Part 1 - Chapter 1 - The Encounter - Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam

Chapter 1 – The Encounter between Shankar Bhatt and Vyāghreswara Sarma

My salutations to Srī Maha Ganadhipati, Srī Maha Saraswati, lineage of my preceptors, Srī Krishna Bhagavan and all gods and goddesses. I propose to describe the glory of Srīpāda Srīvallabha ― the latest manifestation of Lord Datta; He is the Lord of innumerable universes.

Srī Dattatreya is the oldest and the eternal one. Srī Dattatreya has incarnated in this Kali Yuga[1] as Srīpāda Srīvallabha in the city of Pithapuram, which is situated in the Godavari[2] region of Andhra Pradesh. It is impossible even for the great scholars to describe the grandeur of His divine play. I am completely ignorant and illiterate. Therefore, I submit in all humility that my attempt to portray His life history is only on account of His will, divine order and His divine blessings.

My name is Shankar Bhatt. I belong to Karnataka Desa[3]. I am from the Smartha[4] sect and hail from Bharadwaja gotra[5]. I went to the holy town of Udipi[6] on pilgrimage to visit Bhagavan Srī Krishna in His temple. There the infant Krishna, with a beautifully coloured peacock feather adorning His head, gave me His dārshan[7]. He ordered me to visit Goddess Srī Kanyaka Parameswari in Kanya Kumari[8]. I took holy bath in the confluence of the three oceans there. One Tuesday, I entered the temple to see the goddess. The priest was performing the worship of the deity very sincerely. He took the red coloured flowers from my hand and began to worship Her. At that time, the Mother saw me with Her benevolent looks and said, “Shankarā, I am pleased with the sacred devotion in your heart. Go to Kuruvapuram[9] and take the dārshan of Srīpāda Srīvallabha and obtain fulfilment of your birth. By the mere dārshan of Srīpāda Srīvallabha, an undefinable experience will accrue to your mind, ātma[10] and all your organs.”

Thus, I received the grace of Mother Goddess and started from that holy place. On my way, I reached a village called Marutva Malai, which was at a short distance from Kanya Kumari. I learnt that while Hanuman was carrying the Sanjīvini Mountain from the Himalayas, a small piece of it had fallen down here and therefore this village is called Marutva Malai[11].

The hill in the village of Marutva Malai is beautiful to behold. There are some caves in it. I learnt that the area is a hilly tract inhabited by siddha purushās[12] undertaking penance in an invisible form.

I was looking into those caves with the hope of seeing any great person. I was hoping to get lucky by seeing one of them. However, a tiger was standing at the entrance of one cave. At the sight of the tiger, trembling and tremor started in all my limbs. Agitated with great fear, I cried aloud at once, “Srīpāda! Srīvallabhā! Datta Prabhū!” in despair. The tiger stood still like a domestic animal. An aged sage emerged from the cave. The entire area of Marutva Malai reverberated with the name of Srīpāda Srīvallabha all at once.

Then the old sage said, “My son, you are a fulfilled one. Only great siddhas, great yogis, wise men, and paramahamsas who dwell in nirvikalpa samādhi[13] realize that Lord Datta has incarnated as Srīpāda Srīvallabha in this Kali Yuga. You could come here only because you are lucky. This is a land of spiritual pursuit. It is siddha bhūmi[14]. Your desire will get satisfied. You will certainly be rewarded with the meeting of Srīpāda. The tiger at the entrance of the cave is a jnāni[15]. I advise you to salute him..

Then I saluted that wise person who was in the form of a tiger. Immediately, the tiger roared the sound Oum. The whole of Marutva Malai resounded with that roaring sound. It had also melodiously sung the prayer Srīpāda Rājam Saranam Prapadye![16] I was watching this wonderful scene. All the atoms in the form of the tiger disintegrated and a man with a lustrous celestial body manifested there. That celestial person paid obeisance to the old sage and flew into the sky with his luminous body. The old sage who was before me smiled. He invited me into the cave. I entered the cave silently. A stream of compassion was flowing from the eyes of the aged sage. He created fire[17] by the power of his will. He created sacred materials, some sweets and fruits for offering them as an oblation to the sacred fire. He offered those things into the sacred fire while chanting Vedic hymns.

That aged sage observed, “All righteous rituals like yagna and yāga[18] are getting extinct in the world. Man, who is benefitted from the five elements, is forgetting the deity who is the embodiment of the five elements. Yagnas are to be performed for the gratification of the deities. Deities get gratified from the sacrifices. Nature becomes favourable because of their grace. Man cannot survive when any force in nature turns virulent. Calamities occur if the forces of nature are not appeased. If man departs from the righteous path, dangerous developments are caused by the forces of nature.

I performed this sacrifice for the welfare of the world. Yagna or yajana means fusion. Fortunately, you have witnessed this sacrifice. As a result of witnessing this sacrifice you will get the dārshan of Srīpāda Srīvallabha who is an incarnation of Srī Datta. This is a very rare fortune. The merit earned in many births will suddenly fructify and give such unattainable fortune.”

I saluted that great personage and said, “Great one among siddhas! I am not a scholar or a yogi. I am not a devotee. I am an ignoramus[19]. Kindly take complete mercy on me and clear some of my doubts.” The old hermit agreed to it.

Then I prayed, “Oh, great siddha, when I visited Goddess Mother Srī Kanyaka Parameswari, She directed me to go to Kuruvapuram for the dārshan of Srīpāda Srīvallabha. Here I saw you and the great one in the form of a tiger. Who is that great person in the guise of a tiger? Who really is Srīpāda Srīvallabha? Kindly clarify my doubts and favour me.”


Word References

[1] Dark Age
[2] Second longest river in India
[3] Karnataka: Indian state; Desa: ancient name for province; all location information refers to India, unless not explicitly mentioned otherwise
[4] Follower of the Advaita philosophy given out by Adi Shankaracharya
[5] Lineage; origin from Rishi Bharadwaja
[6] A pilgrimage town in Karnataka
[7] Vision, auspicious sight
[8] Southernmost point of India
[9] Also called Kurungadda; an island in the Krishna River at the village of Atkur near Raichur, Karnataka
[10] The self, the soul
[11] Sanskrit: Maruti = Hanuman, Malai = mountain/hill; the mountain carried by Hanuman
[12] Beings who have reached perfection and have super-human powers
[13] Highest absorption in the Self
[14] Land of siddhas and land of fulfillment
[15] Wise person
[16] May Lord Srīpāda protect us!
[17] Yagna Homam, sacrificial fire
[18] Holy sacrifices
[19] Ignorant person

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (English)

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (Kannada)

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (Telugu)

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (Tamil)

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (Marathi)

Video of Chapter 1 of The Encounter – Sripada Srivallabha Charitramrutam (Hindi)

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