Lakshmibai Shinde was one of the chosen ones among the legions of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba’s devotees. She diligently served food to Sai Baba, making sure to cook keeping Baba’s preferences in mind. Her simple meals comprised of Bhakri (flat bread made out of Jowar, a coarse grain) and vegetables that were inclusive of onion as Baba was partial to onion.

Lakshmibai was in attendance when Shirdi Sai Baba departed from the confines of His mortal frame. Before breathing His last, Baba bequeathed nine coins to her. He first handed five and then added four more.

The nine coins are said to represent the nine qualities of a devotee as specified in Hindu scriptures. The coins are symbolic of the nine ways of devotion (bhakti) that a devotee can indulge in. The coins are also viewed as final offering or donation that Shri Sai Baba gave to a beloved devotee before embarking upon a cross-border celestial journey to heaven.

Lakshmibai passed away peacefully on 2nd June 1963. The photo depicted above in this article was taken on 1962.

The nine divine coins signify the Nine-Fold Path of devotions:

  • Shravana – Listening
  • Kitana – Devotional Music
  • Smarana – Remembering
  • Pada seva – Resorting to the feet
  • Archana – Worship
  • Namaskara – Making Obeisance
  • Dastya – Service
  • Sakhyatva – Friendliness
  • Atmanivedana – Surrender of the self

The photo shows the original replica of the nine coins given by Shri Shirdi Sai Baba to Lakshmibai Shinde.

Source: A collection of unseen & rare photographs SHIRDI within & beyond

We do Shirdi Baba Aarti three times a day. Please visit Sai Baba Temple London at East Ham and Forest Gate.

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