Today is Lord Dattatreya Jayanti 🙏🌺 I want to share this beautiful article which explores Datta Prabhu’s form .
Lord Dattatreya is an avadhoota who is the son of Atri Muni and Anasooya. He is the holy trinity, all three rolled into one. Symbolically, Lord Dattatreya is depicted with three heads, six hands, four dogs, standing in front of a cow and tree. In his hands He holds a drum (damaru), discus like weapon (chakra), conch shell (sankh), rosary (japa mala), water vessel (kamandala) and a trident (trisula).
The Lord’s three heads represent Brahma Tatwa, Vishnu Tatwa and Shiva Tatwa. All powerful creative cause is Brahma, sustaining energy is Vishnu and annihilating energy is Shiva (Srishti, Sthithi and Laya energies) are the three heads.
All these attributes of the Lord have their esoteric meanings. The trident is used for killing the ego, and the drum is used to awaken those souls who are still in the slumber of ignorance. Lord Datta’s conch shell is used to sound the Omkara, the primordial sound and the first word of the Hindu scriptures. The divine AUM is composed of Akara – the Creator/Initiator, Brahma; Ukara – Sustainer/Protector, Vishnu; Makara – Destroyer/Terminator, Maheswara. When mixed together in the conch of the Lord, they sound as the eternal Omkara — Datta.
Om is an essential sound. With every breath our lungs resonate the Omkara. So-hum… So-hum… I am the world, I am the universe, I am Lord Shiva, I am Lord Vishnu… We are always chanting this mantra, even when we are walking, talking, eating or sleeping. The speed with which we sound this So-hum may change with our bodily activity, but the So-hum remains eternal. When the body stops resonating with this divine sound, the soul seeks another residence. All living creatures, even animals resonate this AUM in their body.
In Sanskrit, Datta means gift, hence, Omkara is the eternal gift of God to all souls. Lord Dattatreya is also holding a rotating discus or chakra. It is a round circle with no beginning and no end. Like the universe, it too is constantly moving, always in a flux. He uses this chakra to destroy all kinds of karmic bonds of His devotees.
His right hand holds a rosary or japa mala. With this the Lord counts His devotees, liberating them by merely thinking of their name. In another hand, the Lord is carrying the water pot or kamandala. This holds the nectar of pure wisdom. With this, He revives the souls thirsty for knowledge, liberating them from the endless cycle of life and death.
The four dogs of Dattatreya are the embodiments of the four Vedas. They follow the Lord as hounds of heaven, watchdogs of the ultimate truth. They help the Lord in hunting and finding pure souls, wherever they may be born.
Behind the Lord Dattatreya is the cow named Kamadhenu. This divine cow grants the wishes and desires of all those who seek the Lord. She grants all material and spiritual wishes of the Lord’s devotees. The Lord stands in front of the Audumbara tree. This is the celestial wish-yielding tree. It fulfills the wishes of those who prostrate before it. Audumbara is the bearer of nectar, and wherever it is found, Lord Dattatreya is always found in it’s shade.
We do celebrate Datta Jayanti every year by praying lord and offering flowers, naivaidyam. I like to go to temple and give some annadana and dakshina. People celebrate Datta Jayanti in Maharashtra and Karnataka like a big festival.
They also offer Bhandara (food which is considered as Prasad of the presiding deity) and sing glories of Prabhu. People read and do parayana of Guru Charitra, the holy book. I read Datta Bavani. I will try to write an article on Lord Dattatraya’s Avatara – Sripad Srivallabh , Nrusimha Saraswati Swamy Maharaj on some another day 🙂
🙏 Sri Gurudev Datta 🙏