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Encyclopedia > Dattatreya

In the Natha tradition, Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of the Lord Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adi-Nath sampradaya of the Nathas. Although Dattatreya was at first a "Lord of Yoga" exhibiting distinctly Tantric traits, he was adapted and assimilated into the more devotional cults; while still worshipped by millions of Hindus, he is approached more as a benevolent God than as a teacher of the highest essence of Indian thought. In Hinduism, an avatar is the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of an Immortal Being, or of the Ultimate Supreme Being. ... Lord Åšiva. ... Tantra (Sanskrit: loom), tantric yoga or tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India. ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ...

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Dattatreya as an Historical Figure

Though the Dattatreya of the Natha tradition coexisted and intermingled with the Puranic, Brahmanical tradition of the Datta sampradaya, here we shall focus almost exclusively on the earlier Tantric manifestation of Datta. Shri Gurudev Mahendranath had no doubt that Dattatreya was an historical figure. He stated that Datta was born on Wednesday, the fourteenth day of the full moon in the month of Margasirsa, though he does not mention the year. ... Young Indian brahmachari Brahmin Brahmanism is an early form of Hinduism which developed its worship and philosophy from the Vedas. ... Tantra (Sanskrit: loom), tantric yoga or tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India. ... Shri Gurudev Mahendranath (April 29, 1911–August 30, 1991) was a British occultist, mystic, writer, poet, sannyasi, tantric guru, and Avadhut. ... The Hindu calendar is of two types: the solar calendar or the saura māna the lunisolar calendar or the chāndra māna Both are described in this article. ...


Dattatreya left home at an early age to wander naked in search of the Absolute. He seems to have spent most of his life wandering in the area between and including North Mysore, through the Maharashtra, and into Gujarat as far as the Narmada River. He attained realization at a place not far from the town now known as Ganagapur. The original footprints of Datta are believed to be located on the lonely peak at Mount Girnar. The Tripura-rahasya refers to the disciple Parasurama finding Datta meditating on Gandhamadana mountain. The Absolute is the totality of things, all that is, whether it has been discovered or not. ... Introduction The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, which was founded about 1400 AD by the Wodeyar dynasty, who ruled the state until the independence of India in 1947, when the kingdom was merged with the Union of India. ... Maharashtra (महाराष्ट्र) is Indias third largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population after Uttar Pradesh. ... Gujarat (ગુજરાત in Gujarati) is the most industrialized state in India after Maharashtra and is located in western India, bordered by Pakistan to the northwest and Rajasthan to the north. ... The Narmada or Nerbudda is a river in central India. ... Girnar, a scenic mountain range in Gujarat, India, rises to above 6000 meters, the highest peaks in Gujarat. ...


The Tripura-rahasya (The Secret of [the Goddess] Tripura) is believed to be an abbreviated version of the original Datta Samhita or Dakshinamurti Samhita traditionally ascribed to Dattatreya. This more lengthy work was summarized by Dattatreya's disciple Paramasura, whose disciple, Sumedha Haritayana, scribed the text. Thus, this text is sometimes referred to as the Haritayana Samhita.


The Tripura-rahasya is divided into three parts. The first part, the Mahatmya Khanda or section on the goddess is concerned with the origin, mantra and yantra of the Goddess Tripura, also known as Lalita or Lalita Tripurasundari. The Jnana Khanda or section on knowledge elaborates on the themes of consciousness, manifestation, and liberation. Unfortunately, the last part, Charya Khanda or section on conduct, has been lost and some believe destroyed.


Another work, the Avadhuta Gita (Song of the Free) is a wonderful, compete compilation of the highest thought given to and recorded by two of Dattatreya's disciples, Swami and Kartika. Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) held it in high esteem. Originally a work of seven chapters, a spurious and misogynistic eighth chapter may be a later attempt to append sexual morality to the Natha tradition by a conservative ascetic. Some of the ideas in this Gita are however common to both Shaivite and Buddhist Tantras. Avadhut is a term from the spiritual traditions of India. ... Swami Vivekananda (Bangla: স্বামী বিবেকানন্দ, Hindi: स्वामी विवेकानन्द) (whose pre-monastic name was Narendranath Dutta Bangla: নরেন্দ্রনাথ দত্ত, Hindi: नरेन्द्रनाथ दत्त) (January 12, 1863 - July 4, 1902) is considered one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the Hindu religion. ... Shaivism, also Saivism, is a branch of Hinduism that worships Siva as the Supreme God. ... Statues of Buddha such as this, the Tian Tan Buddha statue in Hong Kong, remind followers to practice right living. ... The Tantras (Looms or Weavings), written between 500 and 1800, are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss rituals and meditation. ...


The Markandeya Purana reports that Dattatreya, to free himself of all attachments, dove into a lake where he stayed for many years. By doing so, he also hoped to evade an assembly of Munis who remained on the banks of the lake awaiting his return. Datta emerged from the water naked in the company of a beautiful woman. The text relates that he made love with her (maithuna), drank liquor, and enjoyed singing and music. In spite of this, the Munis did not abandon him, and Dattatraya, accompanied by his shakti, continued to engage in these practices and was meditated on by those longing for moksha. Muni is a common abbreviation for municipal, and sometimes becomes a frequently-used name for a city-related service or organization: Municipal bonds San Francisco Municipal Railway, a city transit agency in San Francisco, California Springfield Municipal Opera Muni Consortium (broadband communications) Municipal Bridge (Saint Louis, Missouri) A muni is... In most South Asian languages, Shakti translates literally as power. ... Moksha (Sanskrit: liberation) or Mukti (Sanskrit: release) refers, in general, to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. ...


In the Bhagavata Purana Dattatreya enumerates a list of his twenty-four gurus: earth, air, sky / ether, water, fire, sun, moon, python, pigeons, sea, moth, bee, bull elephant, bear, deer, fish, osprey, a child, a maiden, a courtesan, a blacksmith, serpent, spider, and wasp. The image of the Natha ranged from that of a siddha living in the woods with animals, to that of a frightening, even demonic, being. A guru (गुरू Sanskrit) is a teacher in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. ...


In The Pathless Path to Immortality, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath writes: Shri Gurudev Mahendranath (April 29, 1911–August 30, 1991) was a British occultist, mystic, writer, poet, sannyasi, tantric guru, and Avadhut. ...

"Shri Dattatreya was a dropout of an earlier age than the period when Veda and Tantra merged to become one simple cult. It was men like Dattatreya who helped to make this possible. Three of his close disciples were kings, one an Asura and the other two both belonging to the warrior caste. Dattatreya himself was regarded as an avatar of Maheshwara (Shiva) but later was claimed by Vaishnavites as the avatar of Vishnu. Not such a sectarian claim as it appears; Hindus regard Shiva and Vishnu as the same or as manifestations of the Absolute taking form." The Vedas are part of the Hindu Shruti; these religious scriptures form part of the core of the Brahminical and Vedic traditions within Hinduism and are the inspirational, metaphysical and mythological foundation for later Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra and even Bhakti forms of Hinduism. ... Tantra (Sanskrit: loom), tantric yoga or tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India. ... In Hinduism In Hindu mythology, the Asura are a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes misleadingly referred to as demons. ... Lord Åšiva. ... Vaishnavites are followers of Vaishnavism in which Vishnu or His avatars are worshipped as the supreme God. ... Vishnu For other uses of the name Vishnu, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Hindu religion; for other meanings of the word, see Hindu (disambiguation). ... Lord Åšiva. ... Vishnu For other uses of the name Vishnu, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ... The Absolute is the totality of things, all that is, whether it has been discovered or not. ...

Indeed, the Dattatreya Upanisad, which opens proclaiming Dattatreya's identity with Vishnu, ends with the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, identifying Datta with Shiva. In the last portion of the third chapter, Mahesvara (Shiva) alone is said to pervade reality and shine in every heart of man. He alone is in front, behind, to the left, to the right, below, above, everywhere the center. Finally, Mahesvara is identified with Dattatreya, depicting the latter as an Avatara of Shiva. Vishnu For other uses of the name Vishnu, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ... Lord Åšiva. ... See Avatar (disambiguation) for other meanings. ... Lord Åšiva. ...


Dattatreya as a Devotional Deity

Dattatreya is usually depicted with three heads, symbolising Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; past, present, and future; and the three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep. He is portrayed sitting in meditation with his shakti beneath the audumbara (wish-fulfilling) tree. In front of him is a fire pit, and around him are four dogs. These are sometimes said to symbolise the four Vedas. Brahma, the Creator, is depicted with four heads, each reciting one of the four Vedas. ... Vishnu For other uses of the name Vishnu, see Vishnu (disambiguation). ... Lord Åšiva. ... Meditation usually refers to a state in which the body is consciously relaxed and the mind is allowed to become calm and focused. ... In most South Asian languages, Shakti translates literally as power. ...


References

  • Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. Notes on Pagan India. Retrieved Oct. 14, 2004.
  • Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev. The Pathless Path to Immortality. Retrieved Oct. 14, 2004.
  • Rigopoulos, Antonio (1998). Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara. New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-3696-9.

External links


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DATTATREYA Jayanthi falls during December-January on the full moon day of the month of Margaseersha.
Dattatreya was absolutely free from intolerance or prejudice of any kind.
Discourses are given by Yogis and Sannyasins, on the life and teachings of Lord Dattatreya during this gathering as well as during the night Satsang at the Ashram.
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