Maharaj was born on 20th May 1885, at Bagalkot in Karnataka. His
early childhood was full of calamities. He lost his father, when
he was hardly 14 months old and lost his mother when he was four.
As a worldly duty his grandmother looked after him. His sacred
thread ceremony was performed at the age of nine. His grandmother
was planning to appoint Narayan as her heir, but it created problems
with the other relations and he was also not interested in any
material acquisition. He left his grandmother's place and all
his relations, as he was keen on establishing the only relationship
with Lord Dattatreya. After leaving home he took rest for the
night in Shiva's temple, but no one came to enquire about him.
This proved to be an important event to break all the worldly
ties for him. Whatever is destined to take place must take place.
Suffering is a great blessing in disguise, it has the ultimate
objective to bring sufferer on the path of love and realisation.
His life was full of hardships, trials and traumas but he had
the absolute and unflinching faith and devotion for Lord Dattatreya,
hence he had no fear of any kind.
There are many incidences which prove that the
unseen divine hand was constantly guarding him in many ways. When
he was just 12 years of age, he was residing in Lord Shiva's temple.
Everyday for more than a week a tiger was coming to the temple,
bowing to the Lord and touching Narayan's feet, who used to be
meditating in the corner. Once when he was deep into meditation,
the roof of temple collapsed. He protectively covered over the
Shivalinga. The Shivlinga (Lord Shiva’s Idol) and
Narayan, both were saved. Once while meditating in the riverbed
seated on a big rock, the river got flooded all of a sudden, water
level was increasing menacingly, however instead of flowing over
the rock, water currents took the detour leaving Narayan safe
He was going through a dense forest, where leave
aside human beings even animals were hesitant to stir out. Narayan
was extremely thirsty. Suddenly a horse rider came from nowhere
showed him the spring water and disappeared. Once he was sleeping
under the tree and a large snake encircled his legs. Fear did
not enter Narayan's mind. After a while it started raining incessantly
and the snake loosened its grip from his legs and went away.
Hundreds of incidents like these happened in
Narayan Maharaj's life, which gave a glimpse of the Divine power
standing behind him. He was asked by a Saint to go to Gangapur
and serve Lord Dattatreya. He was in Gangapur for about 10 months
and Lord Dattatreya showed him the definite and fearless path
to achieve his cherished goal. At Gangapur he completely and earnestly
surrendered to the Lord and the Lord made His abode in his heart.
While moving from place to place, he came to
Bet and heard the conversation of a pair of Pingla birds, "This
place was sanctified by the brief stay of Lord Ram. This is a
Holy Land, where thousands will get food and true satisfaction".
So the 4 hectares of land was taken by Maharaj to create the place
for his divine service rendered to humanity.
He created a magnificent township in 4 hectares
of land at New Bet, which was known as Narayan Nagri, adorned
by the majestic temple of Lord Dattatreya. The place was abound
with spiritual bliss. Lord Shiva's temple, Sadhana (Practice)
place for Maharaj, a large Dharamshala (Rest house) for
devotees and many small cottages were built by the devotees, who
wanted to live near the Master. Distribution of free food everyday
to thousands of people and chanting the Lord's name made the whole
place pristine and divine.
Maharaj had all the ‘siddhis’ or spiritual
powers at his command, but he never used them for himself but
there are many instances where these spiritual powers came into
use on their own as result of his spiritual perfection.
The voice of Smt. Anjanabai who was a singer
of reputed fame was miraculously restored, a ship and its owner
were rescued from the cyclone storms with his divine intervention.
A famous doctor was pulled back from jaws of death by a mere glance
from him. Limited food was prepared for few, when covered by Maharaj
with a cloth was more than sufficient to feed thousands of people
and still remained in the utensils. Drunkards were inspired to
leave the alcohol forever by the mere glance. He saved a devotee
and his car from falling into river by physically appearing in
front of the car. He cured many incurable diseases and helped
thousands of families by giving food, clothes, medicines and education.
He organised many religious ceremonies at New
Bet between 1928 to 1935, when communication and transport facilities
were non-existent in this remote place. He had outstanding organizational
skills. The ceremonies were so flawless, perfect and divinely
inspired. The scale, grandeur, serenity and purity was so profound
on all these occasions that everyone felt, that God Himself was
His message was very simple and practical, "Treat
every being as God." Chanting of Lord’s name was so dear
to his heart that his basic advice to his devotees was "Chant
God’s name and experience the bliss".
His devotees were renowned Doctors, Advocates,
Professors, Artists, Kings of erstwhile Indian States and Nepal
and a number of foreigners. But he was a Saint for the under privileged,
weaker and poor people.
He was a Perfect Master and was known far and
wide. He traveled to religious places - Varanasi, Kedarnath, Badrinath,
Nepal, Omkareshwar, Mahakaleswar, Rameshwar, Madurai, Chidambaram,
Shiv Kanchi, Vishnu Kanchi, Tirupathi, Ramakrishna Ashram, Calcutta,
Banglore, Mysore, Dwarka, Somnath, Dakornath, Shri Gokarna Mabaleshwar
and host of other places.
From 1942 his health started falling, for a change
of weather he decided to go to Ottacmond. Whenever he used to
leave on earlier occasions his parting words used to be "I
will be back soon”; but this time while leaving his words were,
"I am going”. But no one could grasp the meaning at that
Ottacmond did not suit him. He came to Banglore
and in spite of failing health he decided to organize 'Ati
Rudra Swahakar' to Lord Mallickarjun (a form of Shiva).
State of Mysore made outstanding arrangements. He performed the
Maha Pooja (grand worship) and gave Mantra for chanting
to the large gathering of the devotees and returned to his chamber
without visiting 'Yajnashala' (a place for fire sacrifice)
due to complete exhaustion. The whole ceremony was conducted in
an exquisite style, without any slackness in the presence of around
1,00,000 devotees. After the completion of all Poojas (worships),
Maharaj was given the message. He was in Padmasan (Lotus
posture in Yoga). Before anyone could realise, he took a long
breath and finished his mortal journey on 3rd September 1945.
Though Mysore State arranged an aircraft for
carrying the body to Bet, devotees of Banglore were not ready
to part with the body and wanted to have his Samadhi Mandir at
Banglore. Mysore State gave two acres of beautiful land near the
lake, where his mortal remains were buried and now a beautiful
Samadhi, where the Sadguru is resting, came into
Even today at Bet, the vibrations can be felt
of the presence of this Master and He is still helping scores
of devotees, who ardently call on him.