Swami Samarth of Akkalkot ( Maharashtra, India), was an Indian Guru of the Dattatreya tradition. (To know more about Dattatreya, please click the link Lord Dattatreya ). He lived in his physical body in the 19th century. He is widely respected in Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Swami Samarth traveled all over the country and eventually set his abode at Akkalkot village in Maharashtra, India. Maharaj first appeared at Akkalkot on a Wednesday around the September–October period in the year 1856 AD. He stayed in Akkalkot for close to 22 years. Swami Samarth is considered as an avtaar (Divine incarnation) of Lord Dattatreya. Before settling in Akkalkot, he travelled to various places in the Himalayan region including China, Tibet and Nepal. He has also traveled to places such as Puri, Varanasi(Kashi), Haridwar, Girnar, Kathiawad and Rameswaram and stayed at Mangalvedha, a town near Pandharpur in Solapur district, Maharashtra. He took Mahasamadhi (left his mortal body) in 1878.
His kindness was always bestowed on the poor, needy and the people at the lowest rung of the society. Both Hindus and Muslim festivals like Dusshehra and Moharram etc. used to be celebrated by Him.
Once, on his visit to a place called Rampur, a devotee named Rawaji, to celebrate his visit, cooked food for 50 people. However, hearing the news of Swami Samarth’s arrival hundreds of people from the neighbouring villages started rushing to the village. Seeing such a large number of people at his doorstep Rawaji became visibly panicky. Moved by his plight, Swami Samarth asked Rawaji to get some empty baskets. When the baskets were brought from the market, idols of all the deities like Khandoba, Annapurna, etc were put in them and food materials like chapatis (bread) etc. were piled over them. Bawaji and his wife were asked to carry these baskets and take three rounds around the Tulsi plant. After that, they were asked to serve food from these baskets to the guest without looking into them. When food were being served, Rawaji and his wife were amazed to see that the baskets never exhausted even after a few hundred people had been served. After all the people who had come finished their meal, Swami Samarth took his meal. This is known as ‘Annapurna Siddhi’.
Swami Samarth had the capacity to read the minds of all the people coming to him and also was able to know about their past and future. Once a Jewish doctor, who was working as an eye specialist in the J.J. Hospital, Mumbai met Swami Samarth. The doctor was very proud of his professional competence. Seeing him Swami Samarth asked him as to how many of the eye patients he had treated had lost their eye sights for ever ?. This sentence made a tremendous impact on the doctor. He realised that many people had lost their sights forever even if they had been treated by him. His ego immediately vanished and thereafter he became a devotee of Swami Samarth. After retirement the doctor settled-down at Akkalkot and served the Master till his last.
After serving the poor, curing the sick and helping the spiritual seekers over a few decades, Swami Samarth one day suddenly announced that the time had come for him to go out of his physical existence. It was the year 1878 AD. At the specific day announced by him, he seated himself in Padmasana (Lotus Posture) and uttered his last words – “No one should weep I shall always be present at all places and I shall respond to every call of the devotees”.
The divine play (leela) of Swami Samarth did not end with his Maha Samadhi (shedding his mortal coil). His devotees continue to experience the miracles of his visible and invisible help even till today. Many people have authenticated his appearance in physical form before them. Dr. S.V.Marathe, a private medical practitioner of Pune once underwent treatment in a chest Hospital at a place called Aundh in 1964. Many of his friends were anxious to come and visit him. At this juncture, Swami Samarth appeared before many of his friends in a dream and gave the same message to all of them. He asked them not to worry about Dr.Marathe, as he was under His (Swami Samarth’s) protection and also not to come to Aundh.
Hundreds of devotees continue to have miraculous experience about the Perfect Master even today. His various temples in various states of India attract devotees from all classes, religions and castes. To a beginner who doesn’t know how to worship Swami Samarth and obtain his grace, simply should start visiting his temple and praying to him. He will SURELY RESPOND and guide him.