A human-born Sai Baba’s parentage, name of birth-place, or its date,
anything in regard to his early childhood, education or other
biographical details are not known. Shirdi, an integral part of Sai’s
life-journey and now almost synonymous of him, was his spiritual home
and the place of his emergence, however, from where he emerged nobody
knows. As the story of his life goes, one day, in 1858, a local
resident of Shirdi Bhagat Mhalasapati saw a young and quite handsome
fakir seated on the steps of Khandoba temple, just on Shirdi’s
outskirt. Though with nothing in mind to talk on, Bhagat’s attention
was drawn to the young fakir’s divine aura and lustre on his face and
he spontaneously addressed him as ‘Oh Sai’, giving a nameless fakir a
name for ever after Sai, a Persian term meaning a sage – just a common
noun, was his name for ever. Whatever his epithets, Sai is his name
The incident also gave him his primary motif. Bhagat noticed the young
fakir entering into the Khandoba temple. Noticing that he was a
Musalman he stopped him from entering the temple. Sai obeyed but found
in it the purpose of his life : to rise and lead people to rise above
narrow barriers that conservatism created. His humility further
impressed Bhagat. As goes a commonplace, the moment Bhagat said that
he could not enter the temple for being a Musalman Bhagat saw from
inside the scarf that the young fakir tied on his forehead a
‘tri-punda’, the mark of Shaivite sectarian identity. There prevails
also a tradition that reveres Baba as Lord Shiva’s incarnation. Sai
prayed for all beyond castes and creeds, did not accept barriers but
also did not condemn any. He believed in God’s unity and oneness,
called him by any name : Allah or whatever, but held in great
reverence the gods of different pantheons, Hindu in particular. He
celebrated festivals venerated in different religious traditions and
was not an iconoclast.
A magnificent work of art this marble image has reflection of Baba’s
transcendental being. In a tough medium like marble in the milky
translucence of which details usually dilute the sculptor has
wondrously carved each one with rare precision and clarity : each hair
of his beard, wrinkles on his face, dimples-like welled cheeks and the
surging folds of his gown. The pressure on the forehead just above the
eyes, as when in some deep concern the forehead is downwards rolled,
has been wondrously chiseled. Perhaps in pursuance of the Bhagat’s
commonplace, the sculptor has carved Baba’s head and forehead as
covered with a scarf but finely chiseled this scarf does not hide the
‘tri-punda’ mark on Baba’s forehead. Except a camera photograph
claimed to represent Baba’s real likeness, the portrayal of his
likeness has been merely imaginative or imitative; however, the artist
of this statue has been quite realistic in rendering various parts.
With the age the ankle bones usually bend, the same as represents this
statue. The divine figures are believed to have elongated ears and
taller arms. The sculptor has used the same standards for the
iconography of his statue. The statue’s painting part with soft lemon
yellow for gown and a deep magenta line with gold band for border is
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.
How to clean and maintain marble statues?
Marble has been a preferred material for sculptors and artists for more than a thousand years. It is a rock that undergoes metamorphism which causes recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains. Marble comes in various colors, designs, and dimensions. Pure white marble is the most preferred type of marble for making sculptures and statues since time immemorial. White marble is especially used for sculpting stone monumental sculptures since ancient times. The natural shine and luster of the carbonate crystals of white marble give a lavish and beautiful appearance to the statue.
Marble stone statues are highly durable and can even withstand harsh weather conditions without getting corroded, therefore, they can be kept indoors or outdoors without getting damaged or weathered. Although these statues can last for many decades, their regular care and cleaning are essential to increase their longevity and beautiful appearance.
Marble statues need periodical cleaning to maintain their flawless look. However, harsh and deep cleaning can result in making the statue look dull. If your marble statue is withering away, it is recommended to take the help of a professional cleaner. Marble is a delicate material and therefore needs proper care.
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