Sai Baba was a fakir (wandering teacher of Islam surviving on alms), yogi (yoga practitioner), and guru (one of great knowledge).
The Indian saint regarded by Hinduism and Muslim favorably but devotees of Hinduism consider the guru as the reincarnation of Lord Shiva. Considered also by many people to be a Sadguru the one enlightened devoted to guiding the initiated towards the spiritual path). There are countless stories told about him. There are also eyewitness accounts of his many performed miracles. This makes Sai Baba known all throughout the world, but most revered in India.
Sai is of Arabic, Indian, and Persian origin, with a meaning that is so divine. In fact, the word Baba is given just to honor its recipient. Its meaning is old man, father, grandfather, or sir in the Indo-Aryan language. Sai Baba simply means the Holy Father or the Saintly Father.
Little is known about Sai Baba before the age of sixteen. There is also a speculation that he was born on 28 September 1838. However, his parentage and birth details are still unknown. Even his life before the age of sixteen and true origin is lost in obscurity.
The Indian saint had no interest for material wealth. He was solely concerned about self-realization. It was due to this that he was adorned a saint and worshiped around the world. His teachings involved forgiveness, love, helping others, contentment, charity, inner peace, and devotion to guru and god. His teachings are a combination of Islamic and Hindu elements. He gave a Hindu name to the mosque he was living in. He practiced rituals from both religions. He used words and figures from both religions and then later on buried in a temple of Hinduism in Shirdi.
Sai Baba honored and revered by a number of known Sufi and Hindu religious leaders. A number of his disciples became famous religious figures and saints as well. These are Sati Godavari Mataji, Saint Jankidas Maharaj, Saint Gangagir, Saint Bidkar Maharaj, and Upasni Maharaj.
Until today, there is a debate whether he was predominantly Muslim or Hindu. This is because he was doing both Hindu and Muslim practices. He taught Muslims and always refers to the Qur’an. He taught Hindus and also refer to the texts of Yoga Vasistha, Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Sahasranam, and Ramayana. Regardless, both religious devotees regard Sai Baba as an Indian saint.