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Guru Charitra (Caritra) is in the nature of a sriptural text devoutly followed by spiritural aspirants, mostly in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the spiritual centres referred therin are loacted in these states. It is in conversational form between the master and the disciple clarifying all doubts of the disciple. Mainly, it deals with biographies of Lord Dattatreya and his subsequent incarnations as Sripada Srivallabha and Sri Narasimha Saraswati. In fact, the reading of Guru Charitra gives strength, and encouragement to spiritual aspirants to continue their 'Sadhana' (spiritual disciplines and pracices) despite the various troubles and travails they encounter in the process from time to time.

The idea of Guru Charitra in English originated in the study circle conducted by Sri Satya Sai Seva Samithi in Chembur - a suburb of Bombay (Mumbai). The subject was taken up for discussion, chapter by chapter in the weekly meetings. Shri P.B. Paranjape, founder oh Shri Swami Samarth Vishwa Kalyan Kendra, participated in the discussions and explained to subtler spiritual aspects contained in the text. It was ultimately deceided to compile the chapters in English in a book form and make available to English speaking public who could not read in other languages.

Shri L.N. Joshi had attempted it but he could not achieve his ambition. Late K.V.R. Rao, an ardent devotee of Sri Satya Sai Baba, took the initiative and enlisted the co-operation and support of Sri Satya Sai devotees, Chembur, in getting the manuscripts typed and corrected. The typrescript was perused by Late Shri N. Kasturi - biographer of Sri Satya Sai Baba, and effected necessary corrections and changes. Shri K.V.R. Rao entrusted the responsibility of getting it published to Shri P.B. Paranjape.

Due to lack of facilities, funds and cicumstances beyond our control, the book could not be published earlier. Due to Divine grace, today we are placing this sacred book in the hands of readers. AT the same time we are fully conscious that we could not do full justice to the subject. Many errors also might have crept in the text for which we crave the indulgences of readers. It may not give full satisfaction to devotees of Lord Dattatreya and they may have valuable suggestions to offer. Even if the readers are spiritually benefited in a small way we consider our efforts as fully rewarded.

We regret our inability to name individually and thank all those persons who made this venture a grand success. However we wish to place on record, our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all those who helped us.

May Lord Dattatreya shower his choicest blessings on all and lead them to reach their ultimate goal of self-realization.

Chapter No 1
Namdharak is blessed with the Vision of Sri Guru Nath

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha
Sri Ganesaya Namaha
Sri Saraswatyai Namaha
Sri Guru Dattatreyaya Namaha
Sri Mahalakshmyai Namaha
Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnuhu, Gurudevo Maheswaraha,
Gurur-Sakshaat Para mrahma, Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha...

Guru (the Spiritual Preceptor) is himself the Lord Brahma,
the Creator of the Cosmos; Guru himself is the Lord Vishnu,
the Sustainer of the Cosmos; Guru himself is the Lord Maheswara,
who absorbs unto himself this creation at the end of each cycle,
and verily the Guru himself is the Absolute and Supreme Godhead,
and unto that Guru, I offer my total obeisance...

To transcribe into finite language, in the confines of limited vocabulary, the infinite glory and effulgence of Guru Dattatreya, the unified manifestation of the Supreme Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, is an impossible task for any. Even the Vedas failed and beat a retreat faltering an excuse "Not this.... Not this...& quote;. But even so, if at least a small and single ray of Supreme effulgence of the Godhead can be captured, that is enough to redeem the world. And through divine grace, the impossible becomes possible to some or a little extent at least.

Saraswati Gangadhara, the blessed devotee of Dattavatara Sri Narasimha Saraswati, before setting out to write the sacred Guru Charitra (the life story of the Avatar), invokes the grace of Lord Ganesa. Without Lord Ganesha's grace, nothing can be achieved. He is Mangala Murthi, the embodiment of all the auspicious attributes and the abode of all auspiciousness. He is most easily pleased, responds instantaneously, and bestows his grace ever readily on whosoever calls out to him. He makes the impossible possible. With his grace and help the sage Vyasa could compose the incomparable and monumental MahaBharata, the ever greatest of the epics. Saraswati Gangadhara extols Lord Ganesa as follows:

"You are the remover of all obstacles. You keep your large fan-like ears always waving. The air-waves produced thereby drive away all the obstacles in the path of your devotees. In your stomach rest all the worlds, and that is why you are extolled as Lambodara. Even all the gods have to worship you alone first, before undertaking any of their divine tasks. I pray, you have to bless this venture of mine and help me through....."

Next, Saraswati Gangadhara invokes the grace of Mother Saraswati, the bestower of all knowledge and wisdom. He prays "Oh Mother! you are the Mother of all the Vedas. Without grace, man cannot pronounce even a syllable. You are the life-force behind the "sound" faculty of men. You are the indweller in all the four-fold aspects of sound, viz., Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari - is from the subtlest of the grossesf expressions of sound. I beseech you to bless me and help me in this venture of mine...."

Saraswati Gangadhara next prays to Trimurtis and to Sri Dattatreya. He prays "Oh Lord! You are the Primeval Guru.... You are the one who incarnated in the Kali age as Sri Narasimha Saraswati to redeem people from their ignorance and their ills. With full faith, that you alone are going to steer me through this colossal venture, I am setting out upon this task. It is like the child trying to catch the moon by stretching out it's hand, but even so, I have complete faith in you, that you will help me through".

Thus Saraswati Gangadhara starts the divine narrative - The Guru Charitra.

As a prelude, he gives a brief account of his lineage and of his immediate forbears. He belongs to the Kaundinya Gotra. He is of the fourth generation in the line reconing from Sayamdeo. Sayamdeo's son was Nagnath and Nagnath's son was Deorao. All of them were staunch devotees and worshippers of Guru Nath. Sayamdeo and Nagnath had the blessed privilege of being the closest disciples of Guru Nath and of serving the master in his life-time. It was because of the merit earned by them, that one among their family, Saraswati Gangadhara, could become an instrument of the Lord to write about the divine Leelas of the great Dattavatara, for the benefit of humanity and the world. It should, however, be understood that the life of any great Saint or Master, and much more so of an Avatar like that of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, is like a huge ice-berg lying submerged in the frozen waters of the ocean, and showing but a tiny crest or pinnacle afloat on the waters. What will be discernible to human eyes is just the tiny portion afloat above the waters, but not the mountain-sized iceberg submerged under the waters. So also in the following account of Guru Nath's life, it is but a fraction of his glory that will be delineated. It is impossible for any to describe the Avatar's full glory. He is a mystery beyond all human comprehension. Now begins the sacred Guru Charitra narrative.

There was once a devotee by the name of Namdharak, who had a great yearning to visit the holy Gangapur for darsan of sacred Guru Padukas, the Nirguna Padukas of Dattavatar Sri Narasimha Saraswati Deva, enshrined there. He had heard much most authentic anecdotes, how Guru Nath continues to shower his grace on all seekers, even after his Mahaprasthan, and that a pilgrimage to Gangapur is sure to soothe the mind, to satiate the yearnings of the heart, to quench the thirst of the should, and to allay the hunger of the spirit, for all the devotees.

With great expectations and hopes, Namdharak set out from his far off village to Gangapur. The journey was long and arduous, He was very exhausted and had lost all stamina. He was seized with despair as to whether he would survive and be able to reach the destination at all.

Resting under a tree, Namdharak cried out in desperation, "oh Guru Deva! Don't you have pity and compassion on me? I may be unmerited with so many sin-loads on my head, but what of it? Will a mother ever forsake her son however bad or evil he may be? If you consider hat I do not have enough devotion. You know how devotedly my ancestors worshipped and served you. Because of that at least, show me also a little consideration, ignoring and forgiving all my lapses. If you forsake me, who can I look to, Oh my Lord! I will end my life if you are so callous to me". Wailing thus in anguish and desperation, and fatigued by the journey, he fainted and fell unconscious.

Lo! No mother ever forsakes her child. The cow comes seeking it's calf. Namdharak had a wondrous dream. Guru Nath Sri Narasimha Saraswati Deva stood there before him, casting his benevolent looks upon him and placing his hand on his (Namdharak's) head as a token of his blessings. Namdharak's joy knew no bounds. He fell at Guru Nath's feet. HE sang out long hymns of praise to the Lord. He offered mental worship to him. He collected the dust from under the feet of the Lord and smeared it on his own forehead and all over his body. He was overwhelmed with joy.

Thus ends the first chapter of Guru Charitra, describing the 'Dream Vision' vouchsafed to Namdharak by Sri Guru Nath.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omni-Present and the ever responsive GuruNath!
Shree Gurudev Datta Maharaj (Dattatreya, Dattavatara)
Shree Gurudev Datt Maharaj

Chapter No 2
(The episode of the disciple Deepaka and the Guru Vadadhara)

Namadharak, refreshed by the sleep, and enlivened by the joy of the dream-vision, now woke up. The Guru Nath's splendorous form, with ash smeared all over the body, with tiger skin as his garment and locks of matted hair, and with looks overflowing with love and compassion, the dream-vision, stood indelibly imprinted on his mind. Recapitulating the vision, he was in a state of ecstasy. But it soon flashed on him, that it was after all but a dream. But even so, he realised and felt convinced that it was only because of Guru Nath's grace that he had such a blessed vision, even if it be a dream. But could he ever hope to have even such a dream-vision again? Would Guru Nath ever again shower his mercy upon him? As he was brooding thus, Lo! there came near him an Yogi (an Ascetic) who looked like a near replica of the Divine form, which he had seen in his dream. The Yogi too had a similar face and looks bespeaking of his inner peace and enlightment. Namdharak was overwhelmed with joy & wonder and feel at the Yogi's feet and exclaimed "oh! Great one! on seeing You, all agony in my heart has subsided and my whole being is filled with ineffable joy and supernal peace. I am feeling most blessed. I pray to you to let me know who you are and where are you coming from and where you reside. I am certain that it is Sri Narasimha Saraswati Deva who sent you to me, taking pity on me.

At this, the ascetic replied as follows, "I am known by the name of Siddha Yogi, I am disciple of the great Dattavtar Sri Narasimha Saraswati. My Guru was Supreme Brahman himself. With his grace alone, I have attained the knowledge of the Spirit and the possession of all the yogic Siddhis, i.e., the parapsychic and spiritual powers. Ever since my Guru's departure from Gangapur and withdrawing of his avatar a little later, I have been constantly on pilgrimage. I am now on my way to the holy Gangapur or the darshan of my Guru Nath's Nirgun Padukas enshrined there. I spend all my time reveling in the remembrance and recounting the Leelas and Mahimas (miracles) of Guru Nath. Oh How great, how Divine is my Guru! He is peerless indeed. How blessed is Gangapur which is hallowed by his grace! How blessed indeed are all those who are devoted to him! They are freed for ever from all mundane worries and are for ever anchored in peace and happiness. Their homes will be ever prosperous, with everything aplenty and with no want whatsoever. Cattle, children, wealth - none of these matter, anyone devoted to his own Guru, let apart to Guru Nath, is most blessed indeed. He will be all peace and happiness himself. Guru, any guru, is indeed Supreme by himself and all the gods are no comparison to him at all. Guru indeed is the sole benefactor and liberator for man, and blessed indeed are those who are devoted to their Guru.

Although Namadharak was so joyous at hearing the above; some apprehensions started raising their heads in his mind. He said to the Siddha Yogi " I am puzzled at what all you say. I am also devoted to Guru Nath just as my predecessors in my family were. But I have no peace and I am ever haunted by worries. Inspire of my devotion to Guru Nath, I am in a pitiful state. You say that those devoted to the Guru are freed from all worry and misery. It doesn't seem to hold true in my case at least. Further, although I too believe that great indeed is Guru Nath, how can you say that guru whosoever he be, is indeed Supreme by himself and all the gods are no comparison to him at all. guru can hold some place of honour, like mother or father, but how can you rank him above all the Gods? It puzzles me much and I fail to understand what you say".

Siddha Yogi then said "My child! Your faith is wavering and is not steady fast yet, and you are bedeviled with all sorts of doubts. Just as a sick person cannot relish food however delicious it is, so also a doubting heart cannot imbibe the grace of the Guru, however abundantly it may be overflowing. Just as excessive and wrong diet is harmful to a sick person, so also doubts are inimical and detrimental to the progress of men on the path of Bhakti ( path of devotion). It is not said "Samsayatmaa Vinasyati - a wavering and doubting person perishes and 'Sraddhaavan labhathe gnanam - the one with faith gains all the wisdom"? You should cultivate unalloyed devotion to the guru. Because of your doubts only, you are not able to derive benefit of Guru Nath's grace and instead, have enmeshed yourself in misery. Ever remember that Guru alone can redeem the disciple. Even if he has incurred the wrath of all the gods, if he has the Guru's grace, no harm will ever befall him.

Guru's grace will be his invincible armour even if all the gods make an assault upon him. But if one incurs the wrath of the Guru,none can rescue him, not even if all the gods together try.

One should actually never make a distinction between his Guru and God. for the devotee all the forms of god should be subsumed in the form o his own Guru.

"Let me now narrate to you the power of Guru Bhakti by an anecdote from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana", continued the Siddha Yogi...

In the beginning less times, Brahma Deva created the cosmos, and along with it , the four Vedas too - the repositories of all wisdom and which enunciate the code of conduct for man for the upkeep of harmony in the Universe. He also enunciated the puranas by way of illustration of the practice of the Vedic Drama in the day-to-day life of the people. He also created the four Purushas assigning to each one of them, the rule of each of the Yugas respectively. He does this in each one of the Kalpas (cycles). Each one of the Yuga Purushas in their respective Yuga, has to undertake responsibility for the upkeep of Dharma on earth, for the welfare of all. Each Yuga will have it's own specific characteristics and special features and Brahma has explained about them in detail to each one of the Yuga Pururshas.

The Purusha of Krita Yuga is endowed with pure Satwa guna. The Purusha of Treta Yuga has Satwa and Rajas mixed in him. While the people of Krita Yuga are of contemplating nature, ever engaged in Tapas and contemplating always with Inner self, the people of Treta Yuga will resort to external and ritualistic disciplines and austerities, especially of performance of sacrifices, etc. The Purusha of Dwapara Yuga is predominantly Rajastic, and he always carries bows and arrows in his hands. But even so, he is tranquil-minded and compassionate. the Kali Purusha is possessed of Tamasic traits; the people of Kali age will be materialistic-minded, they will discard all noble values of life, will be atheistic and will take to unwholesome and evil practices. Moral values will sink to the lowest level in the age of the Kali, and Kali will tempt and lead people astray, take them away along wrong and evil paths. People will fall slaves to sense-pleasures and throw overboard all noble values of life. Cravings of the tongue and passions of the Sex are the two weapons of the Kali Purusha to subdue men.

Lord Brahma, however, had warned that he should be very cautious when he approaches people devoted to their Guru. He should never try to meddle with and harass people devoted to Guru. Guru holds the highest spiritual status, higher than that of even all the gods. And whosoever is devoted to his guru, is ever protected against all odds and harm. The Guru's grace will be an impregnable armour around his disciples and devotees. Brahma cautioned Kali that though he was free to indulge in his pranks with others, with regard to devotees of Guru, he should restrain himself and abstain from meddling with them. Otherwise, he would be incurring God's wrath and will come to grief and none would be able to help him, not even the Great Trinity.

"You will know the power of Guru Bhakti from the following anceote", continued Brahma in his instructions to Kali.

On the banks of river Godavari, there used to be once the Angeerasa Ashram. In the Ashram lived many Rishis, ever engaged in their spiritual pursuits. Many young students used to come for learning to these Rishis who were very learned in the Vedas and the scriptures and were realised souls. Vedadharma, son of the great Paila Maharshi, was one of these Rishis. He was revered for his vast learning as well as for his spiritual stature, and was a worthy son of a great Rishi. He used to have a very large group of students. One day, during his daily discourse to his students, he said, "as a man sows, so shall he reap. No one can escape the bonds of Karma. Human birth is a result of his previous Karmas only. Just as the law of cause of Law & Effect works in the physical world, the law of Karma works in the moral sphere. Every thought, word & deed, as it were, is weighed in the scales of eternal justice. The moral law is inexorable and inescapable". He then slowly added, "As for me too, in my former lives, in my ignorance, I committed many great sins. I have been able to expiate most of them thought the severest of penances in this life, but there is still some Parabdha Karma persisting, which I cannot escape and will have to suffer. The time is now coming for me for undergoing this suffering and I will soon be overtaken by a dreadful disease, which will see me in its grip for a long time, for nearly two years. I need the services of one of you, if any of you are willing. You will have to constantly attend upon me, nurse me and relieve me of my sufferings to whatever extent you possibly can. But, let me tell you, the disease that is going to overtake me is most loathsome and you will not be able to bear my presence. Those who jave to attend to a diseased person will suffer even more than the diseased person himself". With this, he stopped and kept silent.

No sooner than the Guru finished speaking this, one young disciple, Deepak, rose up, walked to Guru's feet, prostrated himself there and prayed he be given the chance and privilege to serve him. He said. "Master! what greater blessing can there be than serving the Master, under all circumstances. Pray, give me the opportunity to serve you".

Vedhadharma said that he was setting out on a pilgrimage to the holy Kashi, as the disease which would be overtaking him could be fatal, and that he would like to breathe his last on the banks of the holy Ganges at the feet of Lord Viswanath.

Vedhadharma then entrusted his other disciples to the care of other Rishis, and he set out to the holy Kashi along with Deepak. There he settled down at Kambleshwar on the northern bank of Manikarnika.

In a few days, the body of Vedhadharma was overtaken by leprosy and, day by day, the disease was fast spreading, ravaging the whole body. Flies made almost a permanent habitation on the sores of Vedhadharma's body. Hardly could he sleep; and he was suffering in agony all the time. He grew highly irritable & peevish, and for everything he used to blame Deepak. He used to treat the disciple very harshly. He used to scold him for not cleaning his sores properly, and when he was cleaning the wounds, he used to flare up and howl that he was causing him pain. He used to complain that the food Deepak was getting for him was not good. But Deepak used to bear it all calmly, while at the same time he also felt sorry for the agony and suffering of the Guru, which he was not able to alleviate however much he served him. He stove all the time, trying to make his Guru as comfortable as possible. He himself used to hardly sleep, nor used to eat properly, and all the time of the day he was attending up on the Master, catering to his needs. the young boy's dedication and love for his Guru moved the hearts of ven the Trinity.

One day, Lord Siva (Lord Visweshwara) appeared before Deepak and said that He was immensely pleased with his Guru Bhakti and Guru Seva and that he came to him in order to give him whichever boon he might ask for. Deepak said that without his Guru's explicit permission he would not do anything and that he would therefore ask his Guru first as to what he should do and what boon to ask for. Lord Siva said. "Then you go and get your Guru's permission for asking the boon. I will be waiting here for you. I shall give you whatever you ask for". Deepak told the Guru about this and said that he would seek boon from Shiva for the cure of his (Guru's) dreadful disease. The Guru instantly flared into a rage and said that he should not seek any favour from anyone for the redress of his suffering. He said he will have to expiate his Karma by his own suffering only. Deepak went back and told Lord Shiva that he had nothing to seek from him. Brahma & Vishnu also later appeared before Deepak and they too offered boons, pleased with his Guru Bhakti. At the behest of the Guru, he turned down the offer of these Gods too. then the Gods said. "When we, the Supreme Gods, who are higher than any being, are graciously offering you boons, is it not foolish of you to listen to the perverse behests of your Guru and spurn down the blessed opportunity come to you?" Deepak replied, "Pardon me Sirs! there is none equal to the Guru, Guru is higher than even the highest Gods. Whatever I ever yearn for is only my Guru's grace and not the favor of anyone else. If you are still keen on granting me some boon, please bless that my devotion to my Guru will only grow more & more and will never slacken and waver". The gods blessed him accordingly and disappeared.

Actually Vedadharma wanted only to test Deepak's steadfastness and devotion; for this he put to the severest of test. When Deepak thus defied even the Gods, Vedadharma was much pleased. The disease was not real, it was just assumed by him for the purpose of testing the faith of this disciple and to give him posterity an example of the Supreme power of Guru-Bhakti.

Vedadharma then gave up the disease and became perfectly well. He embraced Deepak. He lauded him for his steadfast devotion to the Guru even under the severest of trials and tribulation. Vedadharma endowed on Deepak all the knowledge of the scriptures and the highest wisdom and all the Siddhis (mystic powers). He blessed him thus " You will flourish as a chiranjeevi for ever in this Holy Kashi. Lord Viswehsara will ever be at your side. Whoever thinks of you will be rid of all their woes and will enjoy all prosperity and attain englithment". Deepak became as enlightened as his own illustrious Guru himself was and came to be also know as Sandeepak or Samdeepak.

Thus ends the Second Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra glorifying the Guru-Bhakti and the supremacy of the Guru even over all Gods....

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

The Kalpataru (the celestial tree) can fulfill all your wishes. The Kamadhenu (the celestial cow) can bestow on us all the boons. The Paras-Stone can transform base metals into gold.

But none of these can transform others into the likes of themselves. This, Guru alone can do.

Chapter No 3
The Cause for Sri Hari taking Incarnations on Earth

Namdharak prayed to Siddha Yogi to accept him as his disciple. He pleaded "pray, enlighten me more and fully on Guru Leelas. Also let me know about your way of life, what type of food you take, etc.

The Siddha Yogi said "unceasing remembrance of Guru Nath's Glory, chanting of his (GuruNath's) Name and reading and re-reading (Parayana) of the Guru Charitra Text (which recounts the Leelas of Guru Nath), are my sole sustenance and very way of life. He showed him the palm-leaves bundle(book), which was a record of the Guru Leelas, which he always carried with him, and which was his priceless treasure. He further said,"Guru Charitra is the panacea for all the ills of the world, and reading it or listening to its narration, will relieve men of all their mundane worries, and would endow on them enduring peace, happiness and spiritual enlightment. It is like Kamadhenu (the celestial cow) and the Kalpavriksha (the celestial tree) and will fulfill all human desires and aspirations". Speaking thus, the Siddha Yogi led Namdharak to the holy Aswatha Tree on the banks of the river Bhima-Amaraja Sangam. Siddha Yogi seated himself at the foot of the tree and asked Namdharak also to be seated in front of him. Namdharak pleaded with Siddha Yogi to narrate the Guru Charitra and said "One great doubt troubles me much, and you must first clear it for me. Why would the One, who is beyond all Gunas and qualities, who is formless, take form at all and especially the human form, and come down to earth? I am unable to reason out and understand why, while men strive all their lives to conquer and transcend their Gunas and take to severest penances, with the sole objective of getting freedom from the tradom of the body and to merge in the formless God, the formless God should assume human form and incarnate on earth."What is the reason for Nirgun to become Saguna? Please make it clear to me" asked Namdharak.

The Siddha Yogi hen began to narrate as follows:

Whenever earth is overpowered by evil and the gentle and pious folks are harassed and troubled by asuras i.e., by the demonic-natured people, and whenever righteousness is on the decline, God incarnates on earth to restore Dharma, to punish the wicked and to reform them, and to protect the pious and the good. The devotees especially will be ever protected by God; God brooks no harm to be done to his ardent and faithful devotees by anyone or being. Let me tell you the ancedote of Ambareesha, which will explain to you clearly the mystery of the Avatars.

King Ambareesha was a very righteous ruler and was a great devotee of Lord Sri Hari. He was a scrupulous follower of all Sastraic injunctions. Once, after observing the Ekadashi fast, on the following morning he was about to break his fast. Just at that time, Sage Durvasa arrived. The King offered is obeisance to the sage and prayed that he should accept his hospitality. The sage agreed and went to bathe in the river telling that he would return soon. But hours passed by and yet the sage did not return, It was nearing mid-day and the Dwadasi hours were passing away. Unless Ambareesha broke the fast before the Dwadasi hours passed away, the fruits of the Ekadasi fast would be lost altogether. Consulting his priests, he sipped a little water, taking the Lord's name. The fast was thereby symbolically broken, yet without actually any food being taken. The sage returned after mid-day. He was furious that the king had taken something, though it was just water, without he himself (the guest) partaking of the food first. He was about to curse the king in fury, that he would be born as a fish, tortoise, pig(boar), etc. Just as this instance, as Ambareesha was all the time praying and was totally absorbed in the thought of Lord Sri Hari, the later appeared and told Durvasa, that he (Durvasa) might curse him (Sri Hari) instead of cursing Ambareesha, his devotee. Durvasa foresaw how immensely the curse was going to benefit the world, and pronounced the curse upon Sri Hari that he would have to born again and again in the world, beginning with the life of a fish and further that in one of the Avatars, he would have no steady place to live in and would be continuously wandering and be ever on the move from place to place, thus indicating the Dattavatara too.

The curse of Durvasa thus became a blessing to the world. The Lord had to take incarnations on earth. Besides the ten principal Incarnations, he took many other incarnations, which were all described in Srimad Bhagavata, One of the most glorious Incarnations was that of Sri Dattatreya.

Thus ends the Third Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing Sage Durvasa's curse on Sri Hari and which led to the Lord's taking Incarnations on the earth.

For devotee's sake, God would court any amount of trouble, like a mother for her child and even very much more.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omni present and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Each of the Avatars has a profound message.
Matya (Fish) - Recover the resure of wisdom from the deluge of doubt.
Kurma (Tortoise) - Live unattached as master of here and hereafter.
Varaha (Boar) - Carry the burden of duty on the twin tusks of discipline and devotion.
Narasimha (Man-Lion form) - Let not your ego hide the glory of God
Vamana - Offer yourself at the feet of the lord and gain the Feet
Parashurama - Learn the lessons of surrender or suffer.
Sri Rama - What one meets in life is destiny and how one meets it is self effort.
Sri Krishna - Strive to become an instrument in my hand
Buddha - Perfect yourselves so that you may aid others to perfect themselves.
Kalki - Build the mansion of life on Truth, Morality, Peace, Love and Non-violence. (Sathy, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa)

Chapter No 4


It is like the rain - bearing clouds, reaching to all places, and showering the rain of knowledge and wisdom and fostering the spiritual well being of all.....


Namdharak then asked Siddha Yogi how it actually happened that the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara, were born a single manifestation, as Datta. His heart was yearning to know the whole Guru Charitra from it's very beginnings and origin.

Siddha Yogi began describing the origin of creation. In the timeless beginning there was no earth, no sky, no planet, no universe and no being. It was all infinite expanse of water. On it was resting Lord Sri Narayana. Actually that primal water itself was God. Out of the water was born Hiranyagarbha and out of Hiranyagarbha emerged Brahmananda.

Brahmananda spilt into two and one became the sky and the other the earth. The Lord then created the four-faced Brahma and entrusted to him the task of creation of both the animate beings and the inanimate things. Brahma out of his Manas, created the seven sages, known as "Manasa Putras". Atri Rishi was one of those seven sons of Brahma.

Atri practiced severe penance for countless number of years and attained Brahma-Jnana (Self-realisation). Later, at the instance of Brahma, he married Anasuya, the daughter of Kardama Prajapati. Anasuya was embodiment of perfection and was entirely blemishless and her name itself indicates, was devoid of even the least taint of envy, which is one of the greatest blemishes among humans. She has no malice against anyone and had overwhelming and motherly love for all beings. She was an embodiment of chastity, who worshipped and considered her husband alone as God. She is reckoned foremost among Pati-vratas, i.e., those whose devotion for their husbands is unalloyed and supreme. Her fame and glory spread far and wide, all over the three worlds.

Indra, the Lord of heaven, felt all his power paling into insignificance like that of an oil lamp before the dazzling and splendorous sun-shine of the rising glory and powers of Anasuya, and was afraid of losing his supremacy, he approached the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara, and entreated them to arrest the ever increasing powers and glory of Anasuya by somehow casting a blemish on her chastity. He said Anasuya's name and fame already outshining and eclipsing that of the three Divine consorts, Lakshmi, Saraswati,and Parvatti, who were till then ranked as the foremost amongst the women in all the worlds.

The Gods wanted to put Anasuya's purity and power to test. They transformed themselves into mendicants and approached the hermitage of Atri Rishi. They begged for alms. At that time, Atri Rishi had gone to the river to offer his daily oblations. Anasuya came out and welcomed them and extended hospitality to them. They made a strange request that the food prepared be served to them by Anasuya without wearing any garment. Anasuya, though perplexed at such a strange, embarrassing and impossible condition, however, though thought for a while as to what she do. Athitis, or guests, cannot be turned away under any circumstances; Athitis are aspects of God Himself. But .... yes, it flashed in her mind: If only the guests were her babies and she their mother; Oh, yes, she could feed them without donning a garment. Her thoughts - the thoughts of a pure and chaste mind instantly became a reality; the elderly guests turned into babies. She then fed them with all the motherly solicitude and love. She then sang lullabies and put them to sleep in a cradle.

When Atri Rishi returned home, to his amazement, he found Anasuya fondling the three babies and singing to them lullabies on Upanishadic truths. Anasuya rose and offered the children at the feet of her husband and said "These children are the gift (Datta) of God to us. Atri Rishi was overwhelmed with joy.

Atri Rishi, through his Divyadrushti, realised who the children really were. He prayed to them "Oh, Supreme Gods - Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwar! It is all your inscrutable divine Leela (sport). You, the Infinite Beings, chose to become babes in our humble home so as to delight us who have been childless and have been praying to you in our heart of hearts to bestow a child. How blessed are we to fondle you!" Tears of joy started swelling out of the sage's eyes, bathing the babes, so to say.

The Babes now assumed their real forms and made their appearance before the couple, as the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara. They said " We are pleased with you both. You ask for whatever boons you wish". The couple prayed, "Let the joy you gave us as babies in our home a little while ago, become permanent and a lasting reality. Make this humble cottage of ours your own home, and give us the blessed opportunity to fondle you as our little children." The Gods said in our voice. "Your wish will surely be fulfilled. Let us also who have never known what a mother's and a father's love is like, experience and enjoy it as children in your home. That is in truth, what we have been seeking for and why we came here, under the pretext of Bhiksha".

To Anasuya, Brahma was born as Chandra, Vishnu as Datta, and Maheshwara as Durvasa. The children grew up under the fondling care of the parents. Atri Rishi performed their Upanayana Samskara, After this, Chandra sought permission of this parents to take his place in the skies and to make it his abode. Durvasa also sought permission of the parents to leave the home, for his pilgrimages and penance. Both of them merged their divine selves and power in their brother Datta before their departure from home. Thus, in Datta were merged all the divine aspects and powers of the great Trinity, which became symbolised as His three faces and six hands and because of which, he came to be called as Dattatreya (Datta Thraya). The name also bears another meaning. "The one who gifted himself as son to Atri."

Dattatreya, from his very early years itself, took to the task of redemption of the world as Supreme Guru and Protector - He is a Purna Jnanavatar, incarnated to dispel darkness of ignorance in the world and to bestow spiritual knowledge and wisdom on all aspirants.

Thus ends the Fourth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "the glorious advent of the Dattavatar on to the earth".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive GuruNath.

Chapter No 5
Incarnation of Sripada SriVallabha

Siddha Yogi again referred the curse of Durvasa Rishi on Lord Vishnu. Due to this curse, Lord Vishnu had to take quite many incarnations on earth. Each of the incarnations subdued evil, re-established Dharma, destroyed the wicked people and helped and protected the good.

Like the incarnations of Vishnu in the earlier Yugas, in the Kali Yuga, Lord Dattatreya too had to take many incarnations to promote righteousness, to dispel spiritual ignorance which had overtaken the world due to the influence of Kali, and to light the lamp of wisdom among people. Lord Dattatreya was born as Sripada Sri Vallabha. The Siddha Yogi narrated about his Avatar to Namdharak as under:

There is a place called as Peethapuram* on the eastern coast of southern India. There lived a pious Brahmin couple in this place; the husband's name was Appalaraju and the wife's name was Sumata. Managing the household, Sumata was devotedly assisting her husband in the religious rituals. She was very hospitable and used to serve guests with great veneration.

One one Amavasya (new moon day), there was a Shraddha ceremony (i.e., death anniversary of one of the family ancestors) in the house. All the food preparations were ready, but the priests still had to take the sacramental food. At this juncture, a mendicant (Sanyasi) came near the back door and asked for food. How to offer food to this strange guest before the priests were fed, was a dilemma for Sumata. On Shraddha days to feed someone before the priests ( who symbolize and represent the departed souls, the pitru devatas) are fed is prohibited; If anyone else is fed, it is supposed to detract from and nullify the merit and purpose of the Shraddha ceremony. In her dilemma, Sumata looked with embarrassment at the face of the Sanyasi. She instantaneously felt 'the guest', was no ordinary being.

"Has God Himself come to test me?" she felt. She forgot everything as to what was right and what was wrong, and rushed to serve him food. Lo! "the mendicant" was Guru Dattatreya Himself. Dattatreya was extremely pleased with Sumata for her goodness of heart, and said, "Mother! I am very pleased with you. Ask for whatever boon you may wish". At this, Sumata was overjoyed. In that ecstasy, she spoke out, "Maharaj!. Let the word 'Mother' (Amma), you addressed me become true and real (i.e., may you be born to me). That is all what I beseech you". The Lord said, "so be it!" and instantly disappeared.

In course of time, Sumata became a mother and Sripada Sri Vallabha, the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, was born to her as her son. In truth, it was not a birth in normal sense. It was the manifestation of Lord as a child in her House. How blessed is the Mother that bore the Lord as her child! The child was named "Sripada", as advised by the priests of he place, as the child's feet bore all auspicious and holy marks and signs like the conch, chakra, etc.

Sripada's thread ceremony (Upanayama Samskara) was performed at the age of seven. Just as the initiation ceremony commenced , Sripada shone like Jnanan-Bhaskara (Sun of Wisdom), and started reciting Vedic Mantras with great mastery. All the pundits and scholars were dazed at Sripada's self-manifest knowledge and wisdom, and bowed down to him.

When Sripada attained marriageable age, one alliance came. When the parents told him about it, Sripada smilingly said, "renunciation (Vairagya) alone is my companion in life and every single woman in the world is none other than my mother". As he said that "the Vairagya Stree" (Yoga Stree) would be would be his life's companion he came to be known as 'Sri Vallabha' (Sripada Sri Vallabha). Sripada further said that "My mission is to go out in the world, to give initiation to and guide the sadhus." Saying thus, he sought permission from his parents to take to Sanyasa and leave the home. But it was too much for the parents to give their consent. How could they forgo such a son? The situation was all the more poignant because, among the other two children they had, one was dumb and deaf and the other was blind, and both were invalids and mentally retarded. If Sripada Sri Vallabha forsook them, who would look after them in their old age? What would be the plight of the family? That was the anxiety and anguish of the parents.

Sripada understood their worry and anxiety. He called his brothers near him, cast a divine and benevolent glance at them with overflowing love, and what a wonder! Instantly their physical and mental disabilities disappeared. They became perfectly normal and also gained instantaneous knowledge of all the Vedas and scriptures. All were overwhelmed with joy. Sripada then blessed all of them saying that they would have a healthy and prosperous life. He enjoined on his brothers to serve the parents with love and devotion and assured them all, liberation in that birth itself.

Sripada Sri Vallabha then decided to set out on his mission. He bade good-bye to his parents. To his mother he said. "Mother, don't be sorry that I am leaving you now. I have got a divine mission to fulfill. I have to redeem the world from ignorance it is steeped in. I have taken this birth as your son only to redeem humanity. I have to instill into all people faith in God and reveal to them the Divine Glory". He consoled all his relatives with his kindly advise and loving words and went out of sight in a trice. Using his yogic power, he traveled with the speed of mind, and reached the holy Varanasi (Kashi) instantly. There he remained incognito. He then went to Badarikasaram on a pilgrimage, worshipped the deity there and then went to South. He arrived at Gokaran-Mahabaleswar*. Gokaran is a hallowed place; it is the seat of Mahabaleswara Siva Linga. Sripada Sri Vallabha stayed there for three years and by his stay made it even far more holy.

*This place is in Karnataka state.

Thus ends the Fifth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "the Reincarnation of Lord Dattatreya as Sripada Sri Vallabha."

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omni present and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 6
Gokarna Mahabaleshwara

Namdharak prayed to Siddha Yogi to tell him about the Gokarna Mahatmya. He said it must have had great significance as it was a place chosen by Sripad Sri Vallabha, in preference to all other holy places in Bharat, for his sojourn and stay.

Siddha Yogi began the narration of the birth of Gokarna Atma-Linga, as originally related by Lord Ganesha.

In the most ancient times in the Treta Yuga, there was a great Brahmin sage by name Pulasthya in the kingdom of Lanka, His wife's name was Kaikasi. They had a son named Ravana, who was the ruler of the kingdom. Ravana had ten heads and twenty arms and he was unusually mighty and strong. Kaisaki was a great devotee of Lord Shankar, and she offered worship to Shivalinga every morning. She would not take food until she finished her worship. For her worship, she must daily find a new and original Shivalinga. If she failed in finding a new Shivalings she would fast for one day. For that day, when she did not get an original Linga, she would prepare a Mrithika Linga (the Linga form moulded out of clay) and would do her worship to it and would fast for the whole day.

One day, as Kaikasi did not get an original Shivalinga, she was doing her worship to a Mrithika Linga which she had prepared. Ravana saw this and felt in his pride and conceit that it did not befit her, the mother of a mighty person like him, to have to do worship to a mere Mrithika Linga, instead of an original Shivalinga. He said that he would bring down the Kailash itself along with Shankara into Lanka for his mother's worship. he made a vow to this effect and set out for Kailash. Reaching there, he tried to put out the Kailash mountain, for taking it to Lanka. The mountain began to totter; the Devas-Ganas and even Goddess Parvati were being tossed about. Even the heavens and the neither worlds became shaky and all became extremely panicky. Goddess Parvati asked Shiva what was happening and Shankara told her that Ravana, the son of his great devotee Kaikasi, was trying to pull out Kailash to take it to Lanka for his mother's worship. He said that even Ravana was a great devotee of his, and hence he was refraining from doing anything in the matter. But with further pleading of Parvati, Shankara intervened and pressed down with just the mere toe of his right foot, which nearly crushed Ravana under the mountain. Ravana realised his folly and started praying to Shankara for His mercy and grace. In his rich musical voice he began singing Sama Vedic hymns in praise of the Lord. He undertook penance; he made a new musical instrument (Yantra Karkamalika - Rudra Veena) with his head, veins and nerves and started playing on it rich and enrapturing music to please the Lord. He was cutting off his heads and offering as sacrifice in oblation to the Lord. It was a penance unprecedented and never undertaken by any one, ever before. Shankara was very much moved by his devotion and austerities of Ravana. He appeared before Ravana and told him that he would give him whatever boon he would wish for. Ravana prayed he wanted Kailash itself for his mother's worship.

Shankara said that it was an impossible wish; but he would, instead, give him his Atma-Linga, which is the Divine Core and Essential Principle of Lord Shiva himself. He said the Atma-Linga embodied in itself the Highest Divinity, and whoever worshipped it for just three years, would himself become like Shankara. He, however, warned and cautioned that the Linga should not touch the ground till it reached Lanka and was enshrined there.

Ravana was elated at winning the Atma Linga, but all the Gods were frightened because the new power which Ravana won through the possession of the Atma-Linga would make him the mightiest person and unconquerable even by Gods and unconquerable even by the Trinity. Ravana had already subdued and enslaved the Five Elements and the Nava Grahas. Now his pride and power would have no bounds and restraints. The Gods started shuddering in fright and prayed to Vishnu to save them and the worlds from impending doom. Lord Vishnu approached Ganesha and together with Narada, they planned out how to deprive Ravana of the Atma-Linga. Ravana was still mid-way and had not reached Lanka yet. Vishnu would create an artificial dusk by covering the orb of the sun with his Sudarshan Chakra. Ravana would then break his journey, wherever he be, to perform his Sayam Sadhya (evening oblations). Ganesha should then appear there as a rustic boy. Ravana would then request Ganesa to hold the Atma Linga in his hands till he (Ravana) would finish his Sandhya-Vandan. Narada would then appear and draw Ravana into conversation and delay the latter in completing his Sandya-Vandan, Ganesh should ground the Atma-Linga in the meanwhile there itself. Such was the plan.

Ravana was midway to Lanka, but proudly carrying the Atma-Linga. The sun suddenly dimmed down due to the contrivance of Vishnu, and giving the impression that it was already nearing dusk. Ravana was a meticulous observer of the daily rituals and, therefore was keen on doing his Sandya-Vandan before sunset was over. But what to do with the Atma-Linga while doing the Sandya-Vandan? Shiva told him not to keep it on the ground before he reached Lanka. While he was in a dilemma, there appeared nearby a shepard boy playing around who looked so guileless and innocent. It was Lord Ganesa himself in that guise. Ravana called out to the boy and pleaded with him to hold the Shiva-Linga for him till he finished his evening oblations to the Sun-Deity. The boy pretended that he was in a hurry to get back home as it was getting dark. On Ravana's further pleading, the boy said that the Shiva-Linga seemed to be too heavy for him, and anyway he would hold it, but Ravana should return soon. He said "If you delay I shall lay it on the ground and go away." He added "However, I shall count to thrice before putting it on the ground before leaving".

Ravana, placing the Shiva-Linga in the hands of the boy, hurried to the river. There he was accosted by Narada, who went on complimenting and congratulating him for winning the Atma-Linga which is the most powerful Linga in the world. He said "it will make you the mightiest person in the world, and you will forever rule all the gods". Narada thus delayed Ravana, engaging him in conversation. Before Ravana took it easy, but never the less completed the Sandhya-Vandana fast and hurried back. Lo! by the time he reached back, the boy had already grounded the Shiva Linga. Ravana was furious with the boy, but the boy pleaded "it was too heavy for me, I called out for you thrice. As you did not return I couldn't help laying it on the ground".

Ravana tried with all his might to pull out the Shiva-Linga, the more he pulled the more firmly it was getting stuck in the ground. However, with the pull of Ravana, the Linga got twisted and elongated in the shape of a cow's ear (Go-Karna). As it withstood the mighty strength of Ravana, the Shiva-Ling came to be know as "Gokarna Mahabaleswar" and it is deemed most holy, as the Shiva Linga was installed there by Lord Ganesha, the foremost of Deities and further more, the installation was done at the instance of Lord Vishnu Himself.

It is said that Ravana did severest penances at this place only, and attained all the boons from Lord Shiva. All the gods also are said to have done great penances at this holy place.

The power of this place has been described in detail in Skandha purana.

Thus narrated Siddha Yogi to Namdharak about the origin of Gokarna, where Sripad Sri Vallabha chose to stay for three years in this sojourn in the South.

Thus ends the Sixth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing how the Atma-Linga of Shiva found its habitation at Gokarna and made it one of the holiest spots in the land.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 7
Gokarna Sthala Mahatmya

Namdharak was thrilled with joy listening to the origin of Gokarna Mahabaleshwar. He said to Siddha Yogi "From what you have said, the place must be spiritually very powerful, and it should have been conferring immense benefits materially, morally and spiritually on all pilgrims visiting there. I am eager to hear of any instance in which anyone had derived such benefits from making a pilgrimage to the place." In reply to this, Siddhayogi narrated the following anecdote...

In the Ikshwaku race, there was once a king by name of Mitrasahu. He was very pious, noble and kind hearted king. He treated his subjects as his own children and was ever engaged in promoting their welfare. Vasishtha Maharishi was his family guru and priest. The king, however, had one weakness (vice), viz., his craze and over fondness of hunting.

The king once went out for hunting, he killed many wild animals. Thereafter, he confronted a wicked Rakshasa and wounded him mortally. The Rakshasa, before falling down dead, told his brother that he should take revenge on this king. The brother Rakshasa then took the guise of a human form; he went to the king's palace and managed to become a palace cook. One day there was a Shraddha ceremony in the royal family (the annual ceremony in memory of the departed soul of a family elder and ritualistic offerings of food and water with chant of the Mantras, on the anniversary day of death of the person). Meat is forbidden on such a day, as the Brahmin priests and Rishis would come to partake of the food. The vicious Rakshasa surreptitiously cooked human flesh on that day, and taking everyone unawares, served it to the Brahmin priests, instead of the vegetarian food which was supposed to be served. The priests got enraged and were furious, and the spur of the moment, without waiting to know the truth, cursed the king that he should become a Brahma Rakshasa. The king was about to curse the priests in revenge taking water in his palm for the purpose, when the queen restrained him saying it was not proper for anyone to curse the priests. The king then let the water from his pal drop on his own feet. The feet got charred and because of this , he came to be know as Kalmashapada. Vasishtha Maharishi, realising that the king was really innocent, felt sorry for the curse uttered, and told the king that he was blessing him that the curse would last only for 12 years, and at the end of 12years, he would get back his normal form.

The king because of the excurse, became a Brahma Rakshasa, and made the forest his habitation. He used to kill and eat whichever or whoever came by that way, whether they be animals, beasts or human beings. One day, a Brahmin couple happened to be passing through the forest. The Brahma Rakshasa caught hold of the Brahmin, and ignoring the requests and plaintive pleadings of his wife, - who was imploring him to consider her as his own daughter and spare her husband's life - mercilessly killed the Brahmin and devoured him. At this, the wife of the Brahmin, who was suddenly widowed because of the blood thirstiness of the Rakshasa, cursed him saying, "Although after the expiry of the 12 years you are going to get back your human form, if you try to court the pleasure of your wife, you will be instantly drop down dead and your queen would become a widow like me". Thereafter the woman, along with the bones of her dead husband did Sahagamana and ended her life also.

The king, after the expiry of the curse period of 12 years, was rid of the form of Brahma Rakshasa. Having become normal again, he returned to his kingdom. He confided to the queen the curse of the Brahmin woman. Hearing it, the queen was heart broken as the prospect of her getting a son was now doomed. Seeing her grief, the king consulted the wise men of the court and priests, to find out whether hey could suggest any way of him escaping for the operation of the curse. They advised him, that if the royal couple could make pilgrimages to holy places and do their offering to Gods, the power of the curse would at least get mitigated and with Divine Grace, it would perhaps even be overcome altogether.

The king and queen set out on pilgrimage to almost all the holy places of the land, doing severe penances at those places. They came to Mithilpur at last. They were exhausted and sat down under the shade of the tree to rest. At this juncture, the king saw an illustrious sage Gautama passing by, along with a group of other Rishis. The king ran towards them and fell prostrate at the sage's feet and prayed that he should save him from the curse of the Brahmin woman and show him the way to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya.

Sage Gautama told the king that he should visit the holy Gokarna; his pilgrimage to the holy place would expiate his sin for certain. The sage said that all the gods, even the celestial beings make pilgrimage to Gokarna for expiating their sins and to earn merit. He said that even Brahma and Vishnu visited the holy place and did penances for a long time in order to earn merit.

The sage citied the instances of incomparable redeeming power of the holy place. The greatest sins like killing or causing the death of a Brahmin, cow, etc., could be expiated by pilgrimage to and worship a Gokarna, he said. He narrated the following incident, which he himself had witnessed just a few days ago.

The sage saw a low cast woman at Gokarna; she was blind and was suffering from a dreadful disease. She was very exhausted and was very hungry. She begged for food, but could not manage to get anything. Due to exhaustion and hunger, she died. As soon as she died, messengers of Siva came near her in celestial Vimana to take her to Kailash, but, at the same time, the messengers of Yama also arrived there, both the groups laying claim to the Jiva of the dead woman, Gautama inquired of them as to why this conflict and confrontation should arise between them. The Yamadootas said the woman was a very sinful person; the sins she committed in her life were gravest and what she deserved were only the tortures and fire of hell. But the Shivadhootas said that, although she committed many a sin but yet as she died at the holy Gokarna, Lord Shiva had granted her Kailash Pada and sent them to fetch her. Her past story was as follows:

The woman in her previous birth was born in a Brahmin family. Her name was Saudamini. She was very beautiful and charming. When she was ten years old, she was married, but her husband died only few years after her marriage. In course of time, unable to control her sensuous desires and passions of youth, she yielded to and started living with a Wani (a grocer) from her neighbourhood. She also got addicted to drink and other evil habits and once after taking wine, in her intoxication, she killed a calf for food, mistaking it for a goat. At that time the husband was away. When she came to her senses, it was time for milking the cow , and she went for milking. But the cow, not finding her calf nearby, did not yield any milk. The women felt dead scared as to how her husband and neighbours would react to when they would come to know what she had done. She pretended to be weeping, telling that a tiger came and killed the calf and ran away with it. Everyone believed it to be true. After some years, the woman died and she was taken to hell. She was put to great torture there. The woman was late born as Chandali (in a very low caste). She was very ugly. As she grew up, she lost her sight and became blind. She was overtaken by leprosy also. As long as her parents were alive, they took care and looked after her. After she lost her parents, there was no one to take care of her; she never had enough food to eat. She was suffering great misery.

Once, in the holy month of Magha, she had heard that some people of the place were going to Gokarna for the Shivaratri festival. She thought if she accompanied them, they would give her something to eat during the journey. Hoping thus, she accompanied the party of pilgrims, but the pilgrims did not take to her kindly. On Shivaratri day too, as no one had given her anything to eat, she also had to fast. Then Bilwa leaves, were being distributed y someone. They gave her also some Bilwa leaves, but in anger, she flung them away. Lo! the Bilwa leaves although she never intended it, fell right on the ShivaLinga. And in a few moments after this, the woman famished and exhausted died.

Even the least worship, either done with devotion or without devotion, knowingly or unknowingly is enough to please Shiva. Thus the Chandali woman earned the favour and grace of Shiva. The merit earned by her was all the more because it happened to be the done at Gokarna the abode of Shiva's Atma Linga, and besides that day was Holy Shivaratri Day. Therefore no sooner that the woman died, than Lord Shankara sent his messengers to bring her to Kailash.

Hearing the narrative of Shivadhootas, the men of Yama beat a retreat, leaving the woman in the hands of the Shivadhootas. Such being the power and glory of Gokarna, Gautama Rishi advised the king to go to Gokarna and to do penance there, and assured him that thereby freed from the curse. The king advised by Gautama Rishi, made a pilgrimage to Gokarna, did penance there, and thereby got rid of the curse. Thereafter, he lived happily with the wife, was blessed with sons and lived for a long time.

Thus ends the Seventh Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing "the redeeming power of the Holy Gokarna Kshetra."

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Chapter No 8
Shani Pradosha Vrata Mahatmya

Siddha Yogi continued his narrative. From Gokarna, Sripad Srivallabha went to Sai Sailam and did the Chaturmasa there (the 4 months stay at a fixed place during the rainy season, by the monks who otherwise are forbidden from staying at any one fixed place for more than 5 days). From there he went to Navratri (Bivruthi) Sangam. After spending some time there, he finally came to Kurvapur (near the present Raichur). His spiritual fame spread far and wide, and devotees used to pour in for his Darshan all the time. His spiritual power was such that with his mere Darshan, people used to be relieved from all distress. He always radiated peace and love. The ailing used to be cured instantly; spiritual seekers coming to him used to feel highly uplifted, their doubts clearing off like fog and darkness before sunrise. His mere glance would transport people to higher realms of consciousness and fill their hearts with supernatural joy and transcendental peace.

At that time, there lived in Kurvapur a learned Brahmin, His wife's name was Ambika. She gave birth to many children but, except the last one, none of the others survived. Unfortunately, that boy who survived, was dull headed. All efforts of his father to teach him were of no avail, as the boy had no grasping power at all. This was a cause of frustration and anxiety to the parents. The father died in dejection. Having no support, the son and mother were thrown into penury and had no means of livelihood. They had to take to begging and had to leave a very hard and miserable life. They were disgusted with their life, and both of them decided to end their lives by throwing themselves into the river. As they approached the river bank with the object of putting end to their lives, the woman saw Sripad SriVallabha who came there for his bath. Seeing the Halo around his face and divinity in his looks, her aching heart was soothened, and her fatalistic desperation was overcome by newborn peace, hope and joy in her heart. The compassion and love in Sripada's looks - love surpassing even that of a thousand mother's instilled and charged new life in her depressed and broken heart. She fell at his feet and vented out the anguish in her heart, and said, "How I wish I will have a son like you in my next birth at least." "So be it, mother!" said Sri Vallabha. He added, "But you will have to observe a particular Vrata; you will have to worship Lord Maheswara in the evenings on Trayodasi Thithi days coinciding with and coming on Saturdays, which is called as Sani Pradosha Puja. It is a powerful Vrata, and if dutifully performed, it will certainly endow you a son like Lord Krishna Himself." He narrated the following ancedote;

Once upon a time, there lived a king named Chandrasen in Ujjain. He had a friend by name of Manibhadra, an ascetic and who was deeply devoted to Lord Maheshwara. Lord Maheshwara, very pleased with Manibhadra's devotion, gave him the celestial gem in the shape of Marakatha Linga. This gem, by its mere touch, could turn iron into gold, and fulfill any wish of the person who wore it. Manibhadra gifted the gem to Chandrasena, which bought prosperity to his people and kingdom. All the kings and people of other regions came to hear about the gem. Some of the neighboring kings wanted to get possession of the gem, and they plotted and invaded Ujjain. That day happened to be Sani Trayodasi day, and the king, was his wont, was engaged in worship in the Siva Temple. Although he was told about the invasion of his kingdom by the enemy kings, he remained unperturbed and unmoved, and did not leave from his place of worship. One of the cowherd boys saw the King's worship, and he also was seized with a desire to worship likewise. He picked up a round stone and started worshiping it as Shiva Linga. It was getting late in the night , but the boy remained totally absorbed in the Puja. As the boy did not return home, while all his companions returned to their homes, his mother felt worried. She came searching for him, and found him doing his worship. She asked him to stop the Puja and return home along with her instantly. But the boy refused to move from there. The mother got furious and threw out 'the stone', which he was worshiping as Shiva Linga. The boy felt very unhappy and distressed at the sacrilege committed by his mother in her anger. He though he should atone for it by giving up his life. Lord Shiva was very much moved by the anguish and sincere and deep devotion of the boy and appeared before him in the Linga form, dazzling with a million Sun's effulgence. It was the manifestation of the Jyotirlinga, emerged by itself a magnificent temple - the Mahakaleshwar Temple. The boy prayed to Siva to pardon his mother for the sacrilege she had committed. Lord said the boy's mother had already earned great merit as she had witnessed the Puja which he (the boy) was doing and with such great devotion, and because of that she would be having God himself as her child in her next birth. Meanwhile the brilliance of the light, emanating from the JyotirLinga was spreading far and wide, far upto the horizon in all directions. The Kings who attacked Ujjain saw the marvel and realised that divine protection was there on Ujjain and it's King, and it was suicidal on their part to enter into a fight against such a King. They made peace with the king and returned to their Kingdoms. Thus Ujjain remained safe, the king and the people remaining unscathed by the enemies attack, and all due to the power of Shani Pradosha Puja.

The king made the shepard boy the ruler of the shepard community and gifted him many villages to rule. The shepard's mother felt very penitent for the sacrilege she had committed by casting away the 'stone', which her son was worshipping with such great devotion. Having witnessed the emergence of the JyotirLinga as a fruition and reward for worship done by her child, she was also filled with great devotion. In her next birth she was born as Yashoda. As foretold by Lord Shiva, she became the foster-mother of Lord Sri Krishna. This was the merit she earned by merely witnessing the Sani Pradosha Puja being done by her son.

Had she done the Puja herself, Lord Krishna would have been born to herself as her own son.

Sripada Sri Vallabha finally said to Ambika, "if you do the Sani Pradosha Puja devotedly and regularly, you will certainly bear God himself as your child in your next life."

Sripada Sri Vallabha then blessed Ambika's son. With the mere touch of Sripada, the boy became fully enlightened. All wisdom and knowledge dawned on him. He became proficient in all the scriptures, making the mother happy all measure.

Thus ends the Eight Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing "the Sani Pradosha Mahatmya".

Chapter No 9
Sripada Sri Vallabha blesses the Washerman

Siddha Yogi narrated another incident which took place during Sripad Sri Vallabha's stay in Kurvapur. Everyday in the morning, midday and evening, Sripada used to come for his bath to the Sangama, which is the confluence of two rivers, Krishna & Venya (Veni). A rajak (washerman) also used to come there daily with loads of clothes for washing. This he used to have Sripada's Darshan three times a daily. He used to wash Sripada's clothes daily, dry them and thus used to serve him. Deep devotion grew in him for Sripada.

One day it so happened that a Muslim Sultan was camping on the banks of the river (near the confluence). As usual, when the washerman went to the river with his bundles of clothes for washing, he saw the Muslim king and his wives bathing in the river. The women were wearing rich ornaments and precious jewelry. There were many guards keeping watch around the camp. The rajak's eyes were dazzled seeing the glory and pomp of the king. He thought how lowly and miserable his own life was, and felt that a life like that of a Nawab alone was worth living. He started thinking how happy he would be if he also were to be born in a royal family and be a king. His mind was brooding thus.

Later in the day, when the rajak met Sripada, the latter asked him what was plaguing him. Sripada knew what was going on in the rajak's mind, and he had love for him because of his devotion and the services he was doing to him (Sripada). Sripada told him that he was blessing him to be born in a royal family in his next life and to have all his heart's desires fulfilled. He further said, "if you so desire, I will make you a king even in this life, why even now itself".

The rajak was overwhelmed with joy for Guru Nath's solicitude for him. He said, "Lord, I am now too old for any pleasures of the world. Whatever blessings you want to confer on me, please defer them for my next birth, but please do not ever forsake me. How can I live without your Darshan?"

Sripad then said, "Let it be so; In your next birth you shall be born in the Nawab's family at Vaiduryapura (Bidar). You will enjoy all royal luxuries and pleasure to your heart's content. You will have my darshan too, but not in my present form, but in my new incarnation, then as Sri Narasimha Saraswati. But remember, that it is not earthly pleasures and indulgence of the senses one should covet in life, but one should even aspire for the grace of God alone, which is far above all the earthly enjoyments and attachments. Anyway, because of your devotion to me, I will grant you liberation too, in your next life.

Sripada Sri Vallabha decided a little latter, that he should now end his sojourn on earth in the present avatar of his. He had lighted up the lamp of wisdom. He had helped many yearning souls on the spiritual path. He had relieved the sufferings of many. He had revived that Sampradaya - of attaining liberation through devotion and service to the Guru and through practice of renunciation and observance of the moral codes of life. On the Aswiyujasuddha Dwadasi (12th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Aswiyuja) Sripada Sri Vallabha walked into the waters of the confluence of the rivers and disappeared just as Lord Rama had ended his avatar in the Tretayuga, by merging himself in the waters of the Srayu river of Ayodhya. Thus ended another one of the most glorious avatars of the Lord.

Although Sripada Sri Vallabha had withdrawn his avatar, yet it is known that he did appear countless number of times and still continues to do so, in his very physical form, to all those who have set their hearts on that Holy form and offer their devotion to that form in all sincerely and earnestness.

Thus ends the Ninth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Rajak Vara Pradanam".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omni present and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

The Kalpavriksha grants whatever we ask for. If we seek 'Sheyas', from it, it will readily grant it to us, if we seek, 'Preyas', that also will be readily granted to us by the self-same celestial tree. It all depends on what we yearn for. The rajak symbolises our (i.e., the normal man's) state with sensuous cravings and worldly longings. Sage Patanjali says that Ishwara is the one who, by his mere Sankalpa can grant the Kaivalya pada (the highest spiritual state) to the aspirant. Most of us do not know what to seek from Ishwara. We ask him to grant us the trinklet joys of the world, but we do not ask for the eternal and divine bliss which is ever ready to grant to us even now and here itself.

Just as his devotion to the Guru redeemed the Rajak eventually and granted him liberation in his next life, may we too cultivate devotion and earn our own redemption too.

Chapter No 10
Sripada Sri Vallabha's continued showering of His Grace on his devotees even after his Mahaprasthan.

The devotee Vallabhesh being protected from murderous thieves.

Namdharak entreated Siddhamuni to enlighten him further on the Leelas and Mahimas of Sripada Sri Vallbha, which are said to continue, to be occurring even after the physical form of the Avatar.

Siddhamuni narrated the following ancedote which is just one among countless such occurrences.

There was a Brahmin by the name of Vallbhesh. He used to earn his livelihood in some small trade. He was an ardent devotee of Sripad, and used to visit Kurvapur every year for the Darshan and worship of the Guru Padukas enshrined there. Once he was planning to take up a new business venture, which was fraught with considerable risk. He took a vow that in case he would succeed in the venture through Sripada's Grace, he would feed a thousand Brahmins at Kurvapur. To his joy he succeeded in the venture and earned a handsome profit.

In order to fulfill his vow, Vallabhesh set out to Kurvapur, taking along with him quite a sum of money for spending for the proposed feast. A group of three thieves learnt of his journey and followed him. they told the Brahmin that they were also devotees of Guru Nath and visited Kurvapur every year for the Darshan and worship of the Padukas. Vallbhesh believed them and felt happy that he had good company for the journey. They halted in the forest for rest in the night. The Brahmin fell fast asleep. The thieves dealt a heavy blow on the head of the Brahmin with a huge stick. The Brahmin opened his eyes writhing in pain, and felt aghast to see his companions trying to kill him. He closed his eyes and prayed to the Sripada mentally and uttering "Digambara Digambara Sripada Sri Vallbha Digambara". As the thieves dealt further blows, also inflicting knife injuries in his neck, he fell unconscious and died. The thieves seized the bag of money of the Brahmin and started to run away from here. But they were aghast to find a person with matted hair smeared with ashes and holding a trident in his hand and looking fiercely at them and blocking their way. The strange Sanyasi pierced three of the thieves with his Trident who died instantly, and he was about to kill the fourth one also. But the latter in mortal fright, feel at the feet of the Sanyasi and pleaded "Oh Divine one! please spare my life. I was actually not in that group but just accompanied them. I pray you to pardon me." The Sanyasi relented and giving Vibhuti to him, said, "Apply this Vibhuti over the injuries of the Brahmin and keep strict watch for the safety of the body until daybreak." Saying thus the Sanyasi disappeared just as instantaneously as he appeared before. The thief was spared his life, did as commanded by Sanyasi. Lo! in the early hours of dawn, and as the darkness was melting away giving way to the light of sunrise, the Brahmin came back to life, just as if waking from a sound sleep. There were no marks of injury on his head and body. The survivor thief narrated to the Brahmin all that had happened, and begged his pardon. The Brahmin, seeing also the dead bodies of the three thieves, realised that it was none other than Sripada Sri Vallabha Deva that had come to his rescue. With tears of gratitude welling out from his heart, he sang praise of him. The thief completely reformed now, handed over the money bag safely with him.

The Brahmin safely reached Kurvapur, and gave a rich and sumptuous feast to more than four thousand people, and fulfilled his vow in a much bigger way.

The Siddhamuni finally said Sripada Sri Vallabha Deva is ever present, and is everywhere, giving succor and protection to whosoever prays and offers devotion to him".

Thus ends the Tenth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra which describes "Bhakta Sankata Haranam".

Glory to the All-merciful, the omni present and the ever responsive guru Nath.

SRIPADA SRI Vallabh Digambara..."
Oh! like the all expansive sky,
like the all expansive sky,
On the omni-present Lord,
Sripada Sri Vallbha!".

Chapter No 11
Birth of Sri Narasimha Saraswati

In the earlier chapter, it has been said how Sripada Sri Vallabha blessed the destitute woman Ambika, advising her o observe Sani Pradosh Vrata and worship Maheshwara, when she (Ambika) prayed to him that, at least in her next birth, she would have a son like him. Sripada Sri Vallabha told her that her desire would be fulfilled if she faithfully observed Shani Pradosh Vrata and win the grace of Maheshwara. As per that advice, Ambika strictly observed the Vrata till her death.

In her next birth, Ambika was born in a Brahmin family, in KaranjaNagar (a town near Akola) in the Berar State. She was named by her parents as Amba Bhavani. When she came of age, she was married to a young man named Madhav, who was very pious and deeply devoted to Lord Shiva. Both of them used to observe Sani Pradosh Vrata regularly.

A few years after the marriage, a boy was born to Amba (in 1458 A.D.). During her pregnancy, she was having divine visions and experiences. Her mind was always dwelling on holy ideas and auspicious thoughts. There was a divine lusture spreading over her body and also radiating forth from her face. And on one auspicious day, a son was born to her. Strangely instead of normal crying, Pranava Nada, the chant of Omkar, was emanating from mouth of the infant. The wise men of that village said that astrologically the boy was going to be a Mahapurusha and a great savior of the world and he had all the auspicious insignia of God Himself. On the tenth day, the boy was named Narhari. His eyes bespoke of omniscience and his face seemed to reflect all the wisdom of the worlds. The infant was an attraction for all people of the town.

Narahari's mother did not seem to have sufficient breast-milk to nurse the child. She expressed his to her husband and suggested to him that he should purchase a cow for milk for the child. The child seemed to have heard it, and touched with his tiny hands the breast of the mother. Lo! the breasts were full of milk! The infant was manifesting many divine miracles. Nevertheless, the child seemed to be dumb. Except the Pranava Nada that emanated from his lips at the time of birth, the child never uttered any sound. The parents were afraid and were worried that the child would be dumb for ever! The mother used to weep saying "Are we not destined to enjoy the prattle of the child?" The child used to however make little gestures which seemed to indicate that, after his thread ceremony, he would be quite normal in speech. Yet his parents were not relieved of their anxiety. To assure and comfort them, Narhari once took hold of an iron piece lying in the house, and through his mere touch, changed it into gold.

When Narhari was seven years old, his thread ceremony was performed, and, to the wonder of all, the miracle of miracles happened. All the assembled Brahmins were amazed to see "the dumb Narahari" chanting Vedic Mantras. The joy of the parents knew no bounds and they shed profuse tears of joy.

The mother asked Narahari to beg alms according to the tradition of the thread ceremony. Narahari said, "Mother can I now take it that I have your permission to take to Sanyas which I very much desire? You asked me to beg alms. That implies you have sanctioned my heart's desire to take a ascetic's life". The mother was aghast at these words of Narahari. When she only meant was that he should ask for the Bhiksha of the Vatu from the mother as mere formality as per the tradition of the thread ceremony. She broke down into tears and pleaded as to how he could think of forsaking her and the home and take to ascetic life. He was her only child and the only hope. She pleaded that all should follow Asrama Dharma and should take Sanyasa only after going through the householder's life (Grihasthasrama) and that alone would be the proper way. "one should not skip one's responsibilities, duties and obligations", she said. She was inconsolable. Narhari said. "Mother, understand me and see the truth." Saying thus, he placed his right palm on her head. As soon as he did this, the whole panorama of her previous life flashed in her memory. She remembered the boon Sripada Sri Vallabha gave her. She understood then that it was the divine Sripada Sri Vallabha who was born to her as her son now, as per the prayer she made to him in her former life. She realised it would not be possible to hold back the divine being to the confines of home for long. But nevertheless, she pleaded with him whom she now realised as none else but the illustrious Dattatreya, to stay for at least a few more years.

Thus ends the Eleventh Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing "Sripada Sri Vallabha's incarnation, and the new incarnation's childhood".

Glory to All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 12
Narahari taking to Sanyasa

Siddha Yogi continued the narration as follows:

Narahari talked to his mother on the higher philosophy of life. She had tried to tell him earlier that one should not skip one's responsibilities to the household; one should pass through the prescribed stages of life in sequential order, the AsramaDharmas. After Grihastasrama only, which mellows man, his senses having been appeased, should one take to Vanasprasta or Sanyasa, and not before that. Narhari gave her revelation that he was not a normal mortal being who has to necessarily go through all graduational stages of life. Everyone has his own Adhikara and one has to decide by himself his course of life, using his discrimination properly. Further, he told her as follows:

Life is like a bubble. Death might know at any time and snatch us away. Every moment of human life is precious and is the god-gifted opportunity for man to regenerate himself spiritually and speed up to the blessed state of self-realisation. In the earlier Yuga's man's life was long. The stages of life prescribed by the Sastras were all right for them. But in the Kali Yuga, men have a short life span of life and do not have the longevity of the men of the earlier Yugas. If one goes through life slowly, without taking to the pursuit of higher purposes of life, and if his life is cut short early, isn't this birth futile? One should cultivate Vairagya towards worldly pleasures from early stages of life. One should not fritter away his energies in human foibles. The world is illusory. If one doesn't use discrimination and does not cultivate Vairagya, he would sink into the mire of samsara and will let go the precious life to waste. One should set his mind on the goal of life and strive to achieve it from the early stages of life, because who knows when he will be snatched away by death. Losing this life without realisation of God will be the greatest tragedy for man..."

The mother realised that the spiritual fire raging in her son cannot be smothered and that her motherly love and attachment should not be let to hold him back from his quest for the Infinite. However, she pleaded with him to stay in the home for at least a few years more, till she had another child. Narahari agreed to it and said that she would have four more children, three sons and a daughter.

A year later Amba Bhavani had twins, to sons born to her and then she yielded to let Narahari leave home. While bidding farewell, touched by the tears of the parents, Narahari said, "whenever you think of me and want me to be with you, wherever I may be, you will have my Darshan." He told then again that hey would have one more son and also one daughter. With these consoling words to his parents, young Narahari - who was hardly in his ninth year at that time, left his home and set out on his spiritual quest. The entire village bade a tearful farewell just as it happened to Krishna and Balarama, when they left Brindawan for Mathura.

Narahari came to the hold Varanasi, the spiritual heart-centre of Bharat. Everyday after taking bath in the sacred water of the Ganges, he used to worship Kashi Visweshwara three times a day. At Kashi, he came in contact with Sri Krishna Saraswati, a highly advanced Yogi and a fully realised soul. Narahari requested Sri Krishna Saraswati to initiate him into the Sanyasa ashram. Sri Krishna Saraswati was pleased at the devotion, the austure discipline and earnestness of Narhari and much more so with his intellectual brilliance and scriptural knowledge. Sri Krishna Saraswati recognised in him a future savant of the spiritual culture of the country, and especially one who was going to glorify the supramacy of Sanyasa Asarama again, as earlier done by Sri Adi Sankaracharya of Kaladi. He was immensely happy to have Narahari as his disciple and to initiate him into Sanyasa. Narahari was given by him the new name of Narasimha Saraswati.

Namdharak interrupted Siddhamuni and asked why Narahari, God Incarnate himself, needed a Guru and why he should go through the formality of initiation. Siddhamuni said that Guru is the link between God and the embodied being, even though the latter may have been a divine incarnation. Sri Rama had Vasishtha Rishi as Guru and Sri Krishna had Sandeepani Rishi as his Guru. He gave a glorious account of the Guru Parampara, originating with Lord Shankara Himself.


Shankara Bhagvatapada … thus flows the glorious Guru Parampara, said Siddhamuni.

For spreading true knowledge, for the enlightment and welfare of all Sri Narasimha Saraswati conducted a number of Jaana Yagnas by discoursing and giving sermons, going from place to place around Banares. Hundreds of people were guided on the spiritual path by him. A number of them became his disciples.

From Banaras, Narasimha Saraswati went to Badrikashram forest with his disciples. Then, he moved from place to place and arrived at Ganga Sagar near Calcutta. Traveling along the bank of the holy river, he reached Prayaga (Triveni), the holy confluence or the sacred rivers, Ganga Yamuna and the subterranean Saraswati. He initiated one Madhava Saraswati onto sanyasan at the holy Prayaga.

Thus ends the Twelfth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing " the glorious GuruParampara that nourished and sustained the perennial flow of spiritual wisdom (Jnana Ganga) in this holy and blessed land of ours, Bharat Desa".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omni-present and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 13
Narasimha Saraswati Curing the chronic stomach ulcer of the Brahmin.

Namadharak said to Siddha Yogi that, listening to the Guru's life story, he felt that it was like drinking nectar. He pleaded with Siddha not to stop the narration but to continue with it. He said, he was particularly eager to know any incident relating to Sri Narasimha Saraswati during his stay at holy Prayaga, and where he went thereafter. Siddha then continued his narration. Many more disciples flocked to Sri Narasimha Saraswati at Prayaga. Some of them were Bala Saraswati, Krishna Saraswati, Upendra Saraswati, Mashav Saraswati, Sadananda Saraswati, Dhyan Jyoti Saraswati, and also Sidhha himself. He was day in and dayout engaged in giving spiritual discourses and Upadesa to people and drawing them and guiding them on the Spiritual Path. Just as during infancy he changed a piece of iron into a block of gold, now he was transforming men of clay into spiritual gems. To the common people, he was preaching moral laws and religious disciplines. To Jijnasu, he was imparting Vedic wisdom. To Sadhakas, he was giving yogic instruction and guidance and spiritual enlightenment, He was himself as example to all. His life itself, in truth, was his message. His Darshan itself uplifted man ethically and spiritually.

It was nearly 36 years since Sri Narasimha Saraswati left his parental home and his parents were anxious and pining to see him. As per the promise he had made to them, he thought he should give them the joy of seeing him. He came to KaranjNagar along with his disciples. The joy of the parents knew no bounds. His mother now vividly remembered her previous life's incidents. How Sripada Sri Vallabha blessed her, taught her about the Shani Pradosh Puja, the performance of which found its fruition in her becoming he mother of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, who was none else but the incarnation of SriPada Sri Vallabha Deva. She realised how blessed she was.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati told his mother that she might not have been happy about his taken to Sanyasa Ashrama because of her motherly attachment to him. He told her the unique merits of Sanyasa Ashrama. He said it is the spiritual acme of life. It would besides liberate not only the one who was taken to Sanyas, but also his ancestors for several generations. He blessed the parents saying they would spend their last days at the holy Kashi and would certainly attain salvation and liberation from re-birth. He further indicated that his own taking to Sanyasa Ashrama had a very special purpose, the purpose of revivifying the glory of Sanyana Ashrama, the significance of which was getting missed by people because of the growing materialisation outlook and way of life.

Amba Bhavani had a daughter born to her after Narahari left home. Her name was Ratnai (Ratnabai). She has also now grown up and was married. She approached Sri Narasimha Saraswati, and prayed she be saved.She said the problems of life were almost crushing her. Narasimha Saraswati told her that the duty of a woman was to serve her husband as God himself. That alone is sufficient for a woman to attain salvation he said. He also foretold that her husband would be taking Sanyasa.(but very much late in life, after both of them had become fairly old). He said that because of some of the sins created by her in her previous life, she was destined to suffering this life from a dreadful skin disease, but that will also be late in life. He told her that she could however, over come it if she made a pilgrimage to the holy 'PapaVinasini Theerta', near Gandharvapura (Gangapur). He assured her that she would have his darshan at the time of her death and she would attain salvation.

As almost everyone in the town wanted Sri Narasimha Saraswati to visit their homes for Bhiksha, it is said, he took many forms and blessed each house, by accepting Bhiksha, in the span of few days he stayed in town. Sri Narasimha Saraswati, after visiting his parents, went on pilgrimage to Trayambak and Nashik. He narrated to his disciples there the Gautami-Mahima; what severe penance Gautami Rishi did to bring Ganga (Godavari river) to the earth. The Godavari river is an aspect of the Holy Ganga itself and it was Gautami Rishi's penances that made Godavari to descend and come down for the purification of the land and it's people.

During his pilgrimages, Narasimha Saraswati came to a certain place called Manjarika on the banks of Godavari. He met one very learned Pundit there by the name of Madhavaranya. Madhavaranya was overjoyed at meeting Sri Narasimha Saraswati and sang many songs in praise of him. He sought his blessings and grace. Guru Nath revealed to him Viswarupa and then advised him to always do Manasa Puja to Lord Narasimha (the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu). He said that all his earthly needs would be fulfilled by the Grace of Lord Narasimha, and that he would attain Brahmaloka after his death.

From Manjarika, Sri Narasimha Saraswati came to Vasar Brahmeshwara (Brahmeshwara Kshetra), which is also on the banks of the river Godavari. There he saw one Brahmin near the river. The Brahmin was suffering from severe stomachache for several years. He used to get unbearable pain and it was difficult for him to take food. He was fed up with his life and decided to end his life and or that purpose came to the river to drown himself by tying a heavy boulder around his neck. The all-knowing and Omniscient Narasimha Saraswati came near him and asked what his trouble was. The Brahmin told him about his miserable condition of health and said he would not be able to bear and put up with it any longer. Sri Narasimha Saraswati comforted him by saying he had a panacea, a unique remedy for him and he would be soon free from the ailment and he was not to worry himself about it any longer. Just at that juncture, the gramadhipati (the village chief) of the place, a brahmin of Kaundinya Gotra and by name of Sayamdeo, had come to the river for his bath. Seeing Sri Narasimha Saraswati, Sayamdeo was overjoyed and he prostrated at Guru Nath's feet, and started singing praises for him. When Sayamdeo requested him to come to his house for food, Guru Nath told him to invite the ailing Brahmin also for food.

Sayamdeo said he was afraid that the ailing Brahmin might die if he fed him and he would then incur the Brahmahatya Dosha. "Hardly he had taken a little food yesterday, and he is almost in death pangs now. Any food is like poison for that poor brahmin", thus Sayamdeo gave out his apprehensions for inviting the Brahmin also for food. Guru Nath told him that he need not have any apprehensions any longer.

Guru Nath graced the house of Sayamdeo for the Bhiksha along with his disciples and the ulcer patient. The Brahmin who had not been able to eat even a morsel of food normally was now able to eat at Sayamdeo's house most sumptuously and with great gusto and relish. His chronic ailment, plaguing him for years on end, had now disappeared totally. Sayamdeo and everyone wondered at this, and realised that Sri Narasimha Saraswati was none other than Bhagawan Dhanvantari himself come in human form.

Thus ends the Thirteenth Chapter of Sri Guru Charita describing "The miracle of the stomach cure of the Brahmin", by Sri Narasimha Saraswati.

Chapter No 14
Sri Narasimha Saraswati rescuing the lifeof Saymdeo by his Grace

Siddhamuni continued the narration while Namdharak was excitedly listening to the narrative. Sayamdeo was very happy at the Darshan of Sri Narasimha Saraswati graced his home and sanctified it. His wife Jakhai also was very happy that Guru Nath accepted Bhiksha at their house.

At that time a great worry was weighing on Sayamdeo's mind. He told his problem to Sri Narasimha Saraswati and prayed for his guidance and help. The problem was as follows.

 There was the muslim ruler of the region who was not well disposed towards Hindus and especially Brahmins. Every year he used to call a Brahmin pandit to his Darbar and used to kill him, secretly. He found great pleasure in this demonic act. Many were know to have been killed by him thus. That year the turn seem to have fallen on Sayamdeo as he was summoned to the Darbar. He knew fully well what fate awaited him. He would never have the pleasure and fortune of Guru Nath in this life. Alas! there can be no escape for him from the summons of the Nawab.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati told Sayamdeo that he need not entertain any fright about visiting the Nawab, that the latter would not be able to do him any harm and that he (Sayamdeo) would be returning home safely and happily too. He further told him that he (Guru Nath) would be staying on (at Vasar-Brahmeshwar) till his return. He thus sent him with his blessings.

Sayamdeo reached the court of the nawab. The nawab felt greatly elated at the sight of Sayamdeo and the prospect of the fulfillment of his vicious scheme. But alas! as soon as these vicious thoughts started arising in his mind, he saw an apparation. He felt that a fierce looking Brahmin with fiery looks and holding heavy weapons was attacking him and showering blows mercilessly on him. His body started seething with torturous pain. He prayed to the apparition for forgiveness and said he would never in future commit the crime of killing or causing of injury to anyone. The apparition disappeared and in its place was standing Sayamdeo, the meek Brahmin as before. The nawab treated Sayamdeo with great respect and honoured him by giving him many rich gifts. Sayamdeo returned home most happily and with heart overflowing with gratitude towards Sri Narasimha Saraswati. After reaching his place, he rushed for the Darshan of Guru Nath and fell at his feet, praying that Guru Nath should remain there only forever and should not leave him. Sri Narasimha Saraswati said that it was not possible for him to stay at that place any longer. Many devotees from other places were calling him and he had to move out, he said. He added that his grace and blessings, however, will be ever be with him and his family and said that after 16 years he (Sayamdeo) would have his Darshan again, at the holy Gangapur.

From there on Sri Narasimha Saraswati went to Vaijnath (Vaidyanath), famed as the abode of Arogya Bhavani Parameshwari. He remained there for an year in his invisible form.

Thus ends the Fourteenth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra which describes "Guru Nath's protection of Sayamdeo from death".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omni present and the ever responsive Guru Nath

Chapter No 15
The Holy Pilgrim places of Bharata

Namdharak asked Siddhamuni why Sri Narasimha Saraswati chose to remain invisible (unseen) form for a year at Vaijnath. There must have been a divine purpose for every single act of Guru Nath and Namdharak wanted to be enlightened on this.

Siddhamuni said that Sri Narasimha Saraswati was exceedingly compassionate to one and all. He used to shower his blessings and grace on anyone, often without any consideration whether the person deserved them or not. People of all sorts, good, bad and indifferent used to come to him. Some were often genuine seekers of the Spirit. Some used to come to seek redress for their afflictions. But many used to come seeking his Grace and blessings for the fulfillment of their worldly desires and ambitions, and some for fulfillment and success of their vicious schemes. Sri Narasimha Saraswati was distressed about it; what a unique opportunity they were missing, he thought. He has come down like a KalpaVriksha, and it was mainly for the purpose of the moral and spiritual regeneration and upliftment of people but unfortunately most of the people were not able to realise this and use his presence and his Grace and Blessings for that High Purpose.

Further, he felt that although he himself was beyond all bounds of Karma and all laws of Nature, yet his relieving all kinds of people of their afflictions, of whosoever came to him, and thus too much superseding of the operation of the laws of Karma would not be congenial to the ultimate Good, and might weaken the moral order even more. Thinking thus, Sri Narasimha Saraswati decided that he should withdraw himself from people for sometime at least, and accordingly took to invisible form for his stay at Vaijnath. But before taking to invisible form (Gupta Rupa), Guru Nath called his disciples and told them that they should go out on pilgrimage and visit all the holy places, bathe in all the sacred rivers of the land and should reach Sri Sailam by the year Bahudanya and join him back there. They were not happy to leave the presence of Guru Nath, even it be for visiting holy places of the land. Guru Nath told them "It is not necessary for the disciples to be always in the physical presence of the Guru. Constant chanting of the Guru's Upadesa, of the Guru Mantra and worshipping of the Guru's Form in the shrine of one's heart, is the real Guru Sannidhana..i.e., living close to the Guru. I have got to be necessarily alone for some time. ..but, I am indeed ever with you. Try to feel my presence wherever you will be and wherever you go. Further for the Yatis (Sanyasis), pilgrimages constitute the most beneficial and necessary discipline; the mind gets purified and steadied thereby and one will experience a higher state of consciousness and divine awareness. I bless you all that you will have most rewarding experiences. And surely you will all meet me at Sri Sailam".

The disciples had no other option but to abide by Guru Nath's command. They however, sought his instructions as to which holy places they should visit. Guru Nath then told them the significance of the various holy places and of the sacred rivers of the land, and the special merits each one of these would confer on the pilgrims. Visits to these holy places and doing the appropriate ceremonies and rites there - as prescribed according to their respective Asramas (Stages) in life, would wash off all sins, purify the body and mind and in the end would confer liberation not only to them, but also to 21 generations of their ancestors as well as 21 generations of their descendants.

Some of the Holy places referred to by Guru Nath and the instructions given by him were as under:

"Kashi is the foremost of the pilgrim centers. One should have a bath in the Holy Bhageerathi (Ganges river) there. From Kashi, one should go to Ganga Dwara, Triveni (Prayaga), Yamuna and Saraswati, Varuna, Kasavarta, Sattadruvu, Vipakasa, Saravati, Vitasta, Asikni, Marudhvrudha, Madhumati, Dhrutavati - these are all most sacred rivers and a bath in them will be most purifying. So also are the rivers Chandrabhaga, Revati, Gomati, Vedika, Kausiki, Sahasravakta, Purna, Bahuda, etc. Bath in these rivers is equivalent to several fold Chandrayanam and other Vratas and austerities. Whenever there is confluence of any two rivers, they are sacred as the Triveni Sangam, Vairacharu Pushkara Teertha, Kurukshetra, Sri Saila, Sri Rangam, Rameshwaram, Anantasayanam, Mahalaya Teertha, Namisaranya, Badari, Kedar, Narmada, kakamukha, Gokarna, Ayodhya, Mathura, Dwarka - these are all MuktiShetras. Godavari, Bheemeshwaram abd Vajhara are as sacred as Prayaga. Kusatarpan, Godavari Sagara Sangam, Purna river, Krishnaveni river, Tungabhadra river, pampa Sarovar - these are all very sacred. Hariharakshetra and Pandaripur, burn away all sins of the pilgrims. Bhima-Amarja Sangam at Gangapur, is very sacred. There are Koti Theerthas there. The Aswatha Tree at Gangapur is as powerful as tha KalpaVriksha. Near the Aswatha Tree is Narasimha Teertha, and northwards to it are the PapaVinasini Teertha, Varanasi Teertha, Rudrapada Teertha, Chakra Teertha, Koti Teertha, manmadha Teertha etc. There is the Kalleshwara temple there. It is holy as Gokarna.

"When Brihaspati enters Simha Rasi, the subterranean current of Ganga enters Godavari. Then it is known as Godavari Pushkara. This takes place in 12-year cycles. Likewise when Brihaspati enters Kanya rasi, it is Krishna Pushkara, and also in the case of Southern rivers, each having it's Pushkara in it's own cycle. A bath in the respective rivers at the Pushkara time is most auspicious. Man gains his spiritual evolution thereby. Whoever bathes in the Bhima-Krishna rivers confluence, he becomes purified and will be born as a Brahmin or as a Yogi, i.e, as a pure Satvic person in his next life. Whosoever bathes in the Patal Ganga and will have Lord Mallikarjuna's Jyotirlinga Darshan at Sri Sailam attains liberation. Krishna Sagara Sangam, Keveri Sagara Sangam are annihilators of all sins. Seshadiri (Tirupati Venkateshwara Kshetra), Kumbhakonam, Kanyakumari, Matsya-Theerta), Rameshwara, Dhanushokti, Kolhapur (the seat of Mahalakshmi), are all most sacred places.

"On banks or Krishna is Bhillawadi, the place of Bhuvaneshwari Devi. At Amrapur, on the banks of Krishna river there is the confluence of 5 rivers (Panchanadi Kshetra). There are also Yugalaya Teertha, Supalaya Teertha, etc. Where Malapha river joins Krishna river is, the place where Sage Vishwamitra did penance. At Kapila Kshetra, Krishna river flows as Uttara Vahini (ie, in northern direction) Whatever penance is done there, it gains million fold potency, Pithapur is Dattatreya Kshetra. Manigiri is the place where the seven sages did their penance. Darshan of Ahobila Kshetra earns the merit of 60 Yagnas. At the onset of the rainy season, the river waters get polluted and should be avoided by pilgrims for varying periods of time. (For the residents there however this prohibition does not apply).

"Pilgrimage is the means whereby all past sins are washed off, and immense spiritual merit is earned. All these places are resonant with spiritual vibrations and they enrich and speed up the men on their spiritual evolution, for certain".

Advising the disciples thus and giving many more detailed instructions, Guru Nath sent all the disciples on long pilgrimages. He especially told them about doing Nadi Pradakshinas (circumambulation around the whole course of the rivers) and what immense benefit they confer. With one nadi pradakshina, one will have lived away and exhausted all his Karmic lives and attain liberation. "while all other disciples, thereafter left to do the long pilgrimage with Guru Nath's blessings, I was allowed to remain with Guru Nath to serve him". Thus concluded Siddhamuni.

Thus ends the Fifteenth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra of Sri Guru Charitra called the "Theeratha Yatra Prakarna".

Glory to All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 16
The Fruits of Devotion to The GURU

Siddhamuni continued with the narrative and told that Guru Nath stayed at Vaijnath for a year, he alone attending upon him.

From Vaijnath, Sri Narasimha Saraswati, accompanied by Siddhamuni, visited Amba Bhavani Kshetra and lived there for a few days. At this place, a Brahmin yogi came to Sri Narasimha Saraswati and prayed to him for his guidance and help in his Sadhana. He said that his mind was very restless and he was unsuccessful in concentration. He said that he had gone to one Guru earlier, who initiated him to a Mantra, but it did not seem to help him at all. He said that he had left off that Guru as he had no respect not liking for him any longer, and that he was now seeking out another Guru and requested Sri Narasimha Saraswati to accept him as his disciple.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati told him that it is never proper to talk disrespectfully of the Guru, and that he had committed a very great mistake in forsaking his guru. He said that it is not for the student to judge the merits or demerits of the Guru. One should have implicit faith in the Guru. Guru is the treasure house and abode of all knowledge and wisdom. Guru is even superior to God; the student must ungrudgingly, selflessly, dedicatedly and lovingly serve the Guru, whatever be the hardships of service. There is nothing comparable to the service rendered to the Guru. Only if Guru is pleased, Gods will be pleased. If Guru is not pleased, all the Gods even cannot help him wee bit. GuruBhakti and Guru Sadhana are the foundations of spiritual Sadhana, and winning of Guru's grace alone is the fruition of all Sadhana. Sri Narasimha Saraswati narrated the stories of Dhaumya Rishi's disciples as example and illustration of this truth, which is an anecdote from the Mahabharata.

Dhaumya Rishi had three disciples, one was Aruni Panchal, the second was Baid and the third was Upamanyu, Aruni was asked by the Guru to water his field so that the cereal crop would grow well. The water had to brought into the field through a canal from a tank which was little far away. The tank was shallow. Aruni dug the canal, and water started flowing into the field. Then unfortunately, a breach developed in one of the bunds of the canal and the water started draining out and escaping away through the breach, thus stopping the flow of water into the field. Aruni tried his best to fill up the breach by piling up stones, putting sand etc., over there, but could not succeed. The water was going waste and he was worried as to how to get the filled with water. Then he got an idea; he laid down at the side of the breach, thus blocking it. The water thereby, started flowing into the field. He remained there in the same position so that the field would get water fully.

It was quite late in the night and as the boy did not return home, the Guru was worried as to what would have happened to him, and he came to the field searching for him. He was surprised and felt glad to find the field full of water, which was never the case any time before, but at the same time, he was worried as Aruni was nowhere in sight. He called out loudly, "Aruni! Aruni!". From the waters of the canal Aruni replied in a feeble voice, "Gurudeo! I am here." The Guru reached to him and pulled him out. Aruni fell prostrate at the Guru's feet and offered his obeisance to him. The Guru was touched by the boy's unselfish devotion to him and placing his hand on the boy's head, blessed him saying, "May you become proficient and gain mastery in all Vedas and the Sastra." No sooner than the Guru said this, Aruni became fully enlightened and all knowledge dawned on him in a flash. "Such will be the result of Guru Seva", thus said Sri Narasimha Saraswati to the brahmin.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati continued his narration. "Now listen to the Guru Seva of Baid". Baid was asked by the Guru to till the land, sow the seeds, raise the crop and take all care till harvesting was completed and the grains were safely brought home. Baid was working on the field, day in and day out, without wasting a single moment, and sparing no pains. Due to all the labor exerted and pains taken by him, the crop came out very well and yielded a very rich harvest. Baid loaded the grains on the cart and started to drive the cart to the Guru's house. The load was too heavy and the bullock was unable to draw the cart. Baid was also trying to pull the cart along with the bullock. Unfortunately, the bullock got stuck up in the mire an the way and the cart wheels also sank deep down in the mud. The bullock was not able to pull the cart. Baid was struggling with all his strength to push the cartwheels and make the cart move. In the process, he almost lost his breath and was about to collapse. Dhaumya Rishi was coming himself to see how Baid was faring with the collection of the harvest. On the way itself he saw the heavily loaded cart and Baid. But alas he found Baid tottering on his feet and collapsing almost on the verge of death. The Guru was very much moved with the selfless and steady fast devotion of Baid. He pulled Baid out of the mire and placed his right hand on his head, which immediately revived him. Not only that, Baid received total illumination and enlightment, and all knowledge dawned on him with the blessing touch of the Guru.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati then gave account of Upamanyu's Guru Seva & Bhakti. Upamanyu was also a very devoted disciple, but he had an habit of over eating. The Guru wanted to curb this habit of his of over indulgence with food. The Guru gave Upamanyu the task of looking after his herd of cattle. Upamanyu used to leave home very early in the morning along with the herd, after eating the little food the Guru gave, for the grazing grounds were far away, and only very late in the evening he used to return along with the herd. In the afternoons, he used to beg alms from the houses which were nearby and was thus having his afternoon food. The Guru finding the boy still fat, asked him what he was eating in the afternoons. The boy told the Guru, that he was begging Bhiksha from the houses near the grazing grounds and was eating whatever food abstained thus. The Guru said he should not eat Bhiksha food, but should bring it and give it to him and eat only whatever he (the Guru) gave him. Upamanyu started doing this as the Guru said, but as he was feeling very hungry in the afternoons, he started drinking the remnants of the mil that continued to drip from the cow's udders, after the calves had drunk their fill. The Guru prohibited that even. Upamanyu became very much emaciated for the lack of food. Unable to bear the hunger, one day, seeing some milk exude from some wild leaves, he drank that milk. That exudation was poisonous and it effected his eve nerves and made him blind. In the evening, trying to drive the cattle home and unable to find the way due to his lost eyesight, he fell into a well. As he did not reach home, the Guru came searching for him. Dhaumya muni saw his disciple fallen into the well. He pulled him out and moved much by the boy's truthful and implicit obedience to the word of Guru, he touched his eyes with his hand, chanting the invocation mantra to the Aswini Devatas. Upamanyu instantly regained his sight. Not only that, the Guru, through his blessings, endowed him with all the scriptural knowledge and wisdom. Upamanyu became a most renowned Rishi. It was his Shishya by name Udanka who presided over the Great Serpent Sacrifice of Janamejaya, which brought even Indra down from the Heaven, along with his throne towards the sacrificial Fire. It is also said that Udanka, soon after completing his discipleship, obtained from Adisesha in Patala, the latter's ear kundalas, and brought and offered them as the Guru Dakshina to his Guru Upamanyu.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati , by these examples taught the Brahmin the supreme importance and necessity of Guru Seva for acquiring spiritual knowledge and wisdom. The Brahmin now realised his great error in not discharging his duty to his Guru, and in speaking ill of him. He felt very sad and felt he should alone for it by ending his life. Sri Narasimha Saraswati was touched by the sincere repentance of the Brahmin and told him "your repentance has absolved you of all your sin". He then placed his hand on the Brahmin's head. Lo! the Brahmin got enlightened with all knowledge and wisdom. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told the Brahmin that he should go immediately to his Guru, fall at his feet and pray for his forgiveness. He said that then only the enlightenment he got now by his grace would become secure and lasting.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati then left the Amba Bhavani Kshetra and went to Bhillawadi where there is the ancient temple of Sri Bhuveneswari Devi. There on the western bank of Krishna river under the Banyan Tree, Sri Narasimha Saraswati made his abode, and stayed there for four months.

Thus ending the Sixteenth chapter of Guru Charitra scribing "Guru Bhakti Prabhav".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

The three disciples in the above illustration represent the Three graded Gunas, Thamas, Rajas and Satwa. Devotion to Guru will unfailingly take us beyond the Gunas. Gunas transcended, Atma Jnana will shine forth in us. While the Guru's Grace helps us in finally transcending the Gunas, transcending of each one of the three Gunas will take it's own time. Each aspirant progresses at his own pace, which is largely dependent upon the characteristics of nature of his predominant Guna. Upamanyu symbolises Thmo-guna predominantly, and the latter takes longer duration of time to get transcended and sublimated. Baid symbolises Rajo-guna, which could be transcended in a lesser time. Aruni symbolises Satwa Guna and it could be transcended but in one day. With devotion, dedication and surrender to the Guru, one becomes Gunatheeta, i.e., one goes beyond the trammels of Maya which alone will enable him to experience his true inner Self.

Chapter No 17
The blockheaded youth metamorphosed into a Great Pundit

SiddhaYogi says to Namdharak that the purpose of Sri Narasimha Saraswati's advent is for bringing about the moral and spiritual regeneration of the people of the whole land, not merely of people of a particular area of region of his birth. He was a Parivrajaka, a constant itinerant, never staying at one place for more than five days at the most normally. Like clouds moving in all directions and to even the farthest corners, only for the purpose of showering rain and to provide the life giving waters to all, so also Sri Narasimha Saraswati, wandering all over the land, visiting all pilgrim-places, was bestowing his grace on all people, people of different regions and of all types. He used to alleviate the afflictions of the people by his divine powers; for the spiritual aspirants, he was Jnana Bhaskara, dispelling their doubts, illuminating their intellect, and uplifting and enriching their spirit. Every word of his, whenever and to whomsoever he uttered, had a deep spiritual truths in simple and easily understood language and illustration through aptest examples and anecdotes.

During his stay at Audumber on the western banks of Krishna, in the vicinity of Bhillawadi, one Brahmin youth from Karavir Nagar came for his Darshan. The visitor narrated his story to Guru Nath. His father was a learned scholar in all the Shastras and was a strict and meticulous observer of all religious rites. His mother also was a very pious lady. In his seventh year, his thread ceremony was performed and he was initiated into Vedic studies. Alas! he was too dull to make any progress. To add to his misfortunes, he lost both his parents when he was barely ten years of age. He was advancing in age but without making any progress in his studies. He became a butt of ridicule in the town. Even his near relations were showing nothing but contempt towards him. A few well wishers of his advised him that he should still try and pick up learning. They stressed the importance of learning in life. Through learning only comes wealth, happiness, respectability and fame. A learned man will be welcomed anywhere and will be received with respect by anybody. He will be honoured in royal courts, in assemblies of the Pundits and the wise. A man without learning is given no recognition and will receive no respect anywhere.

The youth felt greatly frustrated and desperate. He felt his life gloomy and a waste. He felt that death would be far better than his living in life of humiliation. He left his village and went out wandering. In his wanderings he came across the Temple of Bhuvaneswari in Bhillawadi on the eastern bank of Krishna river. He sat before the idol of the Mother in the temple and started on a fast, praying to the Mother that unless She blessed him with learning and knowledge, he would continue his fast and cut off his tongue and even his head. Moved with compassion, the Goddess appeared to him in a dream and said "Go to the other side of the bank. Sri Narasimha Saraswati, the embodiment of all learning and wisdom, is on cojurn there. Pray to him, he will fulfill your desire".

The youth came to Sri Narasimha Saraswati as bid by the Divine Mother, fell as his feet and prayed that he should bless him with learning and knowledge. He narrated to him his miserable plight. Sri Narasimha Saraswati placed his hand on the head of the youth. Lo! the blockhead youth became enlightened with all scriptural learning and knowledge instantly.

Thus ends the Seventeenth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Brahmin youth's Uddharana".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 18
The poor Brahmin finds a Treasure

Siddhamuni told Namadharak that Sri Narasimha Saraswati's sojurn on the banks of the Krishna river was to sanctify the places around and to regenerate the people morally and spiritually. Sri Narasimha Saraswati visited the Pancha Ganga Sagar, which is the confluence of the five holy rivers, Siva, Bhadra, Kumbhi, Bhagwati and Saraswati, where they all meet and merge in the Krishna river. Here is the temple of Amareshwar and hence the place is called as Amarapur. Nearby is the Sakti Teertha, where reside Sixty-four Yogini Shaktis, serving and worshipping Amareshwar, but unseen by others. Nearby was Papa Vinasini and other holy Teerthas. Sri Krishna Saraswati stayed at Amarapur for 12 years. This place came to be later called as Narsobawadi ( Narsobachi Wadi ), after Sri Narasimha Saraswati.

To avoid crowds, Sri Narasimha Saraswati was living in seclusion here. In the afternoons, however, he used to go out in the guise of bhikshu into the town and ask for alms at just one or two houses. In that town lived a poor Brahmin. Added to his poverty he had a large number of children. He used to live my alms. But when he could not get enough alms, his wife used to cook the leaves of Ghevada creeper which was growing in their front yard. Thus the creeper turned out to be the main source of sustenance for the family most of the days.

One day Sri Narasimha Saraswati came to the door of the poor Brahmin and asked for Bhiksha. The brahmin welcomed him and offered him worship duly. But as they had nothing in home that day, the wife cooked Ghevada leaves and served Guru Nath, Guru Nath ate it with great satisfaction. He blessed the couple saying "Mahalakshmi Prasada Siddhirastu - May the great Goddess of wealth shower her full grace on you". Then he left.

But while leaving the house, he did a strange thing. He pulled to the ground the Ghevada creeper and threw it aside. The Brahmin's wife and children were very angry and furious with the stranger, ungratefully, destroyed the creeper, which was their main sustenance. The wife began to weep, and the children too, as they all loved and looked after the creeper with great concern and solicitude. They were all worried how they would be able to sustain themselves on the days when the Brahmin would return without any alms.

The Brahmin tried to comfort his wife saying, "God is there to feed and protect if we have faith in him. Is he not sustaining the frog in the cavity of the stone? How does the mother get milk from her breasts to feed the child, if it is not the doing of God? Are not the birds and the animals in the forest provided their food? When God is there, the Provider and Providence for all, why we should bother our heads with unnecessary worries and anxieties? Without praying to him, why wail over a tiny creeper? We can plant a branch again, and it will grow up in a few days. Everything will have a divine purpose and everything is for our good; we should take things in that spirit. I am sure our guest certainly will not have intended any harm to us, let us face things as they come, but with full faith in the Lord and His doings".

The wife was now reconciled and calmed down. Both of them went into the yard. The Brahmin pulled out the roots of the Ghevada creeper also and started digging with the iron crowbar, there was a 'metallic sound', as the crowbar hit some metal. As they dug out and looked in, they found a vessel full of Gold coins lying buried there. They took it out and were overjoyed that the guest's blessing "Sri Mahalakshmi Prasada Siddhirastu" turned out true so soon. They immediately ran after the strange bhikshu. They found him at the Audumber Tree and fell at his feet, pouring their gratitude.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Vipradainya Haranam - removal of misery of the Brahmin".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

The Gevada creeper symbolises the growth and proliferation of our desires when fulfilled may give some temporary satiation but not lasting peace and satisfaction to all. The Guru pulls down the creeper above the ground. The Brahmin (Sadhaka) strives to pull out the roots also (the embedded Vasanas - impulses). The heart and mind thus purified, rid of all desires together with their root impulses also, are the very treasure chest, the reservoir of unending divine joy & bliss. We will have then gained the possession of Atmic Treasury - the only real treasure, which puts an end to all our misery for ever...

Chapter No 19
Guru Nath's showering of special grace on the Yogini-Ganas and Ganganuja's. Darshan of Kasi, Prayaga and Gaya - Holy triple Khestras

Namdharak asked Siddhamuni why Sri Narasimha Saraswati was always more fond of the Audumber Tree, where as there are other Holy trees like Aswatha, etc. What is the special significance of this tree, he wanted to know. Siddhamuni explained to him as under.

Due to the curse of Durvasa, Lord Vishnu had to take Ten Incarnations on the earth. The curse was, of course, a boon to the world good and subduing evil in the world.

When Lord Vishnu manifested himself as Narasimha in Narasimha Avatara to protect Prahlada and for destroying Hiranyakasyapa (Hiranyakashyapu), he had to make use of his nails (claws) to kill him. He tore open the belly of Hiranyakashyapa with his claws. In the stomach of Hiranyakashyapa, there was the Kalaloota poison. The nails of Narasimha were drenched with the poison when he tore the stomach and entrails of the demon. As a result, Narasimha's nails were seething with great heat and pain. Goddess Lakshmi, seeing the suffering of Her Lord, plucked some fruits of the Audumber Tree which she happened to find nearby. The Lord stuck his nails into the fruit deep into it's pulp. The Lord's pain was assuaged instantly by this. The Lord was immensely pleased and blessed the Audumber Tree and said it would from then onwards be as powerful on earth as the KalpaVriksha tree in the heavens. He said that whosoever would worship the Audumber Tree, would get all desires and wishes fulfilled.

Thus, the Audumber Tree had become a wish fulfilling Tree, from very, very ancient times. Sri Narasimha Saraswati wanted to make it even still Holy now. Therefore, he chose to be always seated under the Audumber Tree. Seated under the tree, apart from granting the fulfillment of their worldly desires, he used to shower spiritual grace also and uplift them spiritually. This the Audumber Tree had come to acquire heightened spiritual powers too.

As already said in the previous chapter, near Amareshwar, on the bank of Krishna river, there was the Sakti Teertha wherein lived many Yoginis, numbering about sixty-four. Everyday, by noon, they all used to come to the Audumber Tree to worship Sri Narasimha Saraswati and then return to their place, buy unseen by any.

Some people were curious to know all about Sri Narasimha Saraswati, as to what he ate, how he got his food, what he did and who all come to him, etc,. One by name Ganganuja (a poorer farmer) was asked to keep a secret watch on Sri Narasimha Saraswati and find out all the facts. Ganganuja was very guileless, simple hearted and devout person. As Ganganuja was watching clandestinely, to his amazement he saw the Yoginis coming and offering worship and doing Aarti (waving of camphor light) to Guru Nath. He also saw that after the Aarti, Sri Narasimha Saraswati and the Yoginis stepping down into the river. Lo! the waters of the river started receding, making a pathway for Sri Narasimha Saraswati & the Yoginis to walk along. Ganganuja also followed them surreptitiously. As they reached the middle of the stream bed, Ganganuja following behind, he saw them entering into a golden splendoured city. The residents of the city, men and women, looked like angels and gods, dressed in silken and shining garments, welcomed Guru Nath with Mangala Aarti (waving of lamps). Sri Narasimha Saraswati looking back towards Ganganuja, asked him why he followed them. Ganganuja fell at Guru Nath's feet and prayed to be forgiven. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told him he should not reveal to anybody what he had just seen. Goddess Lakshmi also favored him and he was relieved of his drudgerous life. He used to come for Guru Nath's Darshan every morning, afternoon and evening and serve him for most part of the day, with great love.

As it was going on, on one Magha Purnima (Pornima) early morning, Ganganuja, while serving Guru Nath, said "Gurudeva! It is said that in the month of Magha, a bath at the Holy Triveni Sangam at Prayaga and Kashi, is most meritorious. I heard only, but know nothing of Prayaga and Kashi etc". Guru Nath then said to Ganganuja, "This Pancha Ganga Sangam here is itself Prayaga and Kolhapur is as meritorious as Gaya. In and around here only exists Kashi also. All the merit of Kai, Gaya and Prayaga can be found and gained here itself. Nevertheless, as you seem to be very desirous of seeing the Northern Kashi etc, I will show you today itself. Guru Nath stood up on the tiger skin on which he was seated; he told Ganganuja to catch his feet and Padukas firmly. Instantly they were in Prayaga. After taking bath there in the morning, by Afternoon they were at Kashi. After bathing in the Holy Ganges and having Lord Visweswara's Darshan, by evening they were at Gaya. By sunset, they were back at Amarapur.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati stayed under the Audumber Tree at the Pancha Ganga Kshetra for quite a long time, for 12 years. Now he decided to leave form there. Everyone was sorrowful and unhappy that Guru Nath would be leaving from there, much more so were the Yoginis. Sri Narasimha Saraswati comforted them and said, "I am leaving my Padukas here. I will be ever present where my Padukas are worshipped. Whatever wishes to be prayed for, offering worship to the Padukas, they will be granted and fulfilled."

Sri Narasimha Saraswati, comforting them all, while every one else was with tear laden eyes. moved out from that place in the direction of Gangapur, which is in the vicinity of the Holy rivers Bhima and Amarja.

Even after Guru Nath's leaving for Gangapur, the Audumber Tree and Guru Paduka's enshrined there continued to manifest Guru Nath's power and Grace in the same manner as when he used to physically live there.

Thus ends the Nineteenth Chapter of Guru Charitra describing 'the Holy significance of the Audumber Tree, and the Special Grace which Guru Nath showered on the Yoginis Ganas, and also of Ganganuja's Kashi Yatra.

The Yoginis symbolise the Yogic Shatkis (powers). They are ever at the will and command of a realised Yogi. They are said to be sixteen Vidyas and sixty-four Yoginis described in the above narrative are symbolic of the 64 Kalas. These are ever at the service of one, who is master of his body, mind and senses.

Chapter No 20
Gangadhar's wife getting riddance from the Brahmin-ghost through Guru Nath's Grace

In this chapter, Siddhamuni describes to Namdharak the Audambar Sthan Mahim, which remained undiminished and ever full, even after Guru Nath's departure from there to Gangapur. Guru Nath continues to reside there, but in his invisible form, and continues to shower his Grace on whoever offers worship to the Guru Padukas at the foot of the Audumber Tree on the banks of the Pancha Ganga confluence at Amarpur.

In a village Shrirolgrem, there lived a Brahmin couple. The woman gave birth to five sons, but unfortunately none survived. The woman was plunged in grief at the loss of all her sons and at the misfortune that not even a single child had survived. She started praying to Guru Nath that he should expiate her from her previous life's sins and save her.

One night Guru Nath appeared in her dream, in the guise of a Brahmin. He comforted and consoled her. He said that none can escape destiny, the consequences of deeds whether done knowingly or unknowingly. He told her further "In your previous life, there was one Brahmin of Saunaka Gotra. You borrowed one hundred rupees (sovereigns) from him which you did not repay. He was greatly upset about your non-payment and, in desperation, committed suicide. He became a ghost after his death and has been haunting you with vengeance in your present life, and he was the cause of the death of all your sons".

The woman prayed to the Brahmin who was talking to her in the dream to tell her how she could atone for it and get freed from the haunting by the ghost. The Brahmin told her. "when the brahmin died, he had none to perform his funeral rites. It is now past sixteen years since his death. You now arrange for the performance of atonement funeral rites for him and give in charity in the dead man's name the one hundred rupees you owed him, to any Brahmin belonging to his gotra (ie., the same Saunaka Gotra). After doing this, you will have to do a penance for a month as follows. You take your bath at the confluence of Panchaganga and Krishna rivers and do seven Pradakshinas around the Audumber Tree there, observing fast; you do the same again after Abhisheka to the Guru Padukas and offer your worship will all sincerity and devotion. If you do accordingly, all the sins of your past lives will be washed off and you will bear a noble and good son and your desire will be fulfilled".

To this, the woman replied "Oh Mahatma! I can do all the fasts and worship, but how can I repay the 1oo rupees. I am too poor to do that". After saying thus, she began sobbing. The Brahmin then replied, "Have faith in the Audumber, it is none else but the celestial KalpaVriksha. Through your worship to it, all good will accure you".

The next morning after the dream, she started on her month penance. She was fasting, and after taking bath in the holy confluence and other Teertha, PapaVinasini and Kamya Teertha, she was making Pradakshinas (circumbulations) around the Holy Audumber Tree and was doing Abhisheka and worship to the Guru Padukas. The third night after she started her penance, the Brahmin ghost reappeared in her dream and demanded from her immediate payment of the one hundred rupees. He was threatening he would throttle her neck if she did not pay him. In mortal fright, she started running towards the Audumber Tree. She found Guru Nath standing there. The ghost who was chasing her stopped suddenly seeing Guru Nath. The woman fell at Guru Nath' s Feet praying to be saved. Guru Nath looked at the ghost and said "Do not trouble her any longer. She took refuge at my feet and no harm would ever come to her thereafter. IF you give up your ill will against her, I will rescue you also. I will tell her to do atonement rites to you with whatever money she could manage, and relieve you from your present state. I bless you to attain to better state of life. The ghost was reconciled. Guru Nath told the woman "You start the atonement rites from tomorrow itself. You will be freed from the sin causing the Brahmin's death. After that, every day for a week, make seven Pradakshinas around the Audumber Tree. You will have a son who will live long". At this the woman suddenly woke up from her sleep felt greatly relieved.

She observed the instructions of Guru Nath meticulously and was freed from the persecution by the ghost forever.

Thereafter, one night, the woman had a dream in which Guru Nath gave her two coconuts and said "My child! you take these two coconuts.... You will have offspring and will have all happiness."

After the woman finished her worship as told by Guru Nath, she returned to her village. In course of the year, she gave birth to two sons. The woman and her husband were very happy.

The children grew up. As they attained the Upanayanam age, the parents were planning the celebration with great enthusiasm. But alas, the elder boy, just in his eight year, suddenly died after a very brief illness. The woman broke down in grief wailing. Her relatives tried to console here and were preparing to take the body for cremation as it was nearing sunset. But the woman did not allow them to remove the body. She was blaming Guru Nath that although he gave her two sons, he snatched away one of them without showing any mercy. She said "is this the repayment you do to me, after all my vigils, fasts and worship? It is nothing but madness on my part. I will end my life and join my dead son". At this juncture, brahmachari came over there; he was trying to comfort and console her, talking to her about the immortality of the spirit, and the evanescence of the body. Can you guess who was this visitor, the Brahmachari? He was none else but Sri Guru Nath himself! He came in the guise of the Brahmachari.

Thus ends the Twentieth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "the Brahma Samandh Parihar'.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

(Reading should not be broken after this chapter. The next chapter, ie chapter 21 also should be read together with this chapter. Actually from Chapters 10 to 21st are to be completed in one session, ie, in one day's sitting or duration)

Chapter No 21
The revival of the dead boy (The Gurusthan Mahima)

The Brahmin continued to console and comfort her and said, "No one has ever come into the world to live and stay permanently. Death is inevitable to whoever is born. This body is perishable and cannot last indefinitely. The body is constituted of the five elements. When the elements mutually combine and take form, it is called a body. Man is enveloped by the covering of illusion, called Avidya i.e., nescience, in its earthy sojourn. As the body wears out, the soul discards it, as we discard old and worn out clothes, and dons a new body just as we wear new clothes. Man is really the soul which is immortal and he has no death in reality. It is the physical body that dies and drops off, but the core personality, the Atman, is deathless.

The Brahmachari continued his advice to the woman as follows. "Everything is pre-determined by destiny, by deeds of one's past life or lives. We have to accept events as they come and should try to understand and experience the higher truths. Though we cannot alter much the course of the Parabhda Karma, yet we should try to be righteous living, refraining from evil, brighter and happier future, i.e., for the next life at least. But the ultimate purpose of life is to realise the eternal Self and gain freedom from the cycle of birth and death forever. That is the real Sadgathi.

What a false attachment you are suffering from "for this son of yours! you weren't his mother in his previous life. You will not be his mother again in his next birth. That you were his mother this birth of his, is just incidental. Why mourn over his transient kinship, forgetting eternal truths?

"The life is a bubble. It will burst off at any time. How long it will last has been predetermined by destiny. It is futile crying over death. Now take your relatives take the dead body away for cremation and thereby help to speed up the Jivis ascent to higher births (Sadgathi). Don't bind it down here". But the woman was inconsolable. She said she did all the worship bid by Guru Nath. The sons were the gift to her by Guru Nath. How could God snatch away the gift he had given himself? She has been betrayed by Guru Nath, she complained " I will take the body of my child to the Guru Padukas and end my life also there", she said.

The Brahmachari then told her, if her heart was so much set on her dead son's life, if she was feeling she could not live without him, she might take the body of the child to GuruSthan and place it near the Padukas and do whatever she wanted thereafter.

The woman and her husband came to GuruSthan along with the body of the dead child. She placed the body near the Guru Padukas and again broke into sobs. They sat down there. Meanwhile, as it was nearing sunset and as the woman remained so obstinate, the relatives and people who came to the death rites of the child left. It was night and the couple exhausted by the strain they went through the whole day, fell asleep at that spot only. In the night the woman got a dream. She saw Guru Nath coming near her and telling her "Mother! Do not grieve. Nobody will ever get disappointed who repose their faith in me. See! I am reviving your dead child. I am giving him longevity of life". The woman suddenly woke up. She was doubting whether it could be true. But Lo! as she looked at the child, the child was opening his eyes. She put her hand on the body. The body was warming up. Thinking she was still dreaming, to make sure, she woke up her husband. He was also wondering unable to believe anything. The boy started crying. "Mother, I am feeling very hungry. Give me milk atleast". Wonder of wonders! the woman's dry breasts started overflowing with milk. The woman hugged her son to her bosom's and suckled him with milk. The child became quite normal and healthy and was playful as he used to be.

The couple fell prostrate at the Guru Padukas, shedding tears of gratitude to Guru Nath. AT day break when the relatives and other people came there, hoping that the woman would have reconciled by then and would handover the body of the dead son for the rites, Lo! to their wonder, they saw the boy fully alive and playing and the parents fondling him with joy. They exclaimed "what a mighty power is Guru Nath and how merciful and compassionate he is!"
Thus ends the Twenty First chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the episode of "the revival of the dead child".

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

The body is said to be a vesture (garment) which is the Jiva wears. When the vesture, is worn out, the Jiva discards the worn out, old vesture, in order to don a new one. That is how death and birth are explained. But then the question may arise - "a new born baby's body is not like a wornout cloth, yet we see some new born babies also dying. We see children and young also dying much before they become old and ripe in age and the bodies become decrepit in the natural course. They have not lived their full life span of life, to explain away that their bodies have been worn out and so soon after birth. Let us probe this a little deeper. Say, we have stitched a new garment but the cloth we have used for it is from some very old stock of material which has not been stored properly and has already been worn out. Then will our new garment last long? It will tear of in no time.

The body is like the temple of God. It has to be kept pure, unpolluted by vices. If such a god gifted body is misused with vices and drink, the damage they do to the body could persists in its subtler state even in the later birth/s of the Jivi. In the same manner as above, about the new garment being made out of wornout stock of cloth, the new body of the Jiva may be very young, but the subtle body material out of which it has been made may not be strong enough to last the full span of life. The damages and ravages of the body in the previous life of the Jivi, will have been perhaps to some extent and in a subtler way, carried forward to and is inherited by the new body, and especially so when one has died with excessive body attachment and obsession. And as a result, the new body may not be able to last long. It may even break down and fall off prematurely and may even at the very start of life itself.?

Let us try to keep the body pure. Let us not bind the Jivi with more and more births....Let us strive to earn for it's freedom from the thraldom of unending cycle of births and deaths by leading it back to its divine source, though moral rectitude, spiritual Sadhana, and more than anything else, by our total surrender at the Feet of the Guru.

Chapter No 22
The advent of Guru Nath at Gangapur

Now begins the glorious Saga of Gangapur.

Namdharak told Siddhamuni that his listening to the Sacred Guru Charitra had very much awakened his spiritual yearning and had illumined many higher and spiritual truths for him. He vociferously expressed his gratitude to Siddhamuni. He said he was thirsting to know about Guru Nath's stay and Leela's at Gangapur. Siddhamuni resumed the narrative.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati made Gangapur more or less his permanent abode, after coming from Amrapur. He lived there in his visible form continuously for 24 years. In the beginning, however, he did not allow himself to be seen by many and rather lived more in seclusion.

Most of the time he used to remain at the Bhima-Amaraja Sangam. However, as days passed on he chose to allow himself to be seen by more and more people.

At Gangapur, there lived a poor Brahmin couple. The Brahmin used to eke out his livelihood by seeking alms in the village. He had one buffalo which was very old and had gone dry long back. He was, however, keeping the buffalo, because some grocers used to hire it for carrying salt bags and thus it used to fetch the Brahmin a little money now and then.

One day Guru Nath came to the house of the Brahmin asking for Bhiksha. At that time, the Brahmin was away, having gone out for alms into the town. The Brahmin's wife welcomed Guru Nath and requested to wait for the Bhiksha till her husband returned home with alms.

But Guru Nath said, he would not be able to wait that long. He said that a little milk would do for him for Bhiksha, and asked her to give him just a little milk. The woman said she was sorry that there was no milk at all in the house. Guru Nath, then pointing to the buffalo in the yard said, "You have a buffalo there, how then do you say there is no milk in the house?" The woman said the buffalo had been dry since many years now and it was kept by them because they got a little money from it now and then when people took it for hire for carrying salt bags. Guru Nath said, "I cant' believe it. I would like you to milk it and show me whether it is really dry". The woman, as the guest was insisting, took a small tumbler, went near the buffalo and started to milk it. Lo! Milk was flowing out from the udders of the buffalo profusely. The tumbler was to small and she had to fetch bigger vessels from the house to collect the milk. The woman could not believe it at all. She was overjoyed and fell at Guru's Nath's feet, pouring out her gratitude for relieving their poverty by making the buffalo wet. She did the Bhiksha to Guru Nath with the milk.

The news of the miracle which Guru Nath performed in the poor Brahmin's house spread among all the people of the town and around, it also reached the ears of the king. Veneration and devotion to Guru Nath started growing in the people's hearts.

The Brahmin couple, thereafter, used to frequently go to Amaraja Sangam to offer their prayers and worship to Guru Nath.

Thus ends the Twenty Second chapter of Guru Charitra describing "Vandhya mahishi dohanam"

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Implicit obedience to the Guru, and unquestioning faith in his word are what are needed. These are needed both in the worldly matters as well as in the Spiritual Sadhana. Then there is nothing that cannot be achieved. "Sraddhaavaan labhate Jnanam" says the Bhagwad Gita.

Chapter No 23
The Brahma-Raksha gets Liberation

Siddha Muni continues the narrative.

As the news of Gurunath's miracle of making the decrepit and dry buffalo yield plenty of milk and making it wet again and thus relieving the poverty of the Brahmin, people started flocking to the Brahmin's house to see the buffalo, especially when it was being milked. Hitherto Sri Narasimha Saraswati was remaining almost incognito as Amaraja Sangam, not revealing himself to many. How long can the fire hide itself under the bushel? The news about the divine sage spread all around. The king also came to the Sangam to pay his respects and obeisance to Sri Narasimha Saraswati. Seeing Guru Nath, the king realised that this was none else but supreme divinity come down, the Supreme Being which the Vedas tried their utmost to discover but could not succeed at all, and for Whose vision (Darshan) all the Gods, angels and sages do the severest penances and austerities, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent and the Omnipresent Being, Who is the Creator, the Sustainer and Destroyer of the Universe, and the abode of all wisdom, auspiciousness and all the divine virtues. He realised how blessed he, his kingdom and his people were that the intangible, infinite and the Supreme Being has chosen to appear to them in a visible, embodied form. The king fell at his feet and prayed that he should continue to stay in his kingdom only and should not leave the place and forsake them. He begged him to step into his palace and sanctify it also.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati felt that the time had come for him to come out of his secluded life and reveal himself freely to all, and to carry out his divine mission in wider and fuller measure; he was also touched by the devotion of the King and felt that Gangapur, with the Holy Sangam in it's vicinity, is a merited place for his stay and for carrying out his mission. He gave his consent to the king telling him that he would accede to his prayer and would stay at Gangapur. The king was overwhelmed with joy at this and realised how blessed he and his people were.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati accompanied the king from Sangam to Gangapur. He was received in the palace in all grandeur. All the people came out to welcome him, throwing and offering flowers at his feet and waving lights and doing Aarti. There was one big house in the palace, which was vacant and unoccupied and besides, there was also the Aswatha Tree by the side of the house. It would be a spacious and convenient place for Sri Narasimha Saraswati to reside, but it was believed to be a haunted house, a place haunted by a brahmarakshasa. But Sri Narasimha Saraswati said that the place would suit him. As soon as he entered the house, the Brahma Rakshasa came out in a fury with the object of assailing the intruder. But seeing Sri Narasimha Saraswati, the Brahma rakshasa realised that it was no intruder but the redeemer come to bless all and him too. He fell prostate at Guru Nath's Feet, begging to be forgiven for all his sins and to be saved by his grace. Sri Narasimha Saraswati, in great compassion, told the brahma rakshasa that he has already blessed him and that he should do to the Bhima-Amaraja Sangam and bathe in the holy waters of the confluence there, and all his sins would be expiated once for all and he would be released from rebirth also for ever.

The king built a Math at Gangapur, at the place, for the divine guest to stay. Early morning GuruNath used to leave the Math for the Sangam, which is a couple of miles away from the Math. He used to have his bath there and perform all religious rites and then return to the Math by midday. The king used to come everyday by noon for the Sage's Darshan and for offering him his worship.

The name and fame of Sri Narasimha Saraswati spread by now far & wide, and thousands of devotees used to pour in for Guru Nath's darshan, for redress of afflictions of their body, mind and spirit.

Thus ends the Twenty Third chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Brahma-Rakshasa Muktakaram".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omni present and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 24
Sri Narasimha Saraswati vouchsafing to Trivikrama Bharati the Viswaroopa Darshana

Siddhamuni continued his narrative of the Leelas of Guru Nath, which Namdharak was listening to. enraptured.

As Kumasi village which was not far away from Gangapur, there lived an ascetic named Trivikrama Bharati. He was well versed in all the scriptures, and was an Upasaka (worshipper) of Lord Sri Narasimha, the fourth among the Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu. He was doing severe austerities to win the Grace of the Lord.

Trivikrama Bharati heard of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, and how all were flocking to him for his Darshan. He heard also that the king himself walked barefooted, along with his royal retinue, attending upon Sri Narasimha Saraswati while the latter was being borne in a royal palanquin in all pompous splendour and to the accompaniment of music and play of drums, bugles etc. It was said to be an everyday regal procession for Narasimha Saraswati, as he proceeded every morning to Sangam for his bath and while he returned to the Math at Gangapur from Sangam from after his worship (Anusthana) was over there. Trivikrama Bharti did not feel it proper at all for an ascetic to be living such pomp. He thought that all this was certainly not befitting a true and genuine Sanyasi and Narasimha Saraswati must have beguiled the king through hypnotism or by some dubious means. He began talking slightly and revilingly about Guru Nath.

Whatever be the happenings anywhere, whichever be the thoughts passing anybody's mind however far away the person be, nothing ever escapes the notice of the omniscient Guru Nath. How can anything escape, His notice when he indeed is the inner resident (antaryamin) in the hearts of all beings and the witness of all happenings? He pitied Trivikarma Bharati for the wrong and erroneous notions he was holding and wanted to correct him and teach him the truth. He was himself like the lotus which though resting on water, yet remained unwetted by it. The worldly paraphernalia, etc around him, had least attraction for him. He just let his devotees to have their way, just for their joy, pleasure and satisfaction. In his true nature, he is the supreme renunciate Lord Shiva Himself. He wanted to reveal his true nature (Swaswarupa) to Trivikrama Bharati.

 Guru Nath set out in palanquin, with all usual pomp and paraphernalia, towards the Kumasi village. The king arranged his cavalry, caparisoned elephants, horses, etc., to head the procession. It looked as if an emperor was going in his Digvijaya Yatra...

Trivikrama Bharati, that morning also, as a usual, began 'manasika puja' on his Ishta Devata - Lord Narasimha. But strange it was, that however much he was trying, his mind that day was not getting fixed on the Lord's Form. He was an adept Yogi, and everyday his mind used to get instantly fixed on the Lord's Form in the chamber of his heart, no sooner than he sat for meditation. He was getting worried as to what was happening to him that day, and why all his long number of years of praise Yoga was failing him suddenly that day. He prayed to Lord Narasimha to forgive him for any lapse he had committed knowingly or unknowingly. As he started his prayers thus, Lo!, in his heart, he began seeing the Form of Sri Narasimha Saraswati in place of his Lord Narasimha, and who was shining in the same splendour as the latter. The vision and experience was so vivid, and remained persisting however much he tried to draw away his mind from it, i.e., from the Form of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, which was revealing in his heart.

Just at this juncture, Sri Narasimha Saraswati's procession reached near his place. Lo!, what an unique wonder! Everyone of the retinue, all of them without exception, was appearing to him looking like the vision revealed to him in his heart. Everyone was appearing like Sri Narasimha Saraswati, shining in divine splendour. The vision was spreading, enveloping even beyond the horizon. Lo, wherever he glanced, it was myriad forms of Sri Narasimha Saraswati alone. Trivikrama Bharati was overwhelmed with wonder; he fell prostrate on the ground and started praying to Sri Narasimha Saraswati to forgive him for all his impertinent and ignorant prattle before, not knowing that he, Sri Narasimha Saraswati, was none but the Supreme Lord come on earth. He prayed to be accepted as his disciple and be blessed.

As he prayed thus, Sri Narasimha Saraswati withdrew the Vishwaroopa Vision, and Trivikrama Bharti could now see the things in the normal way. He ran to the palanquin and feel prostrate at the feet on Guru Nath, pouring out his new born devotion to him, in adulation. "You are my Lord Narasimha, you are Trivikrama and Vamana. You are Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara...you are all forgive me for my ignorance and ego, and light up the flame of wisdom in me". thus he prayed.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati drew him near and said "Spiritual aspirants should rid themselves of all ego and be free from malice towards others. They should try to see the same Atma/Spirit in inherent in all. They should abstain from reviling others. "Sarva Jiva Tiraskaram Ishwara Prti Gachati". If you slander any one, it is tantamount to slandering God himself. The same Supreme Spirit is embodied in all. Try to see the divine in all. Fill your heart with love..." Guru Nath gave him much more advice and instruction. Trivikrama Bharati became a staunch disciple and devotee of Guru Nath hence onwards.

Thus ends the Twenty Fourth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the "Vouchsafing of Vishwaroopa Darshan to Trivikrama Bharati" with this Chapter ends the Jnanayoga Section of the Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Chapter No 25
The pride and concept of the two foolish pundits

From this chapter commences the Karma Yoga section of Sri Guru Charitra.

Namdharak was rapturously listening to the glorious narration of Guru Leelas being narrated by Siddhamuni, the blessed disciple of Guru Nath. Siddhamuni continued his narrative as under.

There was a muslim nawab ruling Vidur Nagar at that time. He had no respect or tolerance for the Hindu religion. He used to tempt Brahmins to come to his court by offering money and gifts, and make them recite the Vedas and explain the meaning. Public recital of the Vedas before anybody and everybody, and especially before the non-believers and who have no reverence, is against the very Vedic injunctions. After making them recite and explain, he used to ignore the deeper sublime meaning of the words, and drawing perverse and distorted meanings of the Vedic words and hymns, he used to taunt the Brahmins, deride the Hindu Religion and gloat over it. But most of the Brahmins never used to come forward, however much the nawab was tempting and pressing them. Veda is our very Mother. It is profound. It is divine. How can any self-respected person bear the Sacred Text being taunted by shallow minded persons viewing at the Text, wearing goggles of prejudice and hatred? None used to come forward to oblige the nawab.

However, there were two Brahmins who came forward to be used as pawns in the hand of the nawab. No doubt there were very scholarly persons. They knew the Vedas by rote but had not imbibed even a grain of true wisdom from the Vedic study.

The two Brahmin pundits impressed upon the nawab, that there was none in the land with scholarship comparable to theirs. They said that the Nawab should arrange a debate in scriptural and Vedic subjects in his court, and that they would be able to defeat anyone and establish the supremacy and superiority of their scholarship and knowledge over that of others. But none of the Pundits agreed to come to the nawab's court for the contest, because the Vedic subjects were sacred and were meant for Pathana, chanting and contemplation, and not for vada, (ie., not for acrimonious debates). The pundits said they would go out into the country and seek out contest in different villages and towns. If anyone ever dared contest against them, they were confident to defeat them. And in case nobody came forward, that meant an open acknowledgement by all, of the two pundit's supremacy and therefore, the ruler should recognise it and honour them benefitingly. The nawab encouraged them in this, only with object of enjoying watching the pundits disputing amongst themselves acrimoniously.

The pundits set out on their challenging campaign, puffed up with pride of the patronage and backing of the Yawan ruler. They came to Kumasi and they were told that Trivikrama Bharati was the most scholarly pundit of the area, and he was defeated, it would establish their unchallengibility. When the pundits proposed to Trivikrama Bharati that he should enter the contest against them, Trivikrama declined, saying it did not befit him, a renunciate and Sanyasi, to enter into discussions and debates for winning name and fame. The pundits said, if he did not want a contest against them, he should acknowledge them as unchallengeable and should accede "Jaya Patra' to them. Trivikrama Bharati saw their conceit and ambition and thought they should be taught a fitting lesson. He took them to Sri Narasimha Saraswati at Gangapur, as soon as they entered into the presence of GuruNath, Trivikrama fell down prostrate at Guru Nath's feet, offering his obeisance. The pundits, however, did not show any respect and they showed off their pride and arrogance.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati enquired as if he was not aware of what had brought them to him. Trivikrama Bharati narrated about the campaign on which the pundits had set out. The pundits demanded that Sri Narasimha Saraswati should enter into debate with them or should acknowledge their unchallengeability and should give them the "Jaya Patra".

Sri Narasimha Saraswati chided them saying what benefit would accrue to them by their showing off their intellectual scholarship. All the knowledge, knowledge of Vedas and scriptures, will have to be imbibed digested into integrated wisdom, into intuitive experience, fructifying in the realisation of the Self, the spiritual Reality. He cited the instances of Ravana, Banasura, etc, who were all very well versed and proficient in Vedic lore, but which made them highly conceited and egoistic. And what was the result? It led only to their total ruin and destruction, along with all their clan. The Vedic knowledge should be put to use for the conquest of one's senses and ego, and to realise the All pervading divine and spiritual Reality. All the loving well meant advice of Guru Nath fell on deaf ears. It did not change the minds of the Pundits, whoose hearts were deeply set on winning worldly acclaim for 'their scholarship'.

Thus ends the Twenty Fifth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra, describing about "the Vain glorious and conceited pundits."

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

The Vedas are meant for Buddhi-Yoga, but are not meant for Buddhi-Vada. Rationalism (especially the materialist rationalism) cannot reach us beyond Buddhi-Vada. It is only intellect and into the realms of the Spirit, which is the sole and true(ultimate) purpose and aim of the Hindu Scriptures, and for that matter, of all the Religious Scriptures of the world. From the plane of intelligence, into the realm of Intuition, they want men to rise.

Chapter No 26
The infinite glory of the Vedas and their true Purport

Siddhamuni continued the narrative.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati told the pundits that it was wrong, presumptuous and childish on their part to believe that they had mastered all the Vedas and gained all knowledge. It is indeed beyond the ken and capacity of anybody, even of gods, to have full and proper understanding of the Vedas.

The Vedas are indeed countless and endless - "Ananta Vai Vedah", it is said. Even Brahmadeva could not gauge the extent of the Vedas. The Lord Himself had to incarnate on earth as Badarayana, .ie, Vyasa, and he collated a small portion of them into the four Vedas, which we have heard of. It is indeed a very very tiny portion of the original Vedic lore abstracted for the purpose of making a beginning and for paving the way for Dharmic life. Even Badarayana, in truth, could not find the beginning and end of the Vedas. As even these four Vedas, tiny portions from the original which is limitless, cannot all be studied and understood by anyone, even if he is allotted aeons of life. Vyasa Bhagvan taught each one of the Vedas (some little portion of each) to one student each, each of whom was specially blessed with the full extent of a Kalpa for their study, Paila learnt a small portion which goes under the name of Rig Veda, Vaisampayana learnt another small portion which goes under the name of Yajur Veda; Jamini learnt Sama Veda and Sumanta learnt Atharva Veda. These at least they could learn, only because of the special grace of their Guru, Vyasa Bhagwan. That being the case, how ridiculous it was for any man, whoose life span was so short to claim and boast that he had mastered the Vedas!

In ancient times, Bharadwaja Rishi resolved himself that he should learn and master all the Vedas. As he proceeded with his study, he found that although decades and centuries were rolling by, the progress he could make was too little. He undertook penance to propitiate Brahma and when Brahma appeared before him, he prayed "Grant me as much life span as would suffice for my completing the study of the Vedas". Brahmadeva smiled, as if in derision, and said, "My child! I can make you Chiranjeevi (an immortal), but alas, it is beyond all my powers to help you to make a complete study of all Vedas. See there are infinite heights of the Vedas". As he said this, Bharadwaja Rishi could see the splendorous mountains of the Vedas, their peaks hardly visible, and penetrating into the highest skies. Their effulgence was like that of a million suns. Bharadwaja instantly realised his folly in hoping that he could master all the Vedas, which would never be possible even if he granted millions and millions of aeons as his lifespan. He was crest fallen and fell at the feet of Brahma, that he should somehow bless him with the Vedic wisdom. Brahma gave him three handful of material from the infinite mountain peaks and told him "If you can study and understand this much, you will be most blessed indeed." Bradwaja strove for all his life and he could not complete that much study even, of the three handfuls of material that Brahmadeva gave him. Guru Nath again said, that being the case, how fallacious it is for a mere mortal of he Kali age to claim that he has mastered all the Vedas, alas!

Guru Nath now started speaking of the glory of the Vedas and their structure, which was unheard of before by any. Guru Nath said that this was what had been told Vyasa Bhagwan to each of his disciples regarding the respective Vedas he had taught them. Briefly it is as under;

Rig Veda has its auxiliary Ayurveda, the Science of Life. It is presiding deity is Brahma. Its Gotra is Atryasa. Its chandas is Gayatri. The Rig Veda Purusha has red lotus like broad eyes, and a three feet long shapely neck. He has beautiful flowing locks of hair. Rig Veda has all in all 12 sections or divisions. It's systematic recital, with the correct inontation, endows greatest merit. Much of the portion of Rig Veda is not known to any in the Kali Age.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati told the pundits that the Vedas are most profound. They are sole protection for mankind both in the world here and worlds thereafter. They are to be worshipped as Mother. Humility is the true mark of scholarship. He again emphasised that the knowledge, if at all anyone can gain and profess about the Veda, will be just no more than a grain of sand while the Vedic lore is like the unending stretch of the sandy shores of all seas of the earth.

The pundits, in their pride, could not grasp the wise counsel of Sri Narasimha Saraswati and still kept up the air of arrogance.

Thus ends the Twenty-sixth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra giving "A brief account of the four Vedas and their infinite glory".

Glory to the All merciful, the OmniPresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Chapter No 27
The Harijan's chanting of the Vedic Mantrs and humbling the conceit of the foolish pundits.

Siddhamuni tells Namdharak how Sri Narasimha Saraswati lovingly counseled the pundits to desist from discussion and arguing (doing Vada) about the sacred truths of the Vedas in public, for gaining personals aggrandizement, and specially Sanyasis (renunciates) like him are not the people who would enter into debate with any, on the sacred lore. Their duty is to contemplate on the Vedic & Upanishadic truths in seclusion and solitude. He warned and told them that if they still persisted in their challenge and insisted on a debate, it was tantamount to courting their own ruin like the patang (glow-worms) hovering around the lamp and playing with fire, meet their self-destruction. As pundits were still unheeding, Sri Narasimha Saraswati decided to humble their pride and punish them.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati beckoned to one of His disciples, asked him to go out into the street, and call the man who was just passing by. The man was brought in. The man bowed to Guru Nath in all humility and showing great respect and veneration. He was however feeling perplexed; he belonged to a low caste and was at a loss to understand why he was called into the august presence of Guru Nath.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati asked him what caste he belonged to. The man told him he was a Matang (Harijan). Sri Narasimha Saraswati glanced at him with his look of Grace and pouring out nectarine love. That was enough to metamorphose instantly the Matang completely. Sri Narasimha Saraswati gave his danda, yogic staff, to one of his disciples standing by. He asked him to draw seven lines, one after the other on the ground in front of Matanga. After that, he asked the Matanga to step forward and cross the first line. When the Matanga did so, Guru Nath asked him to what caste he belonged. The man replied he belonged to Kirat Vamsa (the hunter caste) and his name was Van Rakha. He then asked him to cross line after line. After second line was crossed, he asked him the same question as before. The man replied he was then Ganga Putra (.i.e, belonging to the fishermen community). After the next line, he said he belonged to the Sudra caste. After the fifth line, he said he belonged to the Vaisya caste (.ie, to the merchant community). After the sixth line, he said he belonged to the Kshatriya caste (ie., to the warrior community). After crossing the seventh line, he said he belonged to the Brahmin caste and devoted and dedicated to the Vedic Adhyayan.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati then grace sacred ash (after charging it with Mantra) to besmeared all over the body of the Matanga - now turned into Brahmin of high Vedic learning, by mere look of grace from Guru Nath. And as the debate started, the Brahmin turned Matanga was arguing and reciting Vedic Mantras as Brihaspati or Brahmadeva himself. The foolish pundit's tongues were parched, they were perspiring profusely and their limbs were shaking. The fell at Guru Nat's feet and begged to be forgiven for their pride and arrogance in not heeding to his advice, in their ignorance and foolishness.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati said with compassion, "I cannot help you much now. By your greedy desire to trade in the Vedas, you have drawn the Veda Mata's curse upon yourself. For a period of 12 years you will be turned into Brahma Rakshas but I bless you that you will be released from the curse then as you will happen to hear the recital of Narayana Sookta from a pious Brahmin, and then you will turn into Brahmins again. He asked to go to Sangam and take their bath. The Pundits fell down dead the same day.

Thus ends the Twenty Seventh chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the "the humbling of the pride of the pundits"

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Humility is the true mark of learning. Vidya is not for earning money, ie, not for Bhukthi (sustenance), but for Bhakti (enlightened devotion) which will earn for us no less than the Vision of God himself - The Supreme Reality.

Chapter No 28
Actions and their Consequences
(The Law of Cause and Effect)

Siddhamuni told Namdharak that the Matanga, now blessed with Brahmic knowledge, asked Sri Narasimha Saraswati to let him know why he was born as a Chandala in this birth, while he was a Brahmin in his former life.

Guru Nath explained in great detail the rules governing Karma and its consequences (fruits as well as retribution). Trivikarma Bharati and all present were listening with rapt attention as this is a subject, as a profound science, which governs all creation and affecting every individual being's life. Guru Nath went on to say as follows.

The caste in which one is born is determined by his past Karmas (actions and conduct). Good actions lead to higher birth, births in higher castes; and sinful and bad actions lead to births in lower castes or even in sub-human species.

Brahmin is predominantly of Satwic (of pure, serene and tranquil) temperament; he has a special duty and role in society. He is the spiritual custodian of the people of all communities. He has the great responsibility for the material and general well being of all his younger brothers and sisters in the family. He has to observe the strictest disciplines; he has to perform all the prescribed rituals as per Vedic injunctions and his conduct should be a model and example to all others. His daily rituals are for the well being of all. For that purpose, the Brahmin has to consecrate his entire life. That was why Brahmins of yore were ranked as equal to Gods, and even the rulers (kings) used to honour them as such.

If a Brahmin fails in the discharge of his ordained duties, he will slide down to birth in the lower caste(s). Apart from the duties ordained, there are also actions prohibited. If a Brahmin indulges in any of the prohibited actions, he gets born in the lowest castes or even as an animal or may be even as a lowly creature. Guru Nath listed many acts of omissions and commissions which cause a Brahmin to be born as a Chandala. He told the Matanga that because he ill treated his parents in his previous life, he was born as a Chandala in this life. Among the many sins listed which cause the downfall of men (Duegati in contrast to Sadgati), especially of the Brahmins, the following are some:-

1) Forsaking the Guru and the parents and ill treating them.
2) Forsaking the wife and children.
3) Committing of adultery, theft, etc. (even sensuous thoughts about other women are as much a sin)
4) Killing of animals or inflicting of even the least suffering upon them.
5) Separating away the calf from it's mother.
6) Non-observance of injunctions regarding food.
7) Failure to perform the Shraddha ceremony to the departed souls (ancestors) and forbears of the family.
8) Indulging in slanderous talk, especially blasphemy against the Vedas, Deities and Gods.
9) Turning away the guests and not offering them food.
10) Refusing to give water to thirsty person.
11) Indulging in iconoclasm (breaking of idols) and causing damage to temples and places of worship, or fouling tanks, well and rivers.
12) Non-observance of the Nitya-Vidhis, the daily obligatory duties enjoined on one.

Guru Nath lists many types of sins and their consequences such as afterlife in hell, birth in lower castes, birth involving congenital infirmities like blindness, lameness, etc., and birth as an animal, reptile or a worm etc.

Trivikrama Bharati asked Sri Narasimha Saraswati as to what are the Prayaschita-rites (ie., atonement rites) or methods by means of which one can absolve himself of the sins he committed. Guru Nath then explains the Prayaschita-Vidhis (methods of atonement) for the sins committed. He says as follows:-

Sincere and heartfelt repentance, prayer to the Almighty God who is the Karmaphaladata (dispenser of the results of Karma) for forgiveness, and abstinence from further sinful conduct, will mitigate to a large extent the retributive effect of sins. To absolve oneself completely from the consequences of the sins, Prayaschita rites are prescribed in the Shastras, but they will be effective only when they are performed in true spirit of repentance and with reformation and rectitude in the conduct of the person doing the Prayaschita. Guru Nath explained various Prayaschita rites, some of which are:-

1) Penitence, fasting and prayers.
2) Pilgrimages to holy places and bathing in holy rivers.
3) Giving gifts in charity like cow, gold, money, etc.
4) Kruchra and Chandrayana Vratas (observances)
5) Chanting of Gayatri Mantra (ten thousand times or chanting of Pavamana/Suthra etc)6) Rendering of service to others and specially to the Guru.

Kruchra Vow observance is like this: Fasting for 3 days, followed by sustaining oneself on milk for the next 3 days, on ghee for further 3days, etc. Those who are weak are permitted to eat ginger seeds; otherwise what is prescribed is water in which is soaked either Aswatha or Banyan leaves or Lotus flowers or Dharbha grass, etc.

The Chandrayana Vrata is like this: Beginning with fast on new moon day and taking one morsel of food the next day and increasing one by one morsel of food every day afterwards; from full moon day onwards again decreasing one by one morsel of food everyday and with total fast again on the new moon day.

Through Gayatri Homa and Veda Parayana also, as much merit is earned as by doing these Vratas.

With stay at Kashi for a month, all sins are absolved. A bath at Setu-Bandhan absolves sin of causing death of a Brahmin and the like. Sustaining oneself with one single and limited meal a day and reciting of Narayanopanishad, Vikas Sookta, etc. will absolve one of all the sins committed in countless of former lives.

Before starting to do the Prayashchita, one should begin by sipping Panchagavya, after fasting on the previous night. Panchagavya is a mixture of cow's milk, urine, dung, ghee, curds, in which added also water in which is dipped the Kusa grass, and which has been then sanctified by the chant of the mantras and preferably also blessed by the Guru/priest.

All the above rites are very potent means by which one can absolve his sins dome knowingly or in ignorance.

Guru Nath, after explaining the implications of Karma and the consequences, told the Matanga again, that as he, in the previous life, ill-treated his parents, he was born as a Chandala in the present life. He the advised him to go the Bhima - Amarja Sangam and take the purification there, by which means his sins would be explained and he would be born as a Brahmin in the next birth.

The Matanga prayed that as he had already been transformed in to a Brahmin by the Grace of Guru Nath and was also endowed with spiritual knowledge, whereby he was able to win a contest with the pundits, Guru Nath should give him a recognition to him as a Brahmin and confer on him permanently Brahmin hood and that he would not like to wait for the next birth for becoming a Brahmin. Sri Narasimha Saraswati tried to explain to him that he was born in this birth from the womb of a chandal woman, even though he had now been endowed scriptural knowledge, he could not get recognition as a true brahmin. True Brahmin food, besides birth in a Brahmin family, needs certain Samskaras to be gone through and also certain disciplines and upbringing. Both are as much necessary, and that he would be merited for them in his next birth with his blessing. Sri Narasimha Saraswati further gave the illustration of Vishwamitra, who was born as a Kshatriya, and though through austerities and penance attained spiritual power and eminence, could not get recognition as a Brahmin, because of his birth. However, on the advice of Vasishtha Rishi, when he virtually burnt down his body by the hot rays of the sun and grew a new sun and body, he got recognition as a BrahmaRishi. The Matanga was however not reconciled and was still persisting Guru Nath that he should get recognition as Brahmin then and there itself.

At this juncture, the Matanga's wife, along with the children, came over there. She saw and went close to him. The Matanga started beating her. The woman started weeping and crying and prayed to Sri Narasimha Saraswati to make her husband stop beating her. The Matanga was not pacified and was trying to drive his wife away from there. At this, Sri Narasimha Saraswati asked one of the disciples to call one Lubdhak, a Brahmin without having any Vedic learning, and who was earning his livelihood by doing all sorts of lowly taste. Sri Narasimha Saraswati asked him to pour water over the body of Matanga and give him a full bath. When the water was poured on the Matanga, it washed out all the Bhasma (sacred ash) applied on his body earlier. Along with the Bhasma, the scriptural knowledge, which the Matanga obtained earlier also disappeared and was lost totally from his memory. The Matanga became the same size as he was before, the same unregenerate being he was earlier. He was sized and with Moha and delusion and, seeing his wife and children, ran to them, totally forgetting whatever had happened earlier.

Thus ends the Twenty Eight chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Karma Vipaka Akhyanarm"

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 29
The Significance and Power of Vibhuti (Holy Ash)

Siddha Yogi continued the narrative to Namdharak as follows.

Trivikrama Bharati requested Sri Narasimha Saraswati to enlighten them about Bhasma-Mahima and how it possesses such great power as they witnessed in the Matanga episode.

Now Sri Narasimha Saraswati narrated the following anecdote.

There used to be one Yogi by the name of Vamadeva. He used to smear his body always with Bhasma. His hair was matted and he used to wear the bark of tress for his garment. He was a very exhalted Yogi. He had won over all humans frailties, sublimated his senses and conquered the six inner enemies - Shadripus (likes, dislikes, greed, delusion, ego and pride, envy and jealousy) - which enslave man. He was a fully-realised soul and a Brahma-Jnani. He used to be always wandering, visiting holy places. One day he came to the Krouncharanya (forest). This forest was full of wild beasts; there were also ghosts and Brahma-rakshasas inhabiting the forest. One Brahma-rakshasa noticed Vamadeva entering the forest, and he was very happy that he would be having a good feast with the body of the Yogi. He feel upon him with a view to eating him up. But Vamadeva was least perturbed, and remained steady and calm. The contact with the Bhasma (sacred ashes) on the body of Vamadeva brought an instant and total transformation of the Brahma-rakshasa. He was totally changed, rid of his demonic nature by the contact with the Bhasma. He prayed to Vamadeva to free him from the cycle of birth and death. He told Vamadeva that by the mere contact with Bhasma, he gained the memory of his past twenty five births, he started recounting them to Vamadeva.

The Brahma-rakshasa said he was actually the king of Yavandesh. But he had a very vicious and lustful nature. He led a very sensuous life, running after women always, without any decency, compunction and consideration. His sins crossed all bounds and limits. In an encounter with an enemy king, he was killed. He was dragged to the court of Yama, He was subjected to torture in hell, and later he had to take several births only because of his sins. He was born as a tiger in one birth, as a wolf in second, as a dog in the third birth, as a camel in the fourth, camel in fifth, then as a cat, thereafter a tortoise, then as a frog and so on. He had suffered much, all of his own making though. Now the mere touch with Bhasma had so much smoothened his soul, and never before had he felt such peace. He further said that his hunger, which never got satiated normally, however many animals or persons he might eat, was how totally appeased, and that he was feeling a great sense of peace and happiness. He prayed that he should be enlightened as to how the Bhasma came to possess such great redeeming power.

Vamadeva told the Rakshasa that the power of Bhasma is beyond all description, and it is beyond the comprehension of any, except of Lord Siva. Shiva only knows; he alone knows fully the glorious power of Bhasma. That is why he (Shiva) smears his whole body always with Bhasma.

Vamadeva told that there lived once a Brahmin in Dravida desa. He took to bad ways of life. He went to live with a low caste woman. He took to theft. Once while he was committing a theft, he was caught and beaten up. He died and his body was thrown in the cemetery, at that time, a dog was sitting on chitabhasma (ashes of a burnt corpse). That dog saw the body of the dead brahmin, and came and sat on the body sniffing it all over. As it was doing so, the chitaBhasma from it's body fell over the body of the corpse. No sooner did the chitaBhasma fell over the body of the corpse, then the Shiva Dhootas appeared over there, stopping the YamaDhootas who had already come there to take away the jiva (soul) of the evil man. A dispute arose between the servants of Yama and Shiva. The guards of Yama were claiming the Jiva, because the sins committed by the man were countless, and the place he deserved was nowhere else but hell. But the Shiva Dhootas said that with the touch of the Bhasma on the body, all his sins, however heinous they might have been, had been burnt off and expiated. It is Lord Shankara's command that whenever they see a dead person's body with Bhasma smeared on the forehead or even on any part of the body, they should fetch that Jiva to Kailash. Thus saying, the ShivaDhootas snatched away the Jiva from the Yamadhoota's hands and took it away to Kailash. When this was reported by the YamaDhootas to their Lord, Lord Yama went to Shiva in anger, and complained to Him the intrusion, high-handedness and interference of ShivaDhootas and their preventing his servants from the discharge of their duties and carrying out of justice. He complained how could Dharma be protected and rule of law enforced by him in the world under such circumstances. Shiva then told Yama that Bhasma Dharma is the highest Dharma and it annuls and supersedes all other codes and injunctions of dharma. He told Yama Dharma Raja to tell his servants that they should abstain from approaching the bodies of the dead, smeared with or wearing the risk of Brahma.

Such was the Mahima of Bhasma, said Vamadeo to the Brahmin rakshasa. The Rakshasa requested Vamadeva to teach and explain the same through the following ancedote.

Once Lord Shiva and Parvati went to the Mandara Mountain. All the Gods, Rishis, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Rudgragan, ShivaDhootas, all came and assembled over there. Lord Shiva was seated on His Throne. By his side was seated Mother Parvati. Golden in complexion, and bedecked in richest jewellery and adorned with beautiful flowers, she was radiating all splendour. All were absorbed in the ecstacy of the Darshan of the Divine couple, the Mother and Father of the Universe.

Sanatkumara Rishi prayed to Lord Shiva to teach them the one Dharma Vidhi, which will be simple to be observed by all yet will confer all the four Purusharthas - four chief Aims of Life, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and which will destroy all the sins, endow bodily and mental purity and also intellectual illumination.

Lord Shiva said there is one Dharma Vidhi which is simple and can be followed by each and everyone and which will confer all good and save men from all ills of the world. This Vidhi is called 'the Tripundra Bhasma Dharana Vidhi'. The Bhasma is symbolic of the ultimate truth, the ultimate truth of all matter. It has a spiritual significance in that it is changeless, immutable like Godhead, It is colourless or white, so to say, indicating purity. In Jabalo-panishad, Bhasma Vidhi is described in great detail.

Agni is the presiding deity for Bhasma. The ash from the sacrificial fire is most sacred. In the absence of it, ash prepared from cowdung is to be used. A little ash is to be taken, reciting the 'Sadyojata...' mantra. A little water is to be added and mixed in it with the aid of thumb, while reciting the 'Manasthoka...' mantra. Then chanting the 'Trayambakam Yajamahe...' mantra, it has to be taken near the forehead. Then reciting the 'Thrayayusham Jamadagne...' mantra, the tripundra dharana, i.e., applying it in three lines - is to be done. First, with the aid of the middle and ring fingers two lines are to be applied, the top one and the bottom are from left to right, then with the aid of the thumb, the middle line is to be applied, drawing it from right to the left. The marks are not extend beyond the sides of the eyebrows. With devotion, these marks are to be always worn on the forehead.

Bhasma Dharana can be done by one and all, and during all the stages of Life. It will cure all the ills of the body, mind and spirit. It ensures mental purity, intellectual illumination and spiritual enlightment in their life beyond it opens the gates of Kailash for him, which is the Eternal Abode of Supreme peace and beatitude. (PRASHANTI)

Lord Shiva said that for destroying one's sins, there is nothing comparable to doing Bhasma Dharana, but it should be done with full faith and devotion. For one who applies ashes on his forehead and wears Rudraksha Mala on his neck, there will be nothing wanting for him either in this life or in the beyond.

That was Lord Shiva explained to SanantKumara Rishi and all the assembled sages.

Hearing the Divine glory of Bhasma, The Rakshasa sought the Bhasma from Vamdeva and applied it upon himself. His Rakshasa form totally changed and he got a new splendorous body. A Divine vehicle came and took him away to Kailash.

Thus ends the Twenty Ninth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "the Bhasma Mahima".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!


Trayambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushti vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanaat mrutyor muksheeya maamrutat

The one who spreads a fragrance (of Vibhuti) around Himself and all around,
Who fosters the worldly well being, as well as the spiritual well being of all,
That Three-eyed Lord, Him I worship...

Oh! You the supreme One!
Like the ripened cucumber which severs itself from the creeper and drops off,
Grant release for me from death,
(from the unending cycle of births and deaths),
But, pray, never cause severance for me from Immortality (Amritatwa)
And may I ever abide in awareness of Thee...

Chapter No 30
Vairagya Bodha (Giving of Philosophical Consolation) who was bemoaning her husbans's death

Siddhamuni continued the narrative to Namdharak describing the glorious account of the Leelas of GuruNath

Gurunath's name and fame was increasing day by day and it started spreading over the county. People from all regions, even from the farthest parts of India, started visiting Gangapur for Guru Nath's Darshan and for seeking His blessings. Whoever came, went back with their hearts filled with great satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment in life and with peace and joy. Everyone returned with a deep conviction that Guru Nath, though physically staying at Gangapur, is ever with them wherever they be living and is ever providing his protection. Without his call, none can ever think of going to Gangapur for his Darshan and without his will none will be able to visit the place and have the audience with him. His love is like the love of a thousand mothers. Whoever visits there will have all his aspirations fulfilled and his grievances redressed although he might put these people to much test during the process.

There lived in the town of Mahur, a Brahmin who was quite well to do and rich. His name was Gopinath. His wife gave birth to many children, but none survived. They prayed fervently to Lord Dattatreya that they should have at least one son who would have longevity and survive. In response to their faith and prayers, they had a son born again, whom they named as Datta, i.e., after the name of Lord Dattatreya with whose blessings he was born. The boy was very healthy and free from any ailment. The parents were very happy. When the boy was five years of age, his thread ceremony was performed. When he was sixteen years of age, he was married to a girl whose name was Savitri, and who was very beautiful. The young couple were leading a very happy life.

After four years of happy married life, the young man unfortunately fell seriously ill. The parents consulted many Vaidyas (doctors) and tried various treatments without minding the expenses. But there was no improvement in his condition. Actually his condition was deteriating day by day. The young wife thought that if she could take her husband to Gangapur and pray to Sri Narasimha Saraswati, his life could be saved. She felt that was the only hope for her. She expressed the same to her parents-in-law. They did not want to stand in her way. They were very distressed that their boy's condition was becoming more and more critical, all the medical treatment proving of no avail. They also felt that only Divine Grace, if at all anything, could save their son and that they should let their daughter-in-law do whatever she felt was best course.

The young wife told her husband that she would take him on pilgrimage to Gangapur for Sri Narasimha Saraswati's Darshan and that would certainly restore his health. The young man was in tears, started saying how distressed he was, not for his illness, but considering that he had not been able to give her any happiness and had to see her toiling all the time looking after him and his needs. The wife said she was happy in doing service to him, and all her anxiety and concern was that he should get well soon. For the purpose she was prepared to make any sacrifice. She said that troubles so come in life as per one's Karma; no one can escape it altogether, but with Divine Grace it should be possible to overcome it. She said she had all hopes that Sri Narasimha Saraswati would rid him of his illness by his Grace, and would shower his blessings on them.

Comforting the parents-in-law, telling them not to worry at all and assuring that she would certainly bring her husband back to them safe and fully restored in health soon, she set out on her pilgrimage to Gangapur along with her husband.

The couple after great difficulty, reached the outskirts of Gangapur and although the wife was very exhausted, she was slightly elated that they could reach the holy precincts. She left her husband in a place nearby, asking him to rest and saying that meanwhile she would go into the town first and find out the whereabouts of Guru Nath and would come back to take him along with her for Darshan. She went into town and was told that Sri Guru Nath had gone to the Sangam. She came back to the place where she had left her husband for rest. Alas! the husband, because of over exhaustion of the journey possibly accentuating his sickness, meanwhile collapsed and died. She was aghast and broke down completely with grief.

The woman was not able to withstand the situation. She started crying aloud, "I have brought my husband away from his parents telling them that with Sri Narasimha Saraswati's Grace I would bring him back to them fully restored in health. What can I do now? What can I tell them, how could I ever face them? Everything for me is dark and dismal, and there is no way out for me except death along with my husband". She was furious with Guru Nath and started shouting "You have belied all my hopes. All my faith in you has been misplaced. You have cheated me. Before, I end my life, I will tell everybody and proclaim to all how you betrayed me and my hopes. I fancied you were the "Mangala Murti". Instead you have proved to be the opposite.. you are heartless..". After giving vent to her wrath against Guru Nath, she fell upon the body of her husband and burst into sobs again, "Oh, my beloved, why have you left me? Didn't you know how much I loved you? You were dearest to me, how can I live a movement without you?" Meanwhile, people nearby, seeing the sad advent, gathered around her and were trying to console her. At this Juncture, Sri Guru Nath himself, in the guise of a Tapasvi, with Rudraksha Malas around his neck and his whole body smeared with Vibhuti and holding a Trishula in his hand, appeared there. He also started comforting and consoling her. He told her "Who can escape Prarabdha Karma? Death is inevitable for whoever is born. Some die early and some die later. But none can escape death. What a delusion of life! How deluding are all family relationships! Wife and husband, father and children, it is all Maya, a scene for a while. Two logs of wood floating separately in a stream come close to one another and flow together for a while and again drift apart and float again separately each going it own way. There is no permanent relationship at all between any two persons. Each one has his or her own de stiny to suffer, each according to his or her Karma of his/her past lives. In life, the only certainty is death, and of avail is bemoaning the inevitable and inescapable. We have to accept things as they come, and reconcile ourselves to the inevitable. Yet at the same time, we should not forget the higher purpose of life and the ultimate goal, and should strive to attain it, irrespective of whatever calamities befall us in life".

Guru Nath's presence, and especially his words though it was all a 'negative philosophy', yet soothed her heart a little. A little sense of reconciliation to her fate and preparedness to face the event with courage came upon her. She prayed to Guru Nath to tell her what she do, about the Stree Dharma after losing the husband.

Thus ends the Thirtieth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the "Pretanganga Soka".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 31
The Supreme Power of Chastity. Siddhamuni continued the narrative to Namdharak.

The woman, calmed a little now, requested 'the Tapasvi' to tell her about the duties of a woman in family life and also her duties after she is widowed. She wanted him to give her guidance and enlighten her on StreeDharma and Achar (the duties of conduct for women). Thereupon, 'the Tapasvi' narrated the following.

Once there lived in the city of Kashi, the great Agastya Rishi. His wife's name was Lopamudra. She was like Anasuya in her chastity and was the most ideal wife. Agastya was renowned for his austerities and for his spiritual knowledge, wisdom and prowess.

Once Narada Rishi paid a visit to the mountain king Vindhyachal. Narada Rishi praised Vindhyachal for his great qualities.

He, however, added that the Meru mountain (the king of the Himalayan range) though inferior to the Vindya in it's grandeur, yet because of it's height, it ranked as superior and is called the Sovereign of mountains, and but for his shorter stature, he (the Vindhya) would have been really the Sovereign of mountains. Vindhyachal took it to heart, and then started growing taller and taller, almost touching the skies like the Meru Mountain. The result of this was that the sunlight was not reaching the southern region, plunging it into darkness. People were not able to perform their Nitya-Vidhis (daily rituals and oblations to the Deities) and thereby Indra and other Gods were deprived of the daily offerings which people have to make. The Gods, therefore, along with Rishis approached Brahma Deva and prayed to him to find a remedy for this. If Nity-Vidhis are not performed, it will disturb the harmony in the cosmos and evil will befall the people and the world. Brahma Deva advised them to go to Agasthya Rishi and request him to do something in the matter, as Vindhyachal was disciple of Agasthya Rishi and was greatly devoted to him.

Indra and the Rishis came to Agasthya Ashram at Kashi. They explained to him the plight of the southern regions as the sun had been blocked by the Vindhyachal as a result of his growth, which reached the very heights in the sky. Agasthya agreed to help them in the matter.

Agasthya went to Vindhyachal. Seeing his guru (Master) Vindhyachal bent down to offer his obeisance to the Guru. Agasthya said that he was going on a pilgrimage to some of the holy places in the southern region, and he (Vindhyachal) should remain in the same inclined (bowing) position till he returned. Vindhyachal said he would be happy to do whatever command his guru would give him. Agasthya crossed over to the south, thereby opening the blocked way for the Sun. Agasthya saved the Gods thus and also restored the well being and prosperity of the southern region and its people.

Agasthya wife was an example for all women. All the Gods and even Brihaspati acclaimed Lopamudra as peerless and as an ideal for woman for all times. Now 'the Tapasvi' recounted to Savitri what Brihaspati said to the Rishis, describing the duties of the family women, taking example of Lopamudra. He said that for a woman the husband himself is God. Service to him should take all priority and precedence in the woman's duties. The husband should be considered and worshipped as God himself. Husband's pada-teertha (the wash-water of the feet of the husband) is even more sacred for a woman than Vishnu-Teertha. She should never disobey him, and should faithfully and respectfully obey all his commands whatever they be. All the household duties will have to be faithfully discharged, and all Sastraic injunctions, like Athithi Puja, etc., are to be done by the wife, to bring good name to her husband. She should respect and serve her husband's parents as her own parents. Even if the husband is afflicted with disease, or whatever difficulties befall him, she should share the sufferings and serve him with all love and dedication.

'The Tapasvi' then said that when the woman loses her husband, there are Sastraic injunctions as to the disciples of life she should strictly observe. She should realise that with her husband's loss, she should take to many austere disciplines.

Thus ends the Thirty First Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Pativrata Nirupan".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

(reading should not be broken[stopped] at this Chapter. The next Chapter i.e., Chapter 32 should be completed along with this. Actually Chapters 30 to 35 are to be completed in One Session, i.e., one day's sitting or duration.

Chapter No 32
Reviving to Life the dead husband of the young woman. Siddhamuni continued the narrative.

'The Tapasvi' described to Savitri all the duties that pertain to women in their family life. He also described the duties that pertain to them after one losing the husband. He said that a woman who has lost her husband will have to adjust herself to the new situation. In grief, in olden times women used to enter the funeral pyre along with the husband's body, which is called as Sati or Sahagamana. They believed that life with a husband is a continuous companionship, not only in this world but in this life beyond as well. It is both a worldly companionship as well as, or actually even much more, a spiritual companionship between wife and husband. A Pativrata who mounted the funeral pyre along with her husband's body certainly attains liberation. But it should be totally voluntary and a subjective act taken in wholeheartedly. It is not a matter to be forced upon the woman, but based on her conviction and her own volition and choice.

There are exemptions or exceptions provided for, regarding Sahagamana. A woman carrying, i.e., woman with child in womb, a nursing mother, i.e., one who has an infant child, are forbidden to take Sahagamana. If a widow chooses to live the widowed life as per Sastraic injunctions and tradition, she need not take to Sahagamana. If she lives a pure and austere life during her widowhood, she will earn as much merit as she would have got through Sahagamana.

The disciplines to be observed by a widow as per Sastraic injunctions or tradition were described by 'The Tapasvi'. She should be without head-tress (hair). She should take meal only once a day. She should observe Chandrayan Vrata, i.e., taking increasing and decreasing mouthfuls of food as per Kalas (phases) of the moon. She should thus restrict her food and should give up comforts of life to whatever extent possible and take to austere habits. She should occasionally go on pilgrimage to holy places. She should herself perform Tarpan (food and water offerings to the soul of the departed husband) if she is without a son. She should observe Vaisakh, Magh, Kartika Maas bathing. She should offer in charity to Brahmins Ghritdan (ghee), Jalkumbh-dan (tumbler), Deep-dan (lamp), food, clothes, fruits, etc., in the name of her husband. She should discard bangles and wear white saree. When her husband was alive she was, so to say, the sole mistress of the house (household), but after the loss of her husband, she has to take only a subordinate position. She should abstain from demanding too much and from exercising her authority. She has to, more or less, abide by the will of her son, who of course should always revere and love her as a dutiful son and respect her wishes always. The woman surrenders and transfers her responsibilities of the household to her son and daughter-in-law. She has to devote more and more time in the memory of her husband and contemplation of God.

In the above way, Sage Brishaspati narrated all the PatiVrata Achara dharmas to the Rishis and Gods who had assembled at Agastyashram. An d now 'the Tapasvi' (Sri Narasimha Saraswati) in disguise recounted the same to the woman who has now lost her husband, and who sought advice and guidance as to the duties and mode of life for the woman, in her different stages of her life. 'Thus Tapasvi', tried to console and comfort her in her bereavement and was advising her to pick up courage to face the irretrievable situation and pursue her duties as ordained for women, but ever remembering the transitoriness of all life, and the solicitude of 'the Tapasvi. for her ultimate welfare. She expressed to him that her mind was much pacified, and she profusely thanked him for dispelling her ignorance and freeing her from the meshes of illusion of the mundane life. She told him that he was her all, mother, father and God. She however said in a determined and resolute manner that she had chosen to do Sahagamana along with the body of her husband.

'The Tapasvi' gave her Bhasma (sacred ash) and told her to besmear her husband's ears and body, before it was consigned to the flames. She should also perform Maharudra Abhishek before the cremation, he said, telling her that she should go to the Sangam and seek blessings of Guru Nath there before the final ceremony , he walked away.

The woman got all preparations done for the funeral and her Sahagamana. She invited the priests and asked them to start the funeral sacraments with the chant of the prescribed Mantras. She took her bath, adorned herself with all her ornaments and the bright red kum kum mark on her forehead. She took the dead near the river, carrying also the fire in her hand.

All the men and women of Gangapur gathered there , hearing of the sad event. They were all moved to tears, because the woman was so young, hardly sixteen years of age, and so beautiful. They were trying to persuade her not to do the Sahagamana, saying that it was not proper, they said, for a young girl of her age. She was almost a child still.

But the woman adamantly stuck to her resolve. She got the firewood piled up. She called the Suvasinis there and gave away whatever she had. She requested them to bless her, and further send word to her in-laws that her husband and herself were doing very well at Gangapur, and that none should let them know the truth as it would break their hearts. When she was about to mount the funeral pyre, she remembered suddenly the instructions of 'The Tapasvi', she tied the Rudrakshas given by him, two to the earlobes, and two on the chest of her husband's body. She applied the Bhasma on his forehead. Then she rushed to the Sangama to seek Guru Nath's blessings before taking to Sahagamana, as previously advised by 'The Tapasvi'.

The woman approached the Sangam and saw Guru Nath seated under the Audumbar Tree. She fell prostrate at his feet. The blessed she would soon be the Mother of two children - 'Suputra Praptirastu' - thus he blessed her. The people who accompanied her told Guru Nath that she had lost her husband, and she had come to seek blessings for her Sahagamana along with her husband's body.

Shri Narasimha Saraswati told then to bring the dead body to him at the Sangam. The body was brought. Just at that time four Brahmins came there to offer their worship to Sri Narasimha Saraswati. Guru Nath asked the Brahmins to sprinkle his 'Charan teertha', on the dead body. This was done, and Lo! the dead body rose to life as if from sleep. The revived man noticed his wife whose face lit up with wonder and joy at seeing the unbelievable, and asked her how they happened to be there. The woman told all that had happened, how Guru Nath retrived him from the realm of death and restored to her the Mangalya and thus protected the lives of both of them. Both of them fell at Guru Nath's feet and bathed them with their tears, tears welling out from the innermost depth of their hearts.

Thus ends the Thirty Second chapter of Shri Guru Charitra describing how "Faith triumphed over death with Guru Nath's Grace."

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Chapter No 33
The Power of Rudraksha and the Merit one earns by wearing it on the body

When 'the Tapasvi' gave to the woman four Rudrakshas and asked her to tie them on the body of her dead husband, the woman asked him what purpose it would serve. 'The Tapasvi' who was Guru Nath only in reality but was an assumed form of the former, told her briefly the Rudraksha Mahima and also the Rudrabhisheka Mahima as under.

Wearing of Rudraksha and applying Vibhuti (Bhasma) on the forehead confer great sanctity to the wearer. They are most purifying and will ward off all evil. None can harm the wearer and even the Lord of Death would keep away from him. They confer happiness in this life and ensure happiness in the life beyond. The Tapasvi gave the following story to illustrate the power of the Rudraksha.

There lived in Kashmir once upon a time, a king named Chandrasena. He had a son named Sudharma. His minister-in-chief also had a son, named Taraka. Sudharma and Taraka were of nearly the same age, and they grew up in closet friendship. Each loved the other very much, and they used to be always together. They were both highly devoted to Lord Shankara. Instead of wearing princely jewellery and ornaments, they used to wear Rudraksha Malas and also used to apply prominent Vibhuti marks on their forehead, as both Rudrakshas and Vibhuti are believed to be very dear to Lord Shankara. Their parents however were not happy about the ascetic tendency of their sons from such a tender age.

Once Parasara Rishi came to the court of Bhadrasena. The king received him with great honour and veneration. The king told him of his worry about his son, who was taking to ascetic way of life even at such an early age. He further said that he was equally worried about his minister's son too. Prasara Rishi told the king that he should not feel worried at all, but instead rejoice at the devotional temperament and conduct of the prince and his friend. He said that it was because of the great merit they had earned in their previous lives that they were born in this life with such devotional temperment, especially with fascination and attachment to the holy Rudrakshas. Prasara Rishi told the king about the previous lives of the prince and the minister's son.

In bygone times, there lived a courtesan who was very beautiful. She was very intelligent, shrewd and artful. and was very good in singing and dancing. She used to attract many people.

The courtesan had a Natya Mandap (dance hall). She had two pets, one a monkey and the other a cock. She taught them also dance. She used to deck both of them with Rudraksha Malas. One day a rich merchant came, to be entertained by her. He had an ornament in the form of Shivalinga, made of precious stones, which he was wearing on his neck. He was wearing Rudraksha Malas, and was having Bhasma Tripundra marks on his forehead. Looking at all these signs of piety, the woman felt a liking and attraction for him. She particularly felt a strong fascination for his Shivalinga ornament made of precious stones. She told him, if he gifted that ornament to her, she would live with him for three days as his mate. He wanted from her an oath of assurance that she would keep the bargain faithfully. She agreed and after taking oath by placing her hand on the Shivalinga, the merchant gifted her the precious ornament and she started to live with him. The first night went of happily and well for both of them. On the second night unfortunately, when they were asleep, the Natya Mandap caught fire and the fire started spreading to where the Shivalinga ornament was kept and it was also about to be caught in the flames. The merchant tried to retrieve the ornament form the spreading fire, but he too was caught in the flames and was burnt to death. The courtesan woman was aghast at this sudden tragedy. As she promised him that she would be his woman for three days, and as he died during this period, she resolved to take Sahagamana with him, like a faithful wife. Meanwhile all neighbours gathered around, and seeing her preparing herself for the Sahagamana along with her merchant customer, they tried to stop her, telling her that she was not a wedded wife to him and she should not take such an extreme step. But they could not prevail upon her and she jumped into the fire. But Lo! instantly Lord Shankara appeared there, caught hold of her hand and pulled her out of the fire. Lord Shankara said that he was very much pleased with her and though a courtesan she was, yet she kept up so steadfastly and unswervingly to the vow of truth and was determined to sacrifice her life for the pledged word. He said that he only wanted to test her and created the fire artificially. As he was pleased with her for her devotion to truth, he would grant her any boon she would ask of Him.

She said to Lord Shiva that she had no desire at all, except that she, along with her relations, friends and servants, should be blessed with Kailasha Pada. Thus she attained Kailash with all her people and won liberation for herself and all of them too.

Parasara Rishi further told the king, that when the fire burnt the Natya Mandap, the courtesan's pets, the Markat (the monkey) and the Kukkut (the cock) also died in the fire. But as they had the Rudraksha Malas around their necks and especially at the moment of death, it won for them great merit. The Markat was born as the King's son and the Kukkut was born as the minister's son. Such was the power of Rudraksha, said Prasara Rishi to the King.

Thus ends the Thirty Third chapter of Shri Guru Charitra, describing 'Rudraksha Mahima'.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 34
RudrAbhisheka Mahima

Siddhamuni continued the narrative to Namdharak as to the Rudrabhisheka Mahima as told to the woman by Guru Nath in the guise of 'the Tapasvi'.

The King Bhadrasena, after listening to the account of the past life of his son and that of the minister, prayed to Prasara Rishi to throw some light on how his son's future was going to be. The Rishi was hesitant to say anything in reply to the king. As the King was persistent, the Rishi said that the prince had only eight more days to live. The king fainted in grief of hearing this. When he recovered, he fell at the Rishi's feet and prayed that he should show him the way, his son's life could be saved. Moved by pity, the Rishi said that if he could earn the grace of Lord Shiva, the Mrityunjaya, there was all possibility of his son's life being saved. The Rishi said further as follows.

Lord Shiva is all powerful, it was Lord Shiva who caused the Vedas to manifest and gifted them to Brahmadeva to serve as a guidance to the latter in his functioning as the Creator of the world of matter and the Universe of beings. Along with the Vedas, He also gifted to him the Brahmopanishad, in which there is one chapter entitled Rudradhyaya and describing the Rudrabhisheka Mahima. Brahmadeva narrated the Rudrabhisheka Mahim to the Rishis once, as described in the Rudradhyaya of the Brahmopanishad. His narration goes as under:

The study of Rudradhyaya and performance of Rudrabhisheka would expiate one of all his sins and would endow also liberation on him from the cycle of birth and death. He said that Rudrabhisheka was the panacea for all the ills of the mundane life. All the Rishis, thereafter, as advised by Brahmadeva as above, took to Rudrabhisheka. From the Rishis, it spread among all the people, and everywhere the echo of Rudra Japa and Rudradhyaya could be heard. Whenever and wherever Yama Dharma Raja's Dhootas (servants/guards) visited, they were repelled by the seething heat generated by the spiritual vibrations emanating from Rudra Japa. The YamaDhootas narrated their plight to Yama Raja. The latter rushed to Brahmadeva and told him about the matter. Brahmadeva told Yama Raja that he should instruct his Dhootas that they should never approach anywhere near where Rudradhyaya and Purusha Sookta chanting would be going on and they could move feely only where such chanting is not there.

Prasara Rishi advised the king that he should invite one hundred Brahmins and arrange for performance of Ten Thousand Rudrabhishekas and bath the prince with Rudrabhisheka Teertha, which alone could save the life of the prince. The king arranged for the performance of Rudrabhishekas as advised by the sage. On the eighth day, the prince fell down dead. But Prasara Rishi immediately sprinkled the Rudrabhisheka Teertha on the body of the prince, and bathed the body with the Theerta. Lo! the prince came back to life instantly. Just at this time Sage Narada came and told the king how blessed he (the king) and the prince were. Narada told them that Yama Dhootas were there to take the prince to the Yama loka. But as soon as the body of the prince was bathed with the Rudrabhisheka Teertha the Shivadhootas appeared there, snatched away the prince's Jiva (soul) from the hands of the YamaDhootas and restored the life of the prince. Yama Dhootas ran back to Yama and reported the happening. Yama approached Brahmadeva and the latter told him that though the prince was to die as his twelfth year, the Rudrabhisheka Teertha bath bestowed on him a fresh, long lease of life, and the prince was thus blessed to live for full span of 100 years. Enlighted thus about Rudrabhisheka Mahima, Yama returned to his abode and instructed his Dhootas once again, that they should be watchful and cautious and should not go near any one engaged in Rudrabhisheka or having Rudrabhisheka Teertha sprinkled on the body or even wearing Rudrakshas on the body, because all such people are dear to Lord Shiva and ever enjoy protection of his Divine Grace. Thus Shri Guru Nath, who was in the guise of a Tapasvi, narrated to the Brahmin lady.

Thus end the Thirty Fourth chapter of Shri Guru Charitra, describing 'the Rudrabhisheka Mahima'.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 35
Somavara Vrata Mahima

Siddhamuni continued the narrative of the Guru Charitra to Namdharak as under.

Savitri's heart was overflowing with gratitude and devotion towards Guru Nath who gave her back her husband, by restoring his life. The husband looked quite hale and hearty and with no trace of his former disease at all. Savitri now prayed to Guru Nath to give her Mantropadesa, which would protect them (herself and her husband) against all turmoils of life in this world and also give them a safe passage to life beyond and liberate them for ever. Guru Nath told her that for a woman, no mantra is needed. It is only Patiseva (devotion and service done to the husband) that is needed for a woman and that this alone would safely ferry her across the ocean of Samsara to the Heavenly shores beyond. For woman the mantra is not as efficacious as Patiseva. Further, a mantra needs strict nista (disciplines and austerities), secrecy etc. A mantra cannot be given to any and everybody. It requires some merit on the part of the recipient. That was what happened in the case of the Sanjeevani Mantra of Sukracharya, the Perceptor of the Asuras (the demons). Sri Narasimha Saraswati explained it further as follows.

Once a war was raging between the Dewas and the Asuras, Sukracharya alone knew the Sanjeevani Mantra, the chanting of which would revive the dead back to life instantly. Because of the power and protection of the Sanjeevani Mantra, the Asuras could remain invincible and the Devas, as they had no resource to and no protection of the Mantra, were being routed in that battle. The Devas had to flee away, utterly defeated and battered.

The Devas then went to Kailash and narrated to Lord Shiva their woe and perilous condition and prayed to Him to rescue them from the devastating onslaught of the Asuras against them. Shiva sent Nandi to fetch Sukracharya. When the latter was brought, Shiva gulped him into his mouth. Sukracharya stayed for some days in the stomach of Lord Shiva, but one day managed to come out when Shiva was lost in His Samadhi. He reached back to the kingdom of Asuras safe and the Asuras were again emboldened that their preceptor's full protection was restored to them. They became again a great menace and terror to the Devas. Devas then hatched out a plan.

The preceptor of the Devas, sage Brihaspati had a son named Kacha. Kacha was sent to Sukracharya to be his disciple under him. Sukracharya accepted him as his student because of his veneration for Brihaspati. Sukracharya's daughter Devayani caught a fascination and liking for Kacha. Twice the Asuras caught hold of Kacha secretly and killed him. At Devayani's pleading, Sukracharya, by the power of his Sanjeevani Mantra, revived him and brought him back to life. When the Asuras opportunity to catch hold of Kacha secretly, they did not want the body to be left after staying him, because Sukracharya might again bring him back to life. Therefore this time, they burnt the slain body to ashes, mixed the ashes in wine which they surreptitiously made Sukracharya to drink. As Kacha did not return home in the night, Devayani expressed her anxiety to Sukracharya about the safety of Kacha. Sukracharya saw through his DivyaDrishti (i.e., through his Yogic vision) that the ashes of kacha were in his stomach and this he told to Devayani. he told her that this time he would not be able to bring him back to life. If he were to try to bring him back to life, as Kacha would have to come out of his (Sukracharya's) stomach, he (Sukracharya) himself would be dying in the process. Therefore he would not be able to save him this time. But Devayani pleaded if he would teach her the Sanjeevani Mantra and in the process of reviving Kacha if Sukracharya were to die, she would chant the Mantra and revive him (Sukracharya) also back to life. At her persistent pleading, he taught her the Mantra. As he was uttering the mantra, Kacha heard it from within his stomach of his Guru and memerised it. Kacha was saved. Sukracharya was revived back to life.

Later Devayani pleaded to Kacha that he should marry her. But Kacha pleaded that it would be sacrilege to do so; they were like sister and brother to each other. Firstly, she was his Guru's daughter; further, having emerged out from the vitals of Sukracharya by the result of the Mantra, he had also become a child of Sukracharya. Furthermore, she had revived him back to life, she was like a mother to him. Therefore, he said the marriage was unthinkable between them. Saying thus, he left from there and went back to his Father.

The Sanjeevani Mantra however, had lost it's potency for good, having been given to a woman who did not merit the Mantra, and further having lost it's secrecy, because of being overheard by another (ie by Kacha) besides the one it was intended to (ie to Devayani) at that time.

As Sri Narasimha Saraswati dissuaded the woman Savitri, thus from being desirous of taking Mantra, the woman pleaded she be taught some Vrata (vow), which would be beneficial as a Mantra. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told her about the Somwar Shiva Vrata. He narrated to her one ancedote to illustrate the beneficial effects of this Vrata.

Once upon a time, in the olden days, there lived a king by the name of Chitravarma in Aryavrata. He was in the line of the great Nala. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He had no children for a long time. At last a daughter was born to him. She was named Simantini. The king consulted his court astrologers about the future of the princess. They all said she would grow into a very virtuous girl and would have a long life, but at the age of fourteen itself, she was likely to become a widow. The King's and Queen's hearts were filled with gloom and sorrow at the prospect of their daughter's child-widowhood.

The princess reached the age of seven years. The King started searching for a suitable alliance for her. Meanwhile, Simantini learnt the Somwar Shiva-Vrata from Maitryayani, which is believed to confer mangalya and auspiciousness to women. From that very young age she started performing this Vrata. She was thereafter married to a young Prince by name Chitrangada, the son of king Indrasena. The marriage was celebrated in all regal pomp.

One day Prince Chitrangada went to swim in the river Kalindi along with his friends. There were also his guards attending upon him. The prince was swimming in the stream with his friends. He was suddenly caught in a whirpool in the mid-stream and sank down. The guards tried to search for him and save him, but to no avail. Simantini said to her father and mother that she would throw herself in the stream and die and join her husband in the other world at least. Her grief was inconsolable. She was all fury against Shiva, as inspite of her devout and strict observance of the Somwar - Vrata, he had not protected her at all. She was being dissuaded by all from doing Sahagamana, because Sastras did not approve of Sahagamana for a woman without the dead body of the husband by the side.

To add to the misfortune, as the king and the people were steeped in sorrow at the prince's death, one enemy king attacked the kingdom of Indrasena and defeated the latter. 'Misfortunes never come alone but come in chain' - is the old saying. So it was the case with regard to Indrasena who lost his son as well as his Kingdom. Chitrangada, when he was caught in a whirlpool, sank down to the depths of the river. The damsels of Nagaloka sighted him and rescued him and took him to their Kingdom in the neither world. It was the kingdom of Takshaka, the great Serpent King. The Naga-Kanyas sprinkled Amrit (celestial nectar) over the body of Chitrangada who was lifeless. The Amrit revived him instantly. He was taken to the King "Takshaka' who received him very kindly. Takshaka was happy to learn that Chitrangada was in line of descent from the famed king Nala, who happened to be a dear friend of his in olden times. Takshaka was very hospitable to him .The prince was looked after very well. The prince saw everywhere in the Nagaloka richest treasures, pearls and diamonds piled up. Takshaka's city was most beautiful.

After sometime, Chitrangada asked Takshaka to permit him to go back to his father. Takshaka gave him a very warm and loving send-off, sent a Naga-Prince for escort and also gave him many precious and handsome gifts. The prince and the Naga-prince who escorted him, emerged out of the waters of the mid-stream. They swam to the bank. Just at that time Simantini came over to the river for the bath before her Vrata as it happened to be Somvar (Monday). Although God deemed to have let her down, still she wanted to continue the Vrata.

The prince recognised her as Simantini, the princess wedded to him. Her face was clouded with grief. He enquired of her, who she was and why she looked so much grief-stricken. Although he had close resemblance to her dead husband, she did not take to be her husband, as though that her husband was lost forever. The maids waiting on the Princess narrated to him all about her misfortune, and how she lost her husband whom she loved so dearly. The stranger (the prince) said that he knew Chitraganda very well and that the latter was quite safe and would return to her soon. After saying thus, the prince, along with the Naga-prince, went to his father's kingdom. Already by that time the enemy king was thrown back and Indrasena got his Kingdom back. The king was delighted at his son's safe return. he sent messengers immediately to ChitraVarma to inform him of the happy turn of events and of his son's safe return and that he, along with his son was coming over there, to his kingdom.

The joy of Simantini knew no bounds. Her faith in Lord Shiva and the merits of Somvar Vrata were thus vindicated and she had got back her lost husband.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati thus impressed on Savitri the Mahima of Somvar Shiva Vrata. He told her that she should observe the Vrata all through her life, and this Vrata meant worship of himself (Sri Narasimha Saraswati) only.

Savitri and her husband then offered elaborate worship to Guru Nath, performed Samardhana and with blessings of Guru Nath returned to their home place, Mahur. The parents of the young man were overwhelmed with joy at the safe return of their son and daughter-in-law and to see their son restored completely to good health. Their hearts overflowed with gratitude towards Guru Nath for the Divine Mercy which he had showered on the family.

Thus ends the Thirty Fifth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing 'Simantini Aakhyan'.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

There is a Higher power than Destiny. "mad Bhaktah Napranasyati - My devotee never perishes" is the eternal assurance of the Lord. But the Lord also knows what is good and what is appropriate for His devotees and He has His own way of dispensation of His Grace. Leaving it all to His will and Mercy, let us surrender unto Him....

Chapter No 36
Vedic Injunctions of man's duties and obligations

Namdharak was all raptures joy listening to the glorious narrative of Guru Leelas from the lips of Siddhamuni. He said he was at a loss to know how he could express his gratitude to Siddhamuni who came to him like a dawn of Sun to dispel his ignorance and fill him with the light of wisdom. He said that his thirst and yearning to hear more and more of the Guru Leelas was insatiably increasing. Siddhamuni, pleased with the yearning of Namdharak, continued his narrative.

Gangapur had become a great centre of pilgrimage because of Sri Narasimha Saraswati's stay there and his association with the place. Thousands of people from different parts of the country started pouring in daily, seeking Guru Nath's Darshan and blessings and for redress of their afflictions - afflictions of the body, mind and spirit through his divine grace.

In Gangapur, at the time, there lived a Brahmin, who was very devout. He never accepted gifts from any. He never used to go to Samaradhana, where cooked food (Paranna) is fed. He used to maintain himself and his family on dry alms (cereals offered to him). His wife had an angry temperament. She used to tell him every day that he should accept Paranna which would relieve their troubles to a large extent.

Everyday, many people used to come to Gangapur and perform Samaradhana. At Samaradhana, couples are invited for Bhojan (food). At Samarashana, sumptuous feast is given with several preparations and delicacies. The Brahmin's wife felt that her husband's obstinacy was depriving them of proper and even minimal food when it was aplenty around. But the husband was never in an agreeable mood to their going to Samaradhana feasts.

Once the woman went to Sri Narasimha Saraswati and requested him to tell her husband to change his mind and to accept invitations to Samaradhana Bhojan. To this Guru agreed and prevailed upon the Brahmin to comply with the wishes of his wife once atleast. How could anyone disobey Guru Nath's command?

When the Brahmin and his wife went to the Samaradhana feast, a strange thing happened. The woman had an obnoxious vision of dogs and swine hovering around her plate of food, and she felt a revulsion and nausea to partake of the food, though it was lavishly served and was rich with many delicacies. She got up from her seat and asked husband also to leave from there all at once, and to come out along with her. She along with her husband, came to Sri Narasimha Saraswati and told him about the repulsive and nauseating vision, which she had at the Samaradhana gathering. Sri Narasimha Saraswati said that it was very much wrong on her part to have forced her husband through him (Sri Narasimha Saraswati), to change his principle and observance. The woman prayed to Guru Nath and also her husband that she that she should be forgiven for what she had done. As he Brahmin was feeling very sorry for having broken his rule, Guru Nath told him that he was not to worry about it any longer. No sin would touch him on that account because he did not go there on his own volition, and that in exceptional cases Brahmins can accept Paranna form other's houses.

The Brahmin prayed to Guru Nath to enlighten him in which houses one can take food and in which houses it is to be avoided. Guru Nath explained about this in detail, as under.

There are many disciplines regarding acceptance of food. One can take food in Guru's house without any hesitation, so also in the maternal uncle's house, in the father-in-law's house, in the houses of brothers, and in the houses of pious people. If there was no Brahmin priest available at the time of Sraddha ceremony, one can attend and take food, but on the next day, he should do Gayatri Japa.

Anyway, food is most holy. It should be taken in the houses of the pious and Satwic people, and taking God's name.

Home's of evil minded people are to be avoided. Food is not to be accepted from: i) Greedy people; ii) People who are not doing their duty to their family; iii) People who are proud and egositic; iv) People who indulge in always self-praise and taking ill of others; v) People who are ill tempered; vi) People of immoral conduct; vii) People who are addicted to drinking wine and other intoxicating drinks; viii) People who delight in harming others; ix) People who live regularly on Paranna only, etc. If we accept food from such people, their sins will affect us.

The food should be taken only from the hands and homes of people of Satwic and devout temperment. Through the food we take, the gunas flow into us. The food should promote Satwa Guna, i.e., pure, cool and enlightened temperament in us.

The Brahmin requested Guru Nath to instruct him on Achara Dharma, the code of conduct for Brahmins. Guru Nath said that Parasara Smriti lays down in great detail under Achara-Samhita the code of conduct for the Brahmins, who are spiritual custodians of the community and the society. The Achara Samhita is something like Bhagwad Gita, for the Brahmins. It is, so to say, like a Fifth Veda. It lays down daily disciplines to be strictly observed by a Brahmin from dawn to dusk. The disciplines laid down are as under and whoever meticulously observes them will attain everything and will never suffer from any want, nor will be ever subject to grief.

Early Morning Prayers:

The Brahmin should rise in the early hours of the morning, which is called the Brahma Muhurta (between 3.30 and 5.00 AM), during which time, the Satwa quality will be prevalent in the atmosphere.

As soon as one rises form bed, he should remember his Guru first and offer mentally his obeisance to him; he should then offer his obeisance to God and the deities (Trimurties, Sun God, the Navagrahas, etc), then to the sages, the Pitru Devatas and to the parents. he should not let the mind wander away. He will have to let it dwell on Guru God thoughts only for sometime atleast.

He is advised to have first the darshan of Cow (Gomata), before he does anything else.


After offering obesiance to the cow, he should (gargle his mouth and then) do Achmana, by sipping a little water. This Achmana is a constant practice, many times during the day, prescribed for Brahmin. If there is no water available for the Achmana, if he just touches his right ear, that is said to be sufficient. The right ear is said to be the seat of Agni (Fire God), Varuna (God of the seas and air), Surya, Chandra and other Dieties. Achamana is to be done taking the Guru's / God's name and chanting the appropriate Mantras.

Swadhyaya /Vedic Chant / Meditation:

Till sunrise and before he goes out for his morning ablutions, he will have to devote either to chanting of prayers, recital of Vedic Mantras or Meditation.

Morning Ablutions:

After dawn one should attend to the calls of nature. At that time he should keep silent. He should then clean his mouth and teeth (to get rid of the foul odor, as well as for the mouth hygiene). The twigs of trees which are to be used for cleaning the teeth are listed. After this one should take his bath. It cleanses and refreshes the body and drives away laziness. It endows strength, longevity, intellectual brilliance, etc. It cleanses away the effect of bad dreams and also drives away poverty and all ills.

Brahmacharis (celibates) are to bath in the mornings and all house-holders both in the morning and in the afternoons as well as in the evenings ie, all three times during the day. Whatever water one should be using for bath, he should deem it as waters of the Holy Ganges flowing down from the feet of Hari, and which endow both bodily purity as well as purity of the mind and spirit.

When water is not available or when one is sick, one should recite the "Apohista..." Mantra, and do Marjana three times. This is called "mantra Snana". Doing Vishnu Nama Sankirtan is called "Manasika Snana". Taking Darshan of the Guru, or sprinkling the water after washing the feet of the parents is called "Teertha Snan".

On the days of Vratas, Sraddhas, or after birth ceremonies or death ceremonies in the family - on the tenth day of the pollution period, how water bath is prohibited. In flowing water of a river one should face opposite the current, and in tanks, etc,one should face towards the east and then take the bath.

If one takes oil-bath on Sundays, it could lead to disease, on Mondays it should lead to draining of energy, on Tuesdays it could lead to death, on Wednesdays it endows wealth (Lakshmiprapti), on Thursdays and Fridays, it could cause the impairment and danger to the health of children (Santhana-Nastham), and on Saturdays it brings in all auspiciousness, health and wealth. Housewives are not to take hair bath daily.

On the days when one has taken oil bath, he is not to apply Bhasma. On all other days and at all times, he should necessarily apply Bhasma on his forehead.

Gopichandan is to be applied by those devoted to the form of Hair. It is called Urdhva Pundra (vertical markings) and it is equally meritorious like Bhasma-Dharana which is to be applied in horizontal lines (Tripundra). Whoever applies both Bhasma and Gopichanda, he is equally dear to both Hara and Hari.

Chapter No 37
What is to be observed and what is to be avoided - The Dos and the Don'ts

Siddhamuni continued his narrative to Namdharak on the spiritual illumination

Sri Narasimha Saraswati was lighting up in the minds of people. He was giving instruction on the disciplines necessary for keeping up the spiritual flame shining brightly in the homes and in the hearts of people. After soothing their body and minds, he used to start giving spiritual instruction to put them on Godward path, to help them evolve spiritually, so that they would be relieved forever from the afflictions of birth and death. In the previous chapter, Guru Nath narrated to the Brahmin couple the Acharavidhis for the Brahmins. In this chapter, he described to them Deva Puja Vidhi (about the daily worship) and it's Mahima.

For Deva Puja, the shrine room should be kept clean, Rangoli should be done and the place should be decorated with flowers. The atmosphere should be filled with the fragrance of incense sticks, sandalwood or other perfume materials. The place should be specially congenial and soothing to the minds. It should make an instant appeal to the minds and bring it into devout and worshipful mood. The atmosphere should be such that the senses get sublimated, mind gets collected and calmed and the spirit gets uplifted and elevated.

Seated on a clean, comfortable seat, one should take to the Puja (worship). The worship has to be done three times a day - morning, afternoon and evening. If the full and elaborate worship is not possible for want of time or any other reasons, one should at least do the Shodasopachara Puja (worship constituting the sixteen types of services) in the morning, Panchopachara Puja (worship constituting of five types of services) in the forenoon, and offering of the camphor light (Niranjan) in the evening, and perform the worship this way. Having been born as a Brahmin if he does not do the worship daily, he will be subject to hell life after death.

There are six types of Puja. These are:-

i) Udaka Narayana Puja, i.e, worshipping of God in Water.
ii) Agni Puja, i.e., worshipping God in Fire.
iii) Aditya Puja, .i.e, worshipping God in the Sun.
iv) Manasika Puja, i.e, worshipping God in the Shrine of one's heart. (offering of worship mentally)
v) Pratima Puja, i.e., worshipping God in the Icons (idols)
vi) Yadnya Puja, i.e, worshipping God through performance of Yadnya.

The Manasika Puja is the highest form of worship. Idol worship is a relatively lower type or form of worship compared to Manasika Puja, but it also has its place in the spiritual journey. Worship of cow and a Brahmin, visualising them as God, is also an accepted form of Puja. Worship of Guru pleases all the Trimurtis.

In the Kali age, as men are not capable of cultivating and cherishing such exalted form of adoration towards the Guru and of identifying the Guru with God, God has assumed the forms of Saligrama stones and of Linga form stones, which are found on the banks and the river beds of the Narmada and the Gangaki rivers. Worship of the Saligrama of the Linga, absolves man from all his sins.

With Guru's Upadesha, and worshipping the idol as per his instructions, God will respond fully in stone and wood idols even and will fulfill all the desires of the worshipper.

Regarding the worship to the idol, firstly one should seat himself before the shrine, should do Sankalpa and then Pranayama (regulation of breath). Pranayama helps to quieten the mind and centralises the consciousness for concentration. Water has to be sprinkled over the materials for worship. The idol has to be then installed in the Simhasan (throne or seat for the Lord). On the left side of the idol should be placed the bell. The flowers and other materials of worship of the previous day are to be removed. The lamp has to be lighted. Then worship has to be first offered to Lord Ganapati.

Then the Guru has to be remembered. The worship to the shrine has to be done. The tutelary deity has to be visualised in the shrine of one's own heart, and the same visualised form has to be then invoked and enshrined in or to be identified with the idol placed for worship. This is Prana-Pratishtha, imparting living reality to (or instilling life into) the idol. One should visualize that God himself has come and is standing in front of him. Bhavana, with true faith, is the very essence of the idol worship. Then to the visualised form of God, identified with the idol, Padya, Arghya, Aachamana, Madhuparka, Snana - all these Upacharas (services) are to be done. Then chanting the prescribed Mantras, Abhishekas has to performed with milk Panchagavya, etc.

The idol has to be dried with a clean cloth and placed back on the Shrine. Then Vastra (cloth/clothes), Gandha (sandal-paste), Yajnopavita (sacred thread), are to be offered and thereafter Puja has to be done with flowers, with materials and articles of fragrance, and with Akshatas (rice mixed with Turmeric paste), etc. While white flowers are ideal for worship, coloured flowers are not so sacred for worship. Lotuses, Jasmines and some other such flowers are good; Ganapati is not to be worshipped with Tulsi, and Devi is not to be worshiped with Garika. Maredu (Bilwa) is dear Shiva and Tulsi for Vishnu. After the offerings of flowers, Dhoopa has to be offered. During the Puja, appropriate Mantras and prayers are to be recited with full devotion.

After the Puja, Naivedya (food) will have to be offered to the Lord. Visualising God to have eaten the food offering, His hands are to be cleaned with water. Then Tambula (Betel leaves) have to be offered.

The Puja will have to be conducted with Arti and offering Mantra Pushpa at His feet and doing the Pradakshana and finally doing the Sashtang Namaskar.

Namaskara Vidhi is also explained in detail, how to offer Namaskars to the idol, to the Guru, to the elders, to parents, etc.

The Puja Teertha has to be sprinkled on one's forehead, to be smeared on the eyes and should be sipped by the mouth. The Puja-Teertha is most purifying; it purifies the body, mind and the spirit.

After the Deva Puja and before taking food, we have to offer oblations, the Pancha Yagnas, viz., Deva Yagnya, Rishi Yagnya, Pitru Yagnya, Bhuta Yagnya, and Athiti Yagnya. These Yagnya's absolve man of the Pancha-suna suns which everyone invariably commits while doing the daily chores. The Pancha Yagnya's are done through Vysvadevatri from the food cooked, a little portion will have o be first offered to the Gods, Pitrus, ancestors, Bhutas, Rishis and Athitis, and then only one will have to take his food, considering it as Yagnya-Sesha ( the remnant portions of Yagna).

If a guest happens to arrive, he should be welcomed and fed. Athiti is to be deemed as God himself come in human form. After the guest is fed only the Grihastha (the house holder) has to take his food. When an Athiti or Brahmachari comes for Bhiksha, he should be offered Bhiksa, instantly even if Vaisvadeva and Naivedya have not been performed yet. If Athiti is pleased, all Gods, all Pitrudevatas will be pleased. One morsel of food given to them brings mountain sized merit and one tumbler of water offered to them brings an ocean-size merit. One who does not offer food to Athiti and eats by himself, will be born as a dog or donkey in his next life.

Strict silence is enjoyed while taking food. Actually before taking food, there are other oblations to be done and observed. A circle with four cones (mandala) should be drawn with flour and plate of food should be kept on the mandala. A little food has to be kept aside on the right side on the floor as 'Bali', in the name of Chitragupta, and thereafter only we should et the food. One should visualise that God only, seated inside him, is eating the food and that the food is also Brahman himself (Brahmarpanam, Brahma Havir, Brahmagnav, brahmanahutam, Brahmaivathena gantavyam, Brahma Karma Samdhina).

"Pranabhuti" and "Ausposana" Mantras are to be recited at the beginning and after the completion of taking the food. At night when taking food,there should be lighted lamp and one should not eat the food in the dark.

Moderation in food is also enjoyed. Moderation is very much necessary in food. How many mouthfuls one should take as per day of the fortnight, i.e, Chandrayan Vrat is described.

The types of utensils and plates to be used for taking food, the metals out of which thy are made, their shapes - these are also described in some detail.

There are also rules prescribed about drinking water, washing hands, washing eyes, etc.

The auspicious sounds with which one should hear, the sounds which are inauspicious, whose faces are auspicious to see and whose faces are not - these are also described.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati teaches also about the typesof food to be taking and those which are prohibited for a Brahmin. Food without a daily oblation, food made with too much salt, garlic, etc, are prohibitive. On particular days, some types of food and certain types of vegetables and fruits are to be avoided, like Padwal on Padyami day, belphal on Friday, Shaniphal on Tuesday, etc. A Brahmin should never take nishiddha food or food touched by a cat, rat, crow, dog, etc. He should not eat food that is stale, i.e, leftovers from previous. These impair, the Satwic states and promote rajasic and tamasic tendencies in him. A Brahmin should nurture and guard his Satwic gunas which are necessary and essential for his functioning as the community and the society as a whole.

In the evening the Brahmin should perform Shyam Sandhya, i.e., chanting Gayatri Mantra with three oblations of water and uttering Gotra, Pravara and with Auposan. Thereafter only he should take his night meals. before retiring to bed, one should read some sacred books, and then after offering his whole day's work as worship done to the lord, he should go to sleep.

Sayana Vidhan (sleeping) is also described, i.e., regulations, relating to the cot used for sleeping by a Brahmin, etc. The cot should be clean. It should not have been made of jambul wood or tusks of a dead elephant. Days for weaving cots are also specified - they are either Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. When weaving, certain Deities are to be remembered. One should sleep with head towards east or south.

The places prohibited for sleep for a Brahmin are also mentioned. Old temples, cremation grounds, at the foot of a tree, near anthill, near tanks, on foodgrains and dilapidated house are prohibited places for sleeping. A Brahmin should not go to bed with wet clothes. He should not go to sleep without a garment. He should not sleep under the bare sky.

A Brahmin should not indulge with his wife when she is in her monthly period or when she is wearing blue coloured saree. There are injunctions on the wife as to how to conduct herself during her monthly periods and the things and disciplines she should observe. All these are necessary for bodily health as well as for moral and spiritual health, not only for the couple but also for the well being and welfare of the progeny. All these have been codified by Prasara Rishi in Parasara Smriti.

With this ends the Karma Kanda section of Sri Guru Charitra.

Thus ends the Thirty Seventh chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Varnashrama Achar Vidhi".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!
Namaskara Priyaha Suryaha
Alankara Pryaha Vishnuhu
Abhisheka Priyaha Sivaha

"One meal a day makes a Yogi, Two meals a day makes a Bogi and three meals a day makes a Rogi (a patient)" It is said. Further it is said that the purity of one's mind depends on the purity of food he takes, not only through the mouth, but also through his five senses, namely eyes, ears, nose, limbs and the tongue.

Chapter No 38
Feeding of Thousands of people, with but a small measureful of rice.

From this chapter begins the Bhakti Kanda section of Sri Guru Charitra.

The influx of devotees to Gangapur for Guru Nath's Darshan was increasing day by day. They used to offer Bhiksha to Guru Nath and they also used to do Samaradhana, i.e., feeding a large number of people of the town on that occasion. Not a single day passed without a Samaradhana in the town of Gangapur.

One day a poor Brahmin by name of Bhaskaryya came to Gangapur for Sri Narasimha Saraswati's Darshan and also with the intention of offering him Bhiksha. But, as he could not afford much, the provisions he brought along with him for the purpose of the Bhiksha were scant and would hardly suffice two or three persons. He had Guru Nath's Darshan and requested him that, although he was poor, Guru Nath should, on any day, accept Bhiksha from him also. To this, Guru Nath gave no reply but kept silent. But Bhaskaravya was hopeful he would get the opportunity and Guru Nath would certainly accept his Bhiksha one day.

Thus Bhaskaravya had to remain at Gangapur hoping that Guru Nath would accept his Bhiksha some day. He used to stay in the Math itself and for his food, he used to go to the Samaradhana everyday. The other Brahmins started criticising and ridiculing him that it was not proper for a Brahmin to be taking his daily food at the Samaradhanas only. But the Brahmin had no other means, and he carried on like this for three months, waiting for Sri Narasimha Saraswati to talk to him and accept his Bhiksha.

Then one day, in the morning Guru Nath did send for Bhaskaravya and told him that he should prepare for the Bhiksha that day. The Brahmin felt very happy. With the meager provisions which he had brought along with him, he started cooking food for the Bhiksha, which should suffice Guru Nath and himself. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told all the Brahmins who came for his morning Darshan not to leave the place nor go back to their homes without partaking of the food at the Bhiksha and Samaradhana which Bhaskaravya was going to do at the Math on that day. All the Brahmins thought that Guru Nath must have provided for the Math all the provisions needed by the Brahmin for the Samaradhana. Sri Narasimha Saraswati then told the Brahmin to bring the food he had cooked and to place it before him. The Brahmin, with great trepidation and embarrassment, brought the scanty food he had cooked and placed it in before Sri Guru Nath. Guru Nath covered the vessel containing the food with his shawl. The Brahmin then offered his worship to Guru Nath. After worship was over, Guru Nath asked the brahmin to start serving food to al the assembled Brahmins, but keeping the vessel containing the food, covered with the shawl. The Brahmin started serving and the food became "Akshaya", i.e.,in exhaustible and undiminishing. Besides the Brahmins, people of all the castes, their families and their children were also served the food and Guru Nath said that the Brahmin should now take his food. The Brahmin was asked to remove the shawl that was covering the food all along. The shawl was removed Lo! whatever food Bhaskaravya had cooked and what was in the vessel originally, remained. Bhaskaravya thanked Guru Nath who asked Bhaskaravya to feed dogs, crows etc., for Bhuta-Trupti and also offer it to the aquatic creatures (fishes, etc) in the river waters. The little residual food still continued to remain undiminished.

Ah, the small measureful of rice which the Brahmin had cooked could feed thousands of men and several other creatures too. Faith and Grace can work wonders indeed!

Thus ends the Thirty Eighth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "The poor Brahmins's Samaradhana".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 39
The barren woman past sixty bears children

Siddhamuni continues narrating to Namdharak the Leelas of Guru Nath.

In Gangapur there lived a Brahmin named Samnath Sarma and his wife Gangabai. They had no children and very therefore very unhappy. The woman reached the age of sixty years and they felt a sense of desolation and frustration in life.

Gangabai used to visit the Math daily and have the Darshan of Guru Nath. She used to wave lights before him and offer Karpura Aarti (camphor flame) along with prayers. She kept up this practice for years.

One day Sri Narasimha Saraswati asked Gangabai why she always looked so sad. She told him she was sad because she had no chil all other women looked at her with contempt. Being childless, she lost her status as a Grihini. A house without a child is like a dungeon or a barren desert. There would be no joy in that house. Besides, all the scriptures also proclaim that the doors of heaven are for ever barred to childless couples and therefore life beyond also would be as gloomy and joyless to them as life in this world, and may perhaps be even far more worse. She had seen how happy, contended and joyous, the women who had children were. She undertook many fasts, many vigils and vratas and also made many pilgrimages, hoping that she would be able to earn the merit to be blessed with a child. But all her prayers and vigils were futile. And now that she had crossed her sixties, there was no hope at all of her having a child. That was why she was seized with despair and gloom. Sri Narasimha Saraswati, looking at her with deep compassion, said she was not to loose hope at all. He told her to visit the Sangam daily and offer he r worship with single-minded devotion to the Aswatha Tree there. He assured her that the Aswatha Tree would certainly fulfill her desire.

The woman prayed to Sri Narasimha Saraswati to enlighten her on the Aswatha Mahima. Guru Nath said that he would narrate to her what Brahmadeva told Narada Rishi about the Aswatha Mahima. At the foot of the Aswatha Tree live all Deities including Brahmadeva. It is indeed KalpaVriksha. When the Rishis requested Narada to teach them the Achara Vidhi (the method and mode of worship), i.e., regarding the worship of the Aswatha Tree, Naradmuni taught them as follows:

The worship of the Aswatha Tree should be started on an auspicious day. The days on which there is no backing of moon (i.e., Chandra Bala), the days on which Shukra is not on ascent, especially during the months of Ashad, Paush (Pushya) and Chaitra, are not auspicious days for beginning the Aswatha worship. The worship is to begin in the morning. The worshipper should take bath first, then place two Kalasas (vessels) filled with water near the tree. Worship is to be offered to the two Kalasas while reciting Purusha Sukta. This is to be done seven times and then they should take a bath again.

After this Lord Vishnu (as Datta), holding the divine weapons in his six hands, has to be remembered and homage paid to him. Then a cloth or thread is to be wrapped around the tree, while again reciting the Purusha Sukta. This Pradakshina is equivalent to Pradakshina around the supreme Purusha, Lord Vishnu, the Virat Purusha Himself. It would sanctify the worshipper completely, expiating all his/her sins and conferring immense spiritual benefits, besides material prosperity.

Brahmadeva explained the Aswatha Mahima thus to Narada Rishi, who in turn related the same to the Rishis. Sri Narasimha Saraswati now related the same to Gangabai.

Thereafter, everyday Gangabai used to go to the Sangam, take bath in the holy waters of the confluence there, and then offer her worship to the Aswatha Tree. On the third night in her dream, a Brahmin appeared and told her to go to the Math and do seven Pradakshinas around Guru Nath himself and to eat whatever prasad Guru Nath would give her. Next day she did accordingly. Guru Nath gave her two fruits as prasad and told her that a son and daughter would be born to her before long. Two beautiful children , a boy and a girl, were born to her as per Guru Nath's blessings. And the Brahmin couple were immensely happy.

Thus ends the Thirty Ninth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 40
Deadwood puts forth thig's and grows into tree

Siddhamuni continued his narrative of Guru Charitra to Namdharak. Guru Nath was the reliever of all ills. He was Bhagwan Dhanvantari come on earth.

There lived a Brahmin named Narahari Sarma who was suffering from leprosy. He came to Sri Narasimha Saraswati to pray to him to be relieved of the dreadful disease. He related to him how the disease had made him a virtual outcaste and what misery it had brought on him. He said he was disgusted with life and had decided to end his life. But hoping that Guru Nath might save him, he had come over there.

Guru Nath was like a mother unto all. The Brahmin's plight moved him with pity. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told the Brahmin that he had committed many sins in his former lives, and the leprosy in this life was the result of all those sins. However, he said, he would be relieved of the disease and he should do what he (Guru Nath) would be telling him.

At this juncture, a man came over there carrying Audumber branch wood, which was almost dead and dry. It was wood cut about five years ago. Guru Nath took that wood from the man and gave it to the Brahmin. He told the Brahmin to go to the Bhima-Amaraja confluence and plant it on the bank there. He should then take a bath and offer worship to it. He should have a second dip in the water, fill his tumbler with water, and water the planted Audumber wood. He should water it thrice everyday. The wood would sprout and put forth fresh leaves in course of time. No sooner than the wood would put forth leaves, he would be rid of his disease and would become completely well. This Guru Nath told the Brahmin.

The Brahmin started on as per the above instructions with implicit devotion and faith in Guru Nath's words. Some of the people told Guru Nath about the great faith with which the Brahmin had been watering the deadwood. It was over a month since the Brahmin had planted the wood and had started watering everyday. They said that all the people were taking the Brahmin to be mad and foolish to be watering dead wood believing it would grow and put forth leaves, and that the Brahmin had become a butt of ridicule in the town.

Listening to the above, Guru Nath told them that there was nothing that faith could not achieve. He narrated the story of the forest man (Sabari) to illustrate the power of faith.

Once upon a time there was a king named Simhaketu, who was the ruler of Pamchal Nagar. He had a son named Dhananjaya. Once the prince went to the forest for a hunt. He had one of the forest men (Sabari), as his guard during the hunt. The prince was very tired and stopped for a rest at a place. Meanwhile, the forest man, wandering around sighted an attractive shaped 'stone'. He picked it up and brought it and showed it to the Prince. The prince told him that it was a 'Shivalinga' and explained to him about Shivalinga Mahima. He advised the Sabari that since he (the Sabari) had found it, he should take it home and start worshiping it. He also told him how to do the worship. Bilwa leaves are dear to Lord Shiva, he should therefore worship it wih Bilwa leaves and flowers. Frankinsence is to be burnt, oil lamp lighted and chita-bhasma (ashes) offered to the Shivalinga, as chita-bhasma is most dear to the Lord. The Sabari took the Prince's instructions as Gurupadesa and started following it with intense faith. The forest man and his wife started worshiping it daily with greatest devotion.

One day for their worship they could not find chit-bhasma for the offering, although he tried for it at many places. He told his wife that as they could not let the Shivalinga go without chita-bhasma he would burn his body and she should make the offering of that chit-bhasma to the Lord and complete worship. The wife said that she would burn herself, as for a widowed woman life was very difficult and was beset with many risks and dangers. The husband said that she was too young, and hardly seen life, and as such she should not end her life, when he was there. But she said that life was anyway like a bubble and age should be of no consideration really. If the chita-bhasma of her body could serve as an offering to the Lord, what greater opportunity could ever be for this human birth, she said. Seeing her determination not to let him burn himself and further, as the time for the worship was passing away, he had to consent and let her burn herself. She went into the hut, and he set fire to it from outside. He took the chit-bhasma in his hands and was preparing to do the offering. As per his habit, obsessed with the worship, he called out to his wife by name, asking her to join him in making the chit-bhasma offering. Shiva was very moved with the devotion, the spirit of sacrifice and their matchless faith in Him. He gave back to woman her life, and in answer to the call of her husband who had called her forgetfully and through force of habit, she rushed out to join him in the offering. The only thing she remembered was that when the hut was set on fire, she felt overwhelmed by sleep and was not aware of anything. She heard the call of her husband, which was to say. 'woke her up from her sleep', and she rushed to him.

Lord Shiva appeared before them and blessed them. This story, illustration of the immense power of faith, was narrated to Suta Muni to the Rishis, said Sri Narasimha Saraswati. He said that he very much appreciated the Brahmin's faith in his (Guru Nath's) words and the implicit manner in which he was following them.

Thereafter, Sri Narasimha Saraswati set out towards the Sangam for his daily routine and rituals. On the way the Brahmin saw him and offered his obeisance to him. Guru Nath sprinkled water from his Kamandalu on the Audumber wood which the Brahmin was watering daily. No sooner did Guru Nath do this, than the wood sprouted up and put forth new leaves; the dead wood changed into a live, healthy growing tree. And the Brahmin's body too became clean, rid of the disease and shining bright. The Brahmin fell at the feet of Guru Nath, pouring out his gratitude and singing praises of him as under:

"Oh Lord! my beloved Guru Nath! How much you love your devotees. Seated under the Aswatha Tree, you are only waiting to welcome your Bhaktas, and to shower your blessings on them. You so readily grant them all the luster outshine the light of crores of moons. Thou, the son of Atri and Anasuya and who named you as Datta, how beautiful you are! How charming you look with the garlands hanging down your body! Just as Ankush alone can control and tame the wild elephants, so also devotion to your feet and your grace alone can control the wayward minds of men being chased wildly by the Shadripus, the six inner enemies.

I bow down to You, my beloved Guru Nath! Oh the Master of the Five Elements! Oh Shree Vallabesh Nayak! Oh ! the Lotus eyed! Thy Lotus feet are my sole refuge. Pray, never forsake me...

The Brahmin offered elaborate worship to Guru Nath. He performed Samaradhana. Sri Guru Nath was very much pleased with the Brahmin's intense devotion. He newly named him as Yogesh, He gave him Vidya Saraswati Mantra. He asked the Brahmin to go to his house and to bring his wife and children to live at Gangapur. The Brahmin did accordingly and he used to constantly stay with Guru Nath, serving Him most devotedly.

Thus ends the Fortieth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent, and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 41
The unflinching devotion of Sayamdeo to Gurunath

Namdharak said to Siddhamuni that listening to Guru Charitra was like drinking nectar. He said that his mind was getting rid of all doubts and dross was being filled with new light. he said that he felt so blessed indeed... He told Siddha Yogi that he felt very interested to learn details of his ancestor Sayamdeo who was a devotee and close disciple of Guru Nath and who also used to earlier live at Vasar-Brahmeshwar but later at Gangapur itself. Sayamdeo used to be very dear to Guru Nath, and he also was happy that he was born in the line of such blessed devotee of the Lord. then Siddhamuni narrated as under:

Sayamdeo came to know that Guru Nath was now residing at Gangapur. It was Guru Nath that had saved him from the claws of death, from being killed by the muslim chief 16years ago. he was eager that he should have Guru Nath's Darshan again and spend the rest of his life in the service at his feet. He trekked to Gangapur. he fell prostrate at Guru Nath's feet and prayed that he should not forsake him. He poured out his prayers to Guru Nath. He said. "Thy Lotus feet is the confluence of the holy waters of all the sacred rivers; all the holy places merge and rest at Thy Holy Feet. All the nectar of the Heavens is in Thy Kamandalu only. Your Charan-teerth drives away death, and just a little sprinkling of it is enough to resurrect the dead. It is too presumptuous on my part to try to put into articulation the inexpressible and infinite glory of Thine, my Lord!...." Tears of joy, welling out from the depths of his heart were trickling down from his eyes drenching the feet of Guru Nath.

Guru Nath was pleased, and clasping Sayamdeo closely told him that his grace would be ever on him and his family. He asked him to go to the Sangam and bathe there, which would wash away all his past sins. He asked him to come back to the math after the bath for food.

After Sayamdeo has his food, Guru Nath enquired of him with great solicitude all the details of his family and their welfare. Sayamdeo told him that he would now come away permanently to live at Gangapur for serving the master. Sri Guru Nath said that it was not easy for anyone to do service to him properly and satisfactorily. It would be too arduous for anyone. But Sayamdeo stayed on there, trying to serve the Master. Guru Nath wanted to test him.

One day Guru Nath took Sayamdeo along with him to the Sangam. Guru Nath sat down under the Aswatha Tree and went on conversing with him till late after dark. Then suddenly stormy winds started blowing, accompanied by thunder and lightening, there was a very heavy downpour of rain. Sayamdeo was shivering, unable to bear the cold. Nevertheless, he was trying to put up a bold face. Sri Guru Nath told him that he himself was also feeling very cold too much and therefore, he (Sayamdeo) should go to Gangapur and bring some fire from there. He told him that he should not look sideways at all, either while going or returning. Sayamdeo put his own shawl over Guru Nath's shoulders to cover him and to keep his body warm, and then left in the direction of Gangapur.

It was pitch dark and nothing was visible, except when there were flashes of lightening. With great struggle Sayamdeo was able to reach Gangapur, He put some fire (burning coals) in a pot and started on his way and forgetting Guru Nath's instructions, he looked sideways. Oh! there were two huge five headed serpents, one each on either side, following him. He got very much frightened and almost lost his way. Struggling much and praying to Guru Nath, he at last managed to reach the Sangam.

Lo! What does he find there? There are thousands of lights shining brightly all around. There is the Omkara Nada resounding and the chant of Vedic Mantras reverberating everywhere. Guru Nath is seated under the Aswatha Tree, shining with the splendour of thousands of moons and looking like Lord Shiva himself. It was a vision divine! Sayamdeo, dazed by the vision, fell prostrate at Guru Nath's feet.

Guru Nath then ended the vision and lifted Sayamdeo, smiled at him and comforted him. He told him that he was very much pleased with his devotion, and added that it was he (Guru Nath) himself who sent the two serpents along with him for his protection. He further said, that he should never forget that Guru-Bhakti is the supreme protection in one's life and it's power is incomparable.

Sayamdeo requested Guru Nath to tell him about Guru-Bhakti Mahima. Guru Nath said that he would narrate what Lord Shiva told Parvati about Guru-Bhakti Mahima. In the line of Brahma, there was one boy named Twasta. When the boy attained Upanayana age, the Upanayana ceremony was performed by the father and the boy was sent to the Gurukul. The boy was serving the guru very dutifully.

One day there was a big storm, and the Guru's cottage collapsed and it's roof was blown off. The Guru called Twasta and told him. "you must build me a good, strong house; it should look beautiful and should have all comforts." The Guru's wife then came and told Twasta "You should get me a good dress. It should not be woven of thread. It should look very beautiful and fit me well." Then the Guru's son came and told Twasta, "You should get me a pair of shoes, just of the correct size for me. The shoes should be such that mud will never stick to them and they will never get soiled, and further I should be able to walk with them even on water and they should be able to take me instantly to wherever I just think of going. "Then the Guru's daughter came and said, "You souls get me ornaments for my ears, and an Ivory Toy house made from the single tusk of an elephant. You should also get me utensils for cooking. They should be such that they will not turn black with soot when food is cooked in them".

Twasta was at a loss to know how he would be able to procure all these and fulfill the demands, but he felt confident and certain, that his Guru's grace alone will help him to fulfill all the demands of the Guru and his family.

Twasta praying to his Guru only, started walking towards the nearby forest. He sat down there praying to his Guru , that he should help him to fulfill all the demands and to get through the ordeal.

As he was praying thus all of a sudden an Avadhoot appeared before him. The boy was overjoyed at seeing him. The Avadhut enquired of him as to what was worrying him. The boy told him the impossible tasks set to him by his Guru and his (Guru's) family members and that he was at a loss to know how he would be able to discharge them all satisfactorily.

The Avadhoot then said, "Dear child, do not despair about this. You will surely succeed. There is nothing impossible for those who win the lord Visweswara's Grace. It is through Visweswara's Grace only that Brahma could earn the capacity to create the worlds; it is through Visweswar's Grace that Vishnu could gain the capacity to sustain the creation and to grant the prayers of his devotees. Therefore, for success in fulfilling the demands of your Guru, you go to Kashi, serve Lord Visveswara there and earn his grace. He will certainly bless you. He will make you even Viswakarma and will enable you to earn an eternal name and fame".

The Avadhuta continued, "Therefore I advice you to visit Kashi. You should undertake there the Pancha-Krosa Yatra, in and around Kashi, visiting all holy shrines and the teerta therein. The Pancha-Krosa Yatra will for one as much as merit as one gets through the performance of an Aswamedha yaga. Even the thousand tongued Adisesha cannot describe adequately the merit that accrues by pilgrimage to kashi", thus the Avadhuta told Twasta.

Twasta said "Oh Mahatma! where is Kashi? How far is it? I am a lad, how can I reach it? " Then the Avadhuta said "I will also come along with You to Kashi. Thereby I too will get the merit of Lord Visweswara's Darshan." Saying thus, the Avadhuta took the boy to Kashi in a trice, through the power of his Siddhis. (mystic power)

 Twasta was overjoyed. He said, Oh! Mahatma! You are indeed Lord Visweswara Himself come to save me. Please let me know in detail, what places are to be visited, what rites are to done, and explain to me the whole Kashi Yatra Vidhana fully".

The above, Siddhamuni narrated to Namdharak, as had been told by Guru Nath to Sayamdeo.

Thus ends the Forty first chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Kashi Khand Yatra".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 42
Lord Vishwanath's grace on Twasta

Siddhamuni continues the narrative as under.

The Avdhuta instructs the young celibate about the Kashi Yatra Vidhi - i) The Griha Yatra, ii) Dakshina Manasa Yatra, iii) Uttara Manasa and finally the Pancha-Krosa Yatra.

Early in the morning, after taking the bath in the Ganges, one should first offer worship Dhundi Raja and then offer his worship to Lord Vishweswara. Ganga Snana confers the same merit which 'Dhyana' (meditation) did in the Krita Yuga, Tapas or penance in the Treta Yuga, yagnyas and yagas in Dwapara Yuga. In the Kali Yuga, Ganga Snana is the most meritorious rite and endows one with the Moksha Saamrajya (sovereignty / freedom of the spirit). As soon as one rises from bed, if he just thinks of Ganges three times, he will be purified of all sins. There is no easier saving path in the Kali agethan bath in the Holy Ganges.

Kashi is called as Avimukta Kshetra, Ananda Kaanana, Mahasmasana, Rudrageha etc., every bit, every inch of it most holy for 5 Krosas around Kashi. Within the sacred precincts of this 5-Krosa area, abide many sacred Lingas, Teerthas etc. Therefore whoever does this Pancha Krosa Yatra, will have had Darshan and will have done Pradakshinas of so many holy Lingas and sacred centres, and the merit which endows is limitless indeed.

Lord Vishweswara has conferred special merit on Manikarnika. It is as meritorious and sacred as the Vishwanatha Temple itself. One has to take bath in the Chakra Pushkarini, then perform oblations to Devas and Pitrus and offer charity /charities to Brahmins. Thereby, all his ancestors are redeemed and they attain Akshaya Punya Lokas (Eternal Life in Heavens / Divine Realms).

Everyday one has to do the Antargriha Yatra, and then the Dakshina and Uttara Manasa Yatras. One has to bathe in Jnanavapi and worship Sringara Gowri. On Tuesdays and Sundays especially, Bhairava has to be worshipped, which will endow great merit. On Ashtami, Navami and Purnima days, Mother Annapurna has to be worshipped. It will endow all good and auspiciousness. Vishnumurti, Dhundi Raju,Bindu Madhava are also to be worshiped. During the Sukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha, everyday, in the prescribed way, all will have to bathe in the particular Teertha and worship the particular Lingas, doing the Abhisheka. One should stay as many days as possible in Kashi, and in his own name enshrine one Shiva Linga there. By doing this, and offering worship and Abhisheka to Lord Vishweshwara, one should get 'Sakshatkara' the direct vision of Lord..."

Thus the Avadhuta instructed the young lad, and disappeared.

Twasta realised that it was none else but the Guru of Gurus, the Adi Guru, Lord Vishweshwara Himself that had come in the form of the Avadhuta to help him.

Twasta devoutly followed all the instructions of the Avadhuta and took Darshan of all the shrines and performing all the Vidhis (religious ceremonies) Lord Vishweswara was very much pleased with the devotion of the boy, appeared before him and asked him to seek a boon. The Brahmachari prayed, that he blessed with the tasks set by his Guru and the Guru's family members and that thereby, he would be able to please them all. The Lord blessed him and granted him all the boons and asked him to return to his Guru's place. Twasta was able to fulfill all the tasks set for him, with Lord Vishweswara's grace and blessings. The Guru, his wife and children were pleased beyond all measure with the boy. The Guru imparted to Twasta all scriptural knowledge and spiritual wisdom. And Twasta became perfect in knowledge and an enlightened being. He became Vishwakarma, Master of all the arts and skills, and came to be know as Twasta Brahma. The GuruBhakti Mahima was thus related by Lord Shiva to Parvati, said Sri Narasimha Saraswati to Sayamdeo.

Sayamdeo thanked Guru Nath for enlightening him on GuruBhakti Mahima and started extolling him again "Oh Guru Nath! you are Lord Dattatreya, the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara unified in one. You were the originator of the Vedas. Whenever Dharma starts declining, you incarnate in the world to destroy the wicked and to protect the good, and to resusciate dharma and to re-establish it again on earth. You were the ordainer of the Varnasrama Dharma for the upkeep of the giver of all auspiciousness and you are an ocean of mercy. You are always seated under the Aumdumber Tree, ever ready to receive your devotees and to offer them your divine and loving protection at all times. You are Bhaktavatsala. Lord! you are the Tree, I am the creeper nestling around you; you are the Kalpavrisha come on earth. Your mere Darshan is enough to destroy the accumulated store of sins of all our former lives; you are fulfiller of the four Purusharthas of life. Please permit me to stay at your Lotus feet, and bless me that I shall never be seperated from You".

Sri Narasimha Saraswati said that he (Sayamdeo) could bring his family and stay at Gangapur.

Sayamdeo had four sons, the eldest was Nagnath who became the most ardent devotee of Gurunath. He became very dear to Guru Nath and he was loved by him very much.

One day Guru Nath asked Sayamdeo to perform Ananta Padmanabha Vrata as it happened to be Anant Padmanabha Chaturdashi Day. Sayamdeo said the Guru Nath himself was his Lord Ananta and he would worship Guru Nath only. Guru Nath said that Ananta Padmanabha Vrata had very great significance and that by performing it, Kaundinya earned great merit and attained an eternal abode in the Starry Heavens. Sayamdeo requested Guru Nath to tell him how Kaundinya happened to perform the Vrata.

Thus ends the Forty second chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the "Kashi Yatra".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 43
Ananta Padmanabha Vrata Mahima

Namdharak was highly excited with joy and enthusiam listening to the close assosiation of his anscestor Sayamdeo with Guru Nath. He was all eager to know more and more details of their association. He pressed Siddhamuni to continue the narration. Sri Narasimha Saraswati's narration to Sayamdeo regarding Ananta Padmanabha Vrata was recounted in this chapter by Siddhamuni.

Yudhishtara was one of these who performed this Vrata as advised by Lord Krishna. This is how it happened. The evil Duryodhana induced Yudhistara to play the game of dice, and in that through deceit and foul play defeated Yudhishtara. The bet in the game was that whoever lost the game was to go into exile for 12 years, and in the thirteenth year, they should live inncognito. In case they were detected in the thirteenth year where they were staying, the cycle of exile would start all over again. Because of the defeat in the game, the Pandava Princes had to forsake their throne and had to go in exile along with their queen Draupadi. They were put to many hardhips. The evil Duryadhana was not letting them live in peace even in the forest. Yudhistara's adherence to Dharma and his pledge to honour the commitments of the bet made him bear it all, although it befell on them only through the foul play of Duryadhana. Although he and his brothers could crush Duryadhana and his people in physical combat, they were restraining themselves so as not tobring a blemish on their vow of Dhanrma and adherence to truth.

While the Pandavas were in great despair as to how they could get over the difficulties without violating in the least even a single rule of Dharma and vow of truth on their part, they saw to their great delight and joy Lord Krishna coming to see them. The Pandavas ran forward and fell at the Lord's Feet. They worshipped him with great devotion. Yudhistir then told the Lord that the thought og Lord Krishna and constant remebrance of Him alone was their sustainance and sole strength in being able to withstand all the ordeals that they were passing through. He, however, prayed that the Lord should advise them as to how they would be able to pass through the exile safely and would be able to recover their kingdom which they had been deceitfully deprived of by their cousins.

Lord Krishna told them that they should do Ananta Padmanabha Vrata which could earn for them great merit and would be a great protection to them always, and that it would certainly help them to pass through all the ordeals unscathed and also eventually to triumph over the Kauravas and to win back their Kingdom. Ananta Padmanabha is the Lotus navelled Lord of Etrernity and was indeed Himself. Thus the Vrata was to be done on Chaturdashi Day of Sukla Paksha during the Bhadrapada month. Krishna further said that this Vrata was done in olden times by Kaundinya at the instance, of his wife and Lord Ananta Himself, and he explained how Kaudinya's performing of Vrata came about.

Sushila was the daughter of a Brahmin name Sumantha. Sushila's mother was Deeksha, daughter of Bhrigu Rishi. Deeksha passed away when Sushila was just a child. Sushila, though a child, used to manage the household ver well, also while attending upon her father. Sumantha married again; the second wife's name was Karkashi. She was a very hot tempered person, and was always quarrelling with her husband. She was not disposed kindly towars Sushila, either. Sumantha offered his daughter in marraige to Kaudinya to which the latter consented. Sushila's marraige was thus performed with Kaudinya. Kaudinya stayed for some days in Sumantha's house after the marraige. One day, Kaudinya sought permission of Sumantha for leaving from there along with hisbride and the couple set on their journey on an auspicious day. All that Sumantha could give his daughter was little quantity of millet-flour packed in a peice of cloth, at the time of her departure, and even that too, much against the will of his wife. By mid-day they reached a river where they broke their journey so that Kaudinya could perform his mid-day oblations. Sushila was very much charmed by the sylvan surrounding and was enchanted by the beauthy of the forest and the river. While she was looking around, drinking in the beauty of mother nature, she was at a little distance from away a group of women engaged some religious ceremony. She went to them and enquired of them as to what was the ceremony they were performing with such great devotion. The women told her that they were doing Ananta Padmanabha Chaturdashi Vrata, which earns great merit for the performer. They said that the fruits of the Vrata were also Ananta (limitless), and that the Vrata fulfills all human desires and ferries the person samfely accross all tribulations of life. They told her that she too could join the Vrata along with them. Sushila also them performed the Vrata, most meticulously and devoutly, observing all instructions laid down for the Vrata as told her by the women. She used millet-flour, given by her father, for the Vrata and offered it away to the Brahmin priests who conducted the puja. After the Puja was over, wearing the red (14 knotted) sacramental thread and taking leava eof women, she came back to join her husband. They then resumed their journey.

They reached a town by name Amravati. At the very outskirts of the town itself, the town's people greeted and welcomed them. In one voice they said "You are a most learned and holy person. You are a great Tapasvi as we can see the yogic splendour and radiance in your face. You must stay in our town only. We would not let you leave from here". They led Kaundinya ahd his wife to a spacious house in the town and made them stay there.

Kaundinya was honoured and respected very much by the town people. He became very prosperous. His house was ever plenty with wealth, paddy, cattle, etc.

One day Kaundinya happened to see the red sacramental thread on the wrist of his wife and asked her what it was. He thought it was a charm she was wearing to entice and enslave him. She told him that it was the sacramental thread of the Ananta Vrata which she had performed and that it was reward of the Ananta Vrata only that they had become so prosperous."It was all due to Lord Ananta's Grace only that we are so prosperous", she said. Kaundinya became furious. "It is all nonsense what you say. All this wealth and prosperity is a result of my greatness alone". Saying thus, he tore the thread from her wrist and flung it into the fire without listening at all the pleadings of his wife. No sooner did he do this, then misfortune befell Kaundinya. All the people turned away from him. He lost his wealth. His house caught fire. He became peniless and shelterless. He realised that all his catastrophic turn of events in his life was due to nothing else but the blasphemy and sin he had commited against Ananta. He was in great remorse. He started crying out to Ananta for forgiving him. He vowed he would not touch food unless Ananta forgave him with Darshan. he set out frantically searching for Ananta everywhere.

Crying "Oh Ananta! Oh Ananta!" he went on roaming from place to place. "I will end my life if you will not give me your Darshan", he was wailing. As he was wandering thus, he came across a tree richly laden with fruits. But there was no bird to be seen on the tree even though the tree was overladen with lucious fruits. Kaundinya plaintively asked the tree whether she had seen Ananta and whether she could tell him where to find Him. The tree answered in the negative. After proceeding further in his search, he came across a cow and a calf; the cow was not able to graze due to it's blistered tongue. Kaundinya asked the cow whether she had seen Ananta and whether she could tell where he could find Him. The cow nodded a negative reply. Kaundinya went searching futher and he came across a bullock. He put to the bullock also the same question which he had asked the tree and the cow earlier. The bullock also nodded a negative reply. Kaundinya then came across two adjoining lakes full of lotus flowers. He put the lakes too his question whether they had seen Ananta, and the reply was again in negative. Thereafter he came across an ass and an elephant. There was no affirmative response from them either. Kaundinya was in great desperation; he was terribly exhausted and fell down. His life breath seemed to be ebbing out. He was still frantically crying in a choking voice and heart bursting with great anguish for Lord Ananta's Darshan. At that critical moment, one old man appeared, the Lord Ananta Himself in an assumed form. The old man asked him what his anguish was all about. Kaundinya cried out his request to him also whether he could take him and get for him Lord Ananta's Darshan. The old man asked Kaundinya to accompany him, giving him a helping hand to walk along. There appeared a gorgeous and splendrous city; as they entered it, they saw a golden throne studded with diamonds and Lord Ananta seated on it. Oh! the vision dazzled him; his heart leapt up in joy inexpressible. He fell prostrate at Lord's feet. He sanf praises in adoration of the Lord. He said, "Oh Ananta! Oh! Lord resting on the serpent couch, my life has found its fulfillment today; forgive all my sins and lapses. You have graced me with your glorious vision; Oh the Creator of this Brahmadeva! oh Ananta! Oh! the Infinite ocen of mercy! Pleace never forsake me!"

Ananta was pleased with Kaundinya's outpourings of adulation.

Kaundinya made bold to tell the Lord that he was intrigued about the tree laden with fruits but without a bird around, about the cow that was unable to graze and also about the other things he has dighted on the way.

The Lord said to Kaundinya thus, "The tree laden with fruits but without a single bird around, was a very learned Brahmin in his previous life, but he always wanted to keep the knowledge to himself and never taught anyone. A lamp should light up other lamps. A person of knowledge will have to impart the knowledge to others, then only the knowledge finds its fulfillment. As this Brahmin was a miser-like with knowledge in his former life, he was in this life born as a Tree. You see the tree burdened with fruits but now a bird coming near it.

"As to the cow, in its former life it was human being. That man gave a piece of land to a Brahmin but that piece of land was barren and uncultivable. That was why in this life, the cow was unable to graze and satiate its hunger, nor that of its calf."

"As to the bull, in its previous birth, it was rich Brahmin. Though rich, he never gave even a pie in charity to the poor and the greedy."

Chapter No 44
The weaver Tantuku's pilgrimage to Srisaila

Siddhamuni told Namdharak that he would narrate to him one ancedote regarding who was a great devotee of Guru Nath. His name was Tantuku. Tantuku used to come Guru Nath daily for Darshan. He used to sweep and clean the precincts of the Math everyday. A little before Shivaratri, people were setting out on a pilgrimage to Sri Sailam for Lord Malikarjna's (Jyotirlinga) Darshan. Tantuku's parents also decided to go and they wanted their son also to accompany them. Tantuku knew that Guru Nath was Lord Mallikarjuna and, therefore, there was no need at all for him or anybody to go all the way to Srisailam for the Lord's Darshan. The parents could not prevail upon him to join the pilgrimage party and the son stayed behind, while all his relations and parents went.

On the Holy Shivaratri Day, as usual, the weaver took his bath in the Sangam and came to the Math for the Darshan of Guru Nath. Guru Nath asked him why he did not go to Srisailam along with His people. The weaver said that his Srisailam was Gangapur only and Guru Nath was his Malikarjuna. Guru Nath was pleased with the weaver's devotion and faith. He asked him to sit near him and to keep his eyes closed. No sooner than Tantuku did this, he found himself at the foot of the Srisailam mountain and with Guru Nath by his side. Guru Nath asked him to go and take his bath in the Holy Patala-Ganga river and thereafter perform the ritualistic Vidhis and visit the temple for JyotirLinga Darshan.

As he walked down the river, he found his parents and relations there. They were surprised to see him; the parents rebuked him saying that he could have as well come along with them instead of deciding to come all alone later. The weaver told them that he did not come by himself there, but it was Guru Nath's will and Grace that brought him there. They did not take his reply seriously. After the bath when he went into the temple, he found Guru Nath only in the place of the Jyotirlinga. Guru Nath was seated in the place of the Linga, and was accepting all offerings made by the devotees and was receiving the unending Abhisheka. The weaver's ecstasy knew no bounds for having had the Darshan of His Guru Nath on the Holy Shivaratri day in the sacred Jyotirlinga-Shrine of Srisailam, which is the Lord's eternal abode.

The weaver then fell at the feet of Guru Nath and pleaded with him to enlighten him on Srisaila-Stana Mahima. Guru Nath told him that in the Skanda Purana the Srisai-Parvatha was described, which he would recount to him.

In the Kirat desha, there lived a king named Vimarsan. He was a valiant person. He made many conquests and was always victorious. But, he was a very sensuous person. He lacked moral rectitude. But even so, he had one saving virtue, that was his devotion to Lord Shiva. Every month on the monthly Shivaratri day (Masa-Shivaratri), he used to do the 'Jagarana ', i.e., keeping awake the whole night worshipping Shiva. On other days, he used to mostly enjoy himself with women, music and dance. His wife Kumudvati was a very pious lady. She was always worried about her husband's licentious nature. She always tried to persuade him that he should change his mode of life. She used to tell him that while he professed his devotion to Shiva, his behavior and conduct were most unbecoming of a devotee. She told him that she was at a loss to understand how with such a sensuous and indulgent nature, he ever came to cherish devotion to Shiva at all. Thereupon the king started narrating the account of his previous life.

In his previous birth, he was a dog wandering in the streets of the city of Pampa. On one Shivaratri day, curious to know what was happening inside the temple where thousands of people were going in, he also went in. He was also hoping that he would be able to get something to eat there and ally his hunger. As soon as he entered the precincts, the people there took hold of a stick to drive him out. The dog started running, but inside the temple compound itself. While being chased, it ran around the main temple of the shrine three times. While running it could glimpse the holy shrine inside where Shivratri Puja was being performed. But it got a good beating. Not being able to get anything to eat, it had to go without food that night. Because of the severe beating it received, and added to it, due to hunger, the dog died. But the merit which it got through the Darshan of the Puja, the Pradakshinas and the fast it underwent, although unknowingly and with the least intention, resulted in its being born as a King in the next life. But he was not able to shed the habits (Samskaras) that characterised his previous life as a dog. If he as a dog had done the prdakshina and a fast with a little understanding at least, he would have been able to shed the 'dog-vasanas', completely and would not have had his wayward and sensuous mind in this life.

The queen asked the king if he could divine what her previous birth was and let her know about it. The king told her that she was a pigeon in her previous birth. One day she saw a large piece of meat lying on the ground. She picked it up in her beak. While she was flying in the sky with it. a kite saw it and started chasing her. The pigeon started flying with all it's strength, and in the process of being chased and in it's flight for escape from the kite, it happened to fly around the Srisaila Parvata three times. In the end, however, the kite caught hold of it and killed it and then ate it up. But because of the three Pradakshina which she happened to do, though unintentionally, the pigeon earned great merit and was born as a queen in this life. The queen was very keen to know if the king could tell her how her future birth would be. The king told her about that also. He said that both of them, after a few more births as king and queen, would be attaining salvation and would be free from the cycle of birth and death forever.

Guru Nath told the weaver about the Shivaratri Mahima thus, at the holy Srisailam itself. Guru Nath asked the weaver to touch His Padukas and then close his eyes. No sooner than the weaver did this, he was back in the Math at Gangapur and seated in the presence of Guru Nath.

Thus ends the Forty Fourth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing "Srisaila Mahima".

Glory to the all merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath.

Chapter No 45
The leprosy of Nandi Sarma cured completely

Namdharak was rapturous listening to Guru Charitra. He said to Siddhamuni "Your narration is regenerating me; all the cobwebs of doubts infesting my mind are being cleared and swept off. New light is filling my mind. I had never in my life experienced such joy and peace. Please tell me more of the Guru Leelas. Siddhamuni started the following narrative.

There was a Brahmin suffering from severe leucoderma and leprosy. He made pilgrimage to Amba Tuljapur. He performed worship and Upasana there with steadyfast devotion for over three years and most of the days observing fasts. But his condition showed no improvement and he did not find any relief from his dread disease. He was feeing very desperate and wanted to end his life. Then one night Amba Devi appeared in his dream and asked him to go to the temple of Chandala Parameshwari and to offer worship to her. He went there and for seven months he was offering his prayers and worship and observing fasts. Goddess Parmeshwari also appeared in his dream like Amba Devi earlier, and She advised him to go to Gangapur and have Darshan of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, which would relieve him from his dreadful disease. The Brahmin got annoyed and said. "If you, the Goddess- Mother of the Universe, cannot cure me, who else will be able to do it?" I am being fooled by You. You have no consideration and compassion...I will not move from here". Like that he was raving in his dream.

The Brahmin brushed aside the dream advice given to him by the Goddess and continued to stay there only doing his Aradhana. The Goddess appeared again in dream again and this time said sternly, that unless he obeyed Her command his disease would get aggravated and he would become only worse and would have to repent greatly.

The Brahmin, in deference to the command of the Goddess, set out for Gangapur. After reaching there, he went to the Math. But Guru Nath was not at the Math at that time; he was at the Sangam. He waited at the Math and when Guru Nath returned to the Math he bowed down at Him and prayed that he should be relieved of his dreadful disease. Guru Nath said "What can I, a mere human, do when Goddess Parameshwari could not herself cure You?" Guru Nath just told him back what exactly the Brahmin expressed in skepticism and anger to Goddess Parameshwari when she first appeared in his dream and advised him to go to Gangapur and seek redress from Sri Narasimha Saraswati.

The Brahmin realised his folly and prayed to Guru Nath that he should be forgiven for his skeptical remarks made in ignorance. He poured out to him his woeful tale, how he was forsaken by his wife and by his parents even, because of his loathsome disease of his. He said that unless Guru Nath showed mercy on him and freed him from the disease, he would end his life.

Sri Guru Nath was moved by the desperation of the Brahmin. He asked a devotee of his to take the Brahmin to the Sangam. He told the Brahmin that he should bathe in Sangam and then worship the Aswatha Tree by taking three Pradakshinas around it. After that, he was to wear the new clothes which would be given to him. The Brahmin took the bath in the Sangam, worshipped the Aswatha Tree and after discarding his old clothes, put in the new ones given to him by Guru Nath. Lo! the disease disappeared mostly, except for a few white patches remaining were due to the skeptical feelings entertained by him originally.

The Brahmin was overcome by a surge of devotion for Guru Nath and sang many hymns in praise of Him. He said, "For him, who has passed through the ordeals of 84 lakhs of births, how at last, having been born as a man and much more than that, as a Brahmin, still he was steeped in ignorance alas! Always plunged neck deep in the waters of Sansara he never had peace. How torturous is birth! What turmoils one has to go through, all because of one's ignorance and lack of correct perspective of life and the ultimate realities. Only refuge at Guru Nath's feet will save us. Worship of His Feet alone will liberate us..." The Brahmin stayed on there composing many hymns on Guru Nath. Guru Nath used to call him "Kaveeswara". Slowly, with continued exposure to Guru Nath's Grace and love, he was totally rid of his disease; the few patches that remained earlier had also slowly disappeared completely. He became famous as Nandeeswara Kavi.

Thus ends the Forty Fifth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra describing the "Dwija Kusht-haranan".

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 46
The poet devotee of Lord Sri Kalleshwara

Siddhamuni continued the narrative of the GuruLeelas.

Once, one of the devotees of Sri Narasimha Saraswati requested him to visit and grace his house in Hipparage village. Guru Nath visited the house. The devotee worshipped Guru Nath with elaborate rituals.

In the same village, there lived a pious and devout Brahmin named Narakesari, who was also a poet. He used to go daily to the Kalleshwara temple in the village and, after completing his worship, used to compose a few poems in praise of Lord Kalleshwara. This was his routine every day. Some of his friends told him that Sri Narasimha Saraswati had come into the village to a devotee's house. They told him that he souls also come and take His Darshan. They further asked him to compose some poems in adoration of Sri Narasimha Saraswati and to recite them before Him. To this Narakesari reacted with disdain and said contemptuously, that his poetry was not meant for a human being, however great he be. He did not go for Guru Nath's Darshan, and as was his wont, went to the Kalleshwar temple and started his worship. But as he started it, he fell asleep and had a dream.

In the dream, he saw Sri Narasimha Saraswati seated there in the same place as of the Linga, and heard Him telling, "You have been all along worshiping me, a mere human being. Why are you worshipping a mere human being and moreover, one for whom you have no respect at all?" The dream ended thus, and Narakesari came to his senses. Realising what a great mistake he had committed by not paying heed to his friend's persuasion and advice, he hurried to the devotee's house for Guru Nath's Darshan. As he was offering his obeisance, Guru Nath said, "Why are you offering obeisance to me , a mere human being?" Narakesari burst into sibs, praying Guru Nath to forgive him for his ignorance and error. He sang poems in adoration of Guru Nath and worshipped Him. Guru Nath was pleased and blessed him.

Narakesari thereafter came to live at Gangapur, devoting his life in the service of Guru Nath. He composed many songs, hymns and rich poetry in adoration of Guru Nath.

Thus ends the Forty Sixth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 47
Guru Nath presents Himself at many houses in different villages at one and same time to accept Bhiksha.

Siddhamuni was very much pleased with Namdharak's earnestness and insatiable longing to listen to more and more of the glorious accounts and Leelas of Guru Nath. He told him that he was indeed a very blessed soul. He told Him " You have become a 'Shriman'. You have become morally and spiritually very, very rich. Very few would have such a blessed opportunity as you have had in listening to the Guru Charitra in such great detail. Let me tell you one more anecdote which tells us of Guru Nath's omnipresence and omnipotence".

One year, some time before Diwali, some of the Devotees came for Guru Nath's Darshan from other places and each one of them requested Guru Nath that he should come to his house during Diwali days and bless him, his household and his village. Everyone thus wanted that Guru Nath should specially visit his particular village and his house and bless him. To every one of them Guru Nath was replying in the affirmative, saying 'yes', 'yes', 'yes' to all and that he would certainly visit each one's particular village and would stay with him during the Diwali festival. This was intriguing to everyone and they were all wondering how Guru Nath would be able to fulfill His promises of visiting at the same time all different places. He promised at least 7 devotees from different places (villages) to this effect.

On Trayodasi day itself, Guru Nath was present at the door of each one of the devotee's houses, whom he had promised. Thus he made his appearance simultaneously in the different villages. He was received by the household of each one of the devotees of those places; all the three days, i.e., from Trayodasi to Amavasya. At the same time, he was at Gangapur too; actually he had not left from that place at all. He was fully present at the Diwali festival in the Math.

On Kartike Purnima day when all devotees came to Gangapur for Deeparadhana, the devotees from the different villages were pouring out their gratitude to Guru Nath for having graced their respective villages during Diwali. The people of Gangapur were getting wonderstruck as Guru Nath was amidst them at Gangapur only, during Diwali.

Everyone realised and understood the omnipresence and omnipotence of Guru Nath. Everyone burst into singing the glories of the Lord. Guru Nath indeed is the Supreme Purusha of the Purushasuktha - "Sahasraseersha Purusha, Sahasraksha Sahasrapad, with his hands, eyes and feet everywhere."

Thus ends the Forty Seventh chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 48
The farmer devotee's rich harvest.

Siddhamuni narrated to Namdharak another wonderful miracle of Guru Nath.

Everyday, Guru Nath used to go to the Sangam for bathing and performing his 'Anusthan' (ie., his daily rituals). While he was going and returning, one farmer, whose field was on the wayside, used to come forward and offer prostrations at his feet. The farmer was cultivating his field as a tenant, the owner being one of the landlords in the village. Twice everyday the farmer used to have Darshan and Pada-Namaskar of Guru Nath. One morning, while on His way to the Sangam, Guru Nath asked the farmer why he was so particular about His Darshan that he would not miss it even on a single day. The farmer replied that His Darshan was the protection for him and his family. He said, Guru Nath's Darshan conferred immense benefit to him, his fields always yielded and excellent crop and not even in a single year had there been a failure of crop for him, whereas his neighbour farmers suffered from frequent crop failure. because of this, he had not defaulted even a single time in his payment of rent to his landlord. His family had never been suffering from want over the years, ever since he started doing his daily prostrations to him. The farmer added "and your Darshan is ever a feast of joy for my eyes, it is the sustenance for my heart and soul. I can never afford to do without your Darshan". He prayed to Guru Nath that he should step into his field and bless it with the casting of his look and touch his feet. Guru Nath was pleased with the simple hearted and guileless faith of the farmer and blessed him walking into the field, stepping in it. The farmer's joy knew no bounds at this.

Guru Nath took a glance at the whole field. The jowar crop planted was coming up well, showing up the ears of tender corn. In a month's time, the crop should be ready for harvest and should give a rich yield.

Guru Nath said to the farmer "Will you listen to me and do what I say?" The farmer immediately replied, "Master! I will do anything, whatever you want me to do." Guru Nath said to him, "Cut down the crop, upto the stalks, today itself" and went away on His way to the Sangam. The farmer rushed to his landlord, to fix the later's share for the year's crop. The landlord said, as the prospect for that year's crop was very good as it was much better than in the previous year, he should pay him twice the quantity of grains over that of the previous year. The farmer instantly agreed to it and rushed back to the field. He hired a few laborers and started cutting down the crop. His wife and neighbours rushed there, trying to stop him. Has he gone mad to cut away the crop when only a few more weeks of waiting would yield a rich harvest? they wondered. They even went and complained to the landlord asking him to intervene. The farmer sent back word to the landlord, that he (the latter) had no business to interfere. He said "I have enough stock of grain in my house from my last year's harvest. Whatever quantity of grain I agreed to give him from this year's harvest, I will give away now itself, from my old stock. Nobody has any right to stop me. Sri Guru Nath told me to cut off the crop today itself and I must carry out His command, even at the cost of my life". To this his wife protested "what does an ascetic know of farming? Mad you are both, yourself and your Guru nath!" She started crying and so also the children. Brushing them aside, he went ahead with chopping off the crop and completed the work before the midday itself.

When Guru Nath was returning from Sangam, he saw what the farmer had done. He said to him, "What have you done? I told you jokingly and you went ahead and cut off the crop, without any forethought". To this, the farmer replied, "Master, I do not care what will happen. Your word is all that matters to me. What I ever need is only your Grace". Guru Nath said "So be it!" and went away to the Math.

Hardly a week had passed after the farmer had cut the crop, his wife was creating hell in the house all the time for what he had done. Then all of a sudden, there was a heavy cyclone. All the crops were submerged underwater and were destroyed. The food that had come near the mouth was snatched away by the cruel hands of Nature. All the long months of labour of the farmers had become a total waste. But Lo! what was happened to the devotee farmer's land? The roots of the cut crop, now watered well by the cyclonic rains, put forth stalks and soon yielded a rich harvest. The year's yield was many more times than what he ever got in any of the years ever before.

The wife and children were overjoyed and realised Guru Nath's solicitude for them and the grace he showered upon them. The wife greatly repented for her quarrel with her husband and especially for taunting "What does the ascetic know about farming?"

The farmer and his wife went to Guru Nath, paid their obeisance to him and offered Him worship. Guru Nath was pleased with them and blessed them saying that they would be prosperous always and Goddess MahaLakshmi would be residing in their house forever. Further, he also told them that both the husband and wife would attain liberation in this life itself and would be freed from the cycle of birth and death forever.

When the farmer went to deliver the agreed share of the grains to the landlord, the latter, now realising the goodness and the devout nature of the farmer, refused to accept the excess and took only the quantity that he used to normally take every year.

The farmer distributed a lot of harvest grains to other farmers and the people of the village who had lost the crops that year.

Thus ends the Forty Eighth chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 49
The Holiness and Power of Gangapur

Namdharak asked Siddhamuni how it was that Guru Nath loved Gangapur so dearly that he came there and made it His abode almost permanently and what was the merit possessed by Gangapur to become Dattatreya Punya Teertha. Siddhamuni said that Sri Narasimha Saraswati himself had once explained this and narrated it as under.

On the occasion of one Aswiyuja Bahula Chaturdashi, preceding Diwali, devotes from various places as usual, came to Gangapur for Guru Nath's Darshan and for offering their worship to Him. Guru Nath said to them, "Let us all make a pilgrimage and have Darshan of Kai, Gaya and Pryaga". The devotees were all excited and said to Him, "Please permit us to get prepared for the journey; we will bring along with us our families too and so also provisions required for the journey. "Guru Nath laughed and said, "Where do you think are Kashi, Gaya and Prayaga? They are all in the precincts of Gangapur itself, believe me. I will show them all to you today itself.

Guru Nath took the devotees to the Sangam and said, "This Bhima-Amaraja Sangam is Prayaga. This is as Holy as Prayaga. Besides, as the Amaraja river flows here as Uttara Vahini (in the northern direction), this place is as holy as Kashi itself. There are eight most sacred Teerthas in and around here. It will not be possible for even the thousand tongued Adisesha to describe the glory and power of these Eight Teerthas". The devotees asked Guru Nath to tell them about the origin of Amaraja River. Guru Nath told them that in the Jalandhara Purana, the origin of the Amaraja River was described, which was briefly as under:

Jallandhar was an asura. He was mighty in strength and conquered all the Gods. A mysterious and strange power was protecting Jallandhar and made him invincible. If his head was chopped off, a new head would sprout up in its place instantly. If a drop of blood was shed from his body, out of that a new demon would be born. Thus the armies of Jallandhar went on multiplying, for outnumbering the armies of the Gods. The Gods were routed in the battle waged by Jallandhar and they had to flee from their heavenly abode. Indra fled to Lord Shiva and narrated to Him their plight and prayed that he should save them. Lord Shiva created Sanjeevani Udak Ghat (The vessel of Sanjeevani Waters) and gave it to Indra and told him, if the Sanjeevani water is sprinkled on the dead bodies of the Devas, they would also rise alive. While Indra was carrying the vessel of the Sanjeevani-water, a little water from the vessel spilled over and fell on earth, and it became the Sanjeevani river, and this river later came to be called as the Amaraja River. A bath in the river at the time of solar and lunar eclipses and on new moon and Ekadashi days, will be most sanctifying and will confer great merit. There are many other great Teerthas, namely Manohar Teertha, the Aswatha Tree which is indeed Kalpavriksha itself, Shankar Bhuvan. Sangameshwara and Nandikeshwar etc. He further narrated one ancedote.

There was once a Bharadwaja Gotra Brahmin by name Goswami, in the village called Nagesa, which is not very far from here. He was very pious and devout. He had rid himself of all worldly attachments and spent all his time in worship of and meditation on Lord Shiva. He had two elder brothers named Eshwara and Panduranga respectively. Once both the brothers planned to make pilgrimage to Kashi. They asked their younger brother Goswami also to accompany them in the pilgrimage. But the latter replied, "Vishweswara is here only; this place of ours itself is the holy Kashi. All the Teerthas abide here only. I see them all here only, why go to distant Kashi?" The brothers said that if it was really so, why was it that they were not able to see it all themselves. Goswami then prayed to Lord Shiva that he should make all the Holy Teerthas of Kashi get manifest here so that his brothers could see and get convinced. Instantly the manifestations began to make their appearance around there. The Miurti of Vishweswara made its appearance out of one of the Kundas there; they saw the Bhagirathi waters welling out from a spring. The brothers could witness all the Teerthas which they heard to be existing in Kashi. They were thrilled and spellbound.

Shri Narasimha Saraswati described about Papavinashi Mahima, through one ancedote. Sri Narasimha Saraswati had a younger sister by name Ratnai. She was overtaken by leprosy due to grave sin she committed in her former life. A cat just gave birth in a pot to five kittens. The woman without seeing, poured water in the pot and put it on fire for getting hotwater. The new-born kittens died. As a result of this, the woman in her new birth was overtaken by leprosy. She came to Sri Narasimha Saraswati praying to Him to relieve her of his dreadful disease. Sri Narasimha Saraswati told her of the sin she had committed in her previous life, of causing the death of the five kittens, although it was done unknowingly. He asked her to go to Papavinashini and stay there and to take bath daily in the Holy water there. On doing that, she was soon relieved of her disease.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati took the devotees along with Him to Kotiteertha and explained its Mahima to them. He took them to Rudrapad-Teertha and also said that it possesses all the power and merit of the Gaya-Theertha. The devotees performed there all the rites enjoined upon when one visits Gaya. Guru Nath took them to the other Holy places also, namely Kalleshwar shrine, Manmadh Teertha, etc. He told the devotees to be doing Abhishek to Kallaeshwar throughout the month of Sravana, and Deeparadhana in the month of Kartika.

Guru Nath thus explained the Gangapur Mahima and Ashta teertha Mahima in and around Gangapur.

Thus ends the Forty-Ninth chapter of Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and ever responsive Guru Nath!

In some versions of Guru Charitra, it is said that Guru Nath relates the Guru Gita to his disciples in this Chapter.

The Guru Gita is from Skanda Purana. It is said to have been narrated to Mother Parvati by Lord Shiva Himself, when Parvati entreated him to enlighten her about the path by treading which the Jiva (the individual soul) can attain enlightment and liberation. The Lord then narrated to her the Guru Gita, which says "It is by devoted service at the Feet of the Guru alone, that one gets cleansed of all sins and, ultimately attains the Supreme."

The Guru Gita emphsises that without the helping hand of the Guru, one can never hope to reach the Goal; he is indeed the link between man and God, between the Jiva and Brahman. Unless the Guru transmits his own soul-impulses to the disciple the latter will not gain spiritual wisdom.

"The key to the doors of the mansion of Wisdom are only with the Guru," it says. It also describes the characteristics of the Guru. Unless one is fully enlightened and had intuited the Truth himself, he is not entitled to be a Guru. The Guru Gita also tells how one should approach the Guru. One should approach the Guru with great humility, with full and unwavering faith (Shraddha) and with a burning yearning to attain liberation.

The Lord concludes the Guru Charitra, saying, "The importance of my words will be truly appreciated by those noble aspirants who are devoted to the Guru and God in equal measure, and do not differentiate at all between the two. The truly wise man always dips in the Holy waters of "Guru-Gita", for Guru-Gita cuts at the root of Samsara and snaps as under the ties of Bondage. It opens the gates to Freedom - to the Consciousness and Awareness of the Reality and the Universality of Spirit....

The Upanishads have given "The Four sacred Maha Vakyas' (The Grand proclamations), for the disciple's Sadhana. These are:-

1. Prajnanam Brahma (Pure Consiousness or Awareness is Brahman) This is called Guru's Upadesha Vakya.

2. Tat-twam-asi (That thou art. The goal you are seeking is indeed thine own Self) -This is called Guru's Adesha Vakya.

3) Ayama-atma Brahma (This Self of mine is indeed itself the Brahman, the Absolute Self) - This is Abhayasa Vakya.

4) Aham Brahma-asmi ( I am myself the Brahman. The pure Consciousness within me - the core of my being is indeed itself the Brahman) This is Anubhava Vakya.

The Guru from his Anubhava (from his experience) gives the Upadesha and Adesa Vakyas, which the disciple listens to, with full faith and devotion. This is "Sravana".

The disciple then contemplates upon the truths enunciated by the Guru. He does Manana (rumination) over the statements made by the Guru and then takes to Nidhidhyasana (contemplation) upon the truth, with full and implicit faith and devotion. When the disciple's whole mind gets gradually focused on the Self, the mind melts off and the Truth of the Self flashes itself in his (the disciple's) awareness. He also then gains the Anubhava Jnana, like his Guru. He exclaims in divine awareness "Aham Brahmasmi - Sivoham"

As per the Brahmara - Keetaka Nyaya, whereby the (ugly looking) beetle gets metamorphosed and transfigured into the beautiful Bhramara itself, so also the Jiva, striken with ignorance and all the afflictions of the worldly life, attains enlightenment and blossoms forth and begins to shine in his Atmic (Divine) splendour, just like his Guru, through Nidhidhyasana on the Guru and the Guropadesa.

For this great and grand attainment in one's life, what is the primary and indispensable requisite is implicit faith in Guru's words and devotion to him. Then Guru's grace flows by itself and lifts the Sadhaka to the higher and exalted states of Consciousness and to the Ultimate Truth and Reality.

Chapter No 50
The Story of Bhadrayuvu and Guru Nath's showering of Grace on the Nawab

Siddhamuni, earlier told Namdharak, the story of the Rajak, the washerman devotee of Sri Sripada SriVallabha. The rajak used to serve Sripada SriVallabha with great love and devotion. Sripada SriVallabha was very much pleased with his services and blessed him that, as a reward for the services rendered, he would enjoy all regal pleasures and would be freed from his life of drudgery. Actually the rajak was secretly longing in his heart of hearts for regal pleasures. Sripada SriVallabha said that he was too old already, and any joys were worth enjoying only when when one was young. Therefore, he prayed that the filfillment of the blessings of the Guru be deferred to his next birth. The Guru said "Let it be so!".

The rajak was born in his next birth in the Muslim Nawab's family of Vaiduri Nagar (Bidar). When he became the ruler, he was very kind to all subjects, treating the Hindus and the Muslims alike and all the subjects as his own children. He used to respect Brahmnins very much. The Moulvis used to feel envious and jealous of this. They tried to turn him against the Hindus, but the king never heeded them. He was very spiritual minded and believed that all religions - even so Hinduism and Islam - are but different pathways to the same God. He firmly believed all the Hindi Gods are but different facets of the same Allah and that various idols and forms which Hindus worship are but, and aid for purifying and to bring the mind to one-pointedness, which ultimately leads to experiencing of the Formless - The Nirakara, The Allah concept of Islam. He was trying to establish harmony and coordiality in the relationship between the two religious communities. By and large, he was loved equally by both the communities among his subjects.

The Nawab developed an ulcer on his body. He tried many Hakims and Vaidyas but none could cure him. The pain and irritation was accute and was becoming unbearable for him. He was advised that if he visited the Papavinashini Teertha and took bath in its Holy waters he might get cured. Further he was told that a MahaPurusha Darshan like that of Sri Narasimha Saraswati who resided at Gangapur, would certainly cure him of his ailment.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati foresaw that the Nawab was planning a visit to Gangapur for redress of his ailment. He envisaged also that hereafter, besides the already heavy influx of Hindus, Muslims and other commnunity people also would be pouring into Gangapur, with t he result that the serene atmosphere of the place would be disturbed. He thought that it was time now for Him to wind up His Avatar (in its physical form) and of assuming invisible form. If that was done, after the withdrawl of his physical form, while sincere devotees would still come to Gangapur, it would however arrest the influx of people who would be desiring to come only with the object of seeking Guru Nath's blessings for the mere fulfillment of their wordly desires or out of sheer curiosity.

The Nawab came with his retinue up to Papavinashini Teertha. There he saw a yogi coming to him. The Nawab, after making his salutations to the Yogi, prayed to him to help his ailment to be cured. The Yogi told him the same what was advised to him earlier by the Brahmin priests that with the mere Darshan of a Mahanubhav anything can be cured, and even death woul dflee away from him and that indeed such a Mahanubhav was Sri Narasimha Saraswati of Gangapur. The Yogi told him that he should proceed to Gangapur and take Darshan of Guru Nath. To implant faith and conviction in the Nawab about Sant Darshan Prabhav (the great benefit one earns by visiting a holy person) the Yogi narrated the following ancedote.

There used to be a Brahmin, living in the Avanti Nagar. The Brahmin took to licentious life. He became so degenerate as to start eating meat also, besides addiction to women and wine. He took a concubine by name Pingala but who was quite faithful to him. One day a Muni named Rishabha happened to knock at Pingala's house, asking for Bhiksha. Pangala received him with great respect. The Brahmin also joined her in honouring him. They both worshiped him with flowers, smeared his body and bathed his feet with perfumed water. They sipped his charan-tterth (the wash water on his feet) and entertained him with delicious food. They made him rest there. They massaged his feet and he had a sound sleep and rest. They kept awake the whole night attending upon him. Next morning, the ascetic guest very pleased, left after blessing them. After a time, both the Brahmin and the Pingala died.

Because of the Muni's blessings the Brahmin was born in a royal family in his next birth. His father's name was Vajrabahu and the mother's name was Sumati, the cheif consort of the King. The king had many other wives but Sumati was the queen consort (Patrani). The king and queen were very happy at the birth of the prince. But the other wives of the king were very jealous of Sumati and thay were all more worried that thereafter, because oh his love for the child, all the king's atention would be centered on Sumati alone exclusively, and they would be totally neglected and woul dslide down to inferior status. They plotted to kill the queen and her child and they one day poisoned the food served to the queen and the child. The bodies of the queen and the child developed most unsighty lesions. They started oozing out pus from the lesions emitting foul odour. The Vaidyas (physicians) tried their best to cure the lesions but it was of no avail. The disease was proclaimed uncurable.

The king became very averse to the queen and the child; his other wives also weaned him away in their favour. HE came to a decision to get rid of the queen and the child into the recesses of the forest and leave them there as a prey to the wild animals. The charioteer took the queen and the child and left them in the forest. The queen and the child were very hungry and could not find anything to eat. She was plaintively crying, praying to God that he should end their lives as they could not bear this misery any longer. Hearing the wailing, some cow-herd boys came to her and asked her and her child to accompany them. Learning she was a queen, although overtake by a dreadful disease, they took her and her child to the palace of their Vaisya King, whoose name was Padmaker and who was very kind hearted. The king entrusted the mother and the child to the care of the maid-servants, asking them to look after the two very well. Although Sumati and her child were being well looked after very well there, their disease was however becoming worse and worse. One day the son died, and the mother was inconsolable. At this juncture, Rishaba Muni happened to come to that place. Hearing the wailing, he enquired as to what had happened. When he heard about the death of the prince, he could intuitively know who the child was. He recognized that the boy in his previous life was the same Brahmin who served him, though for a day but yet served with great devotion together with the Pingala when he had visited the house of the latter. Accompanied by the king, the Muni aproached the woman and tried to comfort her. He said that life is like a bubble which is transient anyway and would burst off anytime. He said as death cannot be defied by anybody, we will have to reconcile ourselves to it and face it. But the woman was inconsolable and she was preparing to kill herself. The Muni was moved with pity. He smeared the dead body of the child with sacred ash (Vibhuti) uttering some Mantras, and also put a little of it in the child's mouth. He gave the Vibhuti to Sumati and also asked her to smear it all over he rbody. Lo! the child rose up as if from sleep, his shining golden bright and having no traces at all of the disease. Same was the case with the mother. The queen feel at the feet of the Muni and poured out tears of gratitude.

The boy later came to be called "Bhadrayuver', i.e., one who has secured (assured) longevity. When he grew up, he became the king and lived for a long time. Such is the power of the Darshan of Mahanubhava (sage or holy person).

After narrating as above the Yogi told the Nawab that if he also sought the Darshan of a Saint and had his blessings, he would also certainly get rid of his disease. The Yogi asked the Nawab to go to Gangapur. The Nawab came to Gangapur, and started enquiring where he could meet Sri Guru Nath. He was told that Sri Narasimha Saraswati had gone to the Sangam. The Nawab went to the Sangam. He saw Sri Narasimha Saraswati there and paid his obesiance to him. Guru Nath said :oh, rajaka ! Don't you remember you were a washerman (rajaka) and you used to worship me? Why have you taken so long to come to me? As Guru Nath was talking thus his whole previous life flashed in the Nawab's memory. He fell at the feet of Guru Nath, with tears of devotion and gratitude welling out of his heart. All the devotion he used to have for

Sripada SriVallabha in his previous life surged forth again.

The Nawab prayed that Guru Nath should relieve him of his ailment. Guru Nath told him "Show me where is your ulcer?". As the Nawab was trying to remove his coat and show his ulcer, Lo! there was'nt any trace of the ulcer at all. The Nawab's joy knew no bounds. Further, in the presence of Guru Nath, he felt such intense joy as does a long lost son on finding his mother again.

The Nawab prayed that Guru Nath should visit his kingdom and bless it. Guru Nath said that it was then getting late for his afternoon anusthan (rituals) and he had to rush to Papavinashini Teertha immediately. He told him he could come and meet him later. Saying thus, Guru Nath, along with his entire retinue of disciples, disappeared and in a trice reached Papavinashini, which is 44 kms away from Gangapur. Some of His devotees, prominent among whom was Nagnath, the son of Sayamdeo, came for Darshan there. They worshipped Guru Nath and performed Samaradhana. Guru Nath at that time graced their houses and blessed all their family members. It was nearing evening time and Guru Nath told them that the Nawab would be arriving now with all his royal retinue for His Darshan.

The Nawab and his retinue, riding on their horses, reached Papavinashini by the evening and had Guru Nath's Darshan. He fell at Guru Nath's Feet and again prayed that he should visit his kingdom.

Guru Nath visited Vaidurinagar. He was accorded the grandest welcome. All the streets and houses were decorated with festoons and flowers. The roads were sprinkled with fragrant water mixed with musk and sandal. The queens received Him with Aarti (waving of lights). The Brahmins sang Vedic Hymns.

Sri Narasimha Saraswati was made to sit on a specially decorated throne, bedecked with precious stones, garlands, etc. The Nawab himself was waiting upon him. Guru Nath asked the king whether all his Vasanas (cravings for sense pleasures and royal luxuries) were fully satiated yet ot not. The Nawab said he had enough of them and what his heart yearned for now was only doing service at the Feet of the Master. Guru Nath advised him that he should now leave the throne to his son and retire to Giri Parvat (Srisailam) and take to a life of contemplation. He assured him he would give him Darshan there and grant him liberation. Saying thus to the Nawab, Guru Nath returned to Gangapur.

The Nawab did as advised by Guru Nath. He took to intense meditation. He had Vision of Guru Nath and earned liberation - the Freedom of the Spirit, 'the true soveriegnity'.

Thus ends the Fiftieth Chapter of Sri Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All-merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever responsive Guru Nath!

Chapter No 51
The Mahaprasthan

As we have seen in the previous chapter, Siddhamuni told Namdharak about the visit of Guru Nath to the VaiduriNagar at the pleading of the Nawab. Guru Nath was accorded a most regal welcome by the Nawab and was received with overwhelming devotion by all the sections of people of the city. Following the visit, Guru Nath's name and fame spread far and wide, and many Muslim people also started pouring into Gangapur for Guru Nath's Darshan and for redress of their difficulties. With the constant influx, the serene atmosphere was getting disturbed. Guru Nath had already been hinting to His devotees for some time past, that he would be leaving for the Kadali Van at Srisaila Parvat before long.

One day he called all His devotees and the people of Gangapur to the Math. He announced that he was bidding goodbye to Gangapur and was setting out on his pilgrimage to SriSailam. All started sobbing. What would be Gangapur without Guru Nath? Guru Nath was it's sole life and light. Seeing how grief stricken all were, Guru Nath announced that although they would not be able to see his physical form at Gangapur, yet he would be abiding there for ever, in His invisible form (in his grace body). He would continue to answer all prayers, and would continue to shower His grace on all supplicants. He further said that wherever He be, he would continue to be visiting Sangam in the mornings everyday for his bath, and by midday he would be visiting the Math unfailingly, though He would not be visible to the fleshy, human eyes. He said that he would be having His Nirguna Padukas in the Math and that they would be a reservoir and repository of all spiritual power and that worship offered to the Aswatha Tree was worship unto the Kalpavriksha. The Aswatha Tree would fulfill all the desires of the supplicants. Comforting and assuring the people thus, he set out from Gangapur. He asked His disciples, except four of them, to go out on pilgrimage, and assured them that He would be ever with them.

All the people of Gangapur were following Him. Guru Nath told them that they should return to their homes. He again assured them, that His presence would continue to be felt at the Math, by all devotees, by mere remembrance or recalling His name.

The people had to retrace their steps with a heavy heart, homewards. They were feeling that their life-breath had ebbed out of them. The void caused in their life by Guru Nath's leaving from Gangapur could never be filled up and would remain so forever. Their hearts sand down in despair and gloom.

At the Math they all stopped, their feet refusing to move from there. "Why not we all end our lives here?" that was their thought at the moment.

Lo! there was a flash of light in the Math. Guru Nath revealed Himself before their eyes, smiling and holding out His Abhaya Hastha. (The upraised palm indicating assurance and benediction). The people were enlivened. Their gloom had melted away; and with faith enriched in the Omnipresence of Guru Nath, they slowly returned to their homes.

Guru Nath along with his four chosen disciples, reached the Kadali-Van (banana grove) on the banks of Patala Ganga at the foot of the Srisaila Parvat. Thereafter, Guru Nath asked His disciples to prepare a float with banana trunks and leaves. The float was prepared. It was bedecked with flowers. Guru Nath asked them to place the float in the waters of the river. He stepped into the float and seated Himself on it. The disciples offered their obeisance and worship to Him, while their hearts were bursting with grief at the impending separation for their beloved Lord. Guru Nath cheered them up and told them "My dear children, I am fully aware of the anguish of your hearts at the thought that I am leaving you. But, I assure You again, I will be with you forever and especially at Gangapur. I will be showering my full grace there on all supplicants, who are sincere, earnest and faithful. Only to make myself inaccessible to agnostics, atheists and the faithless, I am taking this Prasthan. But even so everyday I will be present at the Amaraja Sangam for my morning bath, and will be visiting the Gangapur Math for receiving the 'Bhiksha'. Be sure about this, and do not give place for any doubt. I will never be leaving Gangapur. I will be accepting all worship that will be offered at the Math. Convey the following advice of mine, which I am giving to you now, to all....'

"All pilgrims to Gangapur should first take a dip in the Holy waters of the Bhima-Amaraja Sangam. If they bathe in all the Ashta Teerthas, the merit will be even far more and will be several fold. The Aswatha Tree which is near the Sangam, is as Holy as the KalpaVrisksha itself. They should make Pradakshina around the Aswatha Tree. They should offer worship to the Nirguna Padukas at the Math. All three times of the day, they should do Aarti to the Padukas. Whoever offers worship to the Chintamani Ganapati Deity there, will earn fulfillment of all his desires. Believe me, I will be residing in the house of every devotee, ever serving them and showering all grace on them. I will be like the Kamadhenu in the front yard of their house and like the KalpaVriksha in the backyard of the house and like Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati residing inside the house. With mere remembrance of me, I respond to everyone".

"Remember also how fond of music I am. Therefore, during Devatarchana time, (during the worship-time) you should invariably also do Bhajan. There is nothing like Bhajan to bind me down in your homes and hearts. In whichever house my name is chanted, there is no scope for poverty or diseases to come anywhere near there. Poverty and disease, all quickly take flight from there. The inmates of the house will be blessed with longevity: that house will be ever prosperous and aplenty. The house will be ever happy and joyous with healthy joyous and playing children and will never be in want of anything".

"Further, let me also tell you about the supreme merit one will earn by listening to or reading my Charitra (Guru Charitra). It will be the panacea for all ills. In the Kali age, it will be like the Kalpalatika, the ever wish fulfilling celestial creeper. It will be like Chintamani, 'the celestial diamond', bestower of all prosperity. Now I bid you adieu, you stay back. I will be sending flowers as my prasad to you, no sooner than I reach my Destination. The prasad will confer on you immense good." Saying thus, he disappeared out of their sight.

It was Bahudhayana year, Uttarayana, Bahula Padyani, Friday. The Nakshatra was Pushyami and was especially an auspicious time, Brihaspati entering the Kanya Rasi. Such was the time of the Mahaprasthana of Guru Nath.

The disciples stayed there only, unable to decide what to do and, so to say, immobilised. Their minds were blank. At this juncture, a boat came towards there. The boatmen told them they had a message for them from a Yatri Sanyasi who gave his name as Sri Narasimha Saraswati. They said that they saw on the waters a Yati, golden splendoured in body, holding a 'danda' and a 'kamandal', and wearing golden padukas. He was speeding fast on a flower chariot. He told them, (the boatmen) that they should give this message to his disciples. "Tell them it is the ardent wish of the Guru, 'Sri Narasimha Saraswati', that they should soon get back to Gangapur and that he will be sending them Prasad-Pushpa as a token of his blessings". No sooner did the boatmen say thus, than four bog flowers of celestial beauty came floating against the current. The boatmen picked up the flowers and gave the disciples one flower each. The four disciples were Sayamdeo, Kavishwar Nandi, Narhari-Kavi and Siddha himself.

Siddhamuni said to Namdharak "As you have been born in the line of Sayamdeo, you won the merit of listening to this glorious Guru Charitra. In narrating this to you, I feel greatly blessed by Guru Nath and feel supremely happy".

Thus ends the Fifty-first chapter of Guru Charitra.

Glory to the All merciful, the Omnipresent and the ever-responsive Guru Nath!

Mad-Bhaktah Yatra Gayanti, Tatra Thisthami Narada.

Oh Narada! My true abode is where people sing my Name with devotion...

The Epilogue - I

Listening to Siddhamuni's narrative, Namdharak was lost in ecstasy and was plunged into Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the super conscious state. His body and breath became still and immobile but his face was shinning with a new radiance and splendour, reflecting the inner state of bliss and beautitude, the bliss of Yogic-Union with the Lord of his heart, namely Guru Nath.

Siddhamuni was happy seeing the spiritually exalted state of Namdharak; listening to (Sravana of) Guru Charitra and his absorption in it had rocketed him (Namdharak) into the realms of Divine consciousness, releasing the Spirit into freedom from bondage of ignorance and from the thraldom of the body-senses-mind complex (the physical, vital and mental sheaths). Siddhamuni quietly touched Him and was brought back to his normal consciousness, i.e., on the physical plane of consciousness. Namdharak fell at Siddhamuni's feet, pouring out his gratitude to him for narrating o him 'Guru Charitra', which had obliterated and cured the cataract of his ignorance and endowed him with a clear vision of the only Truth and Reality, i.e., Guru Nath, who is the Divine Self seated in the hearts of all and in the entire creation.

Namdharak was a blessed soul. We too should be able to attain to that state of realisation, provided we too, like Namdharak, shed our ego and surrender ourselves at the Feet of the Guru and flood our hearts with devotion to him. And further, 'The Guru Charitra', the Spiritual treasure chest, bequeathed to us by Saraswati Gangadhar, will come to our succor in the spiritual ascent, as it did in the case of Namdharak. Let us take resort to it and constantly seek guidance from IT.

A quick resume

Before our closing the reading of 'The Book' presently, with salutations to Guru Nath, perhaps a brief review of the contents of the Book, much more so, a deeper look into it, so as to grasp the inner significance of the various anecdotes narrated in the chapters, will not be without its reward and benefit to us. The inner import of the various anecdotes narrated may not become patent and clear to us, with just a mere single reading of the Book. Hence let us have at least one more glimpse into it.

It is said that Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyasana, i.e., listening to or reading, dwelling upon what has been listened to or read, and contemplating upon the truth/s, is the whole process of Spiritual Sadhana. Thus reading and re-reading (Adhyayana), and doing Vichara, i.e., making mental enquiry and intellectual effort to grasp and understand the inner truths, is what is necessary to derive the full benefit of any scripture, and this is what is expected to be done by us in the case of Guru Charitra too. Any way s brief review of the chapters will certainly make a better impression of the teachings of the Guru Charitra on our minds and hearts. Before beginning the review of the chapters, let us first understand also the broader features of the text.

(I) Guru Charitra is a scared confluence (Triveni Sangam) of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana.

We should bear in mind that Guru Charitra, so to say, is a confluence of the three main paths of Sadhana (Spiritual endeavor) viz., Karma (the path of dedicated work and selfless action), Bhakti (the path of worship and devotion) and Jnana (the path of enquiry and knowledge). All these find a homogenous integration in Guru Charitra.

From the 1st Chapter till the 24th chapter, i.e., from Namdharak setting out upon his spiritual quest till Trivikrama Bharati had Vishwarupa Darshana, it is considered as 'Jnana Kanda'. The culmination (fruition) of the path of Jnana is when one is able to experience the Self, i.e., the oneness in all. Trivikrama Bharati get a vision of Guru Nath in all, in everyone and everywhere. That indeed is an instance of the attainment of the state of Jnana (true wisdom).

From the 25th chapter which describes the egoistic and fame-greedy pundit's boastful challenge till the 37th chapter where in delineated in detail what is Dharma (the righteous actions and righteous way of living) and what is adharma (unrighteous actions and unreligious way of living), it is called Karma Kunda.

Karma is indeed synonymous with Dharma (duty).

From the 38th Chapter wherein thousands of people are sumptuously fed in Samaradhana (Charity feast) from a meager quantity of food cooked from a small measureful of rice by a poor devotee, till the Mahaprasthan Chapter, it is Bhakti (Upasana) Kanda.

Karma (Work), Bhakti (Worship) and Jnana (Knowledge) are all equally important in spiritual evolution.

Guru Charitra integrates and harmonises them all.

Karma is necessary till one is able to get over his obsession with body. One will have to weaken down the sway of his ego, make his heart more expansive with concern for others. One should get over the feeling "I am just this body' (Karma will also purify us of the "mala", the impurities of the mind).

In Bhakti, one's ego gets sublimated, he feels he is but a servant of God. His emotions, thoughts, love-all get focused on God (alone). He feels that he is nobody and that God is all. (Bhakti also helps us to quell the "Vikshepa", the agitations and turbulences in our mind).

In Jnana, one will have transcended all sense of separateness. He will experience the essential oneness and unity of all existence. He sees God in all and all in God, and his love encompasses all beings. He clearly experiences the divine principle linking together all the creation. He feels he is part and parcel of the divine whole. (Jnana will also dispel "Avarana" and removes all the veils of ignorance, which have been depriving us of our Atmic Vision and Awarness). Thus Karma, Bhakti and Jnana are all necessary to bring in total purification and regeneration of our mind and in our attaining Self Realisation.

(II) Guru Charitra the Panacea for all the human-ills.

Guru Charitra is the panacea for all the human ills, the ills of the body, mind and spirit. It provides succor to all, viz., Arthas (those who are distress), Arthathis (those who are seeking worldly and material benefits), Mumukshus (Spiritual aspirants) and Jnanis (those who are established in and are well advanced on the spiritual path). Many of the anecdotes of Guru Charitra vouchsafe to this truth. Its power in this respect is experienced even to this day. there is nothing which cannot be achieved through surrender at the feet of the Guru, and with his grace one's preordained destiny even can be overcome and circumvented. Law of faith outweighs and overrules the law of Karma. Atleast it endows on us mental strength to bear through the vicissitudes of life with courage and equanimity. We will have to however leave things to HIS WILL and seek from Him what will only be the ultimately good for us.

(III) Guru Charitra is a manual of moral and spiritual codes for all.

Guru Charitra firstly emphsises on ethical purity and excellence. One should adhere to Dharma (to his ordained duties). When we all adhere to our Dharma, then alone the Harmony in the cosmos will sustain; otherwise we will transform the cosmos into chaos.

The codes of conduct for men and women have been enunciated in detail in Guru Charitra. It enjoins on Brahmins as spiritual custodians of the community, extra responsibilities and rigorous disciplines. They are expected to conduct themselves as examples and guide for all others. They should be always radiating purity and moral ethical and spiritual excellence.

Man is an imperfect and erring being. Guru Charitra accepts this human weakness. But error is not to be perpetuated nor can it be let off unatoned for. It has to be corrected and atoned for. For this, in Guru Charitra, the sins which we are prone to commit, the retributive consequences thereof unless we make atonement for them, are all listed. Sincere repentance, prayers, mantra-chanting (chanting of certain mystic words and formulae), Rudra Japa, surrender at the feet of the Guru - such as these are said to expiate all sins. Sincere prayer smashes down mountain loads of sin.

We come across incidents of Brahma-Rakshasas in some chapters. Brahma-Rakshasas are indeed none else but those who are ethically fallen and are paying for their sins through suffering. Without ethical excellence no progress will ever be possible in the spiritual path. Guru Charitra provides the correctives for man to gain moral rectitude and at the same time to secure also a foothold and scaffolding for his spiritual ascent. Behind all the anecdotes, in all the chapters throughout the text, there is a strong spiritual under current flowing. The goal of human life is to attain union with Godhead, the Antaryamin, the dweller and controller of our hearts. In Namdharak, we have the clearest example of how Guru Charitra listening led him to the blessed state of realisation.

Now bearing the above broad features of Guru Charitra in mind, and in that light, let us briefly cover chapter by chapter in retrospect.

Chapter 1 - Namdharak is blessed with the vision of Guru Nath.

In this chapter, Saraswati Gangadhar begins with invocation prayers for Divine Grace to endow on him merit and strength to be able to successfully compile the sacred Guru Charitra, the glorious account of Divine Incarnations of Lord Sri Dattatreya viz. Sri Sripada SriVallabha and Sri Narasimha Saraswati.

Namdharak, an ardent devotee of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, sets out for Gangapur for the Darshan of the Holy Padukas. Tired and exhausted and when he fainted away, Guru Nath appears before him in a dream and blesses him.

Chapter 2 - The Power and Glory of Guru Bhakti.

It is argued by some that this chapter is the Key Chapter of the entire text, so to say. It charters out the entire path for the spiritual aspirant.

 Namdharak meets Siddha Yogi, the great and close disciple of Guru Nath. Siddha Yogi leads Namdharak to the Bhima-Amaraja Sangam, and seated under the Holy Aswatha Tree, starts narrating the Guru Charitra to him, which the latter listens to with rapt attention.

The Siddhamuni narrates the story of the disciple Deepak and the Guru Veda Dharma and about the unexcelled merit that accrue from Guru Bhakti and Guru Seva. Guru is indeed supreme and all the Gods are subsumed in Him. If we can but win Guru's Grace, we will have thereby won the Grace of all the gods. Guru is indeed supreme.

The names of Veda Dharma and Deepak have their own significance. Veda itself is both the Dharma and the Guru. And one who is devoted to the scriptures and abides by the Dharma which they enunciate, is sure to gain enlightment.

Chapter 3 - The case for Sri Hari taking incarnations on Earth.

This chapter describes how Lord Sri Hari, in order to save his devotee King Ambareesha from the wrath of Sage Durvasa, draws upon himself the curse which Durvasa intended to pronounce against Ambareesha. As a result of Durvasa's curse, Sri Hari had to take repeated incarnations on earth, which, in a way, was the greatest blessing to the world.

Chapter 4 - Sri Dattavatara

This chapter describes the advent of Sri Dattatreya as the son of Mother Anasuya and sage Atri. This chapter illustrates the power of chastity ie, purity as exemplified in the life of Anasuya. Her purity could transform the great Trinity (the Durlabhya, i.e., the unattainable) into mere babes in her arms and make them (Saulabhya i.e., brought them within one's easy and close reach).

The name Atri means one who has transcended the three Gunas. Anasuya is one who is bereft of human frailities such as jealously etc, and is spotlessly pure, where 'Atri' and 'Anasuya' co-habit, Lord Himself is also sure to abide).

Chapter 5 - The advent of Sripada SriVallabha

This chapter describes the re-incarnation of Sri Dattatreya in the Kali Yuga as Sripada Sri Vallabha, in Pithapur, as a son to Mother Sumati.

Sripada SriVallabha sets out on his divine mission at a early age, after curing his lame and blind brothers and blessing the household with endless prosperity.

Chapter 6 - Gokarna Mahabaleshwar

This chapter describes the birth of Gokarna Mahakshetra. Ravana, by the merit of his great penance, earns the Atma Linga from Lord Shiva. How the Atma Linga happened to get ground at Gokarna is described in this chapter.

Chapter 7 - Gokarna Sthala Mahatmya

This chapter describes the Gokarna Kshetra Mahatmya. A visit to this Holy Place burns off all sins however, much grievance they be and earns for the person Kailasha-Pada. Gautama Rishi narrates to King Mitrasahu who was under a curse, how a Chandala woman, with sins galore on her head, earns Kailasha-pada by the mere coincidence of her dying at the Holy Gokarna.

Gokarna had so much sanctity that Sripada SriVallabha chose to visit and spend some years there.

(The term 'Chandala', in a sense, is our 'Deha-buddhi', i.e., obsession with the idea that 'I am the body'. 'Shiva-Linga' signifies the 'Atma-buddhi' or Sivoham-Bhavana', i.e., the understanding that one is not the body but the Spirit. From 'Deha-buddhi', we have to raise ourselves to 'Atma-buddhi', then we will have earned the 'Kailasha-pada'.

Chapter 8 - Sani Pradosha Vrata Mahatmya

In this Chapter, Sri Vallabha teaches about Sani Pradosha Puja Mahima to Ambika, who in a state of desperation, came to the river with the intention of drowning herself along with her blockhead son. He narrates how a shepard-woman was born as Yasoda in her next life through the merit earned by mere seeing of the Sani Pradosha Puja, and became the (foster) mother of Lord Sri Krishna.

Sripada SriVallbha also blessed the blockheaded son of Ambika and endowed him with all Sastraic knowledge and wisdom.

In this chapter is also described the emergence of Maha Kaleshwar Jyotir Linga as a result of the Shani Pradosha Puja done with deep devotion by the shepard boy.

Chapter 9 - Sripada SriVallabha gives boon to the rajak-devotee (washerman-devotee) of his, that he would be born in a Nawab Family and be ruler in his next birth and would also have his Darshan but in his new Avatar (i.e., when he would reappear as Sri Narasimha Saraswati).

Chapter 10 - Sripada SriVallabha's continued showering of His Grace on his devotees even after his Mahaprasthan.

In this chapter, and account is given of how Sripada SriVallabha, even after the withdrawal of His Avatar (ie., even after the Mahaprasthan), continues to manifest and shower his grace on his devotees. An illustration is given how Sripada SriVallabha protected a Brahmin-devotee by bringing him back to life after he was killed by dacoits. The same grace continues to be showered even now, on whomsoever seeks it.

(The three thieves who figure in this chapter are symbolic of our gunas only, viz., Tamas, Rajas and Satwa. Tamas and Rajas try to obscure our Self. Satwa is relatively harmless and it is a silent spectator. BY contemplation on Guru, one must destroy and get rid of Tamas and Rajas, cannot be of any harm to us. Actually it can really be of much help to us in our initial sadhana, Although it too will need to be transcended eventually)

Chapter 11 - Birth of Sri Narasimha Saraswati

In this chapter is described the advent of Sri Narasimha Saraswati. He was born as a son to Amba in Karanjapuri as per the promise given to her in her previous life by Sripada SriVallabha. At birth, he was uttering 'OM!' 'OM!' 'OM!'. He was otherwise 'dumb' till his Upanayanam was performed. With Upanayanam, he bursts into recital of Vedic Mantra and begins to glow with all knowledge and wisdom.

Chapter 12 - Narahari taking to Sannyasa

In this chapter Narahari gives spiritual instruction to his mother; he blesses her that she would have two more sons within a year and one more son and daughter later. After birth of the two sons (twins) he leaves home for Kashi. He was hardly 9 years of age at that time. At Kashi, he took initiation into Sanyasa Asrama from Krishna Saraswati and took the name of Narasimha Saraswati. After that he went to Badarikasram and visited many, many holy places.

Chapter 13 - Narasimha Saraswati curing the chronic stomach ulcer of the Brahmin

In this chapter is described the visit of Guru Nath along with his disciples to his parents at Karanjapuri. From there he again sets out on his itinerary. At Vasari Bramheswar, Guru Nath cures the chronic stomach ulcer of a Brahmin, who was about to kill himself, being unable to bear the excruciating pain of the ulcer.

Chapter 14 - Sri Narasimha Saraswati rescuing the life of Sayamdeo by His Grace.

In this chapter, is described how Sayamdeo, the village officer is Vasari Bramheshwar, was protected by Guru Nath from being killed by the Muslim Nawab.

Chapter 15 - The Holy Pilgrimage places of Bharata

In this chapter is described Guru Nath's instructions to his disciples regarding the merits of doing pilgrimages and which of the places they will have unfailingly visit. After sending most of his disciples on pilgrimage, Guru Nath lives in seclusion (invisible to others) at Vaijnath. The Siddha Yogi was the only disciple who was retained by Guru Nath with him at Vaijnath. (The mere study of this chapter with faith and devotion, is believed to confer upon the reader the very merit of doing the pilgrimages himself).

Chapter 16 The fruits of devotion to the Guru

In this chapter, Guru Nath narrates to a Brahmin about the necessity of single point devotion to the Guru and the merit of Guru Seva, by way of illustration of the anecdote of Dhaumya Rishi and his disciples namely Aruni, Baid and Upamanya. Unless Guru is pleased, the doors of knowledge will not be opened to the student/aspirant.

Guru Nath now comes to Bhillawadi (Bhuvaneshwari Kshetra) on the eastern bank of river Krishna. He stays there for four months (Chaturmasya - the four months of the monsoon season), under the Audumber Tree on the western side of Krishna river.

Chapter 17 - The blockheaded Youth getting metamorphosed into a great pandit.

In this chapter is described Guru Nath transforming onto a great Pandit one block-headed Brahmin youth, who was directed to Him by Goddess Bhuvansehwari Devi herself.

Chapter 18 - The poor Brahmin find a treasure.

In this chapter is described Guru Nath's coming to Panchaganga Kshetra, the holy confluence of the Panchaganga with Krishna River, near Amrapur. (This place later came to know as Narsobawadi). Guru Nath relieves the poverty of a Brahmin of Amrapur by making him discover a treasure pot in his own yard.

(Study of this chapter is believed to earn for one of the grace of Goddess Mahalakshmi)

Chapter 19 - Guru Nath's showering of special Grace on the Yogini-Ganas and Ganganuja's Darshan of Kasi, Prayaga and Gaya - The Holy Triple-Kshetras.

This chapter describes the Audumbar Vriksha Mahima. It also narrates about the special worship which was being done by the Yogini Ganas to Guru Nath everyday. Guru Nath shows Prayaga, Kashi and Gaya to Ganganuja and makes him complete the whole pilgrimage within just a single day. Sri Narasimha Saraswati later announced that he was leaving form there. He comforts the Yogini-Ganas that although he would be leaving form there, he would still continue to be present there only in his subtle form (Grace-body) and will be answering prayers for all devotees.

Chapter 20 - Gangadhar's wife getting riddance from persecution by the Brahmin ghost.

This chapter describes that even after the Guru Nath's leaving from Panchaganga Kshetra (Narsobawadi), how his Padukas left under the Audumber Tree continued to respond to the prayers of devotees as per the assurance given to the Yogini-Ganas by Guru Nath. A woman was freed from the Brahma Rakshasa, who caused death to all the five children born to her again. But one of the sons, just when the parents were planning to do his Upanayanam ceremony, dies. Guru Nath in the guise of a Yogi, appears to her and gives philosophical teaching about the inevitability of death and tries to reconcile her to the event, but the woman remained inconsolable.

Chapter 21 - The revival of the dead child (The Gurusthan Mahima)

This chapter describes how Sri Guru Nath, moved by pity at the sorrow of the woman, brings back to life the dead child.

Chapter 22 - The advent of Guru Nath at Gangapur.

From this chapter onwards begins the glorious saga of Gangapur. It begins with the narrative of Guru Nath making the old , dry buffalo yielding milk copiously and thus relieving the poverty of a Brahmin couple of Gangapur.

(Study of this chapter is believed to grant cattle wealth and prosperity)

Chapter 23 - The Brahma - Rakshasa gets liberation.

This chapter describes Guru Nath's settling down at Gangapur Math at the request of the king of that place. Guru Nath blesses a BrahmaRakshasa and restores it to human form and grants him Sadgati.

(Study of this chapter is believed to remove vaastu-doshas and to protect against afflictions from grahas i.e., from evil effects of planets.

Chapter 24 - Sri Narasimha Saraswati vouchsafing to Trivikrama Bharati the Viswarupa.

In this chapter is described Guru Nath's vouchsafing Vishwaroopa Darshan to Trivikrama Bharati.

Trivikrama Bharati is taken to the very threshold of Jnana and he gains a glimpse of the all pervading Divinity. "One sees the Self in all and all in the Self" in the state of Jnana.

Chapter 25 - The pride and conceit of the two foolish pandits.

This chapter describes how the two boastful brahmins who, to say, were trading in the Vedas, were brought by Trivikrama Bharati before Guru Nath.

Chapter 26 - The Infinite Glory of the Vedas and their true Purpost.

This chapter describes Sri Narasimha Saraswati explaining to the vain-glorious pundits about the sanctity of Vedic lore and that Vedas are not meant for Vada and polemics. Vedas are verily the mother; they are to be treated with reverence and veneration. They are meant to illuminate our intellect and to help us discover our true self, and are not intended for Jeevanopadhi but for Jeevana-Paramavadhi, they are meant for Bhakti and Mukti and for Bhukti. They are meant for nurturing and enriching the spirit but not for filling and pampering one's being.

Chapter 27 - The Harijan's chanting of the Vedic Mantras and humbling the conceit of the foolish pundits.

This chapter describes how the two vain-glorious pundits were humbled, and had brought upon themselves a curse which turned them into Brahma Rakshasas.

Chapter 28 - The significance and the power of Vibhuti (Holy Ash)

This chapter narrates the story of the momentarily low caste man turned Brahmin who was first unwilling to go back to his home but soon sank back to delusion again, no sooner than the Holy Ash (Bhasma) had been washed off his body, and how he went away home along with his wife and children merrily, forgetting all that had happened just a little earlier.

Chapter 29 - The significance and power of the Vibhuti (Holy Ash) further elaborated.

In this chapter the great power of the Holy Ashes is further explained, how by the mere touch of the Holy Ash on the body of the Sage Vamadeva the Maha-Rakshasa got liberated. In the metaphysical sense, Bhasma means destruction of the 'Deha-Buddi' or the 'Deha-Bhranti' i.e. overcoming of the idea and obsession that 'one is the body and nothing beyond that'. One who will have transcended this 'Deha-Bhavana', as exemplified in the person of Vamadeva, will have nothing to fear from. He is indeed the Master of the World. He is the redeemer and rescuer of the fallen and the doomed. He is indeed one with Lord Shiva Himself.

Chapter 30 - Vairagyabodha to the young woman who was bemoaning her husband's death.

This chapter descibes the story of the young woman Savitri and the death of her sick husband whom she brought all the way from her far away home, for Guru Nath's Darshan with great hopes of his recovery.

Chapter 31 - The Supreme Power of Chastity.

This chapter deals with the Pativrata Dharma, the duties and disciplines for a married woman.

Chapter 32 - Reviving to life the dead husband of the Young woman.

This chapter describes the bringing back to life of the dead husband of the woman by Guru Nath.

Chapter 33 - The power of the Rudraksha and the merit one earns by wearing it on the body.

This chapter describes the Rudraksha Mahima and illustrates the story of the monkey and the cock and the merit earned by them because of wearing of the Rudrakshas on their bodies.

Chapter 34 - RudraAbhisheka Mahima

This chapter refers to the RudrAdhyayana and the RudrAbhisheka Mahima and the story of the Prince who died at a very young age but got back his life again.

Chapter 35 - Samavara Vrata Mahima

This chapter narrates about the Somvara Vrata Mahima and the story of the Princes Seemanthini. It also tells how the Mantras (mystic chants) forefeit their potency if they are made overt, and that for woman the Vratas are far more beneficial than the Mantras.

Chapter 36 - Vedic Injunctions of man's duties and Obligations.

This chapter describes the plight of the Brahmin-woman who went for Parannabhojana (charity feast). Guru Nath explains to the Brahmin woman and her husband some of the vedic injunctiojns.

Chapter 37 - Grishastha Dharmas and what is to be observed and what is to be avoided

The Do's and the Don'ts. This chapter describes the religious incumbent on a Grihasthana(the house-holder)

Chapter 38 - Feeding of thousands of people with but small measureful of rice.

This chapter describes how Guru Nath made the food prepared for a couple of persons Akshaya (inexhaustible) and made it suffice for a large Samaradhana, for thousands of people to be fed sumptuously.

Chapter 39 - The Barren woman past her sixties bears children.

This chapter describes the birth of children to a barren woman past her sixties, as a result of Guru Nath's blessings.

Chapter 40 - Deadwood bearing twigs and growing into a Tree.

This chapter describes the miracle of dead wood putting leaves and the cure of leprosy of one Brahmin by name Narahari, by the Grace of Guru Nath. Guru Nath gives the illustration of the forest couple and how their steadyfast faith was rewarded.

Chapter 41 - The unflinching devotion of Sayamdeo to Guru Nath

This chapter desribes Sayamdeo's coming to Guru Nath and the test of faith he was put to by Guru Nath. Guru Nath relates the story of Twastha who sets out with determination to fulfil the impossible demands of his guru and the latter's family members.

(This chapter is an allegorical description of Self - Realisation. Sayamdeo is the the Sadhaka, the aspirant. It was dark night with heaviest downpour of rain, which symbolises 'the Dark Night of the Soul'. Fire represents Knowledge and Wisdom. As Sayamdeo returned to (near) the Sangam, he hears the chant of the Vedas. It is Anahata Nada - the Omkara Dhwani, reverberating in one's own heart as well as in the entire universe. There he glimpses the Sadguru, in the full splendour of the moonlight. Clouds of ignorance have cleared off; the fire of knowledge is lit, and Sayamdeo has clear vision of the Sadguru. That is Sakshatkara, the State of realisation.

Chapter 42 - Lord Vishveshvara blesses Twasta

This chapter describes Twasta's Kashi Yatra and how he earned Lord Vishveshwara's grace and was able to fulfill all the impossible demands of His Guru and his family members. This chapter teaches us that there is nothing which cannot be achieved through faith.

Chapter 43 - Ananta Padmanabha Vrata Mahima.

This chapter describes the Ananta Padmanabha Vrata Mahima and the story of Kaundinya Rishi, who through the grace of Lord Ananta, earned an eternal abode in the realm of the stars in the Heavens (skies). Guru Nath asks Sayamdeo, that He should also perform Ananta Padmanabha Vrata, especially because he too belonged to the Kaundinya Gotra.

Chapter 44 - The weaver Tantuku's pilgrimage to Srisaila Kshetra.

This chapter describes Sri Narasimha Saraswati taking the weaver Tantuku to SriSaila Parvata in a trice on the Holy Shivratri Day by his mystical power, and his narration of Shivratri Mahima and the story of King Vimarsan.

(Tantuku sees none else but His Guru 's formeven in the Shivalinga at SriSailam shrine. A tru disciple should visualise His Guru alone in all the Gods. For him all the gods get subsumed in the Form of his guru.)

Chapter 45 - The Leprosy of Nandisarma cured.

This chapter refers to the ancedote of one Brahmin, Nandi by name, who was suffering from leprosy and who went to Tujapur and other Holy places and did great austerties. The Goddess Parameswari directed him in his dream to visit Gangapur and seek the blessings of Sri Narasimha Saraswati for the cure of his disease. He thereafter becomes a close disciple of Guru Nath.

Chapter 46 - The Poet-devotee of Lord Shri Kalleshwara.

This chapter refers to the ancedote of one poet who was a devotee of Lord Kalleshwara and who did not believe in Sri Narasimha Saraswati's divinity and therefore was talking disrespectfully of him saying "How cana man (a mere physical being) be Sri Kalleshwara, the God". But he soon realises the great mistake of his assesment and becomes a staunch devotee and close disciple of Guru Nath.

Chapter 47 - Guru Nath presents himself at many houses in different villages at one and the same time to accept Bhiksha.

This chapter describes how Guru Nath visits the homes of seven of his devotees in the different villages during one Diwali festival and stays with each one of them, while also being present at Gangapur at the same time.

Chapter 48 - The farmer-devotee's rich harvest.

This chapter describes how Guru Nath helped his farmer devotee to get a rich harvest of crop, while all the crops of that areas during that season were devatated by the cyclone.

Chapter 49 - The Holiness and power of Gangapur.

This chapter describes Teertha Mahima of Gangapur and the Bhima-Amaraja Sangam and of Pap Vinashini teertha etc. and how Guru Nath's sister Ratni was cured of her skin disease.

Guru Nath is also said to have narrated about Guru Charitra to his disciples in this chapter.

Guru Gita is full of spiritual import. The Primeval and Supreme Guru. Lord Shiva Himself has given the Guru Gita to humanity. The Lord says, "Except through Guru, there is no other way to God".

(The same is implied in the saying of Lord Jesus, "I am the way; I am Father are one".)

Chapter 50 - The story of Bhadrayuvu and Guru Nath's showering of Grace on the Nawab.

This chapter illustrates the merit one earns by Mahapurusha SanDarshan i.e., by visiting Holy people. The Nawab who was a washerman in his previous life but born in a royal family in this life because of the blessings he had from Sri Sripada SriVallabha, gains the Darshan of Sri Narasimha Saraswati and gets cured of his physical ailment and also atains spiritual liberation.

(The Rajak, although he too has had his sense cravings like most of us, yet his devotion to the Guru was the greatest redeeming feature in his case. If your sense-cravings do not drown nad obliterate away your faithin God, we too can hoped to be saved. The episode of the Rajak turned into Nawab holds his hopes to all, the weak minded and sense crazy people.

Chapter 51 - The Mahaprasthan

In this chapter, the Mahaprasthan of Guru Nath is described. Gur Nath has decieded to withdraw his physical form. He sets out from Gangapur leaving his Nirguna Padukas there after enshrining "His presence" and power in them. He leaves for the Holy SriSaila Parvata with four of his disciples. From there, he sets out on a flower-float on the waters of PatalGanga to his eternal abode. He sends back a cluster of flowers as a token of his message and blessings to his disciples, which comes floating against the current.

The inal message of Guru Nath to humanity is embodied in a Nutshell in this chapter. He assures that 'through mere remembrance of him' one can earn his grace. He also tells about the great merit which the Guru Charitra Parayana confers.
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Kundalini, The Mother of the Universe
The Mystery of Piercing the Six Chakras (by Rishi Singh Gherwal, 1930). This little self-published work could be most charitably described as an anthology of material on Kundalini Yoga...

Shree Guru Charitra
Guru Charitra (Caritra) is in the nature of a sriptural text devoutly followed by spiritural aspirants, mostly in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the spiritual centres referred therin are loacted in these states. It is in conversational form between the master and the disciple clarifying all doubts of the disciple. Mainly, it deals with biographies of Lord Dattatreya and his subsequent incarnations as Sripada Srivallabha and Sri Narasimha Saraswati...

TANTRA: Shiva and Linga Puja (Pooja)
Shiva Puja is the name of the action in Hinduism by which one worships Lord Siva through traditional and ancient rites with the use of mantra, tantra, kriyas, mudras, and abhishekam...

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