Sri Narasimha Swami was a lively, energetic and studious child brought up in a deeply religious and generous atmosphere. Later he became a leading lawyer, politician and a person of social eminence. A tragedy in the family acted as a turning point, as he left the warmth and security of his home. His quest lasted for more than eleven years until he went to Shirdi to obtain a ‘darshan’ of Sai Baba’s Samadhi. It was that historic day, 29th august 1936, which changed the course of his life. Sai Baba took possession of Narasimha Swamiji.
He became an evangelist and spread the message of Sai Baba’s name is there in this universe, Narasimha Swamiji will be remembered, with reverence and faith. .
An MBBS, MD from Bangalore university, Dr. Vijayakumar served as an Industrial Physician for 35 years and retired as Chief Medical Officer ofAshok Leyland, an automobile manufacturing industry in Tamil Nadu. Currently he is engaged as a professor Emeritus in Public Health at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science in Karnataka and also as a consultant in an AIDS prevention project. .
He received the Tamil Nadu state government award in 2009 for donating his blood 103 times. The USAID (United States Agency for International Development) honoured him in 2006 for his pioneering work in AIDS prevention. .
Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji pulled him into Sai fold in 1977 and since 2006 he has been serving as Vice-President of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre, Thyagarajanagar, and Bangalore. He is also the Associate Editor of ‘Saipadananda’ published from Bangalore Sat Mandir. He has authored 11 books so far.
He is 59 years-old. Happily married to Seetha, he has two Sons who are well-settled in the software industry.
This humble offering is placed at the holy feet of Sadguru Sri Narasimha Swamiji whose inspired zeal and matchless dedication discovered and presented to the troubled world Sai Baba, the Saviour par excellence. .
Our obeisance to Gurudev, Sadguru Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji who is always close upon our thoughts and looking after our welfare.
We have pleasure in presenting this book Sri Narasimha A Swami: Apostle of Shirdi Sai Baba — a comprehensive biography of our Parama Guru, Sri Narasimha Swamiji. In these pages, Swamiji’s life has been depicted in a chronological order and the spread of Sai movement all over the country by the tireless efforts of Sri Narasimha Swamiji and his other devoted followers.
Difficult as the task was, it was a happy idea of Dr.G.RVijayakumar to write this biography of Sri Narasimha Swamiji and to publish it in the 50th year of Swamiji’s ‘Aradhana’. Dr.Vijayakumar has collected and sifted information from devotees who were closely associated with Swamiji. He has pieced together a coherent and vivid narrative.
We are grateful to our President, Sri R.Seshadri who is closely connected with the Sai movement for over five decades, for having gone through the typescript meticulously and penning a scholarly foreword.
Let me here record our sincere gratitude to Sai Baba, Sri Narasimha Swamiji and Sri Raclhakrishna Swamiji for raining down their mercy upon us in the form of this spiritual biography, full of noble ideas and sentiments. Written in a charming and lucid style, this book will certainly help to engender faith in spiritual truths and encourage Sai devotees to lead a spiritual life. No doubt, this book will prove an ornament to Sai literature.
This book is an inspiring saga of the life and mission of Sri Narasimha Swamiji, which the readers will find interesting and enlightening.
Religion has been called the opiate of the people, an anachronism, an irrelevance and even a drag on progress in he modern world. This indictment is not entirely fanciful. The unfortunate emphasis on polemics and proselytisation common in organised religion has tended to obscure its true function of serving as a link between man and his Master. It was this function which the founders of the great religions exercised; it is still the driving force of the true ‘seeker’ today, who, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, wants ‘to strive and pine for Self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain salvation.’
It is this eternal quest, which took Sri Narasimha Swamiji to go in search for a Sadguru. He ultimately discovered for us, Sai Baba of Shirdi. Narasimha Swamiji got a big treasure of Sai grace and he distributed freely to all. In fact, Sai Baba was only confined to the remote village of Shirdi in Maharashtra prior to 1936 and it was Sri Narasimha Swamiji’s untiring efforts for two decades that made Sai Baba a household name all over India.
Narasimha Swamiji met people from all walks of life and from all parts of India and indeed of the world. They include poets and artists, doctors and lawyers, scholars and civil servants, sailors and soldiers, judges, business magnates, factory workers, artisans and unlettered peasants. Among them are the shining faces of young men and women who have just left the University, and grey-haired men and women who had been searching for an anchorage all their lives. Narasimha Swamiji gave them a healing and inspiring touch. He offered them the magical formula of Sai Baba. The new life he gave to their lives through the grace of Sai Baba is a new page in ‘Bhakti Marg’.
Many have written much on Sai Baba and his Mission but hardly anything on Sri Narasimha Swamiji, whose untiring efforts made us know Sai Maharaj. This is not surprising. Saints like Narasimha Swamiji do not live in the past; he rarely kept a personal diary or wrote memoirs; and his individual self, having long since been merged in Sainath Maharaj, he had little inclination to reminisce about himself or about the past. Moreover, a spiritual odyssey is not easy to reconstruct on paper. The usual materials, the plethora of which is often the despair of the biographer and the historian, simply do not exist. There are no archives of official and non-official papers, no back volumes of newspapers and periodicals, tapes and films from which significant facts are to be gleaned. The struggles of the spirit are not waged in public view; nor are they recorded in dispatches of press correspondents; the ordeals, the travails and the triumphs of spiritual discipline have their dramatic moments, but the world knows little about them.
Difficult as the task was, it was a happy idea of Dr.G.R.Vijayakumar to write a biography of Narasimha Swamiji and to publish it on the fiftieth year of his ‘Aradhana’. The printing expenses of the biography originally written in Kannada were borne by the volunteers of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre and the book was distributed to Sai devotees free of cost. This popular measure was widely appreciated and there have been persistent requests for an English version as it was felt that Swamiji’s biography should reach a wider circle of readers all over the country
Dr.Vijayakumar, a Doctor of Medicine, has been a Sai devotee since 1977 and is deeply versed in religion and philosophy. A good number of his articles have been published in several Sai magazines all over the country. He has collected and sifted information from many close associates of Narasimha Swamiji and Iroin reminiscences of older devotees; he has pieced together a coherent and vivid narrative to make this biography really comprehensive.
Dr.Vijayakumar gives a word picture of the young Narasimha, the lively, and energetic and studious child brought up in a deeply religious and generous atmosphere. Influence of two great saints — Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Sringeri, Sri Narasimha Bharathi Swarnigal and Sorakkai Swamiji in his younger days, evolution of young Narasimha Iyer into a leading lawyer, politician and a person of social eminence. A tragedy in the family acting as a turning point for his leaving the warmth and security of his home. This was a quest, which was to last more than eleven years. In his quest br God he submitted cheerfully to the most rigorous discipline of the ashrams, which sheltered him, and did not disdain the lowliest and the hardest manual labour. He travelled a great deal, mostly on foot, to different parts of the country, braving fatigue, cold and hunger. It was a self-imposed ordeal in which hope alternated with despair. At the end of it, he had seen life in its many facets, met all kinds of people, including some of the most extra ordinary ‘yogis’ whose outward eccentricities concealed the sublimity of their spiritual attainments. His body, mind and soul had been tempered like steel in the crucible of austerities, but the acme of his ‘sadhana’ was nor reached until he went to Shirdi for a ‘darshan’ of Sal Baba’s saniadhi. It was that historic day, 29th August 1936, which changed the course of his life. Sal Baba took possession of Narasimha Swamiji. His mind became still and he was face to face with the Master who had given up his physical body eighteen years earlier.
Narasimha Swamiji was granted ‘Realization’ then and there. He became an evangelist and spread the message of Sai Baba all over the country. He brought out Sal Baba from the narrow confines of Shirdi and spread his message all over the country.
Narasimha Swamiji searched for his Sadguru, discovered him iind shared with us all the grace he received from his Sadguru. ‘This, briefly, is the story of his life.
Dr.Vijayakumar is renowned for his prolific writings on Sai Baba and is widely read by devotees all over India. He is a research scholar who revels in assiduous collection of data, without leaving out even minute details and embellishes them with an easy style of presentation. He has brought out a vivid picture of Swamiji’s personality and a lucid presentation of his life in this book.
Narasimha Swamiji’s life is a spiritual triumph. At the sight of that holy face shining like the Full Moon, our hearts overflow with Divine joy. This is our humble prayer to Sri Narasimha Swamiji — “Oh Gurudev, may this little offering of ours, dedicated to you in the intoxication of our love and reverence meet with your gracious approval! May your merciful blessings be upon us!”
I was employed at Kil-Kotagiri in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu during 1986-88. From the living room of my residence which was on a hilltop, I could see in distant plains the course of Hhavani river. Whenever I used to look at the course of river Bhavani, I used to have visions of Narasimha Swamiji. When I mentioned this to Sri 0. K.Varada Rao, the first Secretary of the All India Sai Samaj he was overwhelmed with joy and expressed that I am indeed under the benign grace of Narasimha Swamiji. He narrated a tiumber of his personal experiences with Narasimha Swamiji, which created an indelible impression in my mind. Sri Varada Rao looked upon my wife, Seetha as his foster daughter and used to call me afIctionately Alludu’ in Telugu, which means son-in-law.
Sri T.A. Ram Nathen of Kolkata had earlier sent me a book on Sri Narasimha Swamiji written by Sri P.S. Varadaraja Iyer. I also hiad a copy of the book ‘Apostle of Sai Baba — Life of Sri Narasimha Swamiji’ written by my Gurudev, Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji.
Armed with some details on Sri Narasimha Swamiji’s life and Mission, I delivered a few lectures on Sri Narasimha Swamiji’s life from 1989 onwards at Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Pune etc., However, a concrete idea to publish a comprehensive biography on Sri Narasimha Swamiji came up after I delivered a lecture on Sri Narasimha Swamiji on 21.8.2006 at Sri Sai Spiritual Centre, Bangalore in connection with his 132” birth anniversary. Volunteers of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre came forward to bear the expenses for publishing a book on Narasimha Swamiji and distributing it free to devotees on the ensuing 50th Aradhana day on 7th October 2006. Although I was diffident to take up this task, Sri Narasimha Swamiji made me an instrument and through me he himself wrote his biography in Kannada and the book was dedicated to his lotus feet on 7th October 2006. Those devotees who did not know Kannada made a specific request that I should write an English version to cater to a wider circle of devotees. Again with Swamiji’s grace, this work Sri Narasimha Swami: Apostle of Shirdi Sai Baba is now being dedicated to our Parama Guru.
I am indebted to Sri R. Seshadri (President, Sri Sai Spiritual Centre, Bangalore) for penning a scholarly foreword, Sri M.S. Jothi Raghavan (Secretary, S.S.S.C) for the affectionate reminders, Sri Gopinath and Smt. Indira of Saipadananda Graphics for printing the 1st Edition, Sri S. K. Kapur (Ex. Hon Secretary, Sri Sai Bhakta Samaj, Lodhi Road, Delhi) and Dr. Rabinder Nath Kakarya for providing rare photographs of Swamiji for the 2nd edition.
The credit of publishing both the English and Hindi version of this book in an attractive, systematic form goes to Sri Surinder Kumar Ghai, Managing Director of Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. His enriched experience and expertise in this field yielded all the support I needed. I express my warmest of regards to him also.
As long as Sai Baba’s name is there in this universe, Narasimha Swamiji will be remembered. Whenever we see Sai Baba, we should see Sri Narasimha Swamiji in one eye and Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji in the other.
It was characteristic of Sri Narasimha Swamiji that he rarely spoke of himself and his early life and he did not encourage devotees to raise the topic. But his biographer has to write about his early life too; otherwise the book will be incomplete. ‘What I discovered about Swamiji after research and talks with some of his veteran devotees like the late Sri T.A.Ram Nathen, late Sri O.K.Varada Rao, late Sri TKesava Rao, Smt.Sita Shri and Sri R.Radhakrishnan, Who apart from answering my questions, placed at my disposal a iiumber of back issues of ‘Sai Sudha’, some souvenirs and a few Iruers, it was indeed a new dimension to the life and Mission of iliis divine evangelist of Sai Baba.
To those who seek ‘the peace that passeth understanding’ this book Sri Narasimba Swami: Apostle of Shirdi Sai Baba will be interesting as well as inspiring. The road traversed by Sri Narasimha Swamiji was long and hard, but he has shown us Sai Baba.
The life of Sri Narasimha Swamiji is a beacon light to all seekers of Truth. If this book helps any seeker to understand Sri Narasimha Swamiji’s immortal and immortalizing message, I shall deem my labours amply rewarded.
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