Datta Tatvam


The Glory of Lord Dattatreya:

Lord Dattatreya is Jagatguru , Guru of all Gurus  and present even now and he will come at all times . Lord Dattatreya is not an incarnation like Bhagavan Sreekrishna or SreeRama . He is a visible personality , physically available for darshan to us , if we would have the faith and devotion in his sacred feet . It is believed by the followers of Datta -sampradaya that Datta is in the flesh and blood of devotees . He is an Avadhootha . He is Yogiraja .He is Gnaana pradaatha. Lord Dattatreya had been a guru to Brahma , Parashurama , prahlada , patanjali , lord Subramanya , Kings yedu , alarka , Kartaveeryaarjuna. Datta is a kaarana yogi , Kaarana purusha ,a kaarana Avatara to give the message of guru sampradaya and guru bhakthi . Lord Dattatreya is an avathara of trimoorthis Brahma , Vishnu and Maheswara. Lord Dattatreya is an Ocean of knowledge and advance spirituality .   Individual results may vary in spiritual advancement but it will be assured . No caste is barred , No creed is barred , No religion is barred , No limitations for datta .As an incarnation of lord , Datta Comes down to spread the universality of true religion . Any one can be his follower regardless of cast , creed ,status ,student , house-holders no limitations are there. No matter what sect or religion the true seeker follows eventually he comes under the guidance of  Lord Dattatreya . Datta’s Presence is not limited to any one country or sphere. He is the guru of all gurus, the all-being all powerful , ever-present link between God and Man . The lord datta is endowed with all wealth . He is all pervading and resides in the hearts of all beings. He is the great maayavi, sporting with his own maaya. He is Brahma, he is Vishnu and he is Rudra. He is Indra and he is also the gods of heaven and all other beings. He is the East, he is the West, he is the North, he is the South, he is below and he is above. He is everything. This is the glory form of Lord Dattatreya.

The power of Datta Nama:

Just, simple recitation of name “DATTA” is enough to burn away all the sins . Who recites datta’s name, meditates upon him and worships him will be blessed with both bhakthi in abundance and Mukthi in the end. The name Dattatreya symbolises the idea of unity in diversity, connects the people of different creeds and synthesizes various differences found in the society. In the Datta sampradaya, Dattatreya is worshipped as “SADGURU”. Dattatreya’s love to his bhakthas is unbounded and once surrendered to him, they are taken care of  not only in this birth but till the end i.e., SALVATION. Because of this rinanubhandha or previous attachments only many devotees who were not at all concerned with him initially have done so much service after they had been drawn to him. The name of Dattatreya is a safe boat (Taaraka) that enables a devotee to cross the ocean of life with success.


Lord dattatreya has the habit of testing the steadfastedness and devotion of his devotees in various forms. He will test the intensity of devotion of the devotees. He may appear very ugly or he may be engaged in despicable practices. If we can stand the severity of his tests, our request is simple for him. There is no doubt about it. Those  who worships Lord Datta with dedicative devotion, following the 16 courtesis of worship and offer sandal paste, flowers, incence, light and garlands and who propitiate him with a variety of instrumental music, with dances,  bhajans, processions and worship of Brahmins, they will not suffer from any sort of deficiencies either in this birth or in their next births.


The Sandilyopanishad clearly declares that lord Dattatreya is the supreme reality and is the cause of everything that is created. It states that “the supreme Brahman performed penance which was of the nature of knowledge, and desiring to become many, assumed the form of Dattatreya. From that form the three letters A,U,M came out, the three mystical names Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah the lined Gayathri, the three Vedas Rig, Yajur and Sama, the three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara and the three fires Garhapatya, Ashavaneeya and Dakshina. Acoording to Avadhootopanishad, an Avadhootha is one who is beyond all Varna and Ashrama, a Yogin deeply centred in the self-brahman, one free from the bondage of hope and despair one who is pure in the beginning, in the middle and in the end of his life, one who is always merged in bliss, without a desire, with pure and truthful speech, one who has made his mind pure through meditation and Samadhi. In this kind of Avadhutha, the meditator, the meditation and the object of meditation become one. In Datta sampradaya, Dattatreya is worshipped as an Avadhootha.

There are four letters in the word “AVADHOOTHA” (A+VA+DHU+THA). A represents Anubhoothi , VA represents Vakar (vasanas), DHU represents dharana and dhyana, THA represents discrimination, self-centered meditation free from Moha.

Numerous incarnations have been taking place from Yuga to Yuga and they disappear. But the incarnation of Datta prabhu is different. It has no end even at the end of kalpa. Poorna Brahman was recast in the form of Dattaprabhu and by his mere look alone countless Jivas get salvation from worlds. His disciples comprise all types 1. Arta 2. Artharthi 3. Jignasu and 4.Gnani. Dattatreya is an Avinasi avathara. He is Smarthrugaami. He is trigunarahitha.


The phrase ‘Datta”actually has the meaning of ‘given’ or ‘granted’. The common etomology for Dattatreya’s name is ‘he who has given’ (Datta) to Atri(Atreya)- as Atri desired a son and the gods were pleased with his penance and austerity, the God Vishnu gave himself up and was born to Anasuya. Another explanation is he was ‘given up’ (Datta) the three-traya. “The three” were is a reference to three gunas- Rajo guna, Sattava guna and Thamo guna which is a tripartite schema for classifying the physical world.”Datta” means not only “that which is given” but also as the ideal of “giving” without desire for reward, i.e., selfless giving. The whole life of Dattatreya shows us that this “giving” selflessly is the true renunciation/sacrifice.


Guru anugraha is a very potent and vital  in spiritual sadhana for a sadhaka to progress and march on safely. Spiritual sadhana is a very subtle, intricate and complex process. In this aspect not only the guidance of a guru is essential but also his grace is most essential. The Guru (preceptor) is equal to or even more powerful than god in conferring the benefits to devotees. If we ask why, the answer is that God has not been seen by any one, but the preceptor is present here and now before us.There is prominent importance was given to guru. Hence


The preceptor is Brahma, Vishnu, is the God Maheswara is verily brahma itself. Salutation to such a preceptor. Whatever great and auspicious qualities God possesses, the preceptor also possesses the same, namely purity, truth, complete control of the senses, infinite compassion and wisdom. The only difference is that  three things are hard to be obtained without God’s grace. They are 1. birth as a human being 2. desire to know the truth and to get liberated and 3. the attainment of holy preceptor. If we commit an offence against God, there is no need to seek pardon from God himself. It is enough if the preceptor forgives us. God’s anger will at once be disappeared. On the contrary, if one offends the preceptor, and seeks pardon from God, nothing would happen. God himself would tell him that he is helpless in the matter and he will ask us to get the pardon from the preceptor alone. The preceptor can intercede on behalf of the disciple and recommend to God to pardon the sinner. God will never disregard this recommendation. There is a verse which tell us this as follows.


That is why the scriptures enjoin the devotion to the preceptor. If a preceptor who is perfect in all respects is not available, one has to take to some preceptor as a spiritual guide even though he is  a grade lesser than required, and practice devotion to him and through him to God. In the ‘Chandayogaupanishad’ itself declared that only by the grace of the Guru true knowledge is possible. It says “AACAARYAVAAN PURUSHO VEDA” (only one who has preceptor, gains true knowledge). Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada, sings the praise of the Guru everywhere. He has given “GURU ASHTAKAM” as a prasada to us. He clearly tells that do service at the holy feet of Guru everyday. Seek the instruction on Brahman, symbolized in the single syllable om! Listen to the Mahaavaakyaas of Upanishads.

Lord Dattatreya is Adiguru, Viswaguru, Jagatguru. Hence “GURU DATTATREYA VIJAYATHE” is a prayer which is respected by the devotees of Dattatreya. The avathara of Dattatreya is a unique one and it is mainly meant for the promulgation of right type of knowledge (divine wisdom) as Jagat-Guru (God-Guru) and a boon-bestower and not for killing any demon as in the case of all other incarnations.


Dattatreya, the teacher, the deity I meditate on him, the ever-holy lord, his hymn and his song do I expound by his irresistible grace. Dattatreya, who is the God of Gods, ancient, auspicious, the lord of the world and avadhootha, all pervading, a sotre-house of yoga and knowledge, the preceptor of the world, dearest to yogins, merciful to devotees, worshipped by siddhas, redeemer of sins and bestower of liberation, is unique as God-guru symbolizing the idea of unity in diversity. The unique feature of Datta sampradaya is that one can achieve Bhakthi, Mukthi, ihasukha and Paragati by worshipping lord datta.



Traditionally Lord Dattatreya is depicted with three heads representing the trinity of the Hindu Panthaon – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. He has six hands out of two from Brahma holding the rosary-japamala that represents the Guru and Knowledge, water vessel-kamandala that represents the power behind all creation, two hands from Vishnu holding the weapon-chakra that gives the Moksha from rebirth cycle and conch shell-Sankha that echoes monosyllable mantra OM and two has from Shiva holding a drum-dhamaru that awakens all from sleep/ignorance and a trident-trishula that kills the ego. He is standing infront of a cow-Kamadhenu that represents creation and kindness and the tree (Audumbar tree) which represents wish fulfilling tree. He is followed by four faithfull dogs which represent the four Vedas-Rig,Yajur,Atharvana and Sama Vedas which follow at the feet of the lord, as hounds of heaven, the watch-dogs of truth, owned by Dattatreya for the souls of men. The ochre coloured gard of dattatreya symbolises Sansyasa, the spirit of renunciation or detachment. He has matted hair on his head. His body is ever smeared with holy ashes and he wears tiger-skin for his garment. His faces and form are ever radiant with peace and divine charm. The three heads stemming from the same trunk represents the powers of creation, preservation and destruction which are present in the Universe as being the functions that emanate from one and the same. Dattatreya appears with a bag hung on his shoulder. He has all the powers of God viz., creation, preservation and destruction.. But he lives as a Fakir. The term Fakir means a begger owning nothing except a bag (a Jhola) and a stick in his hand, which is sometimes identified with the trident. He goes for Bhiksha or alms, for he lives in alms. The spiritual reading of this Bhiksha or alms-begging by lord Dattatreya is that he is asking us “Give me all your sins”. He asks for the sins of our past and present life. He will collect the sins of all people, he can swallow and digest all the sins of all the people. He goes from door to door asking for alms. He puts them in his Jhola or a bag and walks off and digests everything.

The form of Dattatreya is given in Vishnu Dharmottara Purana –which is worshipped by the devotees. However this is not his real form. This form is meant to  help the worshipper to understand the immense powers of the Guru and to appreciate the unity of God head.

Dattatreya is none other than Brahman, Paramatman, Isvara, Narayana, the source of all existence, knowledge and bliss. Sat-chit-Ananda. It is Brahman because it is full, complete and makes all complete. The concept of Dattatreya, the lord Brahman, the greatest teacher (Guru) of liberation (Moksha) in this life and the state of his being a real philosopher (Avadhootha tatwa) which offers true meaning of life here, shows that is all that exists.