Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism

Unravelling The Enigma,
by Marianne Warren
{Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism) An excerpt form pages 109-110.
Sai Baba did not formally align himself with any established Sufi orders, although he had a number of features in common with the Chishtiyya order. Audition, or the use of music to induce trance, mystical experience or absorption in God, was known as sama by the Chishtis, and was encouraged by them, though discouraged by other Sufi Orders. Sai Baba, it is recorded, used to sing Persian and Urdu songs and dance in the village takya or Muslim rest house in his younger days in Shirdi. Later in his life, he encouraged musical sessions and the singing of devotional songs, qawwalis, bhajans and kirtans in his presence. Das Ganu told Narasimhaswami, ‘Baba occasionally sang Musalmani songs that I could not understand.’ In 1913 Sai Baba showed his familiarity with Chishti masters, such as Habi Balishah Chishti Nizami, through a discussion with the latter’s follower, Abdul Rahim Rangari. This master was well-known for his love of music, and was accompanied by musicians whenever he traveled. In this conversation Sai Baba indicates that on the previous night he was very moved by the devotional music
The night previous to his coming there was plenty of music and Baba said that he wept all night. “They abused me”, Baba said. Rangan understood that by abuse Baba meant that he was completely absorbed. Rangari then said, “One who loves God would weep, laugh, or dance as the songs in praise of God go on.” Baba said “Just so. You are right. Have you your own Guru?’ Rangari said, “Yes, Habi Balishah Chishti Nizami.” Baba said, “That is why you understand”  ….(music is used as a help to trance)

Unravelling The Enigma,
by Marianne Warren
{Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism) An excerpt form page 139.
Das Ganu, the famous kirtankar of Sai Baba, was a staunch devotee of Vitthala who made regular trips to Pandharpur. According to the hagiography, one day Sai Baba turned to Das Ganu and asked him to hold a seven-day namasaptah or repetition of God’s name. Das Ganu agreed on condition that Vitthala would manifest at the end of the seven days. Sai Baba touched his chest in agreement saying: “Yes indeed the image of Vitthala will manifest but you should have total devotion to Vitthala. Vitthala will then, out of love for his devotee, give darshan by granting a vision of himself”.