Soon after Shirdi Sai took samadhi on October 15, 1918, a picture of Sai Baba was placed in the temple and devotees would come to take his blessings.
It’s said that because of the huge number of people coming to get a glimpse of the lord, Shirdi Sai Sansthan decided to place an idol of Baba instead of a picture. The authorities of the temple wanted a life-like murti of the lord to be made.
Three best sculptors were called for the task who were asked to first create a clay-idol of the lord; after which whoever makes the best one would be given the task to create a rock idol of the lord. However, there was only one black and white picture of Sai Baba for reference and to form the idol from it was next to impossible.
However, the first clay model of Baba’s idol was beautifully made. After the clay idol was created, the next task was to find the finest fine stone. A devotee from a Port Trust official came to know that a marble stone has been discharged for last one and a half years at a port in Mumbai and none has come for one and a half years to claim it. It was the marble of the best quality that came from Italy.
But for whom did the Italian Marble come and why did it come from Italy? Nobody knows. When Balaji Talim came to the port to see the stone he was surprised to see that the stone was of exactly the same size as they wanted for Baba’s idol.
About 4 months later, the work of the idol was almost done. Balaji Taleem, his son and other workers were constantly working to make the idol perfect just when one worker suddenly appeared and saw a big crack near Baba’s feet, fearing an air pocket. The problem was that the removal of air pocket could damage the leg by going straight ahead of the crack, in such a way that the idol could also be broken. This created tension amongst the workers.
Then they prayed to Baba together and, as it was, Baba himself conveyed that ‘go ahead and do nothing’. After this, when Balaji Taleem took his hammer to take out the air pocket, the extra stone was destroyed in a miraculous manner without causing any damage to Baba’s idol.
After this yet another miracle while creation of Baba’s idol, it was finally ready in its full glory. It was established on October 7, 1954, with Pran Pratishtha at Shirdi’s Samadhi Temple on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.
Every day Baba’s temple is visited by thousands of devotees. The idol of Baba bathed with hot water every morning and his clothes are changed four times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered in the form of naivaidya.
After the first aarti in the morning, an Abhishekham is done with water, milk, curd and ghee. Not only this, the idol is also covered with mosquito nets at the time of Baba’s sleep during the night. It is removed at 4 o’clock in the morning and a glass of water is also kept for the lord.
Several devotees throng the Shirdi Sai Baba temple to seek blessings of the lord and feel the divinity come alive.