Shri Swamy Samardha
Shri Akkalkot Niwasi Maharaj (the great Sage of Akkalkot), also known as Swamy Samardh (Samardh – One Who Has The Power), is considered the third incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Though Swamy travelled far and wide, He finally settled in this place called ‘Akkalkot’ (situated in district Solapur of Maharashtra state of India). He resided there for 22 years, where he also chose to leave his body in 1878.
Swamy Samardh arrived at Akkalkot in 1856 on receiving an invitation from Chintopant Tol and then stayed on the outskirts of the town. He usually lived at the residence of his disciple Cholappa, where his shrine is presently located. Like Shirdi Sai Baba and Gajanan Maharaj, Swamy’s origin remains obscure. Once a disciple asked Swamy a question about his birth, Swamy responded that he had originated from a banyan tree (vata-vriksha in Marathi). On another occasion, Swamy said that his last name was Nrusimha Bhan. He also added that he is a Yajurvedi Brahmin (Yajurveda is one of the four Vedas and one of the scriptures of Hinduism. It is a compilation of formula for ritual offerings) and that he is from the clan of Rishi Kashyap and that his moon sign is Meena (Pisces). Swamy Samardh’s devotees consider him to be the same person as Shri Narasimha Saraswathi Maharaj.
The beginning of Swamy Samardh’s incarnation is shrouded in mystery. Shri Narasimha Saraswathi [1378-1459], known as an earlier incarnation of Dattatreya, helped and spiritually uplifted many people over a few decades. He then went away to the Himalayas for penance and went into Samadhi. Legend has it that he remained in Samadhi for about three hundred years, during which time a giant anthill grew over him, and he disappeared to the outside world. One day, accidentally, a woodcutter’s axe fell on the bushes grown around the anthill. He was shocked to find bloodstains on the blade of the axe. He cleared the anthill, and Lo, he found a Yogi in meditation. The Yogi slowly opened his eyes and consoled the dumbfounded woodcutter saying that it was divine will for Him to re-appear in the world to resume His mission. This Yogi, in his new role, came to be known as Swamy Samardh. The mark of the axe wound did remain on the thigh of Shri Swamy Samardh.
His Promise before Departure
Just before he had left his gross body, one devotee named Keshav Nayak, emotionally charged, asked, “Maharaj, since you are going, who will give us protection?”. Swamy Samadth gave him a pair of his sandals to worship and told him, “In the future, I will be staying at Shirdi in district Ahmednagar.”
Another devotee, Krishna Ali Bagkar, decided to go to Akkalkot and worship the padukas (sandals) of Swamy Samadth. After that, he got a dream appearance of Swamy Samardh, who told him, “Now I am staying at Shirdi, go there and worship me.” Bagkar went to Shirdi, where he stayed for six months. Later, when he wanted to take leave of Shri Sai and go to Akkalkot again, Shri Sai told him, “What is there in Akkalkot? The Maharaj of Akkalkot is staying right here.” Bagkar then realized no difference existed between Swamy Samadh and Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi, as he recalled his earlier dream.
Tradition and Gurus
Shri Swamy Samardh Maharaj had ordered his youngest and dearest disciple, Shree Ramanand Beedkar Maharaj of Pune, to propagate the Swaroop Sampradaya. Swaroop Sampradaya is a religious sect wherein the aspirant concentrates on viewing the ‘Atman’ or the soul. The Swaroop Sampradaya is a very ancient tradition with Lord Shiva as the first Guru. Lord Shiva first initiated Goddess Parvati into Swaroop Sampradaya, and later this tradition continued in history with the initiation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Sages Vasishtha, Shukdeo, etc. This tradition further continued with Masters such as Shri Govindpad, Shri Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, Shri Vidyaranyaswami, Shri Krishna Saraswathi, and Shrimat Narasimha Saraswati up to Shri Swami Samarth, the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.
Words of Wisdom by Swami Samarth:
- Once having met a supreme master, the seeker should continuously meditate upon his master, serve him with devotion and pay utmost attention to his spiritual advice, as if every word coming from his lips were a mantra.
- Have a firm belief that God alone exists in every seen and unseen thing in this universe.
- Earn your livelihood through sincere efforts.
- When you come across an able guide on the path of spirituality, try to gain as much knowledge and advice from him as possible. No master will share the divine knowledge on his own, as no farm will yield crops on its own.
- While following spiritual practice, if you gain spiritual powers, do not fall prey to the lure of using them to show miracles.
- The conduct of people treading the spiritual path should be pure and righteous.
- Since the final goal of all religious faiths and sects preaching Divine Knowledge is the same, all sects and faiths are birds of the same feather.
- Vedic scriptures, composed by Rishis [seers], should be read and repeated.
- Try to purify your mind as you try to maintain the external sanctity of the body.
- Do actions without expecting any rewards.
- Book knowledge alone will not lead you to self-realization. Try to put the acquired knowledge into practice.
Points to Ponder
- Work is worship. Execute all actions, including mental, as garlands of fresh, fragrant, and colorful flowers as offerings to the Divine.
- Unwind from the endless, binding law of karma by detaching from the expected results of your actions, and by denouncing pride of doership.
- The greatest goal of human existence is to realize the irresistible glory of the unchanging, radiant Self, and ceaselessly enjoy infinite Bliss [Anand] through Sahaja Samadhi.
- Patience is the greatest virtue for worldly and spiritual success. “Be Patient.”
- On sadhana: “Cultivate the field and harvest the crop.”
- “Hurt no one and help everyone, because inside everyone I AM THE ONLY ONE.”
- Constantly shred your ego.
- The light of the Self is your indweller. Realize this indwelling Light of Self-effulgence intelligently.
- Fear never as the Divine is ever near.
Holy Sites and Pilgrimages
Akkalkot Swami Samarth Maharaj Temple (Gangapur Raod, Akkalkot, Solapur, India). Akkalkot is approximately 45 km from Solapur. This temple is separate from Swami’s Samadhi, which is approximately 2 km away.