I am trying to measure the vast ocean by taking in my hand a small shell. I say this because the life-story of Shri Swami Samartha is as vast as an ocean and as measureless as sky, while I am as tiny as a small drop of water or as insignificant as a particle of dust. However, the Almighty God, who is taking care even of an ant while having supreme power to destroy the whole universe takes the form of super-human being like Shri Swami Samarat and appears on the face of this earth only for the uplifting of the people. He is very kind though beyond the three aspects of nature, e.g. the Sattwa, the Rajas and the Tamas. This is the reason why I am enjoying the cool shade of the divine tree named Kalpa Vriksa, while I am writing this English version of the whole strange life of Shri Swami Samartha. What is being written is nothing but by the grace of Swamiji and this ocean becomes a pot full of nectar, which quenches the thirst of people.
The life time of Shri Swami Samartha belongs to a period in the history of India when the first battle for freedom in 1857 was lamentably unsuccessful and the power of England over Indian continent became more and more oppressive. There were many schemes and efforts being made by Christian missionaries to convert Hindus and Muslims alike into Christianity and lust for money and good financial income were used as lure to make them embrace the Christian religion. People began to think that the Christian religion and traditions are far better than their own Hindu and Indian tradition and culture. Many suppressive efforts were made to make people believe that their religion is bad. The religious leaders of Hindu were not so ardently interested in preventing conversions of for Social and financial welfare of common people. The sense of superiority of Hinduism and the notion that once a person is converted to any other religion, he becomes unfit and unworthy of reentering the so called pure Hindu religion was so strong that the efforts of missionaries and Muslims were not much countered. The claims of miracles done by Jesus were used by Christians to entice people to embrace Christianity. On them the Secondary effect of the life of Swami Samartha and later on miracles affected by Saibaba of Shridi and Gajanan Maharaj of Shegon was that people understood that even in this land and the native religion, there are great personages and saints, who can perform miracles far more wonderful than those described in the bible. These people, who wanted relief from poverty, diseases and difficulties in their lives did not turn towards Christianity, but took resort of Hindu saints. Thus when fight for freedom of India by popular violent movement was far away waiting for general Popular awakening, the wave of conversion was partly thwarted or stopped by these miracles. The effort of violent rebellion made by Vasudeo Balwant Phadke failed and it showed that the revolt of that kind could not be undertaken in those days. The British had kept various states under partial domination and partial autonomy and had spread their empire even in Burma, while having their political rule in India the oppressive nature of British governor-generals provoked later on the upsurge of patriotic and national feeling of unity, and injustice began to be questioned and in 1947, after half a century of various political movements, India saw political independence.
Thus the role of the saints in 19th century was, in the great plan of revolution, limited to miracles, awakening devotion confidence and faith in the minds of people towards religion and patriotism. There were some movements like Aarya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, Theosophical Society to bring about reforms in orthodox religion and social structure, were somewhat later happenings. They tried to continue improved social structure, divested of class-struggles, untouchability etc and ignorance was slowly replaced by understanding and tolerance, but they also resulted in mutual understanding and tolerance, but they also resulted in mutual understanding between the rulers and native people, but not so much for bringing about real social reforms. Deep thinkers like M.G Ranade used to say that the whole society, the whole nation was lying as cold as a stone.
Swami Samartha performed great miracles. He is very famous for his uncommon behaviour and harsh language, counter-balanced by his uncommon behaviour and harsh language, counter-balanced by his extreme kindness and great tolerance. He is believed to be the incarnation of Swami Nrisinha Saraswati and by inference the complete reappearance of Lord Datta. To begin at the beginning we learnt that he first became known in the northern part of India near a village by name Chhelli. He Called himself as Nrisinha Bhanu. In his young days, it is reported that he wandered all over northern India,Benga,Eastern India and later on he lived for sometime in Andhra.
Swami thus had a comprehensive idea of Indian culture and rural ignorant background of majority of people. He must have decided to take in hand the work of healing the diseases, removing the poverty and make life somewhat tolerable for the poor people of India by using his occult powers, which were equal to the Almighty God, who incarnated as Ram and Krishna etc. He was very kind but his words were, many a time very harsh and abusive. People, however were lucky to get from him such love and kindness as a grandfather or an uncle in their own house. The faithful devotees of even today who worship him constantly with faith have experienced many miracles which have saved their lives or warded off calamities.
There are hundreds of Ashramas and centres for public welfare and collective religious ceremonies like Bhajans, prayers, repeating of name of Swami Samartha and observing vital days of the life of Swami Samartha. Just to describe I am going to give a list of some well-known mathas, in this book.
Just as God is pervading all beings and things, it is a fact that Swami also occupies all such centres in his astral and mental that Swami also occupies all such centres in his astral and mental body and workers, and devotees feel his presence at times. He is there living like a person but having no physical body, at every monument, every temple, every matha and every place where his divine foot-wear is kept for worship. His mission of helping humanity is going on in full swing ever after his physical end. This belongs to the Sattwa quality of occultism, which is equal to 'piety'. The miracles are happening everywhere. I intended to give all such miracles for the information of the readers but have left that errand as impossibility. I have given some of them but not all. Readers will please excuse me!
In this book, I have given photographs of many articles used by Swami, and various temples and images. As many places and important environment of residences of Swami Samartha are shown in the tourist's guides, I have not included them here. Only some places in Akkalkot and some Pictures of Swami Samartha are given.
There is a Tehsil named Solapur in Maharashtra, which can be reached by rail from where state-transport buses are available to go to Akkalkot. Travellers can hire private taxis also. Akkalkot was an old town. In the times of Swami Samartha, it was a state under partial control of Indian Government ruled by British. Thought there are some places of interest from historical point of view, it is evident that for devotes the places of Samadhi and places, where he resided are sacred from spiritual point of view. For pilgrims, some places are available where they can have lodging and boarding facilities. Modern amenities are also available.
As regards this book, I wish to express thankfully my feelings of gratitude and narrate some facts about the writing, printing and publishing of this book. First of all I am thankful to all the writers and publishers of earlier books from which I have collected information and episodes about Swami Samartha. That book is in Hindi language in which effort of Shri Shukla and Shri Salwan from Kalyan were very helpful. For this English Book, Jyoti Dhawle must be thanked for commissioning me for the task of writing this book partly being the translation and partly being more material collected by me. Thanks are also offered to Miss Kalyani Bhave my grand-daughter who wrote down the manuscript dictated by me.
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