Datta Jayanti: Shree Dattatreya, Incarnation of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh

Shree Dattatreya is the incarnation of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in one single form. Being three-headed, is creative, preserving and annihilating. Dattatreya Jayanti is celebrated on Poornima of Margashirsha month of lunar Hindu Calendar.

By Mala Kapadia, Professor, Director of Wellness Practice & Resident Mentor

Dattatreya Jayanti is celebrated on Poornima or full moon of Margashirsha month. Shree Dattatreya is the incarnation of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in one single form. Being three-headed, is creative, preserving and annihilating. He incarnated on this earth in this form to relieve the people from the clutches of ignorance and light their hearts with the light of wisdom and spiritual joy. Today, when we as humans are experiencing world-wide confusion, fear, anxiety and disconnection from Higher Consciousness, a Guru is what we need, not necessarily in human form. A Guru is Light Principle, Universal being who can guide us through the darkness. Hence this year celebrations of Dutta Guru, as fondly called, seem to be having a special significance.

To some, the history of such profound souls seems irrelevant. However, Dattatreya has an interesting history to be mentioned. He is mentioned in Atharva Veda, Nath Sampradaya, Awadhoot and Swami Samartha sect. So many paths to reach the Supreme wisdom that He represents; from Tantra to Bhakti. There are many stories of his place of birth, however, for sure is the mention that he was born to Rishi Atri and Mata Anusuya as reincarnate of Shiva and Vishnu. To complete the Trinity, Brahma is also associated with Dattatreya. The imprint of His feet are seen on Spiritual Mountain Girnar in Gujarat, and legend has it that he appears to those who seek him earnestly.  

Datta considered the entire universe and its creations as his teachers, for each of them taught him something useful – such was his greatness and humility. Sri Guru Datta considered that he had 24 Gurus, and we as seekers of Light and Knowledge can learn from them all as well.

The significance of  Dattatreya in Ujjain is worth a mention, though his temples are at many places. The Juna Datta Akhada in Ujjain on the Banks of Kshipra is supposed to be one of the oldest Seat of Dattatreya. The legend is that he comes even today to take bath in Kshipra at Brahma Muhurta. The Dhuni or Fire is alive 24/7/365. Even Mahakaal, the Supreme Shiva, when his procession starts, the first visit is to this Juna Akhada to bow down. 

  1. Mother Earth – Tolerance, patience and forbearance are the lessons from her.
  2. Water – Its sweetness and smoothness calm the world and offers comfort. 
  3. Fire – Fire is bright, luminous and frees everything from impurity.
  4. Air – Air is in continuous movement, free and unattached to anyone or anything. The seeker too should be unfettered thus while following the path of the Truth.
  5. Space – Space consists of everything, and yet, is made up of nothingness. It is also unattached, though very much part of the Cosmos.
  6. Sun – Throws its brilliant light on the whole world and sustains everything.
  7. Snake – The serpent represents the most ancient memories and archetypes. 
  8. Python – The python is unselfish and free of desire. 
  9. Moon – The moon keeps waxing and waning, yet it remains unchanged. 
  10. Ocean – Vastness that has many worlds in its unfathomable depths. 
  11. Butterfly – The butterfly always flits around happily, knowing its life is short. It is unattached to anything and willingly embraces death by jumping into the flame of the lamp.
  12. Dove – Doves are messengers of love and peace. They are beauty and sensitivity personified. A seeker should learn to imitate these qualities of a dove.
  13. Fish – Fish are always tempted by the sense of taste. Human beings also exhibit the same tendency of falling for temptation. This should be avoided at all costs.  
  14. Honeybee – The honeybee works hard to collect honey, for others to use. 
  15. Deer – The deer, which is such a gentle creature, is always tempted into falling prey to a vile hunter’s bait. A seeker should be ever wary of people who exploit others’ weaknesses for their own benefit.
  16. Elephant – The elephant has amazing memory power. It can remember people and instances for life. It is also capable of showing much love.
  17. Bumblebee – The bumblebee enjoys the fragrance of flowers, but does so without hurting any flower. It also remains unattached to any one particular flower or type of flower.
  18. The Prostitute Pingala – A prostitute, called Pingala, lived in the city of Videhnagar. She became disillusioned with her profession and the way she was earning her livelihood. One day, she decided to mend her ways and dedicate the rest of her life to the service of God. She led a peaceful life ever since.
  19. Eagle – The flight of an Eagle can aspire us to rise higher in our consciousness. 
  20. Child – A child is pure of heart and holds no grudges. It is unaffected by the cycle of life and by desire, is loving, trusting and non-judgmental. 
  21. The Village Girl – Simplicity and life connected with nature. 
  22. Arrow-maker – An arrow-maker is focused on his work, and he does not notice anything around. 
  23. Spider – A spider spins its web from its own mouth and lives in it. Once its use is over, the creature swallows it back. A seeker should also remain free and unattached to material things around him.
  24. Wasp – The wasp is known for its sharp sight and keenness of intent. It keeps poking and prodding their young ones till they turn into lovely-looking, fully-grown creatures. Their focus is worth learning from.

Most educational institutes have learning experiences that are devoid of Spiritual aspirations, the interconnectedness of the Cosmos and grounded in nature. Our brains are overburdened with information and data, while the hearts are left unheard and no possibility of the inner wisdom or Pragnya to be cultivated.  On this auspicious Guru Dattatreya Jayanti, may we all reconnect with our Guru within. 

लोका: समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु

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