Upasni Maharaj began residing in Sakori, a place nearly five kilometers from Shirdi,
during July 1917. When Sai Baba dropped His physical form in 1918 Sakori, a small
poor village, had already become spiritually rich, with the presence of Upasni Maharaj
and a growing fleet of disciples. Maharaj looked after the last rites of Sai Baba
as His chief disciple. Maharaj always welcomed hardships. Once in 1921 He locked
Himself inside a small bamboo cage. The cage was too small for such a stout person
like Maharaj and He was most cramped inside. He said He suffered for the release
of His disciples, and was standing as a surety in the divine court for their release.
Over thirteen months He confined Himself in that small cage, practically fulfilling
all His daily needs from there. The disciples performed His "Arti" and listened
to His discourses from within the cage. At last on 31st January 1924, Maharaj released
Himself from the cage, and stepped out of it to greet a small child named Godavari.
Sai Baba would send his devotees to Shri Sadguru Upasni Maharaj for darshan. In
1914 Shri Upasi Maharaj left Shirdi for the first time after several years and traveled
to Sindi and Nagpur. Here also He would beg for food and live away from cleanliness
and comforts. But the smell of the rose attracts, and thus people started visiting
Him to pay homage and would worship Him. The Hindu social life of 1915 was full
of the feelings of cast and creed barriers. To end this barrier of castism, in February
1915, Shri Upasni Maharaj moved to a poor man Namdeo Mahar's house in Kharagpur.
Maharaj belonging to a high brahmin caste voluntarily stayed in a cow stable, and
ate food in the house of Namdeo who belonged to a lower and untouchable class. The
high caste disciples of Maharaj were forced to come to Namdeo Mahar's house to seek
Maharaj's blessing, and be prepared to receive a warm welcome by Namdeo. After some
time Maharaj went to Nagpur and then returned to Shirdi to inhabit once again Khandoba's
temple. But the atmosphere at the temple was different this time, as devotees began
to gather in larger numbers, and happy times began.
Gradually it became customary for those who came for Sai Baba's darshan, to also
visit the Khandoba temple and meet Upasni Maharaj. Even Sai Baba would ask some
of the disciples to go to Sakori, and Maharaj was now being known as His spiritual
heir. It so happened one day that a Swami came to meet Sai Baba. This arrogant Swami
considered himself next to none in spiritual knowledge. Sai Baba soon asked this
Swami for a favor "Will you please go to Sakori and bring me four hundred rupees
from Upasni, as I am in urgent need of money" said Sai. "It is very important",
He further added. The Swami proudly walked up to Sakori, expecting a warm welcome,
being an Ambassador of Sai Baba. Upasni Maharaj was as usual sitting naked under
a tree when this arrogant Swami arrived, and started demanding for four hundred
rupees. Upasni Maharaj got up immediately as if the matter was really urgent, and
before the Swami could understand what he was going to receive so urgently, Maharaj
grabbed the Swami and beat him up. The shaken Swami returned to Shirdi to find Sai
Baba, smiling over the warm welcome at Sakori. Indeed the Swami had received the
In 1941 Sati Godavari Mataji assumed the mantle of her Guru Shri Upasani Baba Maharaj
with the strength, simplicity and dignity of a realized being. When she ascended
the ‘Gadi’ of spiritual eminence, Mataji was only 26 years old. In the freshness
of youth, Mataji had a rare and ethereal beauty of face and form. Today, though
she looks deceptively frail and simple, there is a quiet radiance and strength,
the strength and radiance of immaculate purity stored up in her. The life eternal
flows through her spirit, mind and body, cleansing healing and restoring all those
look up to her as the manifestation of Shakti. Soft spoken and gentle, with nothing
spectacular about her personality and preaching, Mataji nevertheless encloses in
her frail form a dynamic fulfillment of God as Mother.
Chintamani Vinayak:"There is a pepul tree inside the Sakuri Ashram. An image
of lord ganesha is naturally formed on the tree. It is known as Chintamani Vinayak,
because of the magical powers of this tree. It is believed that if you pray this
ganesha with "Durva and Flowers and put 9 rounds, whatever may be your wishes, it
will be fulfilled. There is a practice by the devotees to offer coconut to the lord
in the form of a garland when they visit the ashram next time after their work is
Shri Ek Mukhi Dattatreya:Once the queen of the princely state of Gwalior
during Shinde dynasty, came for Shri Upasani Baba’s Darshan. She shared with Shri
Baba whatever her wish was. She stayed at Sakuri for about a month in the company
of Shri Baba. She returned after her wishes came true by the blessings of Shri Baba.
Shri Baba initiated her to build a temple of "Shri Ek Mukhi Dattatreya" around year
1925. Mr. Valimbe was the chief architect and civil engineer working on the construction
of the temple. He worked under the guidance of Shri Baba and completed the construction
of this temple in 1928. The temple initially only had the photo frames of Shri Sai
Baba and Shri Upasani Baba and the "Padukas" (footprints) of Shri Saibaba. Shri
Upasani Baba stood on the same "Padukas" himself and then also he made Shri Godavari
Mataji stand on the same "Padukas" when she still was a small girl. So these "Padukas"
have a very special significance.
As you enter the temple, first idol that you see is of Shri Hanuman. This was the
same idol close to which Shri Baba stayed in a hut for few days when he first came
to Sakuri. Idol of Shri Ek Mukhi Datta which visitors now see was specially sculpted
by a famous sculptor from Jaipur in Sakuri itself under the supervision of Shri
Upasani baba himself. When Shri Godavari Mataji was watering plants, Shri Upasani
Baba called her and ordered her to pose for a photograph. Shri Baba directed the
sculptor to take the photograph and directed to carve the idol exactly as per the
photograph. This idol of "Ek Mukhi Datta" has the face of Shri Godavari Mataji,
dress is of that of the jute cloth as Shri Upasani Baba use to wear it. Since Shri
Saibaba is considered the reincarnation of Lord Vishu, to symbolize Shri Saibaba,
the idol has the four hands equipped with the symbols like "Shankha" (sea shell),
"Chakra" (round blade) , "Gada" (special traditional weapon ) and "Padma" (lotus).
So this idol of Shri Datta has a very special significance and unique importance
as it symbolizes the unity of Shri Saibaba, Shri Upasani Baba and Shri Godavari
Mataji, all the three great icons in this spiritual lineage.
This idol was established on "Paush Shuddha Ashtami" (8th day in the first half
of the month of "Paush" as per Hindu calendar) in year 1943. Since that day, the
birth anniversary of Shri Godavari Mataji and Shri Datta is celebrated on the same
day. Both Shri Upasani Baba and Shri Godavari Mataji has a special affection for
this temple. They always used to suggest to do any "Satkarma" ( pious activities)
in that temple. There used to be a non-stop ritual of the "namasmaran" (chanting
the holy name of lord) 24 hours. So the temple used to be always open. However,
now temple closes at night.
All the rituals in the Sthan take place first in the Datta Mandir. "Kakad Arti"
(first "Arti" of the day very early in the morning), "Madhyanna Arti" ("Arti" at
noon), "Shejarti" (last "Arti" of the day late at night), takes first in Datta Mandir
and then in "Zopdi".
Construction of the temple is done very beautifully with the historical architecture.
When Lord Sun is transitioning during in the month of March-April through the Zodiacs
of "Kumbha" (Sagittarius) and "Meen"(Pisces) as well as during the month of September-October
when transitioning through the Zodiacs of "Simha"(Leo) and "Kanya" (Virgo), that
is the only time when the rays of Sun directly fall on the face of Shri Ek Mukhi
Datta’s idol. At that time, it’s a beautiful experience to see Shri Datta’s idol
beaming with the bright shine on the face. Truly, this idol is very beautiful and
The people in Sakuri perform, with utmost zeal, the activities like "Sai Charitra
Parayan" ( recitation of the biography of Shri Saibaba), "Shri Dyaneshwari Parayan"
(recitation of the holy book of "Shri Dyaneshwari"), "Shri Gurucharitra Parayan"
(recitation of the biography of "Shri Dattatreya") around "Datta Jayanti" and "
Shri Hari Naam Saptaha" (literally meaning chanting the name of the Lord non-stop
for a week) in the temple.
On the day of "Datta Jayanti" ( celebration of the birth anniversary of Shri Datta)
celebrations include "Maha Puja" (literally meaning extended prayers), "Shri Guru
Geeta Pathan" (literally meaning the recitation of the holy book of "Shri Guru Geeta"),"Shri
Audumbar Pujan" ( literally meaning the prayers towards the "Audumber" tree), "Shri
Go Pujan" (literally meaning offering prayers to Cow) and "Shri Shwan Pujan" (literally
meaning offering prayers to Dog) and concluded by the " Kirtan" and " Shri Datta
Janma" (literally symbolizing the birth of Lord Shri Datta). (Note: All this prayers
to the tree, dog, cow are offered as these things are considered closest to Lord
Shri Datta and so considered very pious). Next day on the occasion of "Shri Datta
Jayanti" big program of "Shri Datta Prasad" takes place during which the food is
donated in huge quantities. When devotees look at the photo frames of Shri Upasani
Baba and Shri Godavari Mataji hung on the wall of the temple, devotees go back in
time of Shri Upasani Baba and Shri Godavari Mataji and experience their grace.
In the vicinity of Shri Datta temple, there are other temples of "Shri Ganapati",
" Shri Shanidev(Lord Saturn), "Shri Khandoba" temple. In the temple of Lord "Shri
Shankar" , the temples of "Vetal" (considered as controller of evil), "Mahamari"
(considered as controller of diseases), and "Lord of Plague" (the disease was considered
the evil force in olden days) are also established. Once when Sakuri was affected
by the Plague epidemic, Shri Upasani Baba personified the evil force of the disease
and gave them the respectful treatment by giving them the status of the lords so
that the epidemic does not cause the huge loss and established their temples in
Sakuri. Similary, during the epidemic, Shri Upasani Baba offered prayer to a big
brass bell and asked the people to ring the bell. He also gave a blessings and assured
the villagers of Sakuri that there would not be Plague or any such epidemic in the
area where the bell would be heard. And in really there was no epidemic in Sakuri
after than incidence.
There is a procession takes place every Thursday from Shri Datta temple to "Zopdi",
on some special occasions also include the decorated chariots.
Shri Datta Mandir is a unique place compared to the other places in the state of
Maharashtra and believed that Lord Shri Datta fulfills all the wishes of the devotees.
This temple has very special place in the hearts of devotees of Shri Upasani Kanyakumari
“Sakuri Ashram is the only place in the world where you can find a Dattatreya Idol
with singleface unlike other places where you will find Dattatreya idol with 3 faces".
Sakuri ashram is also the only place where poojas, Homas are performed by Ladies
which is not the practice in other parts of the world.