Annually, Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Trust organizes three Hinduism Festivals: Ram navami (March 30, 2023), Guru Purnima (July 03, 2023) and Shri Sai Baba Punyatithi or Vijayadashami (October 24, 2023). They attract the attention of Non-Hindus to our religion. These festivals are celebrated with great passion, verve and artfulness. There is a programme of puja, music (bhajan) and public parayana (reading of scriptures and devotional texts).
"If you cast your burden on me, I shall Surely bear it" - Shirdi Sai Baba
Vijayadashami is celebrated throughout India, under different names and with regional variations, as the victory of good over evil. For Shirdi Sai Baba devotees, it is venerated as the holy day that their beloved Gurudeva(Shri Sai Baba) attained mahasamadhi (also known as Punyatithi) and is a big festival in the temple.
Shri Sai Baba left his mortal coil on the 15th October 1918. Two years before i.e. in 1916 Sai Baba gave an indication of his passing away. It was as follows. On the Vijayadashami (Dasara) Sai Baba, all of a sudden got into wild rage in the evening, when people were returning from simolanghan (Crossing the border of the village). Taking off His head-dress, Kafni and Langota etc. He tore them and threw them into the Dhuni before him. He stood there stark naked and with his burning red eyes shouted “You fellows now have a look and decide finally whether I am a Muslim or Hindu” Everybody was trembling with fear and nobody dared to approach Baba. After some time Bhagoji Shinde the leper devotee of Baba went Boldly near him and succeeded in tying a Langota round his waist and said,” Sai Baba what is all this? Today is ‘Simolanghan i.e. Dasara’ Sai Baba striking the ground with his satka said,” This is my Seemolanghan”, Sai Baba did not cool down till 11.00 P.M. and people doubted whether the Chavadi procession would ever take place that night. After an hour Baba resumed His normal condition and dressed Himself as usual and attended the Chavadi procession. By this incident Baba suggested that Dasara was the proper time for Him to cross the border of life.
Shri Sai Baba gave another indication as follow :-
Ramchandra Patil became seriously ill. He tried all remedies, but finding no relief, despairing of his life was awaiting for the last moment. Then one midnight Baba stood near his bed. Patil held His feet and said,” I have lost all my hopes. Please tell me definitely when I shall die”. Merciful Sai Baba said,” Don’t be anxious, your Hundi (Death-warrant) has been withdrawn but I am afraid of Tatya Patil. He will pass away on Vijayadashami of 1918.
Ramachandra Dada soon left bed and soon was on his legs. Time passed quickly. The month of Bhadrapada of Shake 1840 (1918 A D) was ending and Tatya fell sick and was bed ridden Baba was also down with fever. Tatya had full faith in Sai Baba. Tatya’s illness grew from bad to worse and could not move at all but always remembered Baba. The day predicated i.e. Vijayadashami was impending and Ramchandra Dada and Sai Bala Shimpi who was told the predication were terribly Frightened about Tatya. Tatya’s end was near. But a curious thing happened, Tatya remained and Baba passed away instead. People said that Sai Baba gave his life for Tatya and made Vijayadashami more significant for Sai Baba devotees.
In Vijayadashami is performed well as with special programmes of Sai Punyatithi.
(Ref. Shri Sai Satchritrya-Information about Shri Sai Baba tends to be derived from a book called Shri Sai Satcharitra (Chapter-XLII) written by a disciple called Shri Govind Raghunath Dabolkar alias Hemadpant.