Shripad ShriVallabha श्रीपाद श्रीवल्लभ (Sripada SriVallabha) is
considered as the first avatara (incarnation) of the deity Shri
Dattatreya in kaliyuga. As per some of the experts (Prof. R. C.
Dhere) he is supposed to have lived from 1320 AD to 1350 AD. He was
born in Pithapuram, a town in 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). 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). After staying there for 4 months he finally settled in Kuravpur near Krishna river.
Ambika Var-Pradanam (Blessing of Ambika)
It is this place where the future incarnation (avatar) related stories happened. The first one is of woman called Ambika, whose children were dying. Only one survived and he turned out to be a moron. Her husband died after trying to teach his son, but to no success. After her husband's death, she tried to teach the boy, but finally gave up. The boy was ridiculed by village people and no one was ready to give him their daughter. Both mother and son decided to end their life in the Krishna River. Here they met Shripad-yati who was taking bath. After hearing her story Shripad felt very sad and asked her to do Shani-pradosh-vrata. She was quite impressed with Swamiji and asked that in the next birth she would have son like him. Shripadji agreed and put his hand over the boy's head. The boy became a learned scholar instantly. The woman Ambika in her next birth became Amba-Bhavani of Lad-Karanja (A place in Maharashtra) and became mother of Shri Narashimha Saraswati (Shri Shripad ShriVallabh's avatar).
Rajak Var-Pradanam (Blessing of Washerman)
One washerman (Rajak) has become the disciple of Shripadji. One day this man saw the king moving in the boats with his army and women and was quite depressed to see it. After Shripadji asked him, he said that he wanted to have this kind of royal life. Shripadji blessed him to become the king. Shripadji told him that he will meet him at Vidura nagari in their next birth.
It is believed that the Bedar's sultan Allauddin II (1435-58AD) might have been this king who met with Shri Narasimha Saraswati (Second avatara of Shri Dattatreya or reincarnation of Shri Shripad ShriVallabh).
Vallabhesh Brahmin Story
This story happened just after the avatar-samapti (end of avatara) of Shri Shripadji. It seems this Vallabhesh brahmin was doing business, and once he said that if he earns more than his usual earnings, he will go to Kuravpur and feed 1000 Brahmins with the additional profit money. Indeed that year he made some huge profit and then decided to complete his vow. While he was approaching Kuravpur, on his way he was met with few dacoits who accompanied him in disguise to loot him. Later while travelling through, they attacked, beheaded and killed him. Shri Shripadji suddenly appeared from nowhere and killed all the dacoits. Only one was spared, who begged to Shripadji for his own life. Shripadji spared him and asked him to stick the head of Vallabhesh on his beheaded body and brought him to life. Vallabhesh Brahmin later completed his vow and became a full disciple of Shri Shripad ShriVallabh.
It is interesting to note that this Vallabhesh brahmin is considered as the mula-purush (family originator) of the Hedgewar family. Dr. K. B. Hedgewar who founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the RSS) is the 9th generation man from Vallabhesh.
Swamy temple was constructed according to his guidelines as he told in Sripadasrivallbha charitamrutam(life history) in Srikshetra Pithapuram and is being maintained by Sripada Srivallbha Mahasansthanam. Pithapuram is located on Hyderabad-Vishakhapattanam railway line and is near to (about 10-12 km from) Samalkot junction.
The location may be checked on Wikimapia with search for Shripad Shrivallabh (Sripad SriVallabha) devasthanam.
Shri Shripad Shrivallabha Dhyaana Sthaan at Kuravpur
Shripadji stayed here most of his life. It appears that this place must have been quite well habitated. The story of Vallabhesh Brahmin shows that the village must have been quite big enough to at least accommodate about 1000 Brahmins. Now (as of 2006AD) the population has reduced and there are lot many fields in between the temple and the village. The village is at one end of the island and the temple is at the other end. There are two, frequently used, routes to reach Kuravapur. One is via Raichur in Karnataka state and another one is via Makthal in Andhra Pradesh state. Either way one has to cross the Krishna river in a small elliptical boat (Putti or Theppa) to reach this island.
Via Raichur: Raichur is about 10 or 12 hours journey from Pune by train. At Raichur one can hire a bus/rickshaw towards ATKUR (40 km). At ATKUR one can hire a Putti to cross the Krishna river and reach Kuravpur. There is also a KSRTC bus service from Raichur bus stand to Atkur, which leaves for Atkur at 7:30 am, 10:30am, 1:30 pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm. The 13:30PM bus ends at Atkur(village), the other buses end at the bank of Krishna.
Via Makthal: Makthal (Mahaboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh) is 68 KM from Mahaboobnagar bus station and 168 KM from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Some buses from Hydrabad to Raichur, via Mahaboobnagar, stop at Makthal. Mahaboobnagar is connected by rail route also. One has to hire an auto or taxi (jeep) from Makthal to river bank(ask for Panchdev Pahad or Vithal baba ashram). River bank is 17 KM from Makthal. There are two locations on the river bank where Putti or small boats can be hired. One is Panchdev Pahad and another one is behind Vithal baba ashram (1KM from ashram). Number of boats near Vithal baba ashram are less.
Kuravapur is very quiet. There is a cave where Shri Tembeswami used to meditate.
Sripada Srivallbha Charitamrutam(life history of swamy) has come in to print in Telugu language recently and translation to other languages is under utmost consideration by Mahasansthanam at Pithapuram. One can get his blessings easily by chanting as below
Digambara Digambara Sripadavallbha Digambara Digambara Digambara Avadootha Chintana Digambara '