Jai Sai! Jai Gurudev Dutta! Jai Sreepada Srivallabha! Jai Shri Narasimha Sarawati!
Today’s post is dedicated to Shri Narasimha Saraswati, the second incarnation of Lord Dattatreya in Kaliyuga.
Shri Narasimha Sarawati was born in the year 1378 A.D. in Karanjapur (also known as Sri Kshetra Karanja or Lad Karanja, in the state of Maharashtra, India), on Pushya Suddha Vidiya (Paush Shukla Paksha Dwitiya) the second day of the waxing phase of moon in Paush month as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in Maharashtra, which usually comes in January/February as per the Gregorian calendar. This year it is on January 4th.
References From Sri Srīpāda Srīvallabha Charitāmrutam
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Lord Srīpāda was the first incarnation of Lord Dattatreya in Kaliyuga. Lord Srīpāda took Jal Samadhi in Krishna river. Lord Srīpāda announced that Lord will incarnate again as Srī Narasimha Saraswati. Here are multiple references from Sri Srīpāda Srīvallabha Charitāmrutam to provide key details:
“My dear Shankar Bhatt, the time has come for Me to hide this gross body. I will disappear in the Krishna River. I will be moving in disguise in this Kurungadda. After that, I will come again with the name of Narasimha Saraswati to restore the order of asceticism. (page 541)
Lord Srīpāda said I will be born as Srī Narasimha Saraswati in Mīna lagna. I will display many miracles in Gandharvanagar (Ganagapura) and will remain for 300 years in tapo samādhi in the Kadali Vana of SrīShaila. After that, I will live in Prajnapura (Akkalkot) with the name of Swamī Samartha and will leave My mortal body when Saturn enters Mīna rāsi.’ (page 103)
Lord Srīpāda Srīvallabha and Srī Narasimha Saraswati are the two incarnations of Srī Datta who came into this universe with two important missions: to suppress the pride of those who abuse God and to protect the devotees, just like the eyelids protect the eyes. There is nothing that is not possible for Srīpāda.” (page 168)
The incarnation of Srī Narasimha Saraswati will take place during midday in the Abhijīt lagna
“Lord Srīpāda arrived during dawn. During dawn, all the powers of the Sun God shine forth at once and purify all creatures. Their soul is a replica of the Sun. This indicates the development and awaking of an infinite variety of powers within the creatures. The midday Sun is the form of a fierce and terrible raging fire. The purpose of the incarnation of Srī Narasimha Saraswati is to make the solar soul spread out abundantly and freely with complete powers and awaken all living beings. These matters relate to His consciousness, which spreads all over the universe (page 175)
When I incarnate as Narasimha Saraswati, I will be born with an exact resemblance of my maternal grandfather Srī Bāpanārya. Just as he redeems ghosts and spirits by sprinkling water from his copper pot, I will drive away ghosts and spirits troubling My devotees who visit My Gandharvanagar (Ganagapura; village in the Kalaburagi district of Karnataka) during My incarnation as Narasimha Saraswati. I will grant noble positions to those ghosts and spirits.
One should not be arrogant simply because he is wealthy. The wealth with you should be pure. Otherwise, you will have sorrows. If you are proud that you are holy, you are not at all holy. I have all your accounts with Me. I cancelled the results of your sinful deeds out of compassion. If you are discouraged that you are a sinner and if you seek My refuge and call Me with love “Srīpāda Dattā! Srīvallabha Digambarā!, ” I will in a trice burn all your sins and make you virtuous. (page 258)
“I want to make the name of My father, who is my first guru and the one who initiated Me into the Gayatri mantra, eternal. Therefore, My next incarnation will take the word Narasimha from the name of My father, with the added appellation Saraswati, and will be known as Narasimha Saraswati. I desire to render the form of My grandfather Bāpanārya long-lasting. For that purpose, the figure of Narasimha Saraswati will exactly resemble My grandfather in all respects. My grandfather is My second guru. (page 297).
Story of Lord Narasimha Saraswati’s Birth
Ref: Shri Guru Charitra by Acharya E. Bharadwaja
Namadharaka eagerly asked Siddha to recount to him all about the next manifestation of Lord Datta. Siddha replied, “Indeed, the divine acts of this second avatar cannot be completely comprehended even by great yogis. So, remember that however much I might narrate them, my account is bound to be fragmentary and incomplete. I have told you that earlier, Sreepada Swami told a brahmin lady to devote her life to the worship of Lord Siva. She did accordingly and, as a result of it, she was born in North India in a pious family and was named Amba. She grew up into a handsome, chaste girl and she was married to a pious young man by the name of Madhava Sharma. She was devoted, heart and soul, to the service of her husband. His noble company added to the holy tendencies she developed as a result of her spiritual discipline in her previous life. She now became an ardent devotee of Shiva. In course of time, she gave birth to a son. The child did not cry, as is usual, at birth. On the other hand, the only sound he uttered was ‘Om’ (Aum) and everyone there was amazed at it. Astrologers assured Madhava Sharma that their child was indeed an avatar of the Lord. They also prophesied that he would renounce all worldly ties and that he would uplift the fallen souls. They said that Madhava Sharma was indeed blessed by the birth of such a child.
The news that this child uttered the sacred syllable immediately at birth spread to the neighboring cities and towns. Devout men and women came to see the child in great numbers. At the proper time, the child was named Narahari. The name signified that he was the dispeller of the sins and miseries of human beings.
The child Narahari grew up to be a handsome boy of five, but he could not speak and the parents were very much worried about it. One day, the boy conveyed to them through gestures that he wished to be invested with the sacred thread. Accordingly, Madhava Sharma performed the sacred thread ceremony of his son at an early age. Young Narahari learned the Gayatri Mantra, adopted the vows of a young celibate (Brahmacharya), accepted the first offering of food from his mother’s hands, and at once recited the three Vedas. It was evident that He was indeed the Master of all sacred Wisdom. He then paced thrice round his parents with all the reverence due to them, as the physical representatives of the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God, the Creator and Sustainer; and as representatives of God, the Father, Mother and Teacher of all humanity and said: “Owing to the profound realization that the human body is impermanent, dispassion has come over me. So please permit me to renounce all worldly ties and dedicate my entire life to the highest wisdom. As I am endowed with a keen understanding and steadfast discrimination, I am not in danger of swerving from my spiritual path. You need not worry about my life”.
The parents were shocked at his words and wept, saying, “You are our only child. If you desert us in this fashion, who is to take care of us in our old age, and of our welfare in the realms beyond death?* You may as well renounce the world after leading the life of a house-holder for some time, and, after begetting sons.” Narahari replied, ‘Mother, scriptures ordain that one should renounce the world only after living as a house-holder for some time. But this is imperative only in the case of those who cannot conquer their desires. But owing to my previous state of existence, I am endowed with innate dispassion even at my birth. So, I do not want to enjoy the objects of the senses which can only lead to misery. So, I shall pass on from the state of celibacy directly to the life of a sannyasi. Thereby, I shall only confirm my perfection. Indeed, there is no nobler course than this to one who is endowed with discrimination. In this age of Kali, the average span of life granted to man is a mere hundred years. Half of it is spent in sleep. Part of the rest is spent away in the ignorance of boyhood and the waywardness of youth. Another large chunk of it is frittered away in the service of the family and kinsfolk. The senility of old age gobbles up another portion of what little is left to him. But, after all, wealth, family ties, and responsibilities are as unreal as a dream. Youth is transient as a flower that soon withers. This life is very short when viewed in the light of its only purpose of it, i.e., Self-realization. The wheel of time destroys all forms of life, including the gods, relentlessly. To be emotionally attached to anything in this phenomenal world amounts to mere self-betrayal and is self-defeating too. This body, with the skin as its surface layer, flesh, bones, and the blood within, is as frail a structure as a water bubble. Excessive fondness for one’s wife and children is the root of all other evil tendencies. In itself, this body of ours is made of inanimate matter and is ever-changing and perishable. Only the ‘Self’ within is eternal and is our only true being. Joys and sorrows of worldly life are merely relative, subjective, and are therefore illusory experiences to the realized. Man can break the fetters of this illusion only through the grace of the guru. He who is born as a noble brahmin and yet does not do anything to secure liberation from this illusion deceives himself. Therefore, Oh mother, do not hinder me in my resolve. You shall be blessed with some more children. Go on meditating on me and thereby you shall cross the ocean of misery and ignorance too’. So saying, Narahari again blessed His mother with the vision of his divine form.
She perceived it through the eye of wisdom and was at once reminded of her previous birth. So she said to the Lord: ‘Holy one, you are indeed Lord Sreepada, who, in my previous life, saved me from my unwise resolve to commit suicide. I bow before you. Your glory cannot be comprehended in its fullness even by the four-faced Brahma. How then can I, a deluded mortal, know it? Even this little wisdom was bestowed on me by your grace and as a result of my good fortune. You are, indeed, the Unbounded One. All the universes have their being in your infinite expanse. To say that you are born to me as my son is but a fallacy; for you are eternal. But the whole of my ancestry and that of my husband are sanctified by your birth in our family. Yours is the omnipotent will. I shall not hinder your resolve to renounce the world for the welfare of all sentient beings. Bless me that this glorious vision of your divine form is forever impressed on my heart. You have assured me that I shall be blessed with a few more children. Pray, stay with us, at least till such time!’ Lord Narahari graciously acceded to her request and stayed away. The blessed couple used to worship the Lord every day with full awareness of his divinity. Many were the learned who flocked to him for the elucidation of intricate questions in scriptural knowledge. Many of them got their doubts clarified and attained Self-realization. This is no task to one who could uplift even the dull-witted. In course of time, Amba was blessed with the birth of twins. When they were three months old, Narahari said to his mother, ‘Mother, you are now blessed with these two children. You shall have two more sons and a daughter. Please permit me to renounce the world now’. She consented. He covered his head with a piece of cloth, put on wooden sandals, covered his body with the ochre robe, and wore a codpiece. Taking a staff in his hand, he set out from his home in joy.
On his way to Badrinath, Narahari reached the Holy Varanasi (Kasi) in the guise of a seeker after liberation. There, at a secluded spot, he sat in the yogic posture of Vajrasana and restrained his vital breath. He assumed the yogic gesture (mudra) of khecheri and meditated on the subtle internal sound of nada. The sages of that holy place recognized him to be the Lord himself, prostrated to him, and addressed him thus: ‘Holy one, you have assumed a human form in order to re-establish the pristine purity and dignity of the great institution of sannyasa. It was formally established by Sree Sankaracharya of yore and is now in a fallen state, almost non-existent in its true form. May you propagate it again! The wicked who are deluded by the dark age of Kali, unable to recognize the bliss of Self-realization, have come to shun the blessed sannyasa. Even though it is terrible to the faint- hearted, this age of Kali is capable of bestowing bliss much more easily than the other ages. Pray, secure for us this supreme path to Bliss!’
Granting their wish, Lord Narahari, in accordance with holy tradition, resorted to His Holiness Swami Krishna Saraswathi as his guru and from him took the vow of sannyasa. Henceforth, he came to be known as Sri Nrisimha Saraswathi.
Activities for Lord Narasimha Saraswati’s Jayanthi Celebrations
To celebrate Lords’s birthday, some activities suggested
- Naam Jaap (Chanting of Holy name / Mantras) (108 times or upto individual)
“ ‘Datta Digambarā! Srīpādavallabha Digambarā! Narasimha Saraswati Digambarā!’ “
- Parayan of Chapters of Sri Guru Charitra in which the birth of Lord Narasimha Saraswati is mentioned and reading leelas of the Lord.
- Chapter 11 of Shri Guru Charitra (https://www.saibaba.us/texts/gurucharitra/chpt11.html)
- Chapter 8 of translation of Shri Guru Charitra by Acharya E. Bharadwaja (https://shirdisaiparivaar.org/drupal/uploads/2013/05/Guru-Charitra.pdf)
- Donation of Food to needy in the name of Lord Dutta
- Recitation of Narasimha Saraswati Ashtakam and singing bhajans (e.g. Jagatvandya Avdhoot Digambar) of Lord Dattatreya
Further, we request readers and devotees to consider taking the Parayan of the holy book Sri Guru Charitra to read a few pages daily or one chapter or do seven-day parayan.
Resources on Nitya Mangal Aarti, Prayers/Strotras & Darshan of Lord’s Birthplace
Here are some resources available on youtube and other websites to listen to life history and prayers / aarti of Lord Narasimha Saraswati and also doing virtual darshan of Sri Kshetra Karanjapur
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx1M54mQuQg (marathi)
Marathi Movie, covering life of Lord Narasimha Saraswati
Narasimha Saraswati (Sriguru) Asthakam
Jai GuruDev Dutta!
Jai Srīpāda Srivallabha!
Jai Shri Naramsimha Sarawati!
You might like to read this book: ShirdiChe Sai Baba