......leading character of Guru Charitra Granth. The first Purnavatar or complete incarnation of Lord Dattatreya was Shripad Shrivallabh followed by Swami Nrusiha Saraswati or Narasimha Saraswati. He lived from 1378 to 1459 and was born to a Deshastha Brahmin family to Madhav and Amba Bhavani. His real name was Shaligramdev Madhav Kale but he was called and known by his initial name Narahari.
He is known as the 2nd and one of the revered Avatars of Lord Dattatreya after Shripad Shrivallabh and is also worshiped by Shri Datta Sampraday or followers of Shri Gurudev Datta. He is the real protagonist of the Guru Charitra. He was born to Amba Bhavani, the incarnation of Ambika of Kuravpur who was blessed by Shripad Shrivallabh in her previous birth. The birthplace of Narasimha Saraswati was Karanja Lad in the Washim District of Vidarbha region in Maharashtra.
The important fact about Narasimha Saraswati is that he couldn’t speak till the age of 7. His parents Madhav and Amba Bhavani were worried about the future of their child, he conveyed to them with his hand gestures that his speech would return once they perform the ritual of Munja. After completing the ritual while he asked bhiksha his mother he started reciting Vedas which stunned the other senior learned Brahmins present at the ceremony.
Narasimha Saraswati was not an ordinary child since birth and he showed his extraordinariness as soon as he was born. Narasimha Saraswati took birth with chants of Omkar astonishing all the people who then started coming to visit this extraordinary child. His mother couldn’t produce milk to feed her child and as soon as Narasimha Saraswati touched her chest she was able to feed him with her milk. Further, it is also said that he touched metal and transformed it into gold as per the stories related to Narasimha Saraswati.
He left his home at the age of 8 all alone to take Sanyas to Kashi one year after his munja as decided with his mother. After completing the Munja, a holy ritual of Hindu tradition Narasimha Saraswati or Narhari asked his mother to allow him to go and become a Sanyasi. His mother was not ready to let him go and hence he helped her remember the previous birth and also made her recognize him in his original Avatar of Lord Dattatreya. He also ensured her that she will have one more son and that her path will be made bearable with his knowledge. Listening to all this his mother allowed him to go and practice the life of Sanyasi but requested him to stay with them for one more year till another son was born.
Hence, it was after 1 year that Narasimha Saraswati left his home and started practicing Sanyasa. Narasimha Saraswati who was originally known as Narhari went to Kashi and became the disciple of Shri Krishna Saraswati who gave him the name Narasimha Saraswati. He is a part of the Shringeri Math tradition and is one of the members of the Guru lineage of Shri Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of four Maths, one of which being Shringeri Math. Thus, Shri Narasimha Saraswati Swami is also a follower and propagator of Advait Vedant philosophy.
He has preached to his followers that Brahmins must follow the path defined in our Vedas and scriptures as it fully covers the rules to be followed by Brahmins to achieve happiness and Moksha.
Narasimha Saraswati similar to Adi Shankaracharya traveled to various places in Bharat which later gained historic and cultural importance in the country because of him. He visited and stayed at Parali Vajyanath, Audumbar, Gangapur, and Narsobachi wadi (Narsimhapur) the name of which is derived from Narasimha Saraswati Swami. He also traveled along the banks of the Gautami River and later came back to Karanja to visit his parents Madhava and Amba Bhavani at the age of 30. There are several incidences of Shri Narasimha Saraswati helping people and making their lives better just by being present at the place where they lived. There are numerous stories of him spreading knowledge and awareness of Sanatan Dharma among the people in Bharat.
After completing the purpose of his avatar as Narasimha Saraswati he left for the jungle of Kardali Vana near Srisailam Andra Pradesh and took Nijanandagamana निजानंदगमन a type of Samadhi for 300 years. He was the Avatar of Kali Yug and he was present during Bahmani Sultanate which ruled the area back then. Later he took samadhi and disappeared into the forest of Kardali Vana never to be seen.
There are several temples including the temples of Dattatreya and of Shripad Shrivallabh where you will find Nrusimha Saraswati being worshiped. His temple is mainly situated at Karanja and Narsobachi wadi where he is worshiped the most.