B. V. Narasimhaswami (1874–1956) never met Shirdi Sai Baba face to face, for he arrived in Shirdi eighteen years after Sai Baba’s death in 1918. However, the overwhelming sense of loving union he experienced in Shirdi convinced him that Sai Baba was still accessible from beyond the grave. For the remaining years of his life he worked relentlessly to spread Sai Baba’s name throughout India. This article examines the tension between inclusion and exclusion in Narasimhaswami’s interpretation of Sai Baba. Narasimhaswami believed that Sai Baba was a divinized guru with two interconnected missions: The spiritual uplift of individuals and the temporal uplift of India. I argue that while Narasimhaswami’s vision for independent India was broadly inclusive, seeking to bring together Hindus and Muslims, his advocacy of Hindu philosophy and ritual as the means for understanding and approaching Sai Baba promoted a divinization of this guru that has impacted his appeal to Hindus and non-Hindus in vastly different measures.
Journal of Hindu Studies
McLain, Karline. "Shirdi Sai Baba as Guru and God: Narasimhaswami’s Vision of the Samartha Sadguru." (2016) : 186-204.