Watch the video now and delve into the divine heritage of Shirdi.
Transforming Lendi Baug
In recent years, the Lendi Garden has undergone a remarkable transformation as part of the beautification plan by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan. While changes have occurred, a serene and captivating atmosphere still awaits devotees who visit this sacred place.
Today, as devotees enter the Lendi Garden, they are greeted by a beautifully landscaped portion, adorned with carefully curated elements of nature. One of the notable additions is a mesmerizing waterfall that cascades gracefully at the garden’s entrance, offering a soothing and tranquil ambiance.
Discover the enchanting beauty of Lendi Baug through a mesmerizing video. Immerse yourself in the serene surroundings and spiritual ambiance of this sacred garden. Join us on this virtual journey and experience the tranquility of Lendi Baug firsthand. Watch the video now and let the essence of devotion touch your soul.
The Story of the Neem Tree
Standing proudly to the left of the Nanda Deep, two Neem trees held a special place in Lendi Baug. Planted by Baba Himself, these trees carried a profound significance. However, fate dealt a sorrowful blow, leading to the demise of both trees.
In response, one of the Neem trees was cut from its base, leaving behind memories of its once-grand presence. Yet, the legacy of Baba’s touch and nurturing spirit lives on. Over the stump of the other Neem tree, a vibrant creeper now thrives, symbolizing the resilience and growth that springs from Baba’s divine guidance.
The Neem tree, scientifically known as Azadirachta indica, holds a significant place in both botanical and mythological realms. Referred to as “Nimba” in Sanskrit, which means “bestower of health,” this tree carries deep symbolism and reverence.
According to Hindu mythology, the Neem tree has captivating legends associated with it. It is believed that drops of Amrit (the divine nectar of immortality) fell on the Neem tree, infusing it with divine qualities. Another mythological tale narrates how the sun sought refuge in the Neem tree to escape the clutches of demons, highlighting its protective and sacred nature.
The neem tree holds deep symbolic significance in relation to Sai Baba’s divine presence. It represents the concept of Devi Roopam, symbolizing the inseparable connection between Purusha (male) and Prakriti (female) aspects of creation. However, unlike other deities who have separate representations of Prakriti, Sai Baba, being the embodiment of Paripoorna Parabrahma, does not possess a distinct female counterpart.
By choosing to sit under the neem tree, Sai Baba conveys a profound message to his devotees. It signifies his complete control over Maya, the illusory power that governs the universe. While Maya influences and conditions us, Sai Baba, being the creator of the cosmos, remains unaffected by its influence. Nonetheless, in His human form, He acknowledges the need for Maya’s presence.
Worshipping the neem tree is believed to bestow blessings upon devotees. It is said to bring Ayu (longevity), Shri (prosperity), Yasha (fame), and Viaya (victory) to those who offer their reverence and devotion.
The Sacred Flame of Nanda Deep: Illuminating Sai Baba’s Presence
The Nanda Deep, an everlasting lamp, holds immense significance in Sai Baba’s spiritual abode. While the exact moment it was lit remains unknown, it was originally placed in a pit and tended to by Abdul Baba. Positioned with His back to the ‘Jyoth’ (sacred flame), Baba could not directly see the lamp. However, He would pour water in various directions, and Abdul Baba would ensure its care.
In 1942, Gawankar constructed a platform for the Nanda Deep, upon which it was mounted. Over time, it found its place on a marble pillar, enclosed within a protective glass case. During the beautification plan initiated by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan in 1998, it was relocated to its present container.
Previously, the Pujari (priest) of the Gurusthan attended to the Nanda Deep, ensuring its continuous flame, emulating Baba’s practices. However, with the Parayan Kaksh (hall) being relocated, the responsibility now falls upon the Pujari of the Parayan Kaksh, who also tends to the Dattatreya Mandir.
In the Mahanarayanopanishad, the significance of fire as the life force of all living beings is revealed. The radiant light of the Nanda Deep symbolizes the elimination of obstacles on the path of spiritual practice (Sadhana Marga) and serves as a protective guardian for all who seek its shelter.
As a cherished tradition, many Sai devotees partake in the ritual of performing 108 Pradakshina (circumambulation) around the Nanda Deep, further deepening their connection with Sai Baba’s divine presence.
Ashwatha Tree: Symbolism and Significance in Sai Baba’s Realm
The venerable Ashwatha or Peepul tree held its ground in Shirdi long before Sai Baba’s arrival. Positioned to the right of the Nanda Deep, this sacred tree became an integral part of Baba’s daily routine. Spending hours beneath the shade of the Neem and Peepul trees in Lendi Bagh, Baba nurtured their existence with utmost care.
As time passed, the Peepul tree began to wither away. Sensing its distress, Baba breathed life into it and adorned its branches with a Navgraha installation. Consequently, the tree now displays nine prominent branches and roots, symbolizing the nine celestial bodies. Baba diligently watered the tree every day, tending to its well-being. Additionally, an imprint of Lord Ganesha can be found on this blessed tree.
Devotees embark on a Pradakshina (circumambulation) ritual starting from the Nanda Deep, encircling the Neem and Peepul trees, and returning to the Nanda Deep—a complete circle. Each step signifies reverence towards the Nanda Deep, the illuminator of knowledge, the Neem tree, representing the divine presence of Lakshmi, and the Peepul tree, representing Lord Shri Krishna. Lord Krishna chose the Peepul tree as His departure point from this earthly realm. The Peepul tree, adorned with the Navgraha and Ganesha, holds profound sanctity.
According to the Brahma and Padma Puranas, during a fierce battle between Gods and demons, Lord Vishnu sought refuge within the Ashwatha tree. This tree embodies the Trimurti—Brahma resides in its roots, Vishnu in its trunk, and Shiva in its leaves.
The Ashwatha tree holds immense significance for Buddhists as well, as it was under this tree that Buddha attained Nirvana. It is also referred to as the Bodhi Tree. Additionally, believers hold that Goddess Lakshmi graces this sacred tree on Saturdays.
In Chapter 15 of the Jnaneshwari, Lord Krishna eloquently elucidates the essence of the Ashwatha tree. His words resonate with deep meaning:
Ovi 1: “The tree’s roots are above, and its branches extend downwards. It is an endless tree called Ashwatha. The Vedas are its leaves, and one who understands this tree becomes the knower of the Vedas.”
Ovi 2: “Nourished by the three Gunas, it bears the tender leaves of sensory objects. Its branches, representing various realms of creation, stretch both above and below. Its roots bind the soul based on human actions, spreading throughout all realms.”
Ovi 3: “Upon closer examination, this tree of worldly existence proves to be different from what it appears. It lacks a definitive beginning, end, or stability. Thus, sever this Ashwatha tree with the powerful axe of detachment.”
In addition to its profound significance in scriptures, the Peepul tree holds cultural beliefs and practices. Women, during prayers, ceremoniously tie strings around the Peepul tree, symbolizing their prayers for the longevity of their husbands.
Sai Baba’s Well: A Source of Divine Nectar and Healing Waters
In the heart of the enchanting Lendi Bagh, a remarkable well holds a special place. Positioned in the middle section, it stands proudly alongside the western compound wall, directly ahead of the entrance adorned with vibrant floral canopies. This well, lovingly crafted by Baba Himself with the assistance of devoted souls, both rich and poor, bears a name dear to His heart—Budki.
Baba quenched His thirst from this very well, drawing the life-sustaining water with His own hands. The fame of Budki’s waters spread throughout the vicinity, renowned for their extraordinary ability to alleviate fevers and heal various ailments. Devotees would come to partake of its sacred waters, finding solace and rejuvenation. However, over time, the well gradually dried up, leaving its legacy behind.
In 1983, A.R. Shinde undertook a noble mission to deepen Baba’s well. With great dedication, the task was accomplished, unveiling an abundance of water once again. It became a symbol of divine blessings and a testament to the enduring spirit of devotion.
It is worth mentioning that there used to be another well near the exit stairs of the Samadhi Mandir in Shirdi. Regrettably, it no longer exists, but its memory echoes in the hearts of those who experienced its presence.
The Divine Abode of Lord Dattatreya: The Dattatreya Mandir
Nestled in the sacred grounds of Shirdi, just in front of Muktaram’s Samadhi and slightly to the left of the revered Nanda Deep, stands the resplendent Dattatreya Mandir. This temple, a testament to unwavering devotion, was constructed by two devoted locals who humbly wished to remain anonymous. In August 1976, the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan performed the Prana Pratishta, infusing life into the idol of Lord Dattatreya and the exquisite Marble Padukas, with utmost reverence and solemnity.
Behind the temple, a small Audumbar tree stands, adding to the divine ambiance that surrounds this sacred abode. The temple’s care is entrusted to the dedicated Pujari from the Gurusthan, who ensures its sanctity is maintained. Each morning, the temple comes alive with Mangal Snan (auspicious bathing), Alankar (adorning), and a change of vibrant attire for the deity. Thrice a day, heartfelt offerings are presented as Bhog, a testament to the deep reverence and devotion of the devotees.
Step into the serene realm of the Dattatreya Mandir, where the ethereal presence of Lord Dattatreya beckons souls seeking solace and enlightenment. Experience the profound tranquility that emanates from this sacred space, as devotees gather to offer their prayers and surrender to the divine. Join us on a spiritual journey, where the divine union of devotion and grace unfolds in the hallowed halls of the Dattatreya Mandir, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts of all who visit.
A significant event unfolded on the auspicious day of Datta Jayanthi, December 12th, 2008, when the holy Silver Padukas were ceremoniously installed at the Dattatreya Mandir. This divine occasion filled the hearts of devotees with joy and reverence, marking a sacred milestone in the temple’s history.
On the revered Datta Jayanthi Day, the dedicated Pujaris from the nearby Samadhi Mandir perform Arati to Lord Datta, invoking divine blessings upon the devotees gathered. It is a time of immense spiritual significance, where devotees seek solace and offer their heartfelt prayers, making Pradakshina (circumambulation) around the temple. It is believed that the pure intentions and devotion of the devotees are granted, and their cherished wishes are fulfilled by the grace of Lord Datta.
In the days of Baba’s sojourn in Shirdi, there stood a humble Datta Mandir adjacent to the present temple. Baba would often visit this sacred spot, standing in silent contemplation before it, bestowing His divine presence upon the devotees. However, during the beautification initiative undertaken by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan, this temple was respectfully relocated, making way for the transformation of Lendi Bagh into a haven of spiritual serenity.
Within the sacred precincts of Shirdi, nestled amidst the devotion-filled air, lies the Samadhi of Shyam Karna. This profound shrine holds a special significance, woven with a tale of faith, gratitude, and divine blessings.
The Sacred Samadhi of Shyam Karna
Once, a horse merchant named Kasam found himself longing for the gift of progeny. In his earnest desire, he made a heartfelt vow to Baba, pledging that if his mare were to bear offspring, he would humbly offer the first-born to Baba. Miraculously, his mare indeed blessed him with a beautiful foal, fulfilling his vow and filling his heart with gratitude.
Baba, in His infinite grace, named the foal ‘Shyam Karna,’ a name adorned with meaning and symbolism. The word “Shyam” resonates with the essence of purity, holiness, and deep beauty. It is a term that finds its roots in Hindu mythology, often associated with revered deities such as Shri Krishna or Shri Shankar. It embodies the notion of divine grace, capturing the sublime and enchanting nature of the divine.
As the years passed, the noble Shyam Karna journeyed through life, carrying the blessings and connection with Baba within its very being. When the time came for Shyam Karna’s earthly existence to transcend into eternity, a sacred Samadhi was lovingly established to honor its divine presence.
Today, the Samadhi of Shyam Karna stands as a testament to the unwavering faith and deep gratitude of Kasam, the horse merchant. It serves as a gentle reminder of Baba’s benevolence and His divine interplay in the lives of His devotees. Devotees who visit this sacred site are invited to bask in the spiritual aura, offering their reverence and seeking the divine blessings that flow through this hallowed space.
Shyam Karna holds a special place in the hearts of devotees and in the legacy of Shirdi. This majestic horse shared a deep connection with Baba, displaying unwavering devotion and joy in Baba’s presence.
Every Arati was a moment of celebration for Shyam Karna, as he danced with exuberance and was the first to bow to Baba after the ritual. The horse’s love for Baba was evident in his daily darshan and his eagerness to be in Baba’s presence. During the grand noon arati, Shyam Karna would be adorned with beautiful decorations, such as a necklace, anklets, and tiny bells, making him appear regal and royal. He stood at the center of the Sabhamandap, surrounded by devotees, eagerly awaiting the start of the arati. As the arati commenced, he joyfully danced to the rhythm of the bells tied to his feet. After Baba’s lalkari (the waving of the arati), Shyam Karna would climb the central steps of Dwarkamai and bow to Baba. In return, Baba lovingly applied Udi on his forehead, blessing him. It was a beautiful display of love and mutual reverence between Baba and Shyam Karna, symbolizing the entire cosmos bowing before Baba and rejoicing in His worship.
Shyam Karna resided in the room on the eastern side of Dwarkamai, now known as Shyam Sunder Hall. His caretaker, Khajgiwale, ensured that he was well looked after and adorned with all the trappings that are now exhibited in the Museum. Shyam Karna was trained to stand before Baba, climb the steps of Dwaraka Mai, and offer his respects to Baba and later to Baba’s Samadhi.
Even after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Shyam Karna continued to attend the aratis at the Samadhi Mandir, bowing to Baba’s Samadhi. On Vijaya Dashami Day, he would be adorned with all his finery and taken out in a procession. Prior to the procession, devotees would wave a one rupee coin around his head as a ritual to ward off the evil eye.
During Chavadi processions, Shyam Karna would be dressed splendidly and joyfully dance all the way to the Chavadi. Upon reaching the Chavadi, he would stand facing Baba, maintaining his deep reverence.
Shyam Karna passed away in 1945, and in recognition of his unwavering devotion and connection with Baba, Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan honored him with a Samadhi in Lendi Bagh. In the 1950s, there was a board next to his Samadhi, acknowledging Krishnaji (alias Nana) Khajgiwala as the trainer of Shyam Karna. However, it appears that the board is no longer present for devotees visiting Shirdi today.
The Samadhi of Amidas Bhavani Mehta: Devotion and Final Resting Place
The Samadhi of Amidas Bhavani Mehta holds a significant place in the central part of Lendi Bagh in Shirdi. Amrutal, his birth name, hailed from Bhavnagar in Kathewad, Saurashtra. He belonged to the Narsinh Mehta community and was an intellectual poet and devotee of Lord Krishna. However, whenever he worshiped Lord Krishna and looked at his photograph, he saw the image of a fakir, a Muslim ascetic, superimposed on Lord Krishna. This piqued his curiosity, leading him on a quest to find the fakir who turned out to be none other than Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Amidas was well-educated and skilled in Indian classical instrumental and vocal music. He enjoyed affluence and was associated with a small king named Dayashankar Revashankar Pandya, as Kathewad was divided into small kingdoms ruled by Nawabs during that time.
Frequently visiting Shirdi, Amidas rented a room and stayed with Baba for extended periods. He began writing about Baba in Gujarati, thus spreading Baba’s glory among the Gujarati-speaking population. Baba cherished Amidas for his kind and gentle nature. Whenever someone fell ill in Shirdi, Baba would send them to Amidas to be cared for. Amidas gladly extended his tender and loving care, nursing the patients back to health. His only desire was to pass away in Shirdi, in the proximity of his Guru.
Upon hearing Amidas’ wish, Baba replied, “You may die anywhere, but you will always be with me.” Amidas breathed his last in Shirdi, and his Samadhi is situated adjacent to the Samadhi of Mukta Ram in Lendi Bagh. A plaque on his Samadhi bears the inscription: “Shri Satchidanand Sadguru Baba Anand Maharaj urf (alias) Amidas Bhavani Mehta, Budhwar (Wednesday), Mithi (Roughly translated as the date or tithi), Magh (February-March), Shudh 14 Shake, 2844 (i.e., 31st January 1923).”
The Samadhi of Mukta Ram: Devotion and Eternal
Union with the GuruMukta Ram, whose true name remains unknown, first journeyed to Shirdi in 1911 as part of a group of pilgrims. Baba’s profound divinity had a profound impact on him, prompting numerous subsequent visits until he eventually established Shirdi as his permanent abode. Originally from Ravierked, he resided with his wife, mother, and extended family. However, it was Baba who bestowed upon him the name Mukta Ram, and consequently, the villagers and fellow devotees began referring to him by that name.
Once a wealthy landowner with vast acres of farmland, Mukta Ram gradually lost interest in his material possessions, crops, and family. His entire day revolved around chanting Baba’s name, yearning to be in the presence of his beloved Sadguru. Eventually, he left his family behind and embarked on a spiritual journey to Shirdi.
Mukta Ram possessed a natural inclination towards asceticism and was prepared to undergo severe penances to attain his Sathguru’s grace. He maintained strict discipline, spending his mornings till noon in the company of Baba, seated beside the Dhuni Maa (sacred fire). Unfazed by scorching heat or bitter cold, he sat by the blazing Dhuni, akin to Hanuman‘s unwavering devotion to Lord Rama or Garuda’s reverence for Lord Vishnu. Mukta Ram’s love and devotion towards Baba were comparable to that of Maruti towards Rama.
Surviving solely on what Baba provided through bhiksha (alms), Mukta Ram would join Baba for lunch after the noon Arati, followed by a brief period of rest. He then retired to his cramped tin shed, located adjacent to Dixit’s Wada, where he sat in meditation before the Dhuni. Following Baba’s instructions, he maintained an ever-burning Dhuni Maa in his room, enduring the sweltering heat with unwavering dedication. He would remain there until it was time to return to Dwarkamai, willingly embracing this intense penance.
Mukta Ram adopted Baba’s attire, dressing exactly like his beloved Guru. Clad in a white Kafni (robe), with a white cloth wrapped around his head and a langoti (loincloth) around his waist, he mirrored Baba’s own style. It was Baba Who personally bestowed the Kafni and the white cloth upon him. Through Mukta Ram’s profound love, devotion, and unwavering focus on his Guru, his way of life gradually transformed, becoming a true reflection of Baba’s own lifestyle.
Approximately three months prior to Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Mukta Ram fell ill, suffering from fever and a persistent cough. He spent the majority of his time confined to his room. When Baba’s Mahasamadhi took place, Mukta Ram’s condition worsened significantly. Eight days after Baba’s passing, he briefly ventured to Dwarkmai before swiftly returning to his room. Seated on his sack, he leaned against the central pillar within Dwarkmai. Following his return, Mukta Ram never left his room again. As the days passed, his health deteriorated steadily until, finally, in January 1919, he peacefully breathed his last breath, his soul departing from the mortal realm.
Serenity Unveiled: The Blossoming Garden
In the early 1920s, nestled on the left side of the entrance to Lendi Bagh, a captivating flower garden greeted visitors with its vibrant charm. Flourishing with a variety of beautiful flowering trees, this serene sanctuary offered a haven of tranquility. Just a few years prior, the garden had been a thriving ecosystem, teeming with life. Deer gracefully roamed the grounds, while peacocks displayed their resplendent plumage. Rabbits hopped playfully, and even the mischievous mongoose found solace within its embrace. Additionally, this verdant sanctuary served as a temporary refuge for numerous migratory birds, granting them respite on their arduous journey home. This garden, a testament to Baba’s boundless love for all creatures, thrived for several decades until the 1980s.
As part of the Sansthan’s beautification plan, a portion of this exquisite garden underwent a thoughtful transformation. Expertly landscaped, the area now boasts a mesmerizing waterfall, adding a touch of enchantment to its already captivating allure.
Discover the spiritual wonders of Shirdi like never before! Join Vinny Chitluri on an immersive journey to “The Five Samadhis to Lendi Baug” in an extraordinary video tour. Unveil the sacred essence of these hallowed grounds and delve into the divine teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba. Watch now and embark on a transformative pilgrimage to Shirdi from the comfort of your own home. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity – click play and let your soul awaken to the magic of Shirdi!
Citation: Ambrosia in Shirdi and Baba’s Gurukul by Vinny Chitluri.
Embracing Compassion and Conservation
On Environment Day, our in-depth discussion about Lendi Baug aimed to share Sai Baba’s powerful message. Through His actions and words, Baba emphasizes the importance of showing mercy and compassion towards the environment. As humans, we are responsible for the disruptions in the ecosystem. Our pursuit of development often leads to deforestation, while animals follow their natural balance. Sathguru’s teachings remind us of the chaos we create. We are grateful for campaigns like Save Soil, raising awareness worldwide.
Unfortunately, our growing greed has overshadowed compassion. This post urges you to pause and reflect on the true cost of our relentless pursuit of development. We must acknowledge that our unchecked greed is harming future generations. It is high time to stop, reverse our actions, and take inspiration from Baba’s actions at Lendi Baug. As His followers, let’s create Lendi Baug wherever possible, fostering compassion and sustainability. Together, we can restore harmony with the environment, embracing a brighter future.