Biographies | Rishi
(1) Avadhoot Upanishad - The main work attributed to Dattaatreya is the Avadhoot Upanishad, which describes the conditions of the liberated soul, one who is unfettered by dogma, habit, ritual or conventional morality. According to Dattaatreya, the liberated one need not have any particular appearance, lifestyle, religion or social role. He or she may be a naked Yogee or a prince, may appear pious or blasphemous, ascetic or hedonistic. The important thing is that, for the liberated soul, there is no "doer" of an action, and no beneficiary. One acts without thinking "this will give me pleasure" or "this is what I ought to do." This is similar to ideas found in other, apparently completely different, mystical traditions such as Sufism (c.f. Mevlana's comment that when we loose an arrow it is not us but God who shoots).
(2) Avadhoot Geetaa - Another one is the "Avadhoot Geetaa is a distillation of the sublime realization sung by Dattaatreya and transcribed by two of his disciples, Swaamee and Kaarttik. Swaamee Vivekanand (1863–1902) held it in high esteem. Originally a work of 7 chapters, a spurious and misogynistic eighth chapter may be a later attempt to append sexual morality to the Natha tradition by a conservative ascetic. Some of the ideas in this Geetaa are however common to both Shaivite, and Buddhist Tantra and Vaishnav Aagam.
(3) Tripur Rahasya - Tripur Rahasya is the dialog between Dattaatreya and Parashuraam on Moksh.
There is an Upanishad also
on his name "Dattaatreya Upanishad". It is a part of Atharv Ved.
He has been described in this Upanishad as being able to appear in the form
of a child, madman, or demon in order to help his devotees achieve Moksh. The
Dattaatreya Upanishad, which opens proclaiming Dattaatreya's identity with
Vishnu, ends with the Mantra Om Namah Shivaaya, identifying Dattaa with Shiv.
In the last portion of the third chapter, Maheshwar (Shiv) alone is said to
pervade reality and shine in every heart of man. He alone is in front, behind,
to the left, to the right, below, above, everywhere the center. Finally, Maheshwar
is identified with Dattaatreya, depicting the latter as an Avataar of Shiv.
Dattaatreya and His Disciples
It seems that in later years of his life Dattaatreya must have renounced his home, after ,learning Yog etc, and became Sanyaasee and had some disciples - Sankriti, Sahastraarjun, Alark, and Parashuraam - but this information comes also from Puraan. After meeting Raam, Parashuraam's activities are not heard of. This shows that after the meeting of Parashuraam, Dattaatreya in 23rd century BC, must have gone for Smaadhi as we do not hear any more incident about him as he is not a Chiranjeevee (there are only 7 Chiranjeevee by boon are - Bali, Parashuraam, Hanumaan, Vibheeshan, Ved Vyaas, Kripaachaarya and Ashwatthaamaa).
A Story About
Dattaatreya Helped people
Today Dattaatreya is worshipped in the form of Pauraanic Dattaatreya, not the historic Dattaatreya. His Pauraanik image is of a wandering Yogee, as a philosopher, as an Avadhoot. HIs original one-headed image had become now the three-headed image, after Sant Eknaath wrote the Aaratee in 16th century in which he has described him as the Trigunaatmak Trimoorti.
(p. 39-40) Aayu Dattaatreya called Maayaa (Shakti) in the form of a beautiful maiden and indulged in amorous activities with her. However Aayu who was a spiritually elevated person realized that this was all a drama but the woman was really Maayaa with whom Dattaatreya was playing with. Aayu embraced Dattaatreya's feet who warned and told him that he (i.e. Dattaatreya) was an impure person and Aayu should leave him immediately. When Aayu did not leave him, Dattaatreya demanded human flesh in a skull every day. Aayu agreed. Pleased with Aayu, Datttaatreya offered him a boon. Aayu asked for a son which Dattaatreya agreed and sent him away with a fruit to be consumed by his queen Indumatee.
In due course the queen Indumatee gave birth to a son. But the demon Hundaasur, who knew of the prediction that this child would be the cause of his death. He kidnapped him coming in the form of a maidservant. He gave the child to his queen for killing but taking a liking for the child she secretly sent him to Rishi Vashishth. The child, now named Nahush and grew up with Vashishth and when he grew up killed Hundaasur thus fulfilling the prediction. Vashishth then returned Nahush to king Aayu. Thus we see that King Aayu was not a disciple in the sense of a real disciple. (This story is mentioned in Datta Mahaatmya by Shri Vaasudevanand Saraswati.)
(p 40-42) Dattaatreya Jee preached Yadu, the son of Yayaati, and the grandson of Aayu, also about his 24 Guru.
(p 42-) What Dattaatreya
taught to Sahastrabaau -
According to Maarkandeya Puraan, after Kritveerya had died, his ministers and priests got prepared to crown him as their new king, but Arjun said - "Before being the King, I would like to be a Yogee." So Sage Garg advised him to go to Dattaattreya Jee who had helped
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 10/04/13