Shri Pada Shri Vallabha Swamy

From time to time, Lord Dattatreya, the Cosmic Principle of the Divine Teacher, incarnates in a human body to enable humans to relate to him and get uplifted. In a previous Age, a group of sages guided by Sage Bharadwaja conducted a great ritual to the Sun and prayed for an incarnation of the Lord. In fulfilment of the promise given by Lord Dattatreya to the group of sages, he decided to incarnate in the present Dark Age (the age of Kali) as Shri Pada Shri Vallabha.

Shri Pada Shri Vallabha is an Indian guru from the tradition of Lord Dattatreya. He is the first complete incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. His incarnation took place in the year 1320 AD in Sri Pithapuram (today known as Pithapuram), near Andhra Pradesh, India.

Shri Pada Shri Vallabha stands as a paragon of excellence among incarnations. His incarnation was very much necessary for those whose hearts were polluted by the dark age of Kali, for those whose actions were conditioned by destiny, for those who live by sinful money, and for all the human beings in the Kali Yuga. He is a great treasure of compassion, a personification of ‘Punya’ (good deeds), and a person with a very holy history. He is admired in the world as an expression of the highest spirituality. No one is equal to Shri Pada Shri Vallabha in removing all kinds of devotees’ impurities, and imparting them peace when they visit, remember, worship, or meditate upon Him.

In the words of Shri Pada himself, “Undoubtedly, I am Datta. As you have a body, I also came with a body to enable you to recognize Me. But I am formless and without attributes. I will constantly take care of the welfare of those who adore Me with pure devotion, who cast all their burdens on Me, and seek total surrender from Me.”

When one’s previous birth’s sins are annihilated, one will be blessed to learn about Lord Dattatreya and His Divine Incarnations. One will experience His presence everywhere. The unique characteristic of Lord Datta and His Divine Manifestations is not to terminate the evildoers but to transform and make them follow the path of knowledge.

Life History

Shri Pada Shri Vallabha was born to a pious couple named Ghandikota Appala Lakshmi Narasimha Raja Sharma and Sumathi Maharani as their third son. Sripāda had two elder brothers named Sridhara Sharma (born blind) & Rama Raja Sharma (born lame), and three younger sisters – Srividyadhari, Radha & Surekha. Appala Raja Sharma was a great devotee of Lord Datta and lived the life of a priest.

One day, when Appala Raja Sharma was preparing for the anniversary (shrardha karma – a yearly ceremony to pay homage to the departed souls) of his father, a sage with a divine glow on his face came seeking alms. Sumathi Maharani, moved by the lustre on His face, offered food to Him even though the Brahmins had not had their food. (During such rituals, the guests (Brahmins) who partake in such ceremonies are to be given the utmost priority, and no one else should be offered food until the rituals are over and Brahmins are fed.) Pleased by the gesture of Sumathi Maharani, the sage said, “Oh Mother, do you have any wishes?” Sumathi Maharani prayed, “Since you called me Mother, I would be extremely blessed if I had a son of your light and radiance.” Suddenly the sage turned into a sixteen-year-old boy and said, “Mother! I am Sripāda Srivallabha. I myself will be born to you.” Thus, Shri Pada announced his arrival to his mother, Sumathi Maharani, even before he was born.

The grandparents of Shri Pada Shri Vallabha once belonged to the Malyadri village of Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh state in India. Malladi Bapanna Avadhanulu a.k.a. Bapanaarya is the maternal grandfather, and Rajamamba is the maternal grandmother of Sripāda. Bapanaarya was also known as Satya Rusheeshwara (the upholder of truth). There was another great scholar by the name Malladi Sridhara Avadhanulu who was the brother of Rajamamba. Once Bapanaarya and Sridhara Avadhanulu performed a sacred yagna [fire] in ‘Ainavilli’ (a village in Andhra Pradesh) and were blessed with the appearance of Lord Ganapati during the poornahuti (sacred offering of completeness). This was witnessed by everyone present. Lord Ganapati accepted the offering and declared that he would be appearing as Sripāda Srivallabha on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Shri Pada Shri Vallabha Miraculous Birth Phenomena

It was on Ganesh Chaturthi day (celebrated as the day on which Lord Ganesha descended to Earth from the Mount Kailasa with his mother Gowri/ Parvathi) in the year 1320 A.D, Tuesday, the 9th of September as per Gregorian calendar, that a son was born as their 3rd child to Sumathi Maharani and Appala Raja Sharma in Pithapuram. He came out of the mother’s womb as a dazzling illumination. Sumati Maharani fainted immediately after He was born. Auspicious musical notes from diverse musical instruments were heard from the labour room. After some time, an invisible voice warned all people to leave the room. Then the four Vedas, eighteen Puranas [the form of the holy scriptures] and holy persons arrived in the shape of brilliant lights to greet and honour Shri Pada. When Shri Pada was born, a cobra with three hoods appeared, and for the next eighteen days held its hoods as an umbrella of protection wherever He was.

Immediately after his birth, Shri Pada began chanting Omkara (the primordial sound of OM). Even while he was in the cradle, he used to speak at length in the language of Sanskrit. When he was a month old, he could walk freely. He was aptly given the name Shri Pada (Feet of God) because he carried the most sublime symbols of a conch and a wheel on his feet. Accompanied by his grandfather, he attended several councils of the scholars and fluently spoke about various Shastras (books containing manual of instructions or standards of discipline)

From the time of his birth, Shri Pada appeared to different people in forms of different ages, often as a boy of sixteen years of age. He was also very humorous and playful, and he conducted many extraordinary supernatural acts from the age of one year. He did many miracles, changed outdated rituals, and transformed numerous people in the village of Pithikapuram. It is a beauty in the life of Shri Pada that when a person had deficiencies, and he healed them in miraculous ways, he always gave the karmic reasons for their flaws and suggested rectifications. He could see the past lives of the beings, and he even saw humans incarnating in the form of a bull or a cow. He also gave many prophecies and spoke about his future incarnations and of others.

Shri Pada stayed with his parents until he was 16 years old. When he first gave darshan as a sage to Sumathi Maharani (before he was born), he told her clearly that they should not think of performing his marriage after taking birth as Shri Pada, and if they tried to do, he would certainly leave the house. At the age of sixteen, when his parents asked him to marry, he replied, “I have greater purposes to fulfill; therefore, I seek your permission to leave the house.” His mother, Sumathi, said, “You are the only able son we have. Your elder brothers, one blind, the other lame, cannot be offered a woman. If you do not marry and leave the house, our lineage will not continue. You are the only one.” Then Shri Pada touched both his two brothers and made them normal in an instant. He gave eyesight to the eldest brother and took away the lameness from the other one. Then Shri Pada said, “Now your two sons are eligible for marriage. Please permit me to leave.” He also explained that he has a sister called Vāsavi (a female consort of Shri Pada). She is the same essence taking to a female form. Saying thus, he left Pithikapuram and became an ascetic, a wandering mendicant.

About Vasavi aka Vasavi Devi or Vasavi Kanyaka Parameshwari

She is the female aspect of the indwelling God, Vaasudeva (Lord Krishna, who is an avatar of Maha Vishnu was called Vaasudeva, denoting he is the son of Vasudev). Vāsavi, the Universal Mother, is a virgin, meaning she is pure nature. Like Shri Pada, who is a youth of sixteen years, she is described as a woman of sixteen years, meaning sixteen dimensions. The World Mother is worshipped in various forms such as Durga, or Radha in the Krishna system. In South India, Vāsavi is worshipped as Kanyaka Kumari (maiden).

To safeguard her purity from an assault of a demonic incarnation, Vasavi once walked into the fire, together with 112 couples from the Vaishya (businessmen) community. She then gave the promise that she will eternally stay with the Vaishya community and will provide them with her blessings as long as she is worshipped. Therefore, in India, in towns where there is a business community, there is usually a temple for Vasavi Kanyaka.

“Wherever Vasavi Kanyakamba’s name is remembered, there Datta will live incognito.” – Shri Pada

As a wandering mendicant, Shri Pada went to various places; his visit would be of significance to those places. He went mostly from Southeast Andhra Pradesh to Northeast India, through Karnataka and Maharashtra. He went to Varanasi (Benares, Kashi), to another center on the west coast called Gokarna, and to Srisailam. Shri Pada then settled at Kuruvapuram (today Kurugaddi, Kuruvapur) and stayed there until he was 30 years old, blessing his devotees. Kuruvapuram is located on an island in the Krishna River, at the border between Andhra Pradesh (today Telangana) and Karnataka. Many people came to him seeking help and were enlightened. He was teaching, healing, and many extraordinary revelations happened around him.

When he used to stay at Kuruvapuram, Shri Pada held his darbar (court) at either Kuruvapuram or Panch Dev Pahad (a place near Kuruvapuram). When the darbar was at Pancha Deva Pahad, Sripāda had to cross River Krishna. When he walked on the river, miraculously, a lotus leaf would appear wherever he stepped. During his darbar times, prasad (consecrated food) was distributed to everyone who attended.

As a teacher of spirituality, he followed a particular schedule:

  • On Sundays he used to talk about Yoga Vidya (knowledge of yoga),
  • on Mondays about epics,
  • on Tuesdays about Upanishads (Hindu sacred treatises),
  • on Wednesdays he would explain the meaning of Vedas (religious text explaining the eternal path or Sanathan Dharma),
  • on Thursdays He taught about the Guru Tatva (Cosmic Teacher principle),
  • on Fridays about Srividya (Shri Vidya is a Hindu Tantric religious system devoted to the Goddess as Lalitha Tripurasundari) and He used to distribute rhizomes of turmeric to all women,
  • and on Saturdays He instructed about the worship of Lord Shiva. 

Tradition and Gurus

The Aim of His incarnation is to bless Maha Siddhas (Great sages), Maha Yogis (Great Saints), and to Uphold Dharma (righteousness) through them in the Universe. To impart knowledge to the ignorant through his actions, engage in sportive plays [leelas], and perform miracles was part of His mission.

To be eligible to receive the grace of Shri Pada Shri Vallabha, the ego in us should die. All types of egos must become weak. Only then will we be able to understand His power, His grace, and His true nature. No one can come to his Samsthan (temple) in Peethikapuram without His will, however rich they may be or how saintly they may be.

Twelve Assurances of Shri Pada to His Devotees

Shri Pada gave the following Statements of Assurance to all devotees in the house of his devotee Datta Das as per the book Shri Pada Shri Vallabha Charitramutham.

  1. I will remain in a subtle form in every place where My biography is devotedly read.
  2. Just like an eyelid protects the eye, I will protect the person who is dedicated to Me through mind, word, and deed.
  3. Daily in the afternoon, I seek alms in Sri Pithikapuram. My arrival is a divine secret.
  4. I will reduce all the karmas into heaps of ashes of those who continuously meditate upon Me. Even if karmas have accumulated from many births, I will burn them down.
  5. If you give food to the hungry and needy, I will be pleased.
  6. I am Shri Pada Shri Vallabha! Sri Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth) will shine with all Her glorious attributes in the houses of My devotees.
  7. If you have a pure heart, My grace will always be on you.
  8. I am agreeable even when you adore any form of deity or take the support of any Sadguru.
  9. All your prayers will reach Me. My grace transmits to you through the form of the deity you worship or through your Sadguru.
  10. Shri Pada Shri Vallabha is not merely confined to this name and form. You can know My cosmic form, which encompasses all forms of deities and all forces as My integral parts, only through strict observance of the spiritual discipline.
  11. Mine is a comprehensive yogic incarnation. Great yogis and great Siddhas always meditate upon Me.
  12. If you take Me as a support, I will preach to you the path of dharma and karma. I will always protect you from a downfall.

SIDDHA MANGALA STOTRAM

Srimadananta Sree Vibhushetha Appala Lakshmi Narasimharaajaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Sri Vidyadhari Radha Surekha Sreeraakhidhara Sreepadaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Maataa Sumati Vaatschalyaamruta Pariposhetha Jaya Sreepadaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Satya Rusheeswara Duhitaanandana Baapanaaryanuta Sree Charanaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Savitrakaathaka Chayana Punyaphala Bharadwaja Rushigotra Sambhava |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Do Chowpaatee Dev Lakshmi Ghanasamkhyaa Bodhita Sree Charanaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Punyaroopinee Raajamaambasuta Garbhapunyaphala Samjaataa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Sumateenandana, Naraharinandana Dattadevaprabhu Sreepaada |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||

Peethikaapura Nityavihara, Madhumati Dattaa, Mangalaroopaa |
Jaya Vijayeebhava, Digvijayeebhava, Sreemadakhanda Sree Vijayeebhava ||