He was a famous saint from maharastrian bhakti movement. He used to live in akkalkot which is a pilgrim place now
Whose avatar was he ?
Sri Swami Samarth Maharaj was the complete incarnation of Lord Dattatrey Himself. In this incarnation of Sri Swami Samarth, Sri Narsinha Saraswati had also personally manifested. The manifestation of Lord Dattatrey, Sri Narsinha Saraswati and Sri Swami Samarth though taken separately, are but one and the same. They are the three forms of the same manifestation of Lord Dattatrey himself. Page No.64
In the year 14th or 15th century, there was a serious calamity due to Muslim invasion in India. During this transitory period Sri Narsinha Saraswati, by his actions advised Brahmins to carry on the duties as prescribed in the Shastras . Sriguru gave relief to the lowest category of the people from their misery and directed them towards the devotional path. He even enlightened Muslims and the rulers of their period. Later on in the 18th century manifested himself in the form of Sri Swami Samarth. This was the transition period of British invasion in India, and hence Sri Swami Samarth manifested himself in the most unusual form of an accomplished ascetic. Therefore, during the period of his incarnation he exerted more importance on good conduct and devotion than the duties in regard to the four castes and four stages of life. Page No -65
The role of this incarnation was to morally uplift all classes of people especially those who are at lower level. 18 th century was the transition period of British invasion . And at that time Shree Narsinha Saraswati manifested himself as Swami Samartha to guide the people on good conduct.
The book describes many miracles and various other simlar instances where his devotees , including royal families accepted his divinity. And from his own teachings and sayings his devotees came to know about this incarnation.