Foreword and Ashirwachan by P P Shree Sadguru Bapat Guruji

The omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent Universal Energy assumes various physical forms to carry out the tri-fold functions of creation, maintenance and destruction. The Dattatreya Shakti is one of such primordial energy forms which gets manifested in this world to primarily spread the message of knowledge (ज्ञान) and ascetic dis-attachment to the material world (वैराग्य). Shripad Shrivallabha and ShrimanNarsimhaSaraswati Swami Maharaj were the first and second incarnations of Lord Dattatreya.

Paramhamsa Parivrajakacharya Shrimat Vasudevananda Saraswati Swami Maharaj (1854-1914 A.D.) was considered to be the third incarnation of Lord Dattatreya and was adorably addressed as ShriThorle Swami Maharaj by his devotees. Much has been written about Swami Maharaj’s life story in Marathi which includes a detailed bio-graphical sketch spread across nine volumes, authored by the eminent scholars Dr. K.R. Joshi, Shri D.S. Manjarekar and others. However it was a long-felt need to inform the rest of the non-Marathi speaking world about this Himalayan figure of Indian spirituality. The most revered Dattatreya bhakta of Mysore, Poojya Swami VirajanandaSaraswati has fulfilled this crying need through this short and beautiful biographical sketch of ‘VasudevaYati’ in English.

जितेंद्रियगणाग्रणीरभिरतःपरेब्रह्मणि।
कलौश्रुतिपथावनेऽत्रितनयोऽवतीर्ण: स्वयम्‍ ॥
करात्तसुकमण्डलु: कुमतखण्डनेदण्डभृत।
पदप्रणतवत्सलोजयतिवासुदेवोयति : ॥

The one who is foremost of all the ones who have triumphed over worldly body, who always dwells in the bliss of Brahma, who has taken birth just to show path of Vedas in this Kaliyuga, its as if Lord Dattatreya himself has appeared! One who has Kamandalu in his hands, and is holding danda in other (as if) to smother the wrong beliefs, who is gentle to who surrenders to him. He is that Victorious Vasudeva Yati!

This sanskrit verse aptly describes the humungous personality of this Mahapurusha and his monumental work emerging out of but not limited to the Dattatreya devotion.

आचारप्रभवोधर्मः was the guiding principle on which Shri Swami Maharaj meticulously led his short life of sixty years. He was a staunch believer and an ardent follower of the Vedic Varnashrama Dharma. His strict observance of Varnashrama rules has been described by many biographers in details but the oceanic compassion that he nurtured in his bosom for the entire humanity has been unfortunately missed out by many. His heartfelt compassion towards humanity is evident through various events in his life and also through his literary works. There are many compositions wherein he beautifully and meaningfully embeds the Veda-mantras in such a way that they could be easily recited by any common devotee without transgressing the Vedic principles. As Saint Tukaram has aptly written "वेदाचा तो अर्थ आम्हांसीच ठावा (Who else but we would understand the meaning of Vedas!"), Swami Maharaj was indeed a Mantra Drashtar Rishi, capable of not only deciphering the Vedic principles but also spreading them skillfully amongst the masses. His achievement in this sense can be only compared to none other than His Holiness AcharyaShrimatAdiShankaracharya. Similar to Acharya, Swami Maharaj too bare footedly scaled the lengths of this nation from north to south, not once but twice to spread the true message of Sanatana Vedic Dharma amongst people of all walks of life. Being a complete renunciate, he possessed nothing in material terms, yet he was capable of giving both Bhukti and Mukti to every person seeking his shelter.

Being a Dattatreya incarnation himself, Swami Maharaj’s major contribution is the unification of the Datta devotees, who hitherto were much divided across the segmented lines of sect, creed, region and religion. He did not worship Lord Dattatreya as an individual deity, but perceived Him as the manifestation of the omnipresent Parabrahma. Hence his literature is not restricted to the devotion of Lord Dattatreya alone, rather it encompasses all forms of universal energy. This is evident through his varied compositions in both Sanskrit and Prakrit. Nonetheless, a major portion of his large literary work has been dedicated to Lord Dattatreya. This includes the voluminous DattaPurana written with strict adherence to the ancient principles and rules of composing Puranas. Very few people are aware of the fact that the famous naam-mantra ‘दिगंबरादिगंबराश्रीपादवल्लभदिगंबरा’is a gift bestowed by Swami Maharaj upon all the Datta devotees of the world. The birth places and the birth-teethis(timings) of earlier Dattatreya incarnations, Lord Shripad Shri Vallabha and Shriman Narsimha Saraswati Swami Maharaj were also brought to light by Swami Maharaj. He gave smarthagni and shrautagnisadhana to many of his devotees and inspired his followers to conduct various yadnyas including samhita swahakar and rudra swahakar.

It is impossible to capture his entire life using the mortal canvas of words! However the simple and heart-touching language used in this bio-picture will definitely stimulate every reader to open the eyes of his/her soul and directly experience the divinity and grace of the worldly and spiritual form of Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Shrimat Vasudevananda Saraswati Swami Maharaj. The author has most successfully captured the spirit of his biography and the spirituality of his life in this book. I sincerely pray to the Sadgurutatwa that each and every reader of this book be touched with this divine experience.

॥नमो गुरवे वासुदेवाय॥

--Bapat Guruji,
Founder of Prakash Dnyan Shakti Charitabe Trust
April 2014
www.yadnya.in
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