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Sunday 5 February 2012

Religious Statues

What is the difference between religious statues and any other? Well, every religious statue is about a deity or saint and is symbolic of the teachings. In the sometimes fickle world we live in today, such statues remind us of virtues like righteousness, honesty, wisdom, justice, and many more. One of the recent saints, whose teachings have spread in all corners of the world today, is Saibaba of Shirdi. Revered as one of the greatest saints of all time and worshipped by millions as a God incarnate, Saibaba was a mysterious Fakir who enriched the lives of each person he met in his lifetime. Regardless of religion or creed the enlightened saint blessed all who came to him in myriad ways and preached that there is just one god (Sabka Malik Ek).

Often saying, “my miracles are inscrutable”, Saibaba had demonstrated many miracles in his lifetime. Some of these stories are carried by devotees far and wide. For instance, Saibaba was very fond of burning lamps in the Masjid where he often stayed and other temples in Shirdi and needed oil for the little earthenware lamps he lit. Being a Fakir, he depended on the generosity of the grocers to donate it from time to time, as he lit those lamps every night. There came a time when all the village grocers felt it was unprofitable to give free oil to the saint and one day all of them refused to oblige him saying they were out of fresh stock.

The Fakir returned to his Masjid empty handed, but without a word of protest. He simply poured water into the earthen lamps and lit the wicks. To everyone’s disbelief, the wicks were lit and the lamps burned deep into the night. The news of this miracle seen by many soon reached the grocers’ ears and they all felt profusely sorry about refusing the divine saint. They rushed to his feet and apologized. Saibaba pardoned them but warned them never to lie again. He told them that they could have plainly refused without the untrue excuse that they all made. But, of course by then they all knew that he didn’t need their charity for his task.

The fascinating thing about Saibaba and many of his stories that you can find online or in books, is that they talk of him telling things to particular people and many of these people’s families still reside in Shirdi. His many other wonderous stories have been carried forward through generations. Like that of Babu Kirwandikar’s daughter who often told people she was Saibaba’s sister. Even the godly saint was extremely fond of the child. Once she fell in a well. The villagers rushed to help her and found her suspended mid-air as if some invisible hand was holding her up. The people quickly pulled her out and praised Saibaba for her extended life. Hence, religious statues of Saibaba can be found in every house in Shirdi.

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