Today, we are celebrating Datta Jayanthi. Datta was born to sage Atri and Anusuya. Atri stands for enlightened one - beyond triguna and anusuya means evolved one ( one without jealousy).
Sage Narada, instigates Laxmi, Parvati and Saraswati about the fame of Anusuyas pativratya.
They send Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma to test Anusuya who approach Anusuya in the form of 3 monks seeking Bhikhsa on the condition that she offers biksha naked. She changes the three monks into children and feeds them breast milk. The story symbolizes that we need to bare ourselves infront of Lord. When we really become naked by baring our heart, Lord becomes child ! Divine child is born in us.
Laxmi, Parvati, Saraswati, request Anusuya to release their husbands. Anusuya releases the three children. She gets a boon of having divinity as children. Shiva is born as Durvasa, Vishnu as Dattatreya and Brahma as moon.
Symbolism of Dattatreya
Dattatreya has three heads - representing the qualities of Brahma,Vishnu, Maheshwara. He has lotus in one hand - representing liberation. Trishul in another hand representing - the wisdom which removes three pains - adhidaivik, adibhautik and adhyatmic. He has conch in one hand representing the creative sound omkar and creation while the other hand carries japa mala representing meditation.
Four dogs near Dattas feet represents Vedas indicating that Vedas follow enlightened like dogs following the master.
24 Teachers of Dattatreya
1). Earth - Patience and Love - not losing patience even when somebody digs.
2). Water - Modesty of water quenching thirst of everybody.
3). Air - carrying frgarance/foul smell without getting affected.
4). Sky- Vastness of heart, living in a unattached way ( clouds)
5). Fire - burns all impurities.
6). Sun - Multiple reflections in water like same Self reflected in many bodies.
7). Pigeon - gets trapped in net seeing loved ones trapped. Similarly, we get trapped in the body.
8). Moth - gets burnt by fire. Ignorance should be burnt by fire of knowledge.
9). Python - waits for food to come to itself - Patience and contentment.
10). Sea - inspite of many rivers merging, ocean remais same. Should not cross morality inspite of temptations
11). Elephant - trapped by hunter by female elephant - not to be attracted by sensual pleasures.
12). Fish - falls prey for bait on the hook. - Not to be tempted.
13). Ant - Continuously works and hordes food. - Miserliness..
14). Pingala - dancer who earns money from people - suffering caused by receiving.
15). Arrow Maker - Concentration in making arrows.
16). Children - state of happiness.
17). Moon - Waxing and waning. Not applicable to body.
18). Deer - caught by hunters by sweet music - trap by sense organs.
19). Birds of prey - Bird gets chased by other birds while carrying a prey and becomes free when
prey is dropped. Let go attachment and become free.
20). Maiden removing bangles to reduce noise - solitude for peace of mind.
21). Snake - never builds nest. Monk should use place available. Snake sheds skin. Likewise enlightened one sheds the body.
22). Spider - creates web from its saliva. Atma creates world by its own nature.
23). Caterpillar - trapped by wasp, constantly thinking of wasp due to fear becomes wasp. Constantly thinking of enlightened master, one becomes enlightened
24). Honeybee - Collect honey from various flowers. Collect wisdom from various sources