Dattatreya is a Hindu deity encompassing the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, collectively known as Trimurti. The name Dattatreya can be divided into two words – “Datta” (meaning given) and “Atreya” referring to the sage Atri, his physical father.
Various Hindu sects worship him differently. In the Nath tradition, Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a “Lord of Yoga” exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional (Sanskrit: bhakti) Vaishnavite cults; while still worshiped by millions of Hindus, he is approached more as a benevolent god than as a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought. However, spiritual seekers pray to this Supreme Teacher for knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Dattatreya is credited as the author of the Tripura Rahasya given to Parasurama, a treatise on Advaita Vedanta. He is specially worshipped on his birthday, Datta Jayanti.
Birth of Shri Dattatreya
“In the first instance there was all water everywhere. Then an egg `Hiranya garbha’ (with Gold inside) came into existence. Universe has come out of it. Due to `Rajas’ Brahma came into existence. He is known as Hiranyagarbha. It broke into two hemispheres & the earth & the sky came into existence. Brahma thus created 14 Bhuvans, 10 directions, mind, speech, time, six enemies as desire, anger etc. Brahma created seven sons (manas putras) namely,
6. Kratu and
Of these Shri Guru took birth in the house of Atri. “Anasuya (devoid of hatred) was the devoted wife of Atri Rishi. She was very beautiful also. Seeing her exceptional devotion to her husband, the Gods in heaven began to fear that someday she might overcome them. Hence Indra and other Gods went to Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and said to them, “How can one describe the greatness of the devotion of Anasuya to her husband Atri. She served her husband with body, mind and speech. She also serves guests giving them desired food. None returns disappointed from her place. Fire, Sun and Wind are also afraid of her. We all are afraid of her. She may sometime win over this heaven. Therefore kindly do something to give us relief’.
Hearing this, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh said angrily, “We shall test her devotion”.
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh came to Atri Muni’s Ashram in the mendicants’ disguise, when Atri had been out to the river for daily rituals. The mendicants said to Anasuya, “We are very hungry. Give us food. We have come here hearing your good name for offering the guests their desired food”.
Anasuya bowed to them respectfully and said, “you please return soon after finishing your bath and daily rituals”.
The three Gods replied, “We have already taken bath and finished the rituals. Atri Rishi may take time to return. Better you serve us food soon”.
Ansuya seated them on carpets and began serving food on leaf-plates. The guests said to Ansuya, “We have one more desire. We have come here from a long distance as we have heard of your beauty. We wish you to put off your garments and then serve us with food. If you do not comply with this. we shall leave this place without meals”.
This made Ansuya bitterly anxious. She realised that some great personages have come to test her chastity. She thought that if they return without food she would lose sanctity of her penance. Believing that her mind is pure and that her husband’s penance will protect her in this ordeal, she told them, “You have your food without any doubt. I shall serve you food as you desire”.
She went into her kitchen and remembering her husband, put off her garments and saying `The guests are like my children’, she came out to serve food to the guests. Instantly all the three Gods were transformed into three newly born crying babies. She was terrified to see thee crying babies. She put on her clothes and took the babies one after the other to her breast for feeding. What great power does a Pativrata possess? Those who have 14 bhuvans, 7 oceans and fire in the belly, were all satisfied with the little milk in her breast. Ansuya thus became the mother of the three Great Gods. She placed them in a cradle and pulled the string to and fro and began singing lullabies.
It was midday. Atri Rishi returned from the river after finishing his rituals. He was very much astonished to see Ansuya pulling the string of a cradle and singing songs. Ansuya narrated all that had happened. Atri Rishi by power of intuition knew that the babies were Trimurties and so he bowed to them. The three Gods were also much pleased. They stood before him and told Atri to ask for a boon. Atri said to Ansuya, “You may ask for whatever you desire”.
Ansuya said, “These babies should stay in this Ashram as our sons”. The Trimurties readily complied. Ansuya began to nurse and feed them. Brahma was known as Chandra, Vishnu was called Datta and Mahesh was called Durvas.
After some time Chandra and Durvas told their mother Ansuya that they both were going away for penance and that the third Datta would be staying with her; she should know him as Trimurti. After this chandra and Durvas went away, Chandra went to Chandralok and Durvas went to he forest for penance. Datta or Dattatraya remained with Ansuya. Dattatraya is the founder of the seat of shri Guru.
|Dattatreya Stotram 1|
|Dattatreya Stotram 2|