Devavtari Sadguru Sant Shri Balumama was an shepherd belonging the Kuruba Gowda/Dhangar community. He is considered a saint and has many millions of followers in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. A shepherd, by the very nature of his job has to come in contact usually with people who are at the very low strata of society, whose life is sunk in vices and bad habits. A shepherd cannot remain unaffected by them. Not so Balu-mama, who was not an ordinary shepherd. It was these men of vices and bad habits, who could not remain unaffected by him, their life was completely changed almost beyond recognition by him. He was a practical guide and guide and counsel to them. Their wretched and immoral life was transformed into a civilized and spiritual one. They could not thank God sufficiently for their good fortune to have such a spiritual guide.
Balumama was born in 1892, in a village called Akkol in Chikkodi taluk of Belgaum district in Karnataka. His father was Mayappa and mother was Satyavva. He spent his childhood with his parents, but was always lost in meditation and was a quiet boy. He later went on to live with his sister and was married to her daughter against his will. The marriage did not last long. He was given about 15 sheep by his in-laws which he started to tend.
While shepherding his sheep, he was known to have performed several miracles and help lots of poor and downtrodden people. He used to travel long distances with his sheep including parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka. He was fluent in both Kannada and Marathi. Whatever he said came to pass without fail. So had a huge disciple group among the rural poor, who began to worship him as a saint. The seep which Balumama had were considered as holy as well. If the herd of Balumama's sheep stayed or passed through a persons field, he was bound to have had happiness, health and wealth.
Balumama died at the age of 74 in 1966 at a village called Admapur in Kolhapur district of Maharastra. A temple was built in his memory in Adamapur which lies between Nipani in Karnataka and Rathanagari in Maharashtra. The Temple is looked after by the "Shri Balumama Sansthana". The sheep numbers have now grown to about 40,000, which are looked after by the temple trust.