Lord Dattatreya is the Unity Symbol of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Dattatreya Avatar is depicted with three faces representing the above ‘Trinity’. Sri Dattatreya is a glorious divine blend of the Supreme knowledge of Brahma, mental acumen of Vishnu for protecting people and the great power of destruction from Lord Shiva to annihilate bad things from the world.
The Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are in charge of Creation, Preservation and Destruction. Dattatreya Avatar is depicted with three faces representing the above ‘trinity’ and six arms carrying a Spear, Conch and Disc, besides Japa Mala, small Drum and holy jar, thus, unifying the symbols of the ‘trinity’. Besides, Sri Dattatreya is a glorious divine blend of the Supreme knowledge of Brahma, mental acumen of Vishnu for protecting people and the great power of destruction from Lord Shiva to annihilate bad things from the world. He took his abode in Sahya Mountain and later, at Himalayas at Atreya Mountain. There is a cave even today which is called Datta’s Cave in Himalayas, once used by Sri Dattatreya, which is being frequented by saints for doing their penance even today.
Birth of Lord Dattatreya
Sage Athri was the spiritual son of Lord Brahma, the Creator. He married Anasuya. Sage Athri and Anasuya did not get progeny in spite of their long married life. Sage Athri entered into a great penance to get a boon from Lord Shiva, blessing him with a child. One day, to the astonishment and great joy of the seer, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the divine trinity, appeared before him. They granted the boon saying that they will be born to him as his son, pleased with his piety.
Anasuya’s fame spread far and wide and it even reached the ears of the Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Parvathi, thanks to the propagation by sage Narada. They in turn wanted to test the chastity power of Anasuya and gave groundnuts made of Iron to Narada and instructed him to get it boiled by Anasuya to prove her power of chastity. Anasuya did the bidding successfully without any pride or show. The goddesses sent their husbands to Anasuya to test her chastity again. Posing themselves as three ordinary hermits, the ‘Trinity’ went to the hermitage of sage Athri. As the sage had gone out, Anasuya received the three Rishis as guests and offered them food. At the time of eating, they informed their host that they would eat only if Anasuya served the food without any clothing on herself. Although initially upset by their unholy request, Anasuya got composed. With her divine power, the three samts were changed into three ‘new born’ babies, whom Anasuya fed with milk, affectionately as a mother. The babies slept happily there. Samt Athri was also happy to see the beautiful children and the entire ashram got into festivity. Anasuya attended on the three children with motherly care and she became very much attached towards them. One day the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Parvathi came to the Ashram and Anasuya received them with due honors befitting them. From them, Anasuya learnt that the three infants were no other than the ‘Trinity’ – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They requested Anasuya to give back their husbands. Anasuya, although very much in remorse in getting separated from the children whom she nursed all along, released the Divinities graciously. They were pleased with Anasuya and granted her a boon that they would born as her son, as promised by them earlier to her husband. Anasuya delivered three children, who were the Moon, Durvasa and Dattatreya. Dattatreya, the true replica of the three Lords became a great Acharya and taught the world the Divine knowledge.
Dattatreya solicited his mother’s permission to go o Sahya Parvat. She stubbornly refused. She wanted hirn to surrender his body, if he was intent on leaving her. Immediately Dattatreya handed over his skin to her. At this moment, Anasuya got the vision of the infinite light of divinity immanent in her son, which made her to accede to his request. As an Yogeswara practicing meditation and yoga, he took his abode at the hilly ranges of Sahya Parvat. Sri Dattatreya got his enlightenment from 24 earthly sources and realized that the ‘physical self’ is illusory and the Ultimate Truth resides in the heart, the abode of the Almighty.
Once Jambasura, a demon invaded indraloka. As King Indra was losing the battle, he went to the hermitage of Sri Dattatreya at Sahya hills to seek his help. Dattatreya wanted hirn to bring Jambasura to his place. Lord Indra led Jambasura to Sahya hills by misleading hirn. Jambasura and the demons were infatuated with Anakadevi, a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi who was with Sri Dattatreya and forgot their mission. At this opportunity, King Indra killed Jambasura and the demons.
Lord Brahma redeemed
Once Lord Brahma created avidya (attraction to physical form and indulgence in sensual pleasures) as a pastime and fell victim to it. He forgot the Vedas and became senile in mind. Lord Dattatreya redeemed hirn from this avidya.
Great teacher and illustrious disciples
The life of Dattatreya is füll of divine episodes. He was the Acharya (Teacher) of King Prahlada and taught hirn self-realisation. He initiated King Yadhu, founder of Yadhu dynasty into spiritual realm. He granted several boons to Kartaveeryarjuna. Samt Gnaneshwar was an ardent disciple of Sri Dattatreya, who wrote the master piece, ‘Bavartha Deepika’ by the grace of Sri Dattatreya. Eknath, another ardent disciple chewed the residue of the betel nut used by Sri Dattatreya, and became a great poet. Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, got the initiation in ‘Sri Vidya Marg’ frorn Sri Dattatreya. After learning the Upasana (intense worship) of Goddess Shakti frorn Sri Dattatreya, Parasurama installed the idol of Goddess Kanyakurnari at Kanyakurnari (Cape Camorin) which is worshipped even today.
SRI DATTA MAHA MANTRAS Gayathri Mantra:
“Om Digambaraya Vidmahe Yogaaroodaya Deemahi Thanno Datta Prachodayath”
“Om Thram Om”
“Om Kreem Hreem Kleem Kloum Thram”
Om, Aiyrn, Klam, Kleern, Kloorn, Hraarn
Hreem, Hrum, Sowhu, Dattatreyo Narnah : ||
Efficacy of Worship:
Worship Lord Dattatreya, to attain the following:
• For removal of fear and affliction due to seeing dead bodies, spirits, etc.
• To get protection against evil spells caused by enemies;
• To attain erudition, oratorical powers, prosperity, high position in life, attainment of Supreme Knowledge and heavenly bliss.
• To attract people and to get riches