Baba's Gurukul (Shirdi)

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Item Code: NAK410
Author: Vinny Chitluri
Publisher: Sterling Paperbacks
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9788120747708
Pages: 200 (116 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 270 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
Back of the Book

This book begins from the small village Shiladhi, where a young fakir clad in white arrived with a marriage party. He stayed on and his divine powers were slowly recognized by the laity around him. Slowly the dilapidated Mashid mayee gets transformed into Dwarka Mai lit up by the warm Dhuni Mai and the ever burning lamps. Vehement skeptics and devotees flock alike to Shirdi, as the Kul-adhipathi Sai Baba gathers them in his Gurukul. The book describes in detail the various well known miracles of Baba and illustrates their meaning in a lucid manner. The author brings a rare insight and an almost personal touch to this book as she describes the various articles used by Him and the places He visited regularly.

This book came about by this irresistible urge to share Shirdi, so readers can profit from it. The articles used and handled by Baba are with the Sansthan so the readers can see them and gain insight in their significance.

Vinny Chitluri was born is Arvankadu (Nilgiris), but was educated in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh). She did her post graduation in pediatrics from Kalawati Saren Hospital, Delhi. Then she went to the US, passed the board examination and was conferred the ‘Diplomat of the American Academy of Pediatrics’.

While in the US, she started thinking serious about her Karmic bonds with her family. As her father worshipped Baba, she was also able to do the same from a very young age. She has been worshipping Baba for sixty years. Her relationship with Baba is that of a ‘best friend’ as He loves her no matter what she does.

She retired from the medical profession at the age of fifty and came to Shirdi in 1994 and settled there. Then she set about trying to know more about Baba. She soon realized that ‘the more she learned about Him, the more ignorant she was’. Alas! It would take her many lives to know a little about this inscrutable God. But her quest is ongoing.



Baba spoke of the future of Shirdi to Mhalsapati and other devotees. He said, “There will be huge palatial buildings, big fairs will be held, high ranking officials will come here. My Brahmins will gather here”. And so it came to pass. The small remote village called Shiladhi turned into what it is now. I have tried to show what Shridi and the sacred sites were like in the 20’s, the 80’,s and at present.

Each site has a spiritual significance and each devotee gets what he wants from it. A devotee goes to a sacred place with a purpose and that gets fulfilled and he returns with an answer. Those who come to learn from Baba’s life and at each place they get an answer. What it is we do not know, but they are closer to the most important person in their lives?

Without a formal induction into a learning program each devotee finds an answer to his quest. He goes back a happier and contented person. Each devotee has a preference for a special site and gets and individual personal experience.

Devotees have many questions to ask about these sites and I have tried to explain their significance.



At the time that Baba manifested in Shiladhi it was a small, remote village, in Kopergaon Taluka, in the district of Ahmednagar. This was a district of the composite Bombay Province up to 1960 (now called Maharashtra). Shiladhi was small about 3.3 sq miles, calculated on the basis of the census, of a medium-sized family. Now, it is spread far and wide.

In the 1884 Bombay Gazetteer (Vol. XVII) of Ahmednagar district, it is mentioned in a chart of ‘Kopergaon villages of 1883’. It is grouped under ‘Taraf Korhale thirty villages’, where it is spelt as Shirdi. The Gazetteer says there is only one road in the Kopergaon Taluka to Malegaon. “This road enters the Kopergaon sub-division at the 45th mile from Ahmednagar near the village of Ashtagaon, and Shirdi is at its 53rd mile. The Godavari River is crossed by a wire-rope ferry”.

In the 50’s, as the bridge over the Godavari was low, it was often under water. Later the huge bridge was built. The Godavari flowed swiftly, and a boat used to ferry devotees to the other shore. Then the journey was by tonga; it was exciting to see the flag over the Samadhi Mandir far off from Neemgaon. Now there are so many buildings that it is not visible. Recently, a railway station has been built near Neemgaon.

Mamledar B V Dev first visited Shirdi in 1910. He recorded his impressions in the Sai Leela Magazine, in 1932. He states that Shirdi was originally known as ‘Shiladhi’ or ‘Shailadhi’. At that time the village was tiny and had about 400 houses. A few were large while others were small mud huts. The village had two wells and two schools. One school was up to the 7th standard in the Marathi medium and the other was a Marathi mission school.

The village had two panmalas (betel leaf vineyards), two orchards, one flower garden, one sugar mill, one flour mill and a water mill. There was one dharamshala for pilgrims to stay in. besides this, there were nine temples and two masjids.

The total population was about 2,586. The Muslims were the minority (about 10%) and the rest were Hindus. The Hindus were divided into the following castes- Brahmins, Marwadis, Marathas, Dhangars (Shepherds), Malis (growers of fruits and vegetables), Sonars (goldsmiths), Sutras (carpenters), Lohar (Blacksmiths), Kumbhars (potters), Parits (washermen), Mahars, Mangs Chamars (tanners and leather workers), Kolis, Bhils (scheduled tribes), Guravs and Vadars. There was a wide cross section of castes. Shirdi though small and remote was quite prosperous. The population was of a working class and Shirdi seemed to be quite self-sufficient.

In the 20’s and up to the 70’s there were many ‘Gow Shalas’ in and around Shirdi. Many of the neighbouring villages and villages as far away as Sinner and Nasik used to do ‘Gow dann’ to Shirdi Kshetra. They would bring cow and release it in Shirdi; hence there were numerous Gow Shalas. It is interesting to note that Baba is given butter sweetened with sugar as Prasad after kakad arati.

There is an interesting legend in the puranas. The sage Gautama brought the river (originally the Ganga) from the matted locks of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva once vigorously shook his locks and dashed them on the ground. At that site the Godavari or Goda Mai originated, atop the Bramhagiri mountain near Tryambakeshwar.

The word ‘Godavari’ is broken down as, Go which means bhumi (earth or land), da means (bestower) and vari means shresth (the best or excellent). So Godavari means the land that bestowed the best. The banks of the Godavari have nurtured many a saint. But at Shirdi, it nurtured the ‘Parabramha’ who walked in the alleys and gullies and sanctified the soil. Shirdi is situated about eight miles south of the blanks of the Godavari.




  Dedication and Acknowledgements v
  Preface vii
  Introduction 1
  Shiladhi 3
  Shiladhi the Seat of Spiritual Learning 3
  Baba's Unique Gurukul 8
Chapter 1 Gurupaduka Sthan (Gurusthan) 12
  The Celler near the Neem Tree 14
  The Gurusthan or Guru Padukasthan 16
  Baba's Idol 16
  Baba's Original Photograph 17
  The Possible Meaning of the "Baba Sitting on the Stone" Pose 17
  Shiva Linga 18
  Baba's Padukas 19
  The Ever Burning Lamps 21
  The Sacred Neem Tree 21
Chapter 2 The Mashid or Dwarka Mai 23
  Dwarka Mai in the 1920s 25
  The Bell 28
  Flags (nishans) of Dwarka Mai 28
  The Small Red Pillar 29
  Three Steps in Front of the Pillar 30
  Padukas in Front of the Chariot Room 31
  The Choolha 31
  The Chariot (Rath) Room 33
  The Dhuni Mai 34
  Small Silver Padukas in Front of Dhuni Mai 35
  Possible Meaning of 'Baba Sitting in Front of Dhuni Mai' Posture 36
  The Kolamba 37
  Maath or Water Pot 38
  The Magical Chillim (clay pipe) 40
  The Hooks on the Ceiling 41
  The Nimbar or Allah Mia Che Jagha 42
  The Ever Burning Lamps 43
  The Jaath or Queen 43
  The Sack of Wheat 44
  Portrait of Baba in front of Dhuni Mai (Dwarka Mai pose) 48
  The Possible meaning of the Dwarka Mai Pose 48
  The Padukas in Front of Baba's Portrait 49
  The Kathada (railing) on which Baba Rested his Hand 50
  The Udi Stand 51
  Baba's Bathing Stone 56
  The Three Steps next to the Ota 56
  The Ota or Platform with the Agarbatti Stand 56
  The Tortoise 59
  The Mythology of Tulsi Vivaha 61
  The Idol of Shyam Karan 62
  The Stone on which Baba Sat 62
  The Big Portrait of Baba above the Stone 63
  The Idol of the Tiger 64
  Shyam Sundar Hall 64
Chapter 3 The Chavadi 68
  Big Painting of Baba on the Northern Wall 70
  The Small Photograph of Baba on a Silver Throne 71
  The Wooden Cot and the Wheelchair 73
Chapter 4 Lendi Baugh 74
  The Flower Garden 77
  The Neem Trees' 77
  Nanda Deep' 79
  Meaning of Nanda Deep 79
  The Ashwatha or Peepul Tree 80
  Baba's Well 81
  The Dattatreya Mandir 82
  The Samadhi of Amidas Bhavani Mehta 82
  The Samadhi of Mukta Ram 83
  The Samadhi of Shyam Karan 86
Chapter 5 The Three Wadas in Shirdi  
  Sathe Wada 88
  Dixit Wada 90
Chapter 6 Samadhis on the Way to Lendi Baugh 93
  The Samadhi of Haji Abdul Baba 93
  Samadhi of Bhau Maharaj Kumbhar 94
  The Samadhi of Nanavali 96
  The Samadhi of V p Iyer 97
  The Samadhi of Tatya Kote Patil 98
Chapter 7 The Five Blessed Houses that Baba took Bhiksha from  
  1. Sakharam Patil Shelke's house 102
  2. Vamanarao Gondkar's house 103
  3. Bayyaji Appa Kote Patil's house 103
  4. Bayaja Bai Ganpath Kote Patil's house 104
  5. nandram Marvadi Sanklecha's house 105
Chapter 8 Temples in Shirdi  
  Khandoba Mandir in Shirdi 108
  The Banyan Tree 110
  The Kanifnath Mandir 110
  As hta Lakshmi Mandir 110
  Vitthal Mandir 111
  Dakshina Mukhi Shri Hanuman Mandir 112
  Ganapathi, Shani and Mahadev Temples 113
  The Samadhi of the Tiger 114
Chapter 9 Abdul Baba's Cottage 115
Chapter 10 Festivals Celebrated in Shirdi 116
  Gudi Padava, the Maharashtrian New Year 117
  Rama Navami, the Festival of Rama's Birth 117
  The Urs and Sandal Procession 120
  Puja of the Sadguru, or Guru Purnima 121
  Vijay Dashmi or Baba's Aaradhana Vidhi 122
  Kojagiri Purnima 125
  Baba's Daily Routine 125
Chapter 11 Shri Che Samadhi Mandir or Dagdi Wada aliasa Butti Wada 128
  Gopalrao Mukundrao Butti 128
  The Samadhi Mandir 129
  The beautiful Wooden Doors and the Plaques behind them 130
  Baba's show room 132
  The Survarna (golden) Kalash 133
  The Sculpting of Baba's Murty 136
  The Pran Prathista of Baba's Idol 138
  The Samadhi 140
  Baba's Murty (Idol) 143
  The Significance of Padukas 146
  Significance of the bathing stone 151
Chapter 12 Baba Going for Bhiksha 154
Chapter 13 Invisible Baba 155
Chapter 14 Baba Sitting on the Ota in the Sabhamandap 156
  Conclusion 157
  Glossary 158

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