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Dwarkamai Shirdi

Dwarkamai in Shirdi

Dwarkamai or the mosque where Baba spent a part of his life is such an ordinary structure that an onlooker unaware of Baba's life would simply pass by, without even giving it a second look. But, it's the simplicity of this mosque that seemed to have appealed Baba so much that he decided to move from sleeping under a neem tree to here. For the devotees of Sai Baba, this mosque is a must visit place in their agenda whenever traveling to this part of Maharashtra.

The Story Behind Its Name

To his devotees Sai Baba would often be heard saying that merely going inside the mosque would wash away all the sins and sufferings of a person and he would be blessed with all the joys in his life. The mosque is just like a mother who tries her best to protect her children from any danger and puts him to a blissful sleep. And this is why he would refer to the mosque as "Masjid Ayi", ayi, which is a Mahrashtrian word for Mother.

Once when a devotee wanted to go to Dwarka, a holy town in Gujarat, Baba told him that there was no need to go there as the mosque is also Dwarka. One of the meanings of "Dwarka" is many-gated and ayi means mother so it becomes many-gated mother. And after Baba passed away the mosque came to be popularly known as Dwarkamai, a place synonymous to the love of a mother for his child.

Dhuni: Sacred Fire Lit by Baba

Fire in various faiths, be it the Hinduism, Christianity, Sufism or Zoroastrianism is held on a high regard. And as such to Sai Baba, who welcomed all the faiths with love and warmth, the fire was of equal importance. He would always have a fire lit by him wherever he went and called it a dhuni. But unlike others he neither worshiped fire nor stopped people from other castes to touch it. In fact, some of the villagers used to take the ashes from the fire he burnt to use in their own homes.

Sai Baba himself lighted the dhuni found here in this mosque some hundred years ago and it still continues to do so. However, the caretakers of Dwarkamai have designed a special structure to hold the fire in place with firebricks and enclosed it behind a wire mesh.

Udi: Holy Ash from the Dhuni

Udi is nothing but the sacred ash collected from the dhuni. During his time Baba would distribute udi to his followers to heal them of any pain or sickness and sometimes he would even apply it to them personally. Since, the udi comes here from the same sacred fire that Baba had lit, it is believed to be a form of tangible holy blessings from Baba himself. For this reason, the udi is kept near the steps for the visitors and also available in small packets from the Samadhi Mandir.

Other interesting things around Dwarkamai

Other than these one can also have a look at the personal belongings of Baba that was a part of his daily life in this mosque. For example, the silver padukas, kolamba or the water pot that he used for begging food, the grinding stone and a bag of wheat that Baba often used to make antidotes, the chillums use by for smoking as well as healing purposes, Baba's portrait on the place where he always used to sit, dakshina box, a painting of Baba's original photograph in black and white, the animal statues, cooking hearth and the bell.

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