When Shirdi Sai Baba was about 16 years old, he arrived in the village of Shirdi where nobody knew him. He stayed there all his life and lived extremely simply and soberly. First he found shelter in a temple but later he lived in a ruined mosque. From a villager in Shirdi he was given the name Sai (saint). Later people started calling him Baba (father).
His presence in Shirdi had an enormous attraction for the people. They started flocking to him. He performed miracles that could not be attributed to a mortal. Both Hindus and Muslims worshiped him. He also regularly recited Hindu and Muslim prayers. His Hindu followers regarded him as a reincarnation of Shiva and Dattatreya.
Shirdi Sai Baba has not left any written works. He conveyed all his teachings orally, in short, clear language. He preached tolerance and charity and taught the values of total surrender to the Almighty. His mystical appearance had a powerful effect on his followers.