The Akkalkot Swami Samrtha Maharaja’s Math now also known as Dadar Math was founded by Shri Sadguru Balkrishna Maharaj Suratkar on 29th May 1910. Balkrishna Maharaj was born in Surat on 28th October 1866.
He later came to Mumbai to his cousin Shivshankar for further studies to Mumbai, In Mumbai he was staying at Jambulwadi in Kalbadevi. He was highly influenced by the Arya Samaj teachings at which his cousin felt disturbed. His cousin was a devotee of Lord Shiva.
His neighbour Shri. Ramchandra Venkatesh Baradkar alias ‘Saraswat Bramhin Bhende’ was an ardent devotee of Shri ‘Tat Maharaj’ , Shivshankar requested him to change Balkrisha Maharaja’s thoughts and ideals.
Shri. Tat Maharaj gave Balkrishna Maharaj Darshan of the laughing form of “Ashtabhuja Devi” in Bhuleshwar’s Ashta Bhuja Devi temple. At that same instant Balkrishna Maharaj made Shri Tat Maharaj his ‘Guru’ and became an ardent devotee of Shree Swami Samrtha.
Balkrishna Maharaj had a very good knowledge and command of English and Sanskrit, he also took tuitions for Sanskrit in thr ‘Gokuldas Sanskrit Pathshala’ where he was also a teacher and he was known as ‘Master’ by everyone there.
There was a family residing in Jambulwadi nearby known as Dhotre. He helped the family get rid of evil souls troubling the family and from there people around came to know that he was not a simple teacher but an enlightened human being.
After sometime he shifted from Jambulwadi to Malad to his friend Dwarkadas house who was a Share Broker by profession.
After experiencing his divine powers Maharaj started receiving a lot of devotees for his blessings. Maharaj also used to like Bhajans and he use to insist his devotees to come on Thursday’s and Saturday’s and sing them. After some time Dwarkadas’s wife started complaining to him since on Saturday the Bhajans used to carried on for the full night.
After Maharaj came to know this he immediately went out of the house and sat on the street. When this news was heard by Late. Moreshwar Kothare (Founder Trustee) and his mother Putlabai ( who were residing at Mamlatdar wadi in their own bungalow) they immediately bought Maharaj to their own house. There too devotees started flocking their house. People use to come from Colaba, Vasai and Chembur for Darshan and Bhajans. these devotees were finding it hard to travel all the way to Malad since they were coming from this far as in those days the commuting from one place to another had not developed as today, thereby the devotees thought that Maharaj should shift to somewhere in the center for everybody’s convenience.
Late. Bhausaheb Deshmukh one of Maharaja’s devotee who was head clerk in the Mumbai collectorate knew that Dadar would be the best location for Maharaj since it was a developing suburb. He suggested him that Maharaj should shift his place of residence to Dadar. Maharaj liked this idea and he suggested Shri. Bhausaheb Deshmukh , Shri. Kothare ,Shri. Khedekar, and Yamunatai Mhatre who was residing at Dadar to find out a place for him in Dadar. These people found a vacant bungalow near ‘Hausali Talao’ . Today in place of Hausali Talao stands the Plaza Theatre and Tilak bridge.
When they inquired about the bungalow they found out that it was locked and when they made further enquiries they came to know that it was called as the ‘Haunted Bungalow’. They were also informed that no tenants could stay there for long since the tenants faced many hardships after they started residing there. The caretaker said that they should not take the risk of staying there because the last tenant had lost his daughter while he was residing there.
This news was conveyed to Maharaj by the devotees, after hearing the same Maharaj said ‘ Don’t worry we will establish ‘Swami Samartha’s ‘ temple there which would in turn free the souls trapped there. He instructed the devotees to go back there and open the lock and if they smell Incence and Ittar they should immediately pay the rent and take the possession of the bungalow. Like he had said the devotees did get the smell of incence and ittar and they immediately took the possession of the bungalow.
This bungalow belonged to a Muslim whose name was ‘Haji Bacchu Variaya’ . The area around was close to 1 acre. There were coconut trees planted in the area around the plot, and there were many small bungalows around. In those days the way to come into the bungalow was from Lady Jamshedji Road. The rented bungalow which was taken in possession is where the, Dadar Math, stands today.
The bungalow where the Math was established was all these years lying empty since it was called as the Haunted House and thereby there was no upkeep of the same and so the condition of the Bungalow was very bad. To enter the bungalow devotees had to use N.C. kelkar road but the entrance was located at the D.L. Vaidya road and Shree Swami Samrtha ‘s portrait was placed there. In those times there was an open platform where in the evenings Maharaj use to preach.
Since the bungalow was in dire need of civil repairs the landlord started the repair work on it in 1911. Therefore the Math had to be shifted to another location. The new location was near Gopi Talao in Dabholkar Wadi in a two storey structure. On the lower floor near the entrance the photo of Shree Swami Samrtha was established and Maharaj used to stay on the second floor.
The bungalow was fully repaired in August 1913 and on 30th August the Math came back to its original location where it stands now.
After he came back to the Math Maharaj called artist’s from Surat and made the Sinhasan and on a marble base he established the Photo of Shree Swami Samrtha. After Yamuna tai saw Maharaj constructing the ‘Sinhasan’ she asked him that since this Bungalow belonged to the Muslim landlord how would this place become a permanent Math. To that Maharaj replied ‘The one who makes would also make it permanent’ and he uttered the word’ ‘Kayam’ thrice.
After the Math was established the number of devotees started to grow. Due to the gas lanterns which used to be lit up at night the whole place got a very pleasant and spiritual feeling.
As a custom for people coming from afar for the Aarti on Thursdays and Saturdays the Aarti use to start at 10 in the night and get over at 11:30. After that Maharaj used to sit in an armchair where presently his photo stands. The devotees then use to garland him for ½ to an hour or so. After that Maharaj though being a Gujrati himself use to preach in Marathi about ‘Eknathi Bhagwat’. Till 2:00 a.m. in the morning.
Maharaj use to say that Saturday was the main day of the Math , he use to say that on that nobody should leave the Mumbai or Surat Math , he would also say that nobody should go in the Gabhara with a Cap, Pagdi, or Handkerchief, they should always remove the same before doing the ‘Pradakshina’s. He further use to say that we should not offer Swami Samartha reddish flowers, and flowers like Kanher, jaswand, and Tagar. Incase somebody does offer them then he use to immediately remove the same, an exception was made for red roses.
In those times the roads were lit by Gas bulbs and L.J. road was surrounded by coconut plantations and a few bungalows. There was hardly any traffic and thereby when coming to the Math at 10pm in the night people use to get scared .Inspite of that hundreds of devotees use to flock to hear Maharaja’s preachings.
According to Maharajas wishes there was no caste or creed discrimination and its still followed today. Who ever wants to pray according to his religion can pray there like for Parsis ‘Kasti’ for Christians ‘ Prayers’ and for Muslims ’Namaz’ . In colaba there was a Parsii Gentleman known as Rustoomjee Dossabhai Moose. On Maharaja’s advice he left his job in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and statrted his own Import Export business which flourished very well. He and his family members were ardent devotees of Maharaj. They use to come regularly to the Math with garlands and flowers and perform ‘Kasti’. He use to help Maharaj in running the Math.