Spiritual Import of Religious Festivals -15-2.

Lord Dattatreya – Master Par Excellence-2
Dattatreya Jayanti message given in the year 1973. Dattatreya Jayanti falls on the full moon day in the month of Margasirsha (November-December)

One of the symbolic and very significant features of his life is depicted in certain painted portraits which many of you might have seen.

In such portraits you will see Dattatreya with a bag hung on his shoulder, leaning, almost, against a cow behind him, with four dogs following him wherever he goes.

Four dogs and a cow you will see always with Dattatreya in all portraits and paintings. What are these dogs?

Why does he take the dogs with him, wherever he goes? What is this cow and what is this bag?

The tradition is this : -

Dattatreya is perhaps the most powerful of conceivable sages, almost identical with God himself. For all practical purposes we may say that he has all the powers of God, viz., creation, preservation and destruction, being an embodiment of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva themselves.

But, he lives as a fakir. The term 'fakir' means a beggar owning nothing, except a bag (a Jhola, as you call it), and a stick in his hand, which is sometimes identified with the trident.

He goes for Bhiksha or alms, for he lives on alms. The master of all the forces of Nature at whose command are the sun and the moon and the stars, goes begging for his Bhiksha!

The spiritual reading of this Bhiksha or alms-begging by Lord Dattatreya is that he is asking us : -

"Give me all your sins."

He does not beg for rice, wheat and Dal from us. He asks for the sins of our past lives and of our present life, and this is the Bhiksha that he wants.

He will collect the sins of all people. How many sins have we committed in our earlier lives and up to this time in this life!

He can swallow and digest all the sins of all the people. So he goes from door to door asking for alms. We can imagine the power of the man who asks for the sins of all people.

He does not want our virtues and good conduct. We always ask for good things, merits, Punyam. But, he asks for our sins, Papam only, and not the merits or Punyam.

He wants only all the evil propensities that are in us. He puts them in his Jhola or bag and walks off and digests the whole thing. These sages are terrible and their powers are inconceivable.

To be continued

Swami Krishnananda

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