Shri Guru Charitra


Introduction

Shri Guru-Charitra, a religious book giving a brief life story of "Shri Nrusimha Saraswati Swami Maharaj", was written in the 15th Century by one of his closest disciples. This book is a treasure house of religious events related to the life of Shri Nrusimha Saraswati. It is read with great reverence by the Devotees of Lord Shri Dattatreya.

The 'Shri Guru Charitra' is the life of 'Shri Guru Dattatreya' (an incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara). It was originally written in Ovi form (a Marathi Metre) in Marathi by Shri Saraswati Gangadhar, whose ancestor Sayamdev had personally lived and served with devotion, Guru Narasimha Saraswati, an incarnation of Shri Dattatreya about 600 years ago. It was later translated into Sanskrit by Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati (Tembye Swamy), who is regarded by many as an incarnation of Shri Dattatreya and who lived about a hundred years ago. It has been later translated into several other languages.

This volume is regarded as divine, capable of blessing one and all who read it with respect and is placed with images of Gods and adored in almost all devotees' houses of Maharashtra. It is much respected and is very popular like Vedas, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Bhagawat and other puranas in sanskritand Dnyaneshwari, Dasbodh, Eknathi Bhagwat etc. in Marathi. In the last century, it has spread its influence far and wide and legion are the experiences got by those devotees who read it regularly with respect. Shri Dattatreya had taken birth at the Ashram of Atri and Anasuya in very very old times (Krita Yuga) and it is believed that his two incarnations namely Shripada Shri Vallabha and Shri Narasimha Saraswati had taken place in the Deccan in about the 14th and 15th Century(A. D.) respectively. Shri Manikya Prabhu, Shri Akkalkot Maharaj, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati are some of the great Saints who are considered as the Avatars (incarnations) or Amsas (taking a part of His powers) of Shri Dattatreya.

This is the historical period when the Bahamani Kingdom was split up into five different Kingships, one of which viz,'Bidar' is mentioned in this volume. 'Shri Guru Charitra' depicts the life missions of these two incarnations.

The original volume contains 52 chapters and it is written in the form of conversation between Naamdharak and his spiritual Guru Shri Siddha Muni, who was a disciple of Shri Narasimha Saraswati. Several miraculous deeds are associated with these two Gurus - 5 such deeds are relating to Shripada Shri Vallabh (chapters 5 to 10) and 26 are relating to Shri Narasimha Saraswati, (chapters 11 to 51) besides many mythological (pouranik) tales have also been narrated in this volume by way of illustration. The main aim of the book is to extol the greatness of the Spiritual preceptor (Guru) and to dispel the ignorant notion that He is just another human.