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Guru Charitra is one of the most revered scriptural texts of Hinduism. Containing the biographies of Lord Dattatreya, (Lord Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh) and his subsequent incarnations Sripada Sri Vallabha and Sri Narasimha Saraswati, it clarifies several doubts on religious dogmas, rituals and doctrines through a conversation between the master and his disciple. This book, steeped in lofty Hindu philosophical ideas also portrays a picture of the social and economic condition of the medieval times in India, and the message conveyed by the numerous teachings of the Guru needs to be understood in the context of those days.
Reading of this interactive account, written in simple and lucid language will give strength and encouragement to spiritual aspirants to continue with their sadhana (spiritual pursuit), enable them to overcome the various problems of modern day living and fulfil their inherent wishes.
Guru Charitra a profoundly revered scriptural text dating back to the 15th century is devoutly followed by spiritual aspirants mostly in Karnataka Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. (Most of the Spiritual centers referred therein are located in these states). It is in conversational form between the master and the disciple clarifying all the doubts of the disciple. Mainly it deals with biographies of lord dattatreya and his subsequent incarnations as Sripada Sri Vallabha and Sri Narasimha Saraswati. In fact the reading of Guru Charitra gives strength and encouragement to spiritual aspirants to continue with their sadhana (spiritual disciplines and practices) despite the various troubles and travails they encounter in the process form time to time.
The idea of Guru Charitra in English originated in the study circle conducted by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi in Chembur a suburb of Bombay. The subject was taken up for discussion chapter by chapter in the weekly meetings. Sri P.B. Paranjape founder of Shri Swami Samarth vishwa Kalyan Kendra Participated in the discussions and explained the subtler spiritual aspects contained in the text. It was ultimately decided to compile the chapters in English in book from and make it available to the English readers who could not read the same in the other languages.
Shir L.N. Joshi had attempted it but he could not achieve his ambition Late Shri K.V.R Rao an ardent devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba took the initiative and enlisted the co-operation and support of Sri Sathya Sai devotees Chembur in getting the manuscripts types and corrected. The typescript was perused by late Shri N. Kasturi, biographer of Sri Sathay Sai Baba who also effected the 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 circumstances beyond our control the book could not be published earlier. Due to divine grace today we have been able to place 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 appreciations 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 realisation.
Guru Charitra, till a few years back, was only available in Marathi and Kannada. In recent years, Telugu translations of the book have become available. It may perhaps be now available in a few other Indian languages also, but, as far as we are aware, there has been no English rendering of the book so far. The present book in English was started by Shri Joshi some years back, so as to make this spiritual treasure available to wider sections of people. Unfortunately for us, Shri Joshi some years back, so as to make this spiritual treasure available to wider sections of people. Unfortunately for us, Shri L.N. Joshi is now no more, having left his physical body on 30 October 1981, to merge in and abide at the lotus feet of Guru Nath, which was his yearning all through his life. It is a matter of regret for us that he could not see the book in print. But we feel sure that his spirit will rejoice and be happy that the efforts he had begun, have at last borne fruit and that the book has now seen the light of day.
This is but a free rendering and an abridged version of the original Guru Charitra. The original text was compiled by Sri Saraswati Gangadhar, a devotee of Sri Narasimha Saraswati, a fully enlightened soul very well versed in Guru tattwa. The text was in Marathi in OVI form of poetry. The same was transcribed into Sanskrit by the great saint Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati (1854-1914), a contemporary of Sainath, i.e., Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. A complete rendering of the original text into English is a colossal and formidable task and is far beyond our capacity and competence. In the present book, it has been our attempt to bring out the gist of the original text, but at the same time of course ensuring, as best as we can, that the spirit of the original text is not lost.
We do not know to what extent we have been able to achieve the above objective but if this book, in spite of whatever deficiencies and shortcomings it may be having, still succeeds in satisfying the reader's interest even in a small measure and enthuses and awakens in him the desire and yearning for diving deeper into spiritual lore, for which purpose abundant spiritual literature is available, it would be highly gratifying to us indeed.
It is a bold attempt made by us, and it is our firm faith and belief that it is the grace of and guidance from Guru Nath Sri Narasimha Saraswati alone, that has helped us in our venture. We make our obeisance to Sri Guru Nath and his various manifestations including Sri Manik Prabhu, Sri Swami Samarth Akkalkot Maharaj and Sri Sai Baba.
It may be mentioned here, that the manuscript had received the unique blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba (puttaparthi) and Sri Siddharaj Manik Prabhu Maharaj. Earlier, it was also blessed by Sri Swami Amalananda of Pen (Penvel) during the letter's visit to Chembur.
We cannot conclude this preface without acknowledgeing our deep debt of gratitude to Sri P.B. Paranjape (dearly called as Nana). It was he who has encouraged us all through and instilled in us confidence and helped us complete this sacred book. Sri Nana is a very saintly person and is an example of extreme humility, great devotion, selfless love and all goodness. He is a highly endowed spiritual soul and many come to him for spiritual succour. It is with his endeavours that Shri Swami Samarth Viswa Kalyana Kendra was founded in the year 1981 with its center at Apta (Karnala) Panvel Taluka, Raigad District, Maharashtra, for the propagation of the teaching and philosophy of Sri Akkalkot Maharaj. With Pranams unto the Guru padukas of Ganagapur, we dedicate this book to Viswa Kalyana Kendra.
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