Datta means one who has attained the final liberation. Dattatreya is one of the four sons of Brahmaji. He was a great ascetic who led people with his vision. He is worshipped with wooden slippers.
God Datta is also refered to as "Shree Dattatraya". The birth day of Shree Dutta is the day when the Datta principle becmae active on this earth.
Datta jayanti is celebrated on the full Moon day of Hindu Month "Margashirsh". Shri. Datta who perfroms the role of a "Guru", has assumed sixteen main incarnations.
Dattatreya, the three Gods, transformed themselves into mendicants and approached the dwelling of sage Atri and begged for alms. Sage Atri was away at the river for offering his daily oblations.
His wife, Anusuya came out and offered them food. However, the three Gods made a strange request. The said that the food should be prepared and served to them by Anusuya herself, in the nude.
As per the Hindu notion, the Guest is God and can not be sent back with empty hands. Hence Anusaya was placed in a dilemma.
She convinced herself that she was totally purified by the long association with the holy sage Atri so she had no fear of anyone.
When the food was served from her hands, she looked upon them as her own children and not as strangers and grown up men.
Anusuya and babies
Soon, the men got transformed into small three babies. Sage Atri on his return saw his wife Anusuya with three babies. Anusuya said - "These children are the gift of God to us".
Sage Atri was overjoyed and named them Datta, which means 'given'. At this the three Gods got transformed to their original forms and disclosed the truth.
Sage Atri and Anusuya prayed that they should stay as their sons. They agreed and the three Gods merged into one body and it was the incarnation of Shri. Dattatreya.
Shri Dattatreya is a splendorous form whose face radiates all wisdom and draws us away from the lures of the world.
His favorite abode is the Holy Audambar tree. He has matted hair on His head. His body is smeared with holy ashes and wears tiger-skin as garment.
A cow and four dogs are always with him as constant companions.Shri Dattatreya, in order to bless his devotees wanders about in the guise of a random guest at the meals hour.
Hence, it is said that a random guest should be treated nicely as if they are the embodiment of Lord Dattaterya.
Attributes Of Shri. Dattatreya
She is always with Datta and symbolizes the Mother Earth and Dharma. She is called 'Kamadhenu', the wish fulfilling cow.
The four dogs
They symbolise the four Vedas - the external repositories of spiritual wisdom.
It indicates that he has transcended the three gunas, which constitute the illusory world:
Sattva-illumination, Rajas-activity and Tamas-inertia.
The disc indicates his being beyond the cycles of time ie the past, present and future. His holding of 'chakra' indicates his controll over the time.
It represents the eternal sound 'Aum', which is the manifestation of the Spirit.
The Ashes symbolize his purity and the ultimate state of all matter.
This teaches us to share our wealth and food with others.
The Rosary, Japmala,tells us that our first duty is to chan the divine name of the God.
Teachings Of Dattatreya
Thousands of years ago, Guru Dattatreya gave Ashtanga Yoga (eight fold path of Yoga) Lessons to the world, as follows,-
1- Yama - Truthfulness, non-receiving of any gifts. Moral discipline.
2- Niyama - Study and self-surrender to God.
3- Asana - Posture. Pranayama - Breath control exercises.
5- Pratyahara - Withdrawal of senses from sense objects.
6- Dharana - Concentration.
7- Dhyana - Meditation and knowledge.
8- Samadhi - The state of being merged with the God.
Shri. Shripad Vallabh
Shripad Vallabh was born to a brahmin couple Appala Raju Sharma and Sumathi, in a village named Pithapur in Andhra Pradesh, India.
They were devotees of Lord Datta and had many children of whom only two survived. One was lame and the other was blind.
They worshipped Lord Datta and always offered food to mendicants and monks as if they were forms of Lord Datta. One day, they were performing the annual ceremony in their house.
Many Brahmins were invited as guests. Tradition holds that none should eat on that day before these guests partake their food.
Shripad Shri. Vallabh
At that time Lord Dattatreya appeared there in the form of a sadhu (saint), bearing the staff and the water-vessel (Kamandalu) and asked for food.
The housewife, with full faith that the visitor was none other than the Datta, to whom the whole ceremony was being offered, gave him food.
The Lord said, "Mother, I am pleased with your devotion, you have given me food with the full faith, even before you fed the Brahmin guests.
Now, ask me for anyboon and it will be granted". "Lord", she said, "You addressed me as mother, please let your word be turned into reality".
Soon, Sumathi conceived and delivered a male child with divine features. The child was none other but the very first incarnation of Shri. Dattatreya, known as Shripad Vallabh.
Shri. Narsimha Saraswati
Shripad Shri. Vallabh told a Brahmin lady to devote her life to the worship of Lord Shiva, who obeyed him and subsequently, was born in Karanja, near Akola ( India), in a pious family and she was named Amba.
Later on she was married to a pious man Madhav Sharma. She was devoted totally to her husband. Her holy tendencies were growing due to her spiritual achievements in the previous life.
She then became an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Later on she delivered a baby boy. To the surprise of everyone, the child did not cry on birth.but he uttered the divine sound 'Aum' and everyone was amazed at it.
Shri. Narsimha Saraswati
Learned people assured Madhava Sharma that their child was indeed an avatar of the Lord. The child was named Narahari.
As he grew he got the thread ceremony done and prepared for his pilgrimage.
He took a staff in his hand and left from home to fulfill his mission, to revive faith and uplift the people morally and spiritually.
On his way to Badrinath, Narahari reached the Holy place Kashi.As per the Holy tradition, Narahari resorted to his Holiness Swami Krishna Saraswati as his Guru and anounced the vow of sanyas.
Henceforth, He came to be known as Shri Narasimha Saraswati, the second incarnation of Shri. Dattatreya.