Swami Samarth, also known as Swami of Akkalkot was an Indian spiritual master of the Dattatreya sect. He is a widely known spiritual figure in various Indian states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He lived during the nineteenth century.
Swami Samarth Maharaj
स्वामी समर्थ महाराज
|Title||Shri Swami Samarth of Akkalkot|
|Died||18 April 1878|
Swami Samarth traveled all across the Indian subcontinent and eventually set his abode at Akkalkot, a village in present-day Maharashtra. He is thought to have initially arrived at Akkalkot on a Wednesday, during either September or October in 1856. He resided at Akkalkot for close to 22 years.
His parentage and origins remain obscure. Some other Indian saints and spiritual figures including Sai Baba of Shirdi and Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon also have similarly unknown origins. According to legend, once when a disciple asked Swami a question about his birth, Swami responded that he had originated from a banyan tree (vata-vriksha in Marathi). On another occasion, Swami had said that his earlier name was Nrusimha Bhan.
Swami Samarth is widely considered to be the fourth (third in physical form) incarnation of Dattatreya, an Indian monk, mystic and Hindu deity. He is also believed to be a reincarnation of Narasimha Saraswati, another earlier spiritual master of the Dattatreya sect.
According to Swami Samarth himself, he had originally appeared in the Kardali forests near Srisailam, a Hindu holy town in present-day Andhra Pradesh. He might have moved through China, Tibet and Nepal during his travels across the Himalayas and its adjacent regions. He is also believed to have visited various Indian regions such as Puri, Varanasi (also Kashi), Haridwar, Girnar, Kathiawar and Rameswaram. He might have also briefly lived at Mangalvedha, a town near Pandharpur in present-day Solapur district, Maharashtra. He finally settled at Akkalkot.
Swami Samarth is also believed to have visited Maniknagar, Karnataka to meet Manik Prabhu, an Indian saint and mystic considered to be another incarnation of Dattatreya. According to the Shree Manik Prabhu Charitra (biography), Swami resided at Maniknagar for around six months. During this period, Manik Prabhu and Swami Samarth often sat under a cluster fig tree (Audumbar in Marathi) and had conversations on profound spirituality. It is claimed that Swami Samarth regarded Manik Prabhu as a brother. 
Swami Samarth probably arrived at Akkalkot in 1856 on receiving an invitation from Chintopant Tol and then stayed on the outskirts of the town for about 22 years. He usually lived at the residence of his disciple Cholappa, where his shrine is presently located.
A common mantra commemorating Swami Samarth is read as “Om Abhayadata Shree Swamisamarthaya Namaha”. His biography known as Shree Guruleelamrut was authored by Sant Wamanbhau Maharaj.
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