Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sri Narasimha Saraswathi

Digambara Digambara Sripada Vallabha Digambara
Oudumbara Oudumbara Narasimha Saraswathi Oudumbara
Narasimha Saraswati (1378−1458)

Narasimha Saraswati (1378−1458) नरसिहसरस्वती is the Purna Avatar of Dattatreya (As per "Shripad Shrivallabha Charitra" he is second avatar of Dattatreya, first being shripad srivallabha).He was born in Karanjapur which is modern Lad-Karanja or karanja in Maharashtra Vidbaraba region.

Shri Narasimha Saraswati was initially named as Narahari. His father's name was Madhav and mother's name was Amba-Bhavani. His surname was Kale. He was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family Shukla-yajurvedi Brahman Kanva Shaka. At Karanja there is the original house where he was born. Although the house is no longer in the original shape, but still some parts remain and have been converted in to a temple.

Shri GuruCharitra is a book which describe the life of Shri Narasimha Saraswati. The writer of this book is Saraswati Gangadhar, a direct descendant of Saiam Dev. Saiam Dev was one of the major disciples of Shriguru Narasimha Saraswati and was close to the Guruji. As per the presentation in the Guru-Charitra itself, the story of the life of Shriguru Narasimha Saraswati was told to Saraswati Gangadhar by one of the major disciples of the Guruji. His name, however, is not disclosed. Many people believe that this narrator was none other than the Guruji himself.

Ganagapura or Gangapur is the place where he spend more than 20 years of his life.It is located in present day karnataka state, 40 kms away from gulbarga. It is at this place where sri guru has left his padukas for the welfare of his disciples and devotees. He has given word to his disciples that he is invisible only to the non-believers, whereas to his devotees,followers and disciples he is always there at kshetra gaanagapur. There are so many instances over the years where people tried to test him and have been blessed with instances and evidences that yes sri guru is still at kshetra gaangapur listening to all those who come with faith and are always being blessed.

His Guru Tradition (Guru-Parampara)
Shri Narasimha Saraswati comes from the tradition of Shringeri Math. Jagatguru Shri Adi Shankaracharya also comes from this same tradition. The guru-lineage is as follows: Shankar - Vishnu - Bramha - Vasishtha - Parashar - Vyas - Shuka - Gaudpadacharya - Govindacharya - Shankaracharya - Vishwarupacharya - Nityabodhghanacharya - Dnyanaghanacharya - Dnyanamottamacharya - Dnyanagiri - Simhagiri - Ishwartirtha - Narasimhatirtha - Vidyatirtha - Vidyaranya - Vidyatirthasaraswati - Malayanandasaraswati - Devatirtha Saraswati - Yadavendra Saraswati - Krishna Saraswati -Narasimha Saraswati.

Shri Vidyaranyasaraswati (1295CE-1386CE) was heading the Shringeri math from1380CE to 1386CE. Although there are several names in between Shri Narasimha Saraswati and him, one must remember that it is not necessary that the subsequent successors to the Shringeri peeth (throne) were young, as the age of the disciple could be more than his guru. In fact Shri Sayamdev and his son Nagnath (forefathers of Shri Saraswati Gangadhar) both were disciples of Shri Narasimha Saraswati at the same time. Shri Narasimha Saraswati's love of music possibly comes as a tradition from Shri Vidyaranya to Shri Narasimha Saraswati. Shri Vidyaranya was very fond of music.

His Disciple Tradition (Shishya Parampara)
Shri Narasimha Saraswati had several disciples who are described in Shri GuruCharitra already. The first and most favourite one was Shri Madhav Saraswati from Prayag. At that time he also had Bal-Saraswati, Krishna Saraswati, Upendra Saraswati, Sadananda Saraswati, Dnyanajyoti Saraswati and Siddha Saraswati as his six other disciples. This Siddha Saraswati stayed with Shri Narasimha Saraswati all the time and is possibly the original writer of Sanskrit GuruCharitra which must have been later translated to Marathi by Shri Saraswati Gangadhar. Among the last 4 disciples who were present when Shri Narasimha Saraswati took nijanandagaman (a type of samadhi), Siddha Saraswati was the only Sanyasi disciple of Shri Narasimha Saraswati and the other 3 were family men. It appears that this Madhava Saraswati's tradition is more popular in Maharashtra. The final disciple tradition is: Shri Narasimha Saraswati - Madhavendra Saraswati - Amritendra Saraswati (Amritananda) - Gaganendra Saraswati - Madhavendra Saraswati (Madhav Saraswati). After Madhav Saraswati the tradition splits in to two branches:
1.     Eknath - Shrikrishna - Bramhadas.
2.     Vitthal Saraswati - Ambika Saraswati - Amrit.

Chronology of Life Events
Shri Narasimha Saraswati lived from Shaka 1300 to Shaka 1380 as per most of the scholars. The main events of his life are given below with the possible years and dates are fixed as per the description of the lunar and stellar events calendar mentioned in Shri GuruCharitra.
§  Sha.1300 (1378 CE) : Birth
§  Sha.1307 (1385 CE) : Upanayan
§  Sha.1308 (1386 CE) : Left his home
§  Sha.1310 (1388 CE) : Took Sanyas
§  Sha.1338 (1416 CE) : Arrival back home at Lad-Karanja
§  Sha.1340 (1418 CE) : Gautami-Tatak-Yatra गौतमी तटाक यात्रा (travel along the banks of river Gautami)
§  Sha.1342 (1420 CE) : Stay at Parali-Vaijanath परळी-वैजनाथ
§  Sha.1343 (1421 CE) : Stay at Audumbar औदुंबर (near Bhilavadi)
§  Sha.1344-1356 (1422 CE-1434 CE) : Stay at Narasoba Wadi alias Narasimhapur
§  Sha.1357-1380 (1435 CE-1458 CE) : Stay at Ganagapur गाणगापूर
§  Sha.1380 (14 January 1459 CE) : Nijanandagaman निजानंदगमन at ShriShaila श्रीशैल Mountain

Life and work
In Shri GuruCharitra Chapter 11 onwards is the description of life story of Shri Narasimha Saraswati. After he was born the first words he said were OM which are considered very holy. However, until he was 7 he did not utter any other word other than OM, so his parents were worried about his speech ability. However, he showed by hand gestures that after his Upanayana (Munja) he will be able to speak. In fact after his munja was performed he was able to speak all the vedas and even started delivering lectures on it. This was remarkable for a 7 year old kid and many senior learned Brahmins in the village started coming to him for learning!

He left home and went for Kashi-pilgrimage and took Sannyasa at Kashi from Shri Krishna Saraswati. The second part of his name comes from this guru, who eventually named him Shri Narasimha Saraswati. This is a Sanskrit name. Now he became the Guru. After visiting several holy places he returned to Karanja, met his parents. He was possibly of age 30 years that time. After that he further visited various places and finally settled in Ganagapur (now in State Karnataka) for the last few decades of his life. All of this is reported in Shri GuruCharitra.

There are so many incidents mentioned in sri guru charitra that show the divinity in sri narasimha saraswathi. For all those who have approached him with faith, he blessed them by fulfilling their wishes. Once when different village heads requested to come to their villages, swami has to agree that he will be coming to their village only and later simultaneously visited all the villages at the same time. Yet in another incident, he made a dead person become alive, in another incident he cured a person with leprosy, in another incident incident he blessed a farmer after testing his faith by asking him to cut his crop before time. These are only a few  which have been narrated in sri guru charitra, but there are so many families who have been experiencing the grace of  sri guru, which have not been recorded anywhere. One has to personally experience the grace of sri guru to know the greatness of a guru.

One of the event in his life (towards the end) was the meeting with the Muslim king (Sultan) of Bedar who is possibly Allauddin-II of the Bahamani Sultanate who was ruling that area that time.(According to sri guru charitra, he was the same washerman who used to wash the clothes of shripad srivallabha and being blessed that in his next birth he will become a king.)  These rulers were different from the Delhi Mughals and there were four such states which were existing that time. Many times "chahu rashtra" term occurring in Shri GuruCharitra possibly points to this. The king visited Narasimha Saraswati because he was suffering from a blister which was not curing. No one was able to cure, so he was advised to visit Narasimha Saraswati, and after visiting him he was cured. Among the Bahamani kings, only Allauddin-II is supposed to have died due to the blister as per the records of his court historians. This king was very moderate and did not destroy temples or old monuments. He also was supposed to be quite friendly towards the Hindu communities.

The work of Narasimha Saraswati has to be seen in the context of the time he was born and social turmoil the society was facing that time. The Muslim attack was imminent and the famous Vijayanagar empire was destroyed. The Brahmins of this time had started working for the new rulers and were losing all the past traditions. The revival of the Sanatan Dharma (the old Hindu Religion, as revived by Jagatguru Shri Adi Shankaracharya) was to be revived again. The main teaching of Narasimha Saraswati has been that the life of Brahmins is fully covered by the rules given in the old scriptures and they are to be strictly followed by them in their daily lives to achieve happiness and ultimately moksha (the final attainment of soul where the soul is liberated from the cycle of rebirths). He insisted on his disciples to follow these routines. This improved their confidence and self esteem which was very essential at the time the attack of a foreign culture was going on. This feeling penetrating through the generations, gave a special sense of self esteem and pride which eventually resulted in the coming up of the fighters like King Shivaji and Peshwas in later years in Maharashtra. Narasimha Saraswati helped all the people from all the communities and can be seen in his life stories.

After the meeting with the Muslim king, he thought that his fame has gone to such an extent that now all types of people will start coming in, and will start troubling him and his disciples. Thus he decided to take samadhi. He left for the jungle of Kardali (a type of tree). Shri Swami Samarth of Akkalkot, who is considered as his Avatar, is supposed to have come from Kardali-van (Jungle of Kardali). Although the time difference between them is a few centuries. The Datta-sampradaya people believe that Narasimha Saraswati re-incarnated as Swami Samartha of Akkalkot.

Gaanagapur- The Bhuloka Kalpavruksha

Gaanagapur is considered to be the bhuloka kalpavruksha. Kalpavruksha is a tree which fulfills any of the desires asked for. One who has faith and visits gaanagapur, takes the bath in the sangam of bhima and amarja rivers, does the parikrama for the tree on the banks of the river are destined to fulfill all their wishes asked for.  

According to sri guru geeta, guru is the form of all deities and it is enough if we perform puja to guru padukas,indirectly it is equivalent in doing puja to all the deities. By performing puja to guru padukas we can not only get all our worldly wishes to be fulfilled, rather we can cross this world of samsara very easily.

                                                     Guru Padukas at Kshetra Gaangapur
Digambara Digambara Sripada Vallabha Digambara
Oudumbara Oudumbara Narasimha Saraswathi Oudumbara

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jay Ram! Ram! Ram! Shri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram! Shri Ram Jay Ram Kodanda Ram!