Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals -15-1

Lord Dattatreya – Master Par Excellence-1
Dattatreya Jayanti message given in the year 1973. Dattatreya Jayanti falls on the full moon day in the month of Margasirsha (November-December)

Lord Dattatreya is regarded as the visible incarnation of the Supreme Being himself in his aspects as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, which we know as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, respectively. The creative, the preservative and the disintegrating powers of God are supposed to be manifest in the personality of Lord Dattatreya.

The name or word 'Dattatreya' is constituted of two terms, Datta and Atreya. In Sanskrit, Datta means one who is bestowed as a gift, and Atreya is an honorific which is derived from the name of a great sage called Atri. The son of Atri is Atreya. A descendent of Atri also is Atreya. One who is bestowed as a divine child on the great Sage Atri, by the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Siva themselves, is Dattatreya.

Tradition holds that he was the divine child of Sage Atri, born to his famous consort, Anasuya. He is also, therefore, known as Anasuyanandana, the darling of the great queen of chastity, Anasuya Devi. The name of Dattatreya, the great sage, is a by-word in all religious circles in India. In certain parts of Gujarat and in Maharashtra, the worship of Dattatreya is pre-eminent. It is believed by the followers of the tradition that Dattatreya is in flesh and blood even today.

He is not merely a dead-and-gone saint and sage of ancient, pre-historic times. Devotees believe honestly that he is physically alive even today and he is supposed to be having his abode in those holy places in the western part of India such as Gangapur in Maharashtra. There is a famous hill in Saurashtra, Mount Girnar, which is dedicated to the adoration and worship of Lord Dattatreya.

Lord Dattatreya is not merely a divine incarnation like Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Sri Rama, but, unlike them, He is held in high esteem as a visible personality, physically available to us for our Darshan, if only we would have the honesty of belief and devotion at his sacred feet. There are wonderful sidelights given to us of the personality Bhagavan Dattatreya.

To be continued ...
Swami Krishnananda
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