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Swami Samarth – Short Biography – Akkalkot Maharaj

Swami Samarth, a 19th century Saint in Maharashtra, also known Akkalkot Maharaj, lived for many years at a place called Akkalkot and was considered a saint in the Dattatreya tradition (sampradaya). A tall and majestic figure of over six feet, he moved about as an avadhuta (with no garments on) displaying mastery over body consciousness and indifference to bodily requirements. He traveled extensively in the country, visiting many places of pilgrimage such as Girnar, Amte Jogai and Pandharpur. However, he stayed at Akkalkot for 22 years till his mahasamadhi in April 1878 CE.

Swami Samarth is credited with numerous miracles such as restoring eyesight to the blind, curing chronic diseases, feed large crowds and eve resurrecting the dead. Once a firm dealing in films and cameras, in order to popularize photography in India, sent its official from Bombay (now Mumbai) to take the picture of the famous saint. The American photographer tried to take the picture of the saint without the latter’s approval but the photographer found to his amazement that his camera did not record any picture. Later, when he took the shot with the consent of the saint, the photograph came out normally.

Akkalkot Maharaj, who had studied little, would often clarify intricate passage in complex Vedanta treatises such as Panchadasi for the benefit of leading scholars.

People from all religions would flock to him and he too would visit temples, mosques and dargahs (Muslim shrine). His loving concern embraced all living beings.

Maharaj wanted his devotees to –

  • Take the divine name, which can destroy all sins like fire
  • Turn inward and experience the inner self, which is the fundamental reality behind the apparent cosmos
  • Work not only for sustaining oneself but also for self-purification.

The inspiring assurance to his devotees by Swami Samarth was, - I am ever alive, I am everywhere at all times. If you call my name, I shall certainly respond.

Many shrines to Akkalkot Maharaj have been setup in various places like Mumbai, Pune, Ahmednagar and Surat. His slippers in marble are placed in a shrine in New York.