Birth of Dattatreya
Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 2:56 AM
Lord Dattatreya is Guru of all Gurus, who is considered an incarnation of the lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. He was born to the great Sage Atri and his devoted wife Anusuya, a sage couple of the Vedic age. The word Datta means "Given", Datta is called so because the divine trinity "gave" themselves in the form of a son to Atri and Anusuya. He is the son of great sage Atri, hence the name "Atreya" is added.
Birth of Dattatreya
Anusuya became very famous for her devotion to her husband. To test her, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva transformed themselves into mendicants, approached the hermitage of sage Atri, at the time when sage Atri was out of the hermitage. They begged for alms, Anusuya came out and offered food to them. They requested Anusuya that the food be prepared and served to them by her in the nude position. In the Indian tradition any guest cannot be turned away, as they are considered to be an aspect of God. So, she bound by the rules of hospitility, agreed to accept their strange request. But such was the power of her chastity that when she brought the food, the three gods turned into infants whom Anasuya fed as a mother. After Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva showed their original form and blessed Anusuya that she will give birth a son, who will be the embodiment of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Thus lord Dattatreya was born.
In the general depictions, he is portrayed with a cow and four dogs at his feet. The cow represents the mother earth and four dogs represent the four Vedas. Dattatreya is generally depicted with three heads, symbolising Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; past, present and future and creation, preservation and destruction. Dattatreya left home at an early age to wander naked in search of the Absolute. He came down to spread the universality of true religion. His presence is not limited to any one country or sphere, as he is considered the Guru (teacher)of all Gurus.
Lord Dattatreya observed nature carefully, the elements, the sun and the moon, birds and animals, men and women and gained an insight into the nature of the world. Inspired, he went on to compose the Avadhuta Gita- the song of the recluse, that explains the doctrine of detachment. Through various occult sciences like Tantra and mystical disciplines like Yoga, Dattatreya taught mankind the means to yoke oneself to the way of the cosmos. His students called him the fountainhead of all knowledge, the supreme teacher, Adinatha. He wandered around the world as a mendicant with his cow, Bhoodevi herself, and four dogs.All courtesy of Art of Legend India.