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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 Sanskrit and 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.

According to researches made in connection with Shri Guru Charitra, by a Gurubhakta, Shri R. K. alias Annasaheb Kamat of Durga Datta Mandir, Mashail, Goa, ' Shri Guru Charitra' contains 'Shri Guru Geeta' as its 49th chapter. It is composed of 176 Sanskrit slokas and 34 Marathi Ovis - 13 at the beginning and 21 in the end. In some of the latter scripts it seems that this chapter of Shri Guru Geeta is deleted, probably it being in Sanskrit and the 41st chapter is split up into two chapters, keeping the number of chapters the same i. e. 52. The gist of Shri Guru Geeta is included in this volume. (Shri Guru Gita is a dialogue between Shri Siva and His Divine consort Shri Parvati and forms a part of Skanda Puran. It deals with the greatness of Guru and establishes that Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheswara, why, it proclaims, Guru is identical with Para Brahma, Who is considered the Origin of all including the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Since Sri Dattatreya is also an incarnation of the three Deities, He is revered as the Adi Guru. Shri Dattatreya is an Avinash Avatar, i.e. He did not shed His body when His mission was completed like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna etc., but is continuing even today. His mission is to help all His devotees cross this Ocean of Worldly existence.)

The research scholars of Medical Sciences have a good opportunity of thinking over and analyzing the means that have been used by Shri Guru for cure of acute gastric pain, leprosy, toxic irritations, revival to life, sterility of females etc. Of course it is an admitted fact that the yogic and Divine power of Shri Guru is mainly responsible for these miracles to a great extent. Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi also performed similar 'miracles' to reinforce the faith of His devotees.

In order that the general public, males and females, should be acquainted with the contents of this great popular volume, a humble attempt was made by this author and 'Subodh Shri Guru Charitra' in Marathi prose was published in November, 1952, on Datta Jayanti (Margashirsh Poornima). The author desires to bring about an edition in Hindi, the National language of Bharat and also an English edition of this book for the interested readers spread all over the world.

It is an experienced fact that the reading of such literature gives mental peace to those who are worried due to different miseries of this worldly life and also encourages and guides them to go ahead on the path of self-emancipation by making their lives sublime and full of highest bliss.

S. N. Huddar

Guru Charitra, till few years back, was only available in the Marathi and Kannada languages. In the recent years, Telugu translations of the Book have become available. It may perhaps be now available in a few other Indian languages also, but, as far as we are aware, there has been no English rendering of the Book so far. [An English Translation by Mr.R.Shenoy is now available: Publisher's Note.] The present Book in English was started by Shri Laxman Narayan Joshi some years back, so as to make this Spiritual Treasure available to wider sections of people. Unfortunately for us, Shri L.N.Joshi is now no more, having left his physical body on 30th October, 1981, to merge in and abide at the Lotus Feet of Guru Nath, which was his yearning all throughout his life. It is a matter of regret for us that his physical eyes could not see the book in print. But we feel sure that his spirit will rejoice and be happy that the efforts he had begun, have at last borne fruit and that the book has now seen the light of day. Let us make it clear that this is but a free-rendering and an abridged version of the original version of Guru Charitra. The original text was compiled by Sri Saraswati Gangadhar, a fully enlightened soul and who was drunk deep in Guru Tatwa. It was compiled by him in Marathi in OVI form of poetry. The same was transcribed into Sanskrit by the great saint Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati (1854-1914), a contemporary of Sainath, i.e., Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. A complete rendering into English of the original text is a colossal and formidable task and is far beyond our capacity and competence. In the present book, it has been out attempt to just bring out the gist of the original text, but at the time of course ensuring as best as we can, that the spirit of the original text is not lost.

We do not know to what extent we have been able to achieve the above objective but if this book, inspite of whatever deficiencies and shortcomings it may be having, still succeeds in satisfying the reader's interest even in a small measure and enthuses and awakens in him the desire and yearning for diving deeper into the spiritual lore, for which purpose abundant spiritual literature is available, it would be highly gratifying to us indeed.

It is a bold attempt made by us, and it is our firm faith and belief that it is Grace of and guidance from Guru Nath Sri Narasimha Saraswati alone, that has helped us in our venture.

We make our obeisance to Sri Guru Nath and his various manifestations including Sri Manik Prabhu, Sri Swami Samarth Akkalkot Maharaj and Sri Sai Baba.

It may be mentioned here, that before the printing of the Book was started, we had the unique fortune of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi 'Signing His Blessings' on the manuscript. This was on 14th May 1984, at Dharmakshetra, during Baba's visit to Bombay.

The manuscript was also blessed by Sri Siddharaj Manik Prabhu Maharaj, during the latter's visit to Bombay which was also in May 1984. Earlier, it was blessed by Sri Swami Amalananda of Pen (Panvel) during the latter's visit once to Chembur.

We cannot conclude this preface without acknowledging our deep debt of gratitude to Shri P.B.Paranjpe (dearly called as Nana), of Suman Nagar, Chembur, Bombay. It was he who has encouraged us all through and instilled in us confidence and helped us complete this scared book. Shri Nana is a very saintly person and is an example of extreme humility, great devotion, selfless love and al goodness. He is a highly endowed spiritual soul and many come to him for spiritual succor.

It is with his endeavors that Sri Swami Samarth Vishwa Kalyana Kendra was founded in 1981 with its center at Apta (Karnala) Panvel Taluka, Raigad District, Maharashtra, for the propagation of teachings and Philosophy of Sri Akkalkot Maharaj. We are dedicating this Book to this Vishwa Kalyana Kendra. With Pranams unto the Guru Padukas of Gangapur, and praying that they would be ever showering their grace and succor on all.

Introduction 2

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 Sanskrit and 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.

According to researches made in connection with Shri Guru Charitra, by a Gurubhakta, Shri R. K. alias Annasaheb Kamat of Durga Datta Mandir, Mashail, Goa, ' Shri Guru Charitra' contains 'Shri Guru Geeta' as its 49th chapter. It is composed of 176 Sanskrit slokas and 34 Marathi Ovis - 13 at the begining and 21 in the end. In some of the latter scripts it seems that this chapter of Shri Guru Geeta is deleted, probably it being in Sanskrit and the 41st chapter is split up into two chapters, keeping the number of chapters the same i. e. 52. The gist of Shri Guru Geeta is included in this volume. (Shri Guru Gita is a dialogue between Shri Siva and His Divine consort Shri Parvati and forms a part of Skanda Puran. It deals with the greatness of Guru and establishes that Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheswara, why, it proclaims, Guru is identical with Para Brahma, Who is considered the Origin of all including the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Since Sri Dattatreya is also an incarnation of the three Deities, He is revered as the Adi Guru. Shri Dattatreya is an Avinash Avatar, i.e. He did not shed His body when His mission was completed like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna etc., but is continuing even today. His mission is to help all His devotees cross this Ocean of Worldly existence.)

The research scholars of Medical Sciences have a good opportunity of thinking over and analysing the means that have been used by Shri Guru for cure of acute gastric pain, leprosy, toxic irritations, revival to life, sterilty of females etc. Of course it is an admitted fact that the yogic and Divine power of Shri Guru is mainly responsible for these miracles to a great extent. Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi also performed similar 'miracles' to reinforce the faith of His devotees.

In order that the general public, males and females, should be acquainted with the contents of this great popular volume, a humble attempt was made by this author and 'Subodh Shri Guru Charitra' in Marathi prose was published in November, 1952, on Datta Jayanti (Margashirsh Poornima). The author desires to bring about an edition in Hindi, the National language of Bharat and also an English edition of this book for the interested readers spread all over the world.

It is an experienced fact that the reading of such literature gives mental peace to those who are worried due to different miseries of this worldly life and also encourages and guides them to go ahead on the path of self-emancipation by making their lives sublime and full of highest bliss.
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