Shree Guru Dattatreya is 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" means, in Sanskrit, "son of Athri".
Dattatreya is also a combination of “Datta” and “treya” - Treya being the trinity – Bramha (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer). Shree Guru Dattatreya is also known as ‘Avadhut’.
Birth of Guru Dattatreya
Shree Guru Dattatreya born as the son of Atri Maharshi and mata Anasuya on the full moon day in the month of Margasheersh. This is celebrated as Datta Jayanti. Anasuya, did severe Tapas to get a son equal in merits as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The three gods appeared before Anasuya in the disguise of sanyasis and asked her to give them food. At that time maharishi Atri was away at the river offering his daily oblations. Anusuya came out and offered food to them.
The three gods made a strange request, mata Anasuya turned the three gods into babies and offered them food, to fulfill the request as they wished. When maharishi Atri returned to his ashram mata Anasuya narrated the event. The Trimurti then appeared in their true form, before maharishi Atri and mata Anasuya, and blessed them with a son Dattatreya.
Shree Datta Guru’s 3 heads and 6 hands symbolize unification of the trinity – Bramha [creator], Vishnu [preserver] and Shiva [destroyer]. Shree Guru Dattatreya's body is covered with Vibhuti (holy ash). He has an aura of a rising Sun around him and has lustrous Jatta (long hair) tied in a knot over his head.
Shree Guru Dattatreya's arms are seen to be holding with shanka and chakra representing lord Vishnu, trishula and damru representing lord Shiva, Kamandalu and Japamala representing lord Brahma. Shree Guru Dattatreya's favorite abode is the Holy Audambar tree.
- The Cow, which is always with Him, represents the mother Earth. She is the wish fulfilling cow ‘Kamadhenu‘.
- The four dogs symbolise the four Vedas (the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda).
- The shanka represents the eternal sound ‘AUM’ – which is the manifestation of the Spirit.
- The chakra indicates that Shri Datta Guru is beyond the cycles of time i.e. past, present and the future and is the controller of time.
- The trishula indicates that Shree Guru Dattatreya has transcended the three gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas)
- The Japa-mala reminds us that our primary duty is chanting Mantra, meditation and surrender at the God.
- The Kamandalu teachs us the lesson of indifference, nonattachment, dispassion, and non-possessiveness.
- The Bhasma (ashes) represents Vairaagya and the ultimate state of all matter.
Shree Guru Dattatreya Avtars
Avtars/Incarnations of shree Guru Dattatreya:
- First incarnation is Shree Shripad Shrivallabha
- Second incarnation is Shree Narasimha Saraswati
- Third incarnation is Shree Swami Samarth of Akkalkot
Following are several other Sadgurus:
- Shree Manik Prabhu
- Shree Shirdi Sai Baba
- Shree Chidambar Mahaswami
- Shree Gajanan Maharaj
- Shree Shankar Maharaj
- Shree Vasudevananda Saraswati (Shri Tembe Swami)