Ennapadam Bhagavati

Bhagavathi at Ennapadam Temple at Kerala

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Lord Dattatreya (painting by Ravi varma)
‘Dattatreyam gurum devam
bhyayannisam sadasivam
tanmantram tasya gitam cha
vyakurve tat prasadatah’

‘Dattreya, the Teacher and the Deity,

I meditate on Him, the Lord, the ever-holy Lord,
His hymn and His song too
Do I expound by His irresistible Grace’

Datta Jayanti or Guru Dattatreya Jayanthi, the birthday of Lord Dattatreya, is observed on Margashirsha Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Margasirsha. Datta Jayanti in Margazhi this year (2010) or Dattatreya Jayanthi 2010 fell on December 20, 2010. Dattatreya, the son of Anasuya and Atri Maharshi, is considered as Trimurti Avatar, an incarnation of Hindu Trinity – Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.

When Goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati came to know about Anasuya’s pativrata dharma, they wanted to test her. Accordingly, they persuaded their husbands Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to make a request to Anasuya to serve them food with unclothed naked body. Through her yogic powers of tapasya, Anasuya tackled the delicate situation by making the Hindu trinity take the physical form of small babies and fed them without any clothes on her body. Anasuya’s huband, Atri Maharshi came and saw the whole episode and invoking all his spiritual powers as a Maharishi, he transformed all the three babies into a three-headed single baby. This form of Trimurti is famed in Hindu Religion, song and legend as DATTATREYA SWAMY.

Anasuya feeding the Hindu Trinity

As Dr.Radhakrishnan puts it brilliantly: ”The representation of Dattatreya as a being with three faces indicates the fundamental oneness of the 3 Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—eka eva tridha smritah—one only but conceived as threefold. Since this experience of reality cannot be adequately described, we must be gentle with the different versions of the experience. Spiritual humility should be our attitude and not dogmatic pride or intolerance. The forms we worship are the splintered images of The Divine Reality. This synthetic vision which is the characteristic of Hindu thought from it beginnings in the Veda has in it the healing of the divisions amongst religions today.”

All though Maharashtra is the heartland of Dattatreya devotion, his all-pervading presence extends throughout the Indian sub-continent, especially in Southern states such as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala, and also in Gujarat, apart from Nepal.

The opening passage of Avadhuta-Gita by Lord Dattatreya whom the Upanishads hail to be the Supreme Lord of the Universe runs as follows:” Knowledge of undifferentiated unity springs in the inspired men only by Grace of God and saves them from great peril.”

Recently I had the good fortune of reading a book titled DATTATREYA authored by His Highness Shri Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur Maharaja of Mysore which was published in London in 1957 by George Allen and Unwin Limited. In my view this is the best book on the subject. In Chapter 1 of this book, he has stated as follows:

The opening passage of the Avadhuta-Gita (which I have cited above) forms one of the passages of my daily prayer handed down through tradition. Every time I recite it, it kindles deep reflection in my mind. My constant dwelling on these words drew my mind into the deeper significance of the expressions it contained. Though these expressions, verbally speaking, are familiar to us, the doubts that crossed my mind and the questions I was compelled to ask myself could not be satisfied by the usual meanings given to these terms. The conventional meanings of these terms conflicted with those which belonged to an ancient heritage of which the seers and rishis who shaped the very fundamentals of our culture, were the custodians. This was the message of DATTATREYA to the world, and it led me seriously to consider what meaning this declaration had in relation to actual experience of life. What is life? What is death? What is it that we really fear (mahabhaya), life or death? Who are those fortunate beings that are regarded as endowed with illumination? How are they fortunate? Are they fortunate because of birth or because of the grace of the Lord? What is the grace of the Lord? Is it something that is given to man or does he achieve it by his own efforts? What is God, Iswara? Is it God in the ordinary sense in which it is understood in the world? Is it the truth or reality, the ultimate principle of all? These and various other serious doubts assailed me until one day through a chance experience I was able to gain some insight into the meanings of these memorable words. One day the truth flashed across my mind. So many things cleared up.”

That moment of vision led His Highness Sri. Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur Maharaja of Mysore to write his remarkable book dedicated to DATTATREYA.


In that lofty moment of rare ecstatic vision, the Maharaja of Mysore recalled to his mind the famous reference of Vasishta in his Yoga-Vasishta-Ramayana where he says that The truth flashed past one—like lightning—in between the gaps created by the absence of thought”. At that moment of illumination, he attempted to coordinate all this into a meaningful experience. Let us hear again the words of this Maharaja, in the true ancient Hindu tradition of King Janaka of Mithila:

That is how Dattatreya became to me the torchbearer of a new meaning  and purpose of life. His tremendous spiritual importance began to grip my imagination more and more until he became for me the visible form of the highest truth defined as ‘REAL KNOWLEDGE INFINITE IS BRAHMAN’,’sathyam gyanam anantham brahma’,’One only, secondless is brahman’(Taitreya Upanishad),’ekamevadvitiyam brahma’ in the vedas.”

Hindu mythology and iconography have represented DATTATREYA as a Being with three faces, one the face of Brahma, the other of Vishnu and the third of Shiva of the Hindu Pantheon. He has six hands of which the three right ones hold respectively a trident, a rosary and a lotus flower and the three left ones hold discus, conch and the ascetic’s water-pot. The three heads stemming from the same trunk represent the powers of Creation, Preservation and Destruction which are present in the Universe as being the functions that emanate from one and the same Reality although each function is designated differently. The Discus and the conch are associated with Vishnu, the trident and the ascetic’s water-pot with Shiva, and the rosary and the Lotus with Brahma. These are the myths and symbols suggestive of the rich exuberance of India’s philosophy, religion and art.

The Trinity (Trimurti) emanating from a Unity (ekam sat) indicates the synthetic vision of the unity of things which has given life to Indian philosophy down the ages. The four dogs portrayed at the feet of Dattatreya represent the Four Vedas which follow at the feet of the Lord as hounds of heaven and watch-dogs of Truth owned by Dattatreya, the Great Hunter for the Souls of Men. The ochre-coloured garb of Dattatreya symbolises sanyasa,the spirit of renunciation or detachment without which realisation of ultimate truth would only be a half-hearted effort and infractuous in the extreme.

The synthetic philosophy of the Vedas finds an embodiment in Dattatreya and his philosophy is expounded in two important works known as the Avadhuta-Gita (Devanagari: अवधूत गीता) and the Jeevanmuktha Gita.

Avadhuta-Gita (Devanagari: अवधूत गीता) is a Hindu text based on the principles of Advaita Vedanta (nondualism). The singer of the Avadhuta-Gita is Dattatreya, an Avadhuta, and according to the Nath Sampradaya, the work was heard and transcribed by two of Dattatreya's disciplesSwami and Kartika. Ashokananda (1893–1969) has said that "the Avadhuta-Gita is a text of Vedanta representing extreme Advaita or Nondualism...". This text may also be considered a forerunner of Tantric literature as the themes, motif and orientation of this 'song' (Sanskrit: gita) are common to Shaivite Tantras, Buddhist Tantras and Vaishnava Agamas (which are also tantric literature) and ancient Yoga philosophy.

Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) held the Avadhuta-Gita in high esteem and introduced it to his Western students and he translated aspects of it in the following talk he gave on July 28, 1895: "He who has filled the universe, He who is Self in self, how shall I salute Him! To know the Atman as my nature is both knowledge and realisation. I am He, there is not the least doubt of it. No thought, no word, no deed, creates a bondage for me. I am beyond the senses, I am knowledge and bliss. There is neither existence nor non-existence, all is Atman. Shake off all ideas of relativity; shake off all superstitions; let caste and birth and Devas and all else vanish. Why talk of being and becoming? Give up talking of dualism and Advaitism! When were you two, that you talk of two or one? The universe is this Holy One and He alone. Talk not of Yoga to make you pure; you are pure by your very nature. None can teach you.”

The author of Jivan-mukta Gita is Lord Dattatreya. Jivanmukta-gita is a short compendium of 23 verses which is a discourse about the various characteristics of a jivan- mukta (a liberated soul). A Jivanmukta (from the Sanskrit words jiva and mukti) is someone who, in the Advaita philosophy of Hinduism, has attained nirvikalpa samadhi ---- the realization of the Self, Parasiva - and is liberated from rebirth while living in a human body. Jivanmukta is a unique concept in Hindu philosophy, particularly in the school of philosophy known as Advaita. The ultimate goal of Hinduism is liberation from the cycles of re-birth. This liberation is technically called 'moksha'. In all schools of Hindu philosophy except Advaita, liberation is necessarily an event beyond the experience of human beings. But the Advaita school of Shankara envisages that human beings are already liberated and the soul is already free - one has only to realise, and to accept, this freedom. Souls who have had this realisation are called jivanmuktas.

1. What is Jivanmukti?

2. Who is a Jivanmukta?
3. Is Jivanmukta a Real Vedantin?
4. Is a Jivanmukta Free from All Bondages?
5. what is the vision of a Jivanmukta?

A Jivanmukta is a liberated sage. He is released even while living. He lives in the world, but he is not of the world. He always revels in the eternal bliss of the Supreme Self. He is Ishvara (God) Himself. He is a God on earth.

The Jivanmukta or full-blown Jnani (a person with full wisdom) is full of pure love, compassion, mercy, exquisite gentleness, and hidden power and strength. Love and lustre shine through his brilliant eyes.

The Jivanmukta has not a bit of selfish interest in him and is absolutely free from worries, difficulties, troubles, tribulations, sorrows, and anxieties under all circumstances. Even when pains and the rest attaching themselves to his body exhibit themselves on his face, his mind never writhes under them and their antithesis. He is not a slave of his moods; he is ever cheerful and peaceful. His higher excellences have been perfectly unfolded; all divine attributes are fully awakened in him. Every one of his weaknesses and limitations is burnt in toto. He shines in his own pristine glory, in his own essential nature of divine consciousness. He radiates peace and joy everywhere.

The true greatness of a realised Yogi is indescribable. His eyes are serene and steady, his actions perfect and holy, his speech sweet and short, inspiring and impressive. His gait is magnanimous, his touch purifying; his looks are merciful, gestures illuminating. He is omniscient; he has intuitive transcendental knowledge and clear insight into the very heart of all things and beings. You will experience a deep sense of peace and harmony, great elevation and inspiration, in his presence.

Those who are interested in studying the Jivan-mukta Gita of Lord Dattatreya in depth are advised to refer to Swami Sivananda’s (1887-1963)  JIVANMUKTA GITA. I am presenting the front cover of this book below.

Another well-researched book on Lord Dattatreya in all his manifestations and in all his religious, spiritual, scriptural, cultural, sociological dimensions is DATTATREYA, The Immortal Guru, Yogin and Avatara by Antonio Rigopoulos.

Lord Dattatreya is considered as very important in some of the minor Upanishads. Minor Upanishads are mainly technical manuals for the use of disciples of either Advaidata Vedanta or Yoga. German scholar Paul Deussen who grouped these minor Upanishads into the following 3 categories:

  1. The Yoga Upanishads
  2. The Samnyasa Upanishads
  3. Vishnu Upanishads
  4. The following are the most important temples of Lord Dattatreya in India and Nepal:
Lord Dattatreya–--either in his role of Yoga teacher or in that of Avadhuta or Paramahamsa---is mentioned in the Darshana Upanishad and Sandilya Upanishad within the corpus of the 21 Yoga Upanishads.

Lord Dattatreya is mentioned in Brihat-Avadhuta Upanishad, Jabala Upanishad, Naradaparivrajaka Upanishad, Bhikshuka Upanishad and Yagyavalkya Upanishad within the corpus of the Vaishnava Upanishads.

    Mahur is said to be BIRTH PLACE OF GOD DATTATREYA. Dattatreya was born to Goddess Anusaya. There is an ancient temple of Dattatreya. Every Year on Datta Pornima Thousands of people visit Mahur.
    2. Sri Pada Vallabha Kshetram at PITHAPURAM IN SRIKAKULAM DISTRICT OF ANDHRA PRADESH-Bhagwan Shri Dattatrayas Kaliyuga's FIRST INCARNATION IS SHRIPAD SHRIVALLABH. His place of birth is PITHAPURAM (East Godavari)'
    Kukkuteshwara Swamy temple - The most famous temple at Pithapuram is that of Lord Shiva. ... Swayambhu Sri Dattatreya Swamy is also in the Temple Complex. ...
    Sri Kshetra Gangapur
    Sri Kshetra Gangapur, One of the most famous Dattatreya Peethas, is associated with Sri Narasimha Sarasvati Swami, an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. It stands on the bank of the river Bhima in Afzalpur taluka in Gulbarga district of Karnataka. Narasimha Saraswati (1378−1458) नरसिहसरस्वती is the Purna avatar of Dattatreya (As per "Shripad Shrivallabha Charitra" he is second avatar of Dattatreya).He was born in Karanjapur which is modern Lad-Karanja or karanja in Maharashtra Vidbaraba region. 4 MANIKA PRABHU TEMPLE AT BIDAR KARNATAKA
    Maniknagar is a little hamlet village in Humnabad, a taluk town in Bidar, that has a temple complex of Sri Manik Prabhu’s Samadhi. Manik Prabhu, said to be the THIRD avatar of Lord Dattatreya, was a renowned saint of those times. The temple of Manik Prabhu is located on the outskirts of Humnabad, about a kilometre away. Maniknagar is situated on the slopes of high ground near the holy confluence of two little rivulets Guru-Ganga and Viraja. 5.AKKALKOT SWAMI SAMARTH MAHARAJ TEMPLE Akkalkot is a city and a municipal council in Solapur district in the Indian state of Maharashtra, situated 40 km southeast of Solapur near the state border with Karnataka.
    Akkalkot Swami Samarth Maharaj Temple  
    Akkalkot is home to Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj, a saint in 19th century who was believed to be THE FOURTH incarnation of God Dattatreya by his devotees            
    Shree Shirdi Saibaba Temple is located at Shirdi, Maharashtra, The Shirdi is a small village into Kopargam taluk into Ahmad nagar district of Maharashtra State. The Saibaba was physically there on the age of 20 into Shirdi. Shirdi was a small village of the 80 thatched houses among mud walls. Nowadays, Shirdi is a large town by modern shops and buildings.  
    7 GURU DTTAREYA TEMPLE At Girnar Mountain In Junagadh District In Gujarat
    The tallest Mountain of the Gujarat State in India is the Girnar Mountain, which is situated near the city of Junagadh in the Saurashtra region of the Gujarat State. There are many famous places of pilgrimage on this Girnar Mountain. The most famous of them all is the Amba Mata temple. Most of the pilgrims visiting Girnar visit Amba Mata temple for sure. However, very few people are able to visit the highest summit of the Girnar Mountain, which is known as Guru Dattatreya summit.  
    Located about 20 km east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is known as the 'City of Devotees', the 'City of Culture', the 'Living Heritage', and 'Nepal's Cultural Gem'. It is one of the 3 royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley.    
    Dattavtars:: SADGURUS of Datta Linage     
    Sadgurus or Perfect Masters are in reality, the seers who have realized the Absolute or have reached the highest realm of spiritual attainment, are present for ever in the whole universe whether in an embodied or in an un-embodied state. They can operate in gross, subtle, or mental world. They have been actually chosen to execute the Divine Mission and for that, free from individual ego, work together for the execution of the Divine Mission. A Sadguru is the one who leads the created to the creator. Their actions are universal in nature cutting across religions, "Whenever there is decline in righteousness and rise in unrighteousness, O Bharata, then I send forth Myself. For the protection of the good and the destruction of the evil and the establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age to age". said LORD KRISHNA. Bhagavad Gita (IV. 7-8)
     Dattatreya Stotram from Narada Puranam translated by
    Sadgurus are infinite existence, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss.
    The form of Guru is the root of meditation, The feet of the Guru are the root of worship,
    The teaching of the Guru is the root of all hymns and The Grace of the Guru is the root of salvation.
    The Sadgurus or perfect masters are born at different times in different places and with different cultural backgrounds. The following Sadgurus are believed to be the Divine Incarnations of Lord Dattatreya.    
    1. Shripad SriVallabh
    2. Sri Narasimha Saraswati
    3. Sri Manikya Prabhu
    4. Sri Akkalkot Maharaj
    5. Sri Sai baba of Shirdi
    Dattatreya Stotram from Narada Puranam
    Translated by PR Ramchander
    Jatadharam, Pandurangam,
    Soolahastham Krupanidhim,
    Sarvaroga haram devam,
    Dathathreyamaham bhaje.
    My salutations to Dathathreya,
    Who is with matted hair,
    Who is Lord Vishnu,
    Who holds soola in his hand,
    Who is store house of mercy,
    And who is the panacea for all illness.
    Jagat utapathi karthre cha,
    Sthithi samhara hethave,
    Bhava pasa vimukthaya,
    Dathathreya namosthuthe.
    My salutations to Dathathreya,
    Who created all the worlds,
    Who looks after the worlds,
    Who destroys the worlds,
    And who grants redemption,
    From the bonds of sorrow of domestic life.
    I have presented above only two of fifteen verses of Dattatreya Stotram.

No comments:

Post a Comment