DATTA SAMPRADAAY AND THEIR VITAL ROLE
Datta is a Hindu deity encompassing the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, collectively known as Trimurti. The name Dattatreya can be divided into two words - "Datta" (meaning given) and "Atreya" referring to the sage Atri, his physical father.
Various Hindu sects worship him differently. In the Nath tradition, Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a "Lord of Yoga" exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached more as a benevolent god than as a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought. Dattatreya is credited as the author of the Tripura Rahasya given to Parasurama, a treatise on Advaita Vedanta.
Dattatreya was born to the sage Atri, who had been promised by Parameshvara (the Almighty), that He, Parameshvara, would be incarnated as his son. Since Parameshvara subsumes all three members of the trimurti, Dattatreya is at once the incarnation of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
Dattatreya left home at an early age to wander naked in search of the Absolute. He seems to have spent most of his life wandering in the area between and including North Karnataka, through Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and into Gujarat as far as the Narmada River. He attained realization at a town, now known as, Ganagapura in North Karnataka. The original footprints of Datta are believed to be located on the lonely peak at Girnar. The Tripura-rahasya refers to the disciple Parasurama finding Dattatreya meditating on Gandhamadana mountain
He is considered as the first Avatar (incarnation) of the deity Shri Dattatreya in kaliyuga. As per some of the experts he is supposed to have lived from 1320 AD to 1350 AD. He was born in Pithapuram. Though a sketchy Information was available about his life from the book Shri GuruCharitra. Pithapuram, (20 km from Kakinada) a town in East Godavari|Godavari] district of state Andhra Pradesh in India.
Shripada srivallabha was born to Sri Appalaraja Sarma (of Aapastambha Shakha Brahmin) and Sumathi on Bhadrapada Sudha Chavithi ( Ganesh Chaturdi) as the third son of Aappalaraja sarma and Sumati. Going in to his birth secrecy, when Appalaraja Sarma family was preparing for the shraaddha (a yearly ceremony to pay homage to the departed soul), around noon time some Bhikshuk came for bhiksha. Before feeding the invited Brahmins, she fed this brahmin considering him as Dattatreya. Dattatreya became quite happy and offered her a boon. She asked for a son "knowledgeable like you" for which Dattatreya said "yes". She had before two sons, who were blind and lame and several others which did not live long. Dattatreya blessed her by saying that she will have world famous son who will be guru to all. Both husband and wife became happy to hear the blessings and she had Shripada. Shripada finished his studies of Vedas, Shastras etc. by the age of Seven and after his "Upanayan" (Munja) he started lecturing on these. When he reached age of 16, his parents thought of getting him married. However, he said that he is married to only one woman "Vairagya-stree" (Vairagya means Dispassion, stree means Woman) and thus he should be called "Shriya-Vallabh". Thus the name "Shripada ShriVallabha". He left their home for Kashi-pilgrimage. Before leaving he made his two elders brothers who were blind and lame, as normal humans and asked them to take care of their parents. He left Pithapuram for Badarikedar towards North. After the pilgrimage, he went to Gokarna Mahabaleshwar in South. After sepnding 3 years at Mahabaleshwar he went to Shri Shaila mountain (Sri Sailam). Later he stayed most of his life in Kuravpur (Kuravapura).
"Digambara Digambara Shripad Shrivallabh Digambara"
Narasimha Saraswati (1378−1458)
He is the Purna Avatar of Dattatreya(As per "Shripad Shrivallabha Charitra" he is second avatar of Dattatreya).He was born in Karanjapur which is modern Lad- Karanja or karanja in Maharashtra Vidbaraba region.
Shri Narasimha Saraswati was initially named as Narahari or Shaligramadeva. His father's name was Madhav and mother's name was Amba-Bhavani. His surname was Kale. He was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family Shukla-yajurvedi Brahman Kanva Shaka. At Karanja there is the original house where he was born. Although the house is no longer in the original shape, but still some parts remain and have been converted in to a temple.
Ganagapura or Gangapur is the place where he spend more than 20 years of his life.
Akkalkot Niwasi Shri Swami Samartha
He also known as Swami Samartha Maharaj, Swami Maharaj is a household word in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Swami Samartha of Akkalkot is considered by many to be the very form of Sri Nrusimha Saraswati of Ganagapur. Occasionally, Swamy said that he was Nrusimha Bhan and that he was from kadaliban near Srisailam confirmed that he was Nrusimha Saraswati. Swamy took up numerous names at different places which made it hard to trace his travels. He took Mahasamadhi (left his mortal body) in 1878.
Shri Narasimha Saraswati, about four centuries before the advent of Swami Samarth is believed to be the earlier incarnation of Shri Dattatreya. The 'Guru Charitra' one of the most famous books gives lot of information about Him. As per the most popular belief, Shri Narasimha Swami, after helping and spiritually uplifting a large number of people over a few decades, went away to the Himalayas for penance and went into Samadhi. In the Samadhi state He remained for about three hundred years. With the passage of time a huge anthill grew over him and he was lost to the outside world. One day accidentally a woodcutter's axe fell on the bushes grown around the ant hill. He was shocked to find blood stains on the blade of the axe. He cleared the anthill and Lo, he found a Yogi in meditation. The Yogi slowly opened his eyes and consoled the dumbfounded woodcutter saying that it was the Divine Will for Him to re-appear in the world to resume His mission.
This Yogi, in his new role came to be known as Swami Samarth. Prior to his settlement at Akkalkot, Swami Samarth seems to have visited far and wide. While moving in the Himalayan region he visited places like Puri, Benaras, Hardwar, Girnar, Kathiawad and Rameswaram in the South. He also stayed at Mangalvedha, a town near Pandharpur in Solapur district Maharashtra, which had been inhabited earlier by famous saints like Domojipant and Chokhamela. He came to Akkalkot in 1856 where he continued his physical existence for 22 years.
He came to Akkalkot on the invitation of one Chintopant Tol and stayed at a place on the outskirts of the town.