Shri Gurudev Datta is a Mantra that is chanted to invoke Dattatreya, who is the incarnation of the three Hindu deities, Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, in one single form.
It means, ‘Praise to Lord Dattatreya’.
Legend behind Dattatreya’s birth:
Dattatreya was born to Sage Atri and his wife, Anasuya. Atri was born of Brahma. After practicing severe penance, he attained Brahma jnana. His wife, Anasuya, was the daughter of Karjam Prajapati.
She was a devout wife and had acquired great power due to her rigorous penance and chastity. As her fame spread far and wide, Indra and other deities became afraid. They thought that they would forfeit their supremacy and that she would snatch their celestial treasures. They approached Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and requested them to curtail the power and glory of Anasuya by casting a blemish on her chastity.
The triumvirate agreed. They assumed the form of mendicants and went to Atri’s hermitage. They sought alms, but the sage had gone to the river for his daily ablutions. Anasuya gave them a respectful welcome and invited them into her humble abode. She also washed their feet and worshipped them. But the mendicants said they were hungry and demanded food. They also refused to wait for Atri.
So Anasuya told them to be seated and prepared to serve them food. But the guests had a bizarre request. They wanted her to take off all her clothes and serve them naked. Only then would they partake of the food she served them. Otherwise, they said they would leave the place. Anasuya was in a dilemma. If she refused to do what they wanted, they would leave without eating any food. As guests are to be treated like God, this would be like displeasing God. She knew that her mind was pure and that her husband’s spiritual strength would protect her. So she said that she would comply with their request and went to the kitchen.
In the kitchen, she meditated, thinking of her husband. Then, she took off her clothes and went to serve food to the mendicants. However, thanks to the power of her chastity, all three of them had been transformed into babies. She fed them breast milk to appease their hunger. After a while, Atri returned and was surprised to see his wife cuddling three infants. As he had divine powers, he realized that the three were actually Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Impressed by the purity and devotion of the couple, the three deities returned to their real forms and told the couple to ask for a boon. Atri asked Anasuya to do so, whereupon she said that she wanted all three of them to be her children. The gods granted her the boon and returned to their celestial abodes. Later, Dattatreya, the combined form of the Hindu trinity of gods, was born as the child of Atri.
Significance of Chanting ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’:
‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ is a powerful Dattatreya Mantra. This Mantra is chanted to invoke the blessings of Lord Dattatreya, the Guru of all gurus. Chanting Mantras for Dattatreya is believed to remedy the problems caused by Pitru Dosha or Pitru Shaapam. Dosha means ‘affliction’, and Shaapam means ‘curse’. The Pitrus or souls of our deceased ancestors need to be remembered and honored. This ensures that they attain liberation and bestow their blessings on us. If we fail to do so, or if they are displeased with our offerings, we may incur their curses. This could manifest as problems like delayed marriage, lack of progeny, health problems for children, lack of domestic harmony, and so on. Depending on the severity of the problems, one should chant the Mantra. Dattatreya is very benign, kind, and merciful. When one chants his Mantra, the person will be protected from such problems by his divine powers.
Benefits of chanting Shri Gurudev Datta:
*Relief from ‘Pitrushapam’ (the curse of deceased ancestors)
*Domestic harmony and peace
*Freedom from afflictions
*Good academic performance of children
*More self-confidence and commanding speech
Also, when chanting this Mantra, there is no need to stop worshipping your Ishta Devata, or family deity.