Friday, August 2, 2013

THE GOLD RUSH @ SHIRDI WHO DUNNIT?

Lakhs of devotees from all over come to Shirdi for the Darshan of Shri Sai Baba. On and Off they keep offering articles made of Gold/Silver or precious Gems. But do you know when/how was the first major Gold offering made to Baba and how did this set a Gold Rush of Offerings @ Shirdi ? It all started in 2006, by a Sai devotee Shri.B.Vijay Kumar from Hyderabad`Andhra Pradesh, who had offered a 3 kg Golden Paduka's (Footwear) to Baba. It is the one present on Baba's Samadhi. And soon various other devotees followed this Gold Rush by offering a 94-kg Gold Throne for Baba, Gold Plating the Walls of the Sanctum Sanctorum and Baba's footprints at Dwarkamai, while some offered Golden Bells, Golden Lamps, Golden Glasses, Golden Pot, Golden Chillum, Golden Crowns, Golden Garlands etc.
1. Sai Baba's Golden Paduka:
Later Mr. Vijay Kumar offered a Golden Net at the Samadhi Shrine and got the Shrine's Dome, the adjoining 4 Gopuram's and Baba's wooden chariot also Gold-plated. Mr.Vijay Kumar who has done Annadan for 25,000 people in Shirdi and another 25,000 people at the Sai Baba temple at Vanasthalipuram, believes that it is all the accrued blessings of his previous births that Baba gave them this opportunity to serve Him. He gives all this credit to Baba, as he served Baba only with the surplus he had received, which he humbly admits.


Shri.B.Vijay Kumar and his wife, came into the fold of Baba around 1989-1990. In 2004, they started going to the Shri Sai Baba Temple in Panchkuta`Hyderabad, where they donated Rs.15 lakhs for getting Italian marble flooring work done and also donated Rs.10 lakh for the Temple's Meditation hall. So, with the blessings of Baba this was the first donation made by him in his life, after which his trade also started to flourish at very rapid pace & he tried to spend all the wealth acquired with the grace of Baba, for Baba’s work only.

On 8th October, Mr. Vijay Kumar came to Shirdi & then slowly his regular trips to Shirdi began. From 2006, he began coming to Shirdi every month for Baba's darshan. Later, his visits increased to twice a month, then thrice and finally four times a month. Thus, he made many new acquaintances in Shirdi like Shri.Shrinivas, who looked after the old-age Ashram of Dwarkamai Seva Trust in Shirdi. Shri.Shrinivas later introduced him to the then Trustee of the Sansthan Dr. Eknath Gondkar, to whom Mr. Kumar expressed his desire to offer something permanent like a pair of Golden Padukas (footwears) for Sai Baba, for which he was prepared to spend a maximum Rs. 3.5 lakhs.

Dr.Gondkar took his request and placed it at the meeting of the Board of Trustees, who after a discussion granted him the permission to do so but stated that about 3.5 kgs of gold would be required for the purpose whereas Mr. Kumar was prepared with Rs. 3.5 lakhs only. Mr. Kumar then thought that “Baba had given the permission & and now Baba alone would arrange it,” and with these sentiments he went back to Hyderabad. As, Mr.Vijay Kumar was in the business of buying and selling land, he was going to sell 16 acres of land for which he had mentally decided that whatever money he would get over and above his desired amount; he would donate it entirely for Baba’s Padukas. With Baba’s blessings a customer came who paid much more than Mr. Kumar had expected and got 50% of the amount in cash while for the balance he was given 3 kgs of Gold biscuits.

In his business, Mr. Kumar never accepted gold in lieu of cash but considering this as Baba’s miracle, he tool the 3 kgs of Gold and came to Shirdi that very night and offered the same to Baba, for whom it was meant for. He then told those concerned to begin the work on the Paduka's immediately. In a week’s time Mr. Kumar got further cash equivalent to the cost of the remaining half kg. of Gold, which also he deposited with the Shirdi Sansthan. Finally, Baba’s Gold Padukas were ready and ritually installed with Pooja-archana in the Samadhi Shrine.


After the dedication of Sai Baba’s Padukas Mr.Vijay Kumar business also increased a great deal and in one business deal he got more money than he needed from a customer, so once again he thought to donate something to the Sai Temple @ Shirdi in the name of his father. So, when he came to Shirdi on Diwali for Laxmi-pooja, the priest of the temple generally told him that it would be nice if there was a netted cover for the Water placed for Baba and Mr. Kumar immediately offered a 3.5 kgs Gold netted cover for the same to the Sai Temple.


Earlier Sai Baba’s Palki was taken out on the traditional Wooden Chariot (Rath), which Mr. Vijay Kumar later got converted into a Golden Chariot in Two Phases –
1) First a Muslim devotee Shri Mohammed Rafique from Bellary District of Karnataka donated approx 140 kg of Silver, for Silver Plating the entire traditional Wooden Palanquin (Rath) of Sai Baba. Costing approx Rs.33 lakhs, the Silver Sheets are engraved with glimpses of Sai Baba’s Life History.
2) Then, as this Silver Chariot got ready, Mr. Vijay Kumar donated 1/2 kg Gold for Gold Plating this Silver Chariot of Sai Baba completely. Costing approx Rs.45 lakhs, the Gold Sheets too are engraved with glimpses of Sai Baba’s Life History.
And Sai Baba's Palki was taken out in this Golden Chariot for the very first time, on 25th July 2010 on the auspicious occasion of Gurupurnima Utsav.


Credits: Article By - Rohit Behal


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