Vinny Chitliri – a Walking Encyclopedia on Sai Baba
Vinny Chitluri is a multi faceted Sai Personality. She is an eminent Writer, Researcher and Social Service Activist who is popular amongst Sai devotees around the world as “Walking Encyclopedia on Sai Baba.” She is very unassuming in nature and loves and treats Sai Baba as her “Best Friend”.
Vinny Chitluri was born in Arvankadu ( Nilgiris ) in the year 1943 and was educated in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. She did her Post Graduation in Paediatrics from Kalawati Seren Hospital, Delhi. She then went to the US and was conferred the “Diplomat of the American Academy of Paediatrics “ on passing the board examination.
While in the US, she reflected on her karmic bonds with her family . As her father worshipped Baba, She too has been doing so for over 61 years.Her father took her to Parama Poojya Shri.B.V. Narasimha Swamiji in the year 1949 when her mother was sick. She was fortunate to have sat on Shri.Narasimha Swamiji ‘s lap. Her relationship with Baba is that of “ Best friend” who loves her unconditionally.
While she was doing her Post Graduation, she had undertaken a vow to serve Sai Baba. But after some time she forgot her vow. Later when she was in the US, she remembered her vow, decided to quit everything. Accordingly, she retired from the medical profession at the age of 50 , came to Shirdi in 1994 and settled there. Initially she tried to become a doctor and tried for that position at Shri Sainath Hospital, Shirdi hoping to serve Sai devotees by serving in the Medical field. But, she did not get any position in Shri Sainath Hospital. She realized that Baba had different plans for her and hence she offered her Doctorate Degree Certificates to Sai Baba’s Samadhi in Shirdi and then she set about trying to know more about Baba. She has met many Sai Mahabhaktas like Das Ganu, Lakshmi Bai Shinde, Dattatreya Nimonkar, Uddhav Deshpande (Shyama’s Son), Ramachandra Adkar (Madhav Adkar’s Son) and many more. After meeting many a Mahabhaktas and their descendants and after personally interviewing them she soon realized that “the more she learned about him the more ignorant she was”. it would take many lives to understand this inscrutable god, So her quest is ongoing and will be ongoing one forever!!
Books by Vinny Chitluri:
She has done extensive research and has written many authenticated Books on Sai Baba. She brought out her first Book titled “Ambrosia in Shirdi” in the year 2000. Her second Book titled “Ambrosia in Shirdi-Part I–Baba’s Leelas before 1918” was published in the year 2002. Then she kept herself busy in doing extensive research on Sai Baba. During this time she visited the houses of many Sai Mahabhaktas, interviewed their descendants and collected lots of information on Sai Baba and the Mahabhaktas. Then after a long gap of 5 years, she brought out another masterpiece titled “Baba’s Rinanubandh-Leelas during His sojourn in Shirdi” in the year 2007. This was followed by “Baba’s Vaani-His Sayings and Teachings” in the year 2008. This Book was so much in demand by the Sai devotees that it got reprinted again in the same year. “Baba’s Gurukul-Shirdi” was her next book which got released in the year 2009. This book was followed by “Baba’s Anurag – Love for His Devotees” in the year 2010. Then again after a gap of 4 years and after extensive research she brought out “Baba’s Divine Symphony” – A collection of some very rare Leelas of Sai Baba in the year 2014.
Baba’s Gurukul, Baba’s Anurag and Baba’s Rinanubandh have been translated into Hindi language and is getting translated to Kannada language as well and will be available shortly. Her latest book Baba’s Divine Symphony has been translated into Kannada language.
Photo Exhibitions and Slide Shows:
After her return from the US, she kept her self busy in doing extensive research on Sai Baba and collected lot of original photographs of Sai Baba, Mahabhaktas, Shirdi and other places connected with Shri Sai Baba. With this rare collection of photographs, she travelled across the length and breadth of India and did many Photo Exhibitions and Slide Shows on Shri Sai Baba at various Sai Baba Temples.
Social Service Activities of Vinny Chitluri:
Vinny Chitluri is one of the key members who were responsible for building a Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Korhale village near shirdi ( about 10 kms west of Shirdi). The specialty of this temple is that there is no Baba’s murthy installed in the mandir. Instead only Sai Baba’s life size photograph has been installed in the mandir.
Shri Sai Baba has advocated that “Manava Seva is Madhava Seva” – meaning Service to Sai Devotees is Service to Sai. Keeping this in mind the Temple Trust is carrying out lot of social service activities throughout the year.
Every year during special festival occasions like Sri Ramanavami, Guru Poornima, Vijayadashmi there is a steady stream of Padayatris from Mumbai,Pune and other places. The Padayatris have to pass through the Korhale Sai Baba Mandir situated in this route only. They take a break and stay in this beautiful temple. A big hall named after Sai Mahabhakte Radhakrishna Mayee namely “Radhakrishna Mayee Hall”was built and got inaugurated recently.
The highlight of this temple is that there is an original padukas of Shri Sai Baba. On the 6th of May 2004, Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan set about widening the “ Palkhi Road ”. The front portion of Narasimha Lodge was slated to be broken. In that portion the Padukas were partly embedded in the wall. The Padukas are over a hundred years old. Unlike most Padukas they are not raised, but etched in the stone. It looks as though when Baba stood on the stone, the sculptor etched the contour of his feet on the stone. They are the original Padukas of Baba. In front of the Padukas, there is a small hollow cup like structure. It is said that Baba during his Bhiksha rounds stood there and fed the birds, crows and dogs, from the food collected. He then poured the liquid collected in that hollow cup. Sometimes he poured water in it so that the birds could drink it. Vinny Chitluri took these holy Padukas with the permission of Shri Sai Baba Sansthan. The holy padukas were finally installed on the auspicious day of Guru Poornima in the year 2004.
Some of the Social Service Activities carried out by the Korhale Temple Trust under the able guidance of Vinny Chitluri are:
- The Trust celebrates every festival, without religious bias. The three main festivals of Baba are celebrated, as it’s done in Shirdi.
- The Trust help the villagers e.g. take the sick to the hospital often the patients are brought to the Sai Baba Hospital Shirdi.
- Blood donation drive is carried out twice a year when all the youngsters donate blood.
- Medical camp is held by the Trust. The doctors comes once a month and give free treatment and medicines to the needy patients.
- Eye Camps are held occasionally when Baba devotee Ophthalmologists does free service. This facility is not done on a regular basis as it is hard for the doctor to bring all the heavy equipments.
- The Trust is doing exceptional Pad Yatri Seva. Many pilgrims walk to Shirdi with or without Palkhis stop at the temple to have a bath. They are given tea and snacks before proceeding to Shirdi.
- The Trust Members go personally to Mumbai during Ram Navami every year with First Aid, medicines, and an Ambulance and render service to those pilgrims walking from Mumbai to Shirdi.
- The village has a lot of snakes and scorpions Those patients bitten by the reptiles are brought by the temple volunteers to be admitted at Shirdi. They also help in getting the anti venom vaccines for these patients.
- The Trust works closely with The Primary Health Center. Many villagers suffer from Tuberculosis. The volunteers take them to the D O T S. Center collect the medicines, and see that it is taken on time, they also bring the patients for their check-ups if they are unable to do so.
- There are many children of migrant workers and labourers. Often the parents work as labourers. Hence many children are undernourished and not looked after properly by their parents. The young lads are encouraged by the Trust Members to take courses at the Shirdi ITI so that they can graduate as Electricians, Welders & Plumbers.
- In keeping with Baba’s Teachings, there is emphasis on Annadaan. School children are often given milk and snacks on many occasions.
Vinny Chitluri’s love towards Baba is something unique and extraordinary which cannot be expressed in words.
Even though Vinny Chitluri has crossed Seventy years, still if any Sai devotee who is truly interested wants to know and understand more about Shri Sai Baba, she welcomes them with open heart and gives authenticated information about Shri Sai Baba. At the same time, if any devotee goes to her with false prestige and ego, they will not be entertained by her as she believes in “Unconditional Surrender to SAI BABA with No EGO” as the basic qualification to become a Sai Devotee.
The information provided by Vinny Chitluri in her Books is completely authenticated as she cross checks the information with many sources, verifies them thoroughly and then only puts them in writing.
To conclude, we Sai devotees should be proud to have a Sai Personality like Vinny Chitluri amongst us because she has dedicated her entire life for doing extensive research on Shri Sai Baba and guiding all of us in right direction.