The photographs of Shri Swami Samarth are not many when compared to the other spiritual gurus. This is mainly because photography was not very common like nowadays. The credit of taking the first photograph of Swamiji goes to the Kodak Company. The accurate year of the photograph is not identified but it is believed that the photograph was taken between the year 1855 and 1870. Kodak, in order to increase their business and to make people aware of the art of photography started photographing well personalities all over the world. These pictures of the great personalities were used for their advertising purpose also.
Swamiji was becoming the Guru of many people all over India and there were regular write-up in the newspaper about Him. There were many interesting stories of Swamiji which was being spread by the disciples and his name and fame was spreading all over the country. Kodak Company decided that Swamiji was the right person to be photographed and decided to get in touch with him. This was the time when the British Government had ordered the King of Akkalkot to take care of Swamiji properly and treat him well. This was an added attraction for the Kodak Company to contact Swamiji.
The Kodak Company decided that Swamiji was the person they want to photograph and use as a publicity material for the promotion of their business. The company sent their best photographer with a special camera and other accessories to Akkalkot and he was a European. The photographer after reaching Akkalkot met some of the devotees of Swamiji and conveyed his intentions of photographing Swamiji. The disciples informed the photographer that the photograph cannot be taken without the permission of Swamiji. It was big ego problem for the photographer and he decided to click the picture of Swamiji without his permission.
The Confused Visual
The experienced photographer was confident of his skills and was sure that he could click the picture without anyone noticing it. He set up the camera on a tripod at a distance from the place where Swamiji was sitting and waited for the right time to click. He clicked Swamiji’s photograph and was overjoyed for achieving what he wanted. He took the print and came to meet Swamiji to show him the photograph. Swamiji refused to look into the picture and asked his disciples to have a look. One disciple told that it is the photo of Khandoba and another disciple said it was Ambabai’s picture.
Each one saw the picture of their family deity and none of them even mention the name of Swamiji. The photographer made fun of the disciple for recognising their own master and asked Swamiji to take a look. Swamiji looked into the picture and started laughing and gave the photograph to the photographer and he was surprised to see a picture of a monkey in it. He felt embarrassed and realised the mistake begged pardon for clicking without his permission. Swamiji pardoned the photographer and allowed photographer to take His photograph.