Datta or Dattatreya, the Guru of all gurus, and the combined form of the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva incarnated on Pournami/ full moon day in Mārgshīrsha, the Hindu lunar month. This event is celebrated as Datta Jayanti. In the past, whenever problems caused by demonic forces increased, Dattatreya incarnated to slay the demons.
On the day of Datta Jayanti, Datta’s principle is high - 1000 times more- active on Earth. We can benefit immensely by worshipping him on this day with piety and devotion.
Datta is also called Dattatreya, Avadhut and Digambar.
The Puranas narrate the tale of Datta’s birth. He was the son of Atri, a sage, and his wife, Anasuya. The latter was renowned for her chastity, and it had given her great powers. This was seen as a threat by Indra and the other gods. So they told Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu about their apprehensions and fears. The three deities decided to put Anasuya’s chastity to the test.
One day, they visited Atri’s hermitage in the form of mendicants and sought alms from Anasuya.
Atri had gone out, so Anasuya invited them into their humble abode. When she told them to wait for Atri, they refused and demanded to be served food at once. They also said that they had heard that she served food to guests according to their wishes. So Anasuya agreed to serve food to them according to their wishes. The mendicants had a condition - she should serve them in the nude. Anasuya was baffled by their strange request. But she believed in her own purity and the power of her husband’s penance. So she decided to do as they wished. After meditating on her husband, she had the thought that the guests were her children. Miraculously, the three gods, who were in disguise, immediately transformed into three wailing infants. She held them in her arms and gave them breast milk.
When Sage Atri returned, she told him what happened. He realized that the mendicants were Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, and offered them obei¬sance. The gods were pleased and returned to their original forms. Then they asked the sage and Anasuya to demand a boon from them. Atri and Anasuya wanted them to be born as their children. The gods then blessed them both and returned to heaven.
Chandra (Moon), Datta, and Durvasa were actually Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, respectively. While Chandra and Durvasa left to do penance, Datta remained on earth. The origin of the Guru lineage began from here onwards.
Datta is an incarnation of Vishnu. His mission is to preserve, create, and develop devotion in people. He also teaches people to lead an ideal and righteous life. He is also said to provide forward momentum to Pitrus or the souls of our deceased ancestors in their journey after death.
Celebration of Datta Jayanti:
- People of all religions can worship Datta. Datta Jayanti can be celebrated in the following manner.
- Seven days before Datta Jayanti, one should recite the Shri Gurucharitra (a Holy scripture which eulogizes Datta)
- One can sing bhajans and do Pooja for him.
The Pooja for Datta can be performed in the following manner:
Before starting the Pooja, use the ring finger of the right hand to apply two vertical lines on the forehead. This helps to access the Datta principle and awaken the spiritual emotion, which gives focus to the mind while doing the Pooja.
When doing the Pooja, apply sandalwood paste with the ring finger of the right hand. Then you should offer haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion) at the feet of Datta, using the ring finger and thumb. On bringing the tips of the ring finger and the thumb together, the Anahat-chakra is activated, which helps to instill devotion.
Certain flowers are known to attract the principle of a god. Flowers like Jasmine and Tuberose tend to strongly attract Datta principle. When these flowers are offered to gods in a specific number and pattern, it quickly attracts the god’s divine principle. So, when offering flowers to Datta, you can offer them in the count of 7 or multiples of 7 in a diamond pattern.
Certain fragrances too attract the principle of a god. The fragrances of Sandalwood, Pinus Succinifera, Screwpine, and Lawsonia alba can quickly attract Datta’s principle. Use the incense sticks of these fragrances to get the maximum benefits of the Datta principle. Seekers in the primary stages of sadhana or spiritual practice should light two incense sticks at a time as this is very beneficial. Also, the incense stick should be held in the right hand using the thumb and the index finger. It should also be moved three times consecutively in the clockwise direction in front of the idol.
Perform circumambulation around the idol seven times or in the multiples of seven.
The Datta principle is 1000 times more active on Datta Jayanthi. To derive the maximum benefit from it, chant ‘Shree Gurudev Datta’ for 1-2 hours at least. If you can, chant up to 4-6 hours. You can also chant as much as possible all through the day.