Shri Adi Guru Dattatreya9 July 2009

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Adi : stands for primordial, and Shri Adi Guru is the primordial Guru. He is considered to be the god who is an incarnation of the Divine Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Siva. His name has been derived from two important words - the word ‘Datta‘ means “Given”. Datta is called so, because the Divine Trinities have “given” themselves in the form of a son to the sage couple Atri and Anasuya. So, He is the son of Atri, hence the name derives the word “Atreya.”

It is believed that Shri Dattatreya is a very ancient incarnation, highly venerated through the ages. Dattatreya - a Universal Guru manifested in the recess of time, when humanity had gone far from its pristine state and steeped into threshold of a time when all kinds of vices had already taken root.

Atri was one of such seers of that time who had experienced the Brahman, the eternal Wisdom. To him was born a son, the product of the Grace of the Divine Will, which was the manifestation of all three Primal Energies of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He was ordained with the three energies; His advent on earth had the wisdom of the three God-heads or symbolically three heads. The three heads signified as Brahma: ‘Tejas‘ personified, Vishnu: ‘Ojas‘ personified, Shiva: ‘Tapas‘ personified. These heads expressed the qualities of illumination of knowledge, virtuosity of action and stringency of penance as three aspects of Guru.

Assimilated knowledge on Shri Adi Guru Dattatraya from the teachings of Shri Mataji from verses of Her earlier lectures:

Shri Mataji in Her teaching revealed to us about various stories of Adi Guru Dattatraya. It is learnt that Mahesha (Shiva), Vishnu and Brahmadeva- Trinity incarnated as one teacher God, the Primordial Master (Dattatraya). He came onto this earth to teach people the secrets of the Divine, to reveal God, and to help them cross the Ocean of Illusion themselves within their own identity. Evolution could not go further in the hands of human beings who were in the bondage of ignorance, so they were given guidance through this incarnation of the Primordial Master (Adi Guru) again and again in different lives. He was created as the three-headed child, Dattatraya, by Adi Shakti who appeared on earth during the Treta Yuga as Sati Anusuya, wife of the Sage Atreya. He was born as Adi Nath who founded Jainism - one of the oldest religions. Then he was born as Raja Janaka, father of Janaki also called Sita, Rama’s wife. She was an Incarnation of Adi Shakti.

He was also born as Zoroaster who was worshipped by the ancient Persians, and still revered by Parsees. Earlier He had taken birth as Abraham and later as Moses, the Fathers of Judaism. In China He was born as Confucius and as Lao Tzu, and in Greece as Socrates. He took a very significant Incarnation as Mohammed Sahib, the Messenger (Paigamber) and founder of Islam, whose daughter Fatima was Sita reborn, an Incarnation of Adi Shakti. Yet again he took birth as Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion whose sister was Nanaki (Janaki, Sita, Fatima). Most recently he was born as Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi in the Indian State of Maharashtra. Altogether there were ten major Avataras of Dattatraya.

There is a very interesting legend that goes in relating to the story of His birth of Dattatraya that is clearly illustrated in the Puaranas and also depicted as popular myth amongst the Indian fables

The Legend as per the Puranas:

Legend in the myth says- Dattatreya had descended into the realm of world as progeny of Atri and Anusuya, a sage couple of the Vedic age. Sati Anusuya became very famous for her devotion to her husband. She was the embodiment of chastity. Such was her spiritual power it was said that hard, uneven earth turned soft and smooth for her as she walked about. This pious woman induced jealousy and envy in others. So, it is believed that once Sage Narad praised Anusuya, the wife of sage Atri for her powerful chastity and devotion to her husband before the wives of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva making them jealous of her. They requested their husbands to verify the belief of what Narada had spoken. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva together decided to go and prove these doubting elements.

They transformed themselves into mendicants, approached the hermitage of sage Atri and begged for alms while he was away at the river offering his daily oblations. The Trinity in guise knocked at the door and asked for alms saying “Bhavati Bhikshan Dehi” (Oh Mother! Give us some food). Anusuya came out to offer food to them. Spontaneously, they make a strange request to her; that may the food be prepared and served to them by Anusuya without any cloths on her body. As per traditions it is considered sin if any ‘athithi’ (guests) or their requests are turned down by the host without either welcoming or meeting their demands. Since ‘atithi‘ (guest) are revered with highest esteem next to God. Hence, Sati Anusuya was placed in a great dilemma. She smiled to herself and reflected thus:

“I am totally purified by the long association with the holy sage Atri. What harm can the god of lust ever do to me? So I fear nothing. As they have sought food from my hands, I look upon them as my own children and not as strangers and grown up men!”

Her thoughts - the thoughts of a pious and chaste person - instantly became reality; the elderly guests became babies!

Sage Atri on his return to the hermitage saw his wife Anusuya caressing three babies. Anusuya thus remarks, “These children are the gift of God to them who had been childless so far”. Sage Atri was overjoyed and named them Datta, which means ‘given’. At this, the three Gods reverted to their real forms and disclosed the truth. They extolled the power of chastity and purity of Anusuya which vanquished the combined and colossal powers of all three of them. Sage Atri and Anusuya prayed that they should remain as their sons. They consented and the three Gods merged into one body.

This is how Shri Dattatreya incarnated and is known as Gurudeva Datta - the Guru of all Gurus

Symbolic significance of the associated objects around Dattatraya:

. The Cow, which is always with Him, represents the Mother Earth and Dharma. She is the wish fulfilling cow ‘Kamadhenu‘.
. The four dogs symbolize the four Vedas - the external repositories of Spiritual Wisdom.
. The trident indicates that He has transcended the three gunas, which constitute the illusory world: ‘Sattva‘-illumination, ‘Rajas‘-activity and ‘Tamas‘-inertia.
. The ‘Sudharshana chakra‘ the unique ’spinning disc’ indicates that He is beyond the cycles of time i.e. the past, present and future and His holding of ‘chakra’ means He is the controller of time.
. The conch represents the eternal sound ‘AUM‘ - which is the manifestation of the Spirit. It is also the life principle in us and the cosmos.
. The ‘bhasma’ - the ashes indicated His ‘Vairaagya‘ dispassion as well as His purity. Ashes indicate the evanescent nature of all created nature of all created objects and the ultimate state of all matter.
. He always carries a bowl meant for begging, so as to teach us the lesson that we will have to share our wealth and food with others.
. The japa-mala- the Rosary He wears reminds us that our primary duty is chanting the sacred name of the Lord and meditating on the feet of the Lord, and our redemption depends on this discipline alone.


Posted by Bokwe in Teachings

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