“Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu
Gurur Devo Maheshwara
Gurur Sakshat Para Brahma
Tasmaye Shri Guruvaiya Namah”
Gurusthan means ‘the place where the Guru resides’. Since the Gurusthan at Shirdi has a neem tree under which Sai Baba used to rest, it was but natural to expect one at its replica in Shirgaon. Luckily for Shri Deole, the patch of land selected as the temple’s site had six neem trees, and the one found to be the most suitable according to Vaastu Shastra was earmarked. And around it was built the Gurusthan.
Besides the neem tree, the Gurusthan houses a pair of marble padukas enshrined atop a pedestal, a ‘Shivalinga’ and a photograph of Shri Swami Samarth.
Placed atop a stand, a small dhuni, signifying the sacred fire, glows gently in front of the shrine here. Until recently it was kindled every day by embers brought from the main dhuni at the mosque. Now, however, this is done only on Thursdays and Fridays.
The neem tree at the Gurusthan is not just another tree. Devotees do pradakshinas around the tree (and thereby the shrine). Many devotees discover that Gurusthan is an ideal place to sit quietly. And some regard the tree as a symbol of the Guru’s grace under which humanity takes shelter and receives protection. Indeed, Sai Baba once commented that His devotees are simply resting in the shade of the neem tree while he bears the brunt of their deeds.