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|Chapter 5 - Birth of Shripad Shri Vallabha|
Shri Siddha - 'Namdharak, Shri Vishnu had several incarnations as Matsya (Fish), Kachha (Tortoise), Varah (Bear), Narasimha (Man with lion's head), Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki to protect the Sadhus and punish the wicked.
Bhagiratha did his utmost to bring the Ganges on the Earth for the salvation of his forefathers, the Sagar Kings. Similarly a Brahmin women worshipped Shri Dattatraya and hence Shri Dattatraya took birth from her womb. I shall now narrate this tale to you.
'A Brahmin named Apalraj lived at Peethapur in the East. Sumatha was his most devoted wife. On one Amavasya day there was an anniversary day at the house of Apalraj. On that day Shri Datta came in disguise to his house for alms. Generally alms are not given to beggars, on the anniversary day. But though the Brahmins invited for the ceremony had not dined, Sumatha offered him alms. Hence Shri Datta was much pleased and he disclosed his divine appearance to her. She humbly bowed to Shri Datta who said, 'Mother, what do you desire?'.
She said, ' You are a treasure of kindness and protector of the devotees. You are well-Known in all the 14 Bhuwans. You just called me `mother'. I begot children, but some of them died soon and of those that are surviving, one is blind and one is lame. I therefore feel my life to be futile without a good son. I wish I should have a son who would be world famous and learned like yourself. Will you fulfill this desire of mine?'.
Shri Datta said, 'You will have a son well known in KaliYuga. You abide by his wishes. He will be learned. He will fulfill all your desires'. Saying this Shri Datta disappeared.
Sumatha told this to her husband. He too was much pleased. Both believed that Shri Datta himself will come to their home in the form of a child. The husband said, 'Shri Datta lives at Mahur and Kolaphur. He comes in the mendicant's form daily alms at midday. You should always give him alms'.
Sumatha told her husband that she had offered alms to Shri Datta that day even before the Brahmins invited for performing the Shraddha had dined. The husband said You did very well My forefathers will be more satisfied, as Shri Datta himself has taken alms to day. As you have obtained blessings from him, you will surely get a son. You need not worry'.
Thus they were passing their time with pleasure. Sumata became pregnant. After the full period of nine months, she gave birth to a son. Brahmins foretold that this child will be a great Guru and an ascetic. Thinking him to be an incarnation of Shri Datta, he was called after one of Datta's name `Shripad', His thread ceremony was performed when he was seven years old. Even at this age, he knew all four Vedas, Mimansa, Thark (Logic) etc. All people wondered at his brilliancy and said he must be a God in human form. He taught the Brahmins of the city various subjects as Achar, Vyuawahar, Prayaschitta, Vedant, Bhashya, Vedarth etc. When Shripad was sixteen years of age his parent began to think of his marriage. Shripad warned that would marry with the woman called disintrigation. All other ladies liked mother to him. He said, 'I am a Brahmachari and an ascetic. I love Yoga and my name is Shri Vallabha. I now intend to go to the forests for observing penance and obtaining divine knowledge.'
Hearing this, the parents recollected the words of Shri Datta, the mendicant and realized that he would have his own way. Still due to affection, they were very much aggrieved. The mother said, 'we expected you to protect us in our old age'. Saying so the mother became unconscious. Shripad consoled her and said, 'Do not be anxious. I shall give you what you wish. Believe in me and live happily'.
The mother said, 'My Dear son, I forgot all my previous miseries only on account of you and I cherished a great hope that you would protect us in our old age. We have two other sons; but one is lame and the other is blind, who will look after them?'
Shripad looked at his lame and blind brother with nectar like sight. Instantly the blind brother got his sight and lame one got his legs. Both became learned, well-versed in Vedas, Shastras and Vyakaran. Thy prostrated before Shripad Shri Valabha and he blessed them. Just as iron is transformed into gold by the touch of the philosopher's stone, so both the brothers were enlightened and they became respectable due to the blessings of Shripad. He then said to the brothers, 'You will have sons, grandsons and great grandsons and you all shall live happily.'
He told his brothers further, 'Serve your parents. You will be happy in this world and shall get salvation in the end.'
He then said, to his mother, 'you should be happy now. But your sons will live for 100 years. They will have sons and daughters and you will see them living merrily. They will have wealth for generations and shall be famous for their learning. Now do not prevent me from going to forest. I have to go to the North to guide the Sadhus.'
Saying this, Shripad Swami disappeared and came to Kashi where he began to live secretly. After some days he went to Badri Narayan. He visited holy places one after the other and in course of time one day reached Gokarna.'
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