BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE
In a village near Shiggaon Taluk there lived an ancestral brahmin Deshpande family whose family head was called as Bhagawantrai. His wife's name was Ramabai . They together had 4 daughters and 2 sons . Among them, the 4th daughter was Shakunatala. Shakuntala was born on first Friday (as per hindu calendar - Shuklapaksha Shravana masa) i.e on 2nd August 1935 in the morning at 6 :09 AM. The baby was very cute and attractive and the most loved one in the family. While Shakuntala was still a small kid, her mother expired . Shakuntala was then aken care by her maternal grandmother. Her grandmother family was in acute poverty and hence could not bear to send her to school. She used to rear the buffalos in the field as a kid. Shakuntala used to like being secluded and lonely. She was very intelligent and a smart kid.
Even when she was kid, she had this liking and inclination towards God. She used to laugh for hours, her face was glowing and so radiant, that by seeing her one would say, that she would one day become a great tejasvi yogi
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
When Shakuntala was 12 years old, Bhagwantrai got her married to Venkatrao Lingo Kulkarni from Hosur village of Shiggaon Taluk. This was Venkanna’s second wedding. He had one son from his first wife. Shankuntala was started to be called as Padmatai at her husband’s house. The villagers used to call her as Padmakka. She gave birth to 9 daughters and 1 son. However her son could not be saved. She was reeling under acute poverty. She faced lot of difficulties in her life. Due to this her mind was not in a good state. But just like how on every cutting, the tree sprouts out again and again, likewise people with great Tejas become stronger and stronger against all odds and difficulties. Her vision and inclination pulled her towards a much powerful force.
JOURNEY TOWARDS LORD DATTATREYA
For almost 12 years, Padmatai was followed by a sage like man. From 1959, she had bouts of fever, her body used to sweat and after sometime she used to be normal. It seemed that some power within her was trying to come out of her body. It was waiting for the right time.
At this juncture she met Krishnaswami along with her neihbours Lakshmibai and Akkavva to seek the pooja process of Lord Dattatreya . Krishnaswami was a Dattopasaka and as per his directions, they were told the procedure of 48 days pooja of Lord Dattatreya. Padmatai did not have money to even buy a photo of Lord Datta. To do pooja one has to be clean and wear clean washed clothes, but Padmatai was so poor that she had only one Saree. This time her brother in Gadag presented her 2 new sarees. His son got her a small picture of Lord Datta. Somehow Padmatai started her Pooja.
One day on fifteenth Aug 1964 it was 30th day of her pooja. She had done her pooja as usual in the morning. On that day evening at 6.27 pm Padmatai fell unconscious. People felt like she was blabbering some words. When closely heard the words were like “I am Lord Dattatreya, I have come to uplift your family “. Lord Datta appeared for 4-5 times in next 2-3 days and after that Padmatai started getting Nama on her forehead. The Sandalwood Gandha started oozing from her body. Padmatai’s feet was getting worshipped with kumkum and turmeric. The words “Gurudeva Dutta “ started appearing on her body very clearly. At this time, ancient kannada words were spoken by Her. When constantly questioned by Venkatrao, the voice said “ I am Nrusimha Sarswati roopa Dattatreya, I have come to uplift your family“. This used to happen once in every 2-3 hours. When Lord appeared she used to behave very aggressively. When Lord disappeared from her body, she fell unconscious and sometimes she used to be in this state for long time without any sense. Seeing this Venkanna felt his wife could be possessed by a devil and sought some black magic help to ward of the evil. When once trying to use a lemon in front of her, he felt a sharp Trishul stabbing on his back. One day Venkanna asked the voice , “if you are truly Lord Dattatreya then show the vision depicting him.” Suddenyl Padmatai sat in padmasana, the tied hair know suddenly untied by itself , tripunda appeared on her forehead. There was bhasama appearing on hands and arms. Danda , Kamadala in her hands , Jolige ( a small rucksack) on her shoulder, it was like Sampooorna Dattavatara in front of everybody. Everyone who watched were just awestuck by this appearance.
Padmatai was now filled with inner happiness. The devotion of 7 births was slowly appeaing in her( Read Charitre for the Previous 7 lives of Padmatai). With the Lord Datta's blessings her heart was filled with joy, she felt like sailing in the air. But still her mind was steady and never she left out the secret. She used to be calm and peaceful. She used to smile for every thing.
After the fourth day since Lord Datta appeared in Padmatai, Lord said “All of you perform Bhajana in your homes on Sudnay , and I will bless you with Paduka’s“ As said on 23-Aug-1964, at 11 AM sharp, when Bhajan was performed in the Pooja room, Lord appeared in Padmatai and there appeared two silver Padukas and One Silk Saree.
After 20 days, in the hall, on the north west corner of the wall, the mud floor started coming out and a small square shaped homa kunda started appearing. The thing was appearing, but who was building was completely invisible. As per Lord’s directions, with all vaidika Pooja, the Paduka’s were installed on Navarathri Padde at 11 AM. The Kunda that was formed now started getting Bhasma in it. Bhasma appeared in such huge quantity that it was more than enough for even 1000 people coming seeking for it.
CELEBRATION OF LORD DATTA AT HOSUR
Year after year the number of devotees coming to Hosur increased. Anybody who came to her abode, Dasoha( Anna prasad) was served. Earlier she used to keep a empty basket on the Pooja slab, and the rice used to appear in the basket by itself. With this rice Padmatai perfomed Dasoha. Later She started procuring and preparing the rice on her own.
Datta Jayanti was celebrated in a all its wonder. There used to be Anna Santarpane for 3 days.
PADMATAI - THE DIVINE PERSONALITY
An ocean of divine peace, Steady and Stable , though being a Yogi, lead a common woman’s life. Though having a hoard of knowledge, She never boasted of it, She was a karmayogi, Her affection and love towards her devotees is still visible today, blessing each and every one with her power and sadhana.
Even in utter poverty, she was all smiles, engulfing all the miseries and difficulties, she steadily treaded the path of Sadhana. Her strength and joy, was very much felt by everybody around her. Just by being with her, people found solace and peace . There was no distinction among people of any caste or creed.
The day’s 24 hours was not enough for her, and it was well spent in helping the devotees in solving out of their issues, running Dasoha for devotees at Hosur and running her own family. She used to get one hour or so to sleep, then again the devotees used to visit. Only a great power can sustain such body, mind and soul. She used to go to various other villages, towns and cities . She used to lease her jewels and Sarees for performing Dasoha. When a devotee needed help, Padmatai used to have Lord Datta appear in her and answer to all their miseries.
The miracles she performed in her life time and even after her exit from this world could not be listed here , but can be read in the Shri Dattaswaroopi Padmatai Charitre.
She never revealed her secrets to anybody. Never did She exhibit pomp and show in her devotion, and instead lead a simple life devoting herself in the seva of devotees.
Miracles happened everyday. But never Shri Padmatai used those powers for self or for her family. Life of Shri Padmatai was that of constant Sadhana inspite of never ending family and personal issues. Lakhs of devotees have been blessed by Shri Dattaswarupi Padmatai.
HER LAST WISH
Around 500 years ago, Saint Nrusimha Saraswati blessed his devotees. Padmatai wanted such deeds to happen at Hosur as well. She wished a Datta Mandir be established, and any one who visits the mandir, even for a second, should be prosperous and happy. She wanted Hosur to be called as Shri Kshetra Hosur and should be known to the whole world. With Lord Datta always being at place, She wanted the temple to become a Jagruta Sthana (a place with divine presence).
MESSAGE OF HER DEPARTURE
One day Padmatai narrated to Dr Ravishankar about one of her dreams. "I saw a river, but there was no water in it. Many people wearing white clothes were singing Digambara bhajane and were going towards a temple. I too was wearing white clothes and joined them. Then finally I entered Garbha gudi and got engulfed in it"
In another occasion, just 8 months before her departure, a person called Hegde had come from South Canara. He had come to ask about marriage of his kids. Padmatai said “ After 8 months come to this place and stay for 3 days and sing bhajans. That time, nobody will be there to take care of your stay and food and that he has to arrange by himself. This message was clear that her departure from this material world was after a period of 8 months.
On the day of the last homa she performed, she took a red cloth and shook in front of each person and told Ravishankar to take care of this holy place henceforth which meant she would not be present after this Homa at this place.
On the day before getting admitted to the hospital, in the evening, she took Shri Vasant Kulkarni and Shri Gajanan to Gangibhavi near to Hosur and performed Abhishek of Lord Ramalingeshwar and took 5 lingas to Hosur. She kept one linga in a plate each and performed Pooja to them. She placed the 4 lingas on each corner of the Homa Kunda and placed 5th one inside the centre of Homa Kunda. Then she closed the Homa Kunda with a stone and told not to open this until there is a temple formed at this place .
MERGE INTO LORD DATTATREYA
Padmatai suffered from uterine bleeding since 4-5 years. She kept all the Karmas in her Uterus and on the day of the Surgery, when the Uterus was removed , she came out of this Mayavi world and her pristine, pure soul merged with Lord Datta. Her Heart stopped beating on 3rd March 1981. She agreed for surgery under pressure from her devotees, but she orphaned her devotees on this day and merged her soul into Lord Datta and she became SHRI DATTASWARUPI PADMATAI”
Just before her exit from this materialistic world, she blessed Dr R D Kanamadi with her appearance and her voice power (Vaani) in him. Though her worldly body is not present among us, she still protects every devotee and help them out of their problems through Shri Vidyadharateertha Guruji. It is left to the devotees dedication , devotion and commitment with which they can solve their problems by the blessings of Shri Dattaswarupi Padmatai
It was the culmination of dedication and devotion to Shri Guru Dattatreya from her six previous births. She is one amongst the rarest souls escaping the never ending cycle of birth and death.
She reached the very rare status of 'Siddhipurush'.
She is revered as the fourth Incarnation of Shri Guru Dattatreya, she remains an oasis of peace, solace and salvation for her devotees even after Samadhi.
She promised her devotees that.. "I will repay you for your every salutation".