Sai Baba is said to have been born in 1838. Details of his birth, family, and early years seem unclear. He started to live in Shirdi from 1858. In his early years, Sai Baba lived off the alms that kind women and merchants in the village gave him. He initially had to endure much hostility as most of the people in Shirdi were Hindus and his appearance was indicative of being a Sufi Muslim.
It is at this time that Sai Baba of Shirdi is said to have manifested many miracles most of them involving healing of the sickly. Cholera, leprosy, and the plague were rampant at the time with no adequate cure. Sai Baba administered to the sick and cured them quickly. As his following started to increase, the village became a place where devotees could always find food and shelter. Rich devotees contributed towards building rest houses and distribution of food.
Sai Baba lived in a small mosque in Shirdi till his demise in 1918. He spoke in parables and always encouraged the listeners to seek out God in all living beings. His story was written and songs sung in his praise even during his lifetime. Sai Baba’s essential simplicity remained his mystique through his life.
Sai Baba temple at Shirdi is famous for its wish fulfillment and healing. Thousands of devotees pledge to visit the temple each year when their desires are granted and accidents averted. Many sick devotees come here with the belief that the seer shall heal them of their maladies. The sacred ash or Udhi dispensed at the temple is believed to have miraculous healing properties. The sacred fire or Dhuni lit by Sai Baba of Shirdi at the mosque is kept aglow round the clock.
Before his demise Sai Baba of Shirdi had promised to live in the tomb and to bless all devotees who visit the temple. A number of devotees claim to see Sai Baba in times of need and despair. The temple is known for its intense peace and spiritual vibrations.