Lakshmi Bai hailed from a village near Yeola. At the tender age of thirteen, she married Tukaram Patil Shinde, and came to Shirdi. She had two sons named Tatya and Nana. Lakshmi Bai Shinde's husband was a Revenue Officer, and the British had conferred the title of "Mulki Patil" (village officer) on him.
She was widowed at a very young age, so all the responsibility fell on her young shoulders. Lakshmibai looked after her children, her farmland, and undertook the job of Mulki Patil. Meticulously she collected taxes and deposited it at the office at Ragoba Dada Wada (building's name). The British were very pleased with her dedication and gave her a stipend. Lakshmi Bai was a well-to-do woman. She owned her own home (Ref: Shri.Arun Gaikwad, "Sai Baba Vishesh Ank)
Lakshmi Bai was working in the Masjid day and night. Except Bhagat Mhalasapati, Tatya and Lakshmibai, none was allowed to step in the Masjid at night. Once while Baba was sitting in the Masjid with Tatya in the evening, Lakshmibai came and saluted Baba. The latter said to her - "Oh Lakshmi, Iam very hungry." Off she went saying- "Baba, wait a bit, I return immediately with bread." She did return with bread and vegetables and placed the same before Baba. He took it up and gave it to a dog. Lakshmibai then asked - "What is this, Baba, I ran in haste, prepared bread with my own hands for You and You threw it to a dog without eating a morsel of it; You gave me trouble unnecessarily." Baba replied - "Why do you grieve for nothing? The appeasement of the dog's hunger is the same as Mine. The dog has got a soul; the creatures may be different, but the hunger of all is the same, though some speak and others are dumb. Know for certain, that he who feeds the hungry, really serves Me with food. Regard this as an exiomatic Truth." This is a ordinary incident but Baba thereby propounded a great spiritual truth and showed its practical application in daily life without hurting anybody's feelings. From this time onward Lakshmibai began to offer Him daily bread and milk with love and devotion. Baba accepted and ate it appreciatingly. He took a part of this and sent the remainder with Lakshmibai to Radha- Krishna-Mai who always relished and ate Baba's remnant prasad. This bread-story should not be considered as a digression; it shows, how Sai Baba pervaded all the creatures and and transcended them. He is omnipresent, birthless, deathless and immortal.(Ref: Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 42). After this incident Lakshmi Bai often brought Bhakar and milk with which she lovingly fed Baba.
Lakshmi Bai's house is on the left side of the lane that goes from the Dwarakamai to Tajin Khan's Darga.
Baba's Photograph in Lakshmi Bai's House
Lakshmi Bai’s Statue
Inside the house is a small shrine with Lakshmi Bai’s statue, in front of which are the nine coins enclosed in a glass top box. On Vijayadashmi day in the year 1918 before Baba took Mahasamadhi, he put His hand in His pocket and gave her Rs.5/- then Rs.4/- totaling Rs.9/- indicative of nine types of devotion namely Shravana, Kirtana, Smarana, Charana Sevana, Archana, Vandana, Dasya, Sakhya and Atma Nivedana. (Ref: Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 21 and Chapter 42).
Another Interpretation of 9 Coins could be as follows: The number 5 could be the "Panch Indiriyas". They are the "Karmendriyas" and there are 5 "Jnanendriyas". These Indriyas are the casue of Joy and Sorrow. The 4 rupees could also mean the "Ego Complex" that is Manas, Buddhi, Aham and Chitta.
If the above mentioned are placed in Baba's hands or lay at His feet, It is "Total Sharanagati" or "Total Surrender". Baba through Lakshmi Bai is teaching us to totally surrender ourselves to Him.
Lakshmi Bai’s Samadhi
Lakshmi Bai Shinde took Samadhi on 2nd June 1963. She died peacefully after Shej Aarti. Prior to her demise, she asked her relatives to read aloud Chapter 42 of the holy Shri Sai Satcharitra (Ref: Shri.Arun Gaikwad, Sai Baba Vishesh Ank). The Samadhi of Lakshmi Bai is in front of her home. It is enclosed in a small shrine.
Lakshmi Bai Samadhi Outerview
Lakshmi Bai's Samadhi
In 2009, her descendants, had removed the old shrine and Samadhi as they propsed to build a grand shrine and Samadhi.
Lakshmi Bai Shinde's descendants are still living in that house.
(Source: Holy Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 21, Chapter 42 and Baba's Anurag by Vinny Chitluri)