Dattatreya Jayanti is the celebration of the commemoration of the birthday celebration of the God Dattatreya or Datta. Dattatreya is considered to be the consolidated version of the gods like Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar.
It is believed that on the day that Dattatreys’s birthday is commemorated on earth; Dattatreaya’s principle is 1000 times more active than on any other day. Dattatreya Jayanti is celebrated on the purnima of the Margashirsha month or the Agrahayana according to traditional Hindu calendar.
As per the Gregorian calendar, this is observed on the month of December January. Dattatreya is also known as the Trimurti Avatar. It is mostly celebrated in the state of Maharashtra. In 2019, this will be observed on the 11th of December, Wednesday.
Legend of Dattatreya
Dattatreya was the son of the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya. Anasuya was an extremely pious and chaste woman and had acquired tremendous power due to severe Tapas or penance. In fact she was so powerful that the Gods became threatened with her power and approached the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to address their problems. So the Tri Devs went to test the chastity of Anasuya.
Thus, once when Atri was out of the house, the triumvirate went to check out the piety of Anasuya. They approached Anasuya for alms. She then requested the three sages to wait till her husband to return home. But the three sages asked her to serve the food immediately. They also said that thye had heard that in their hermitage food was served according to the wishes of the guests. Anasuya agreed to serve them food as per their wishes. The three Gods then said that they wished that she should serve them food in nude. Anasua was most perturbed, but she brought to her mind the severe penance of her husband and herself and agreed to do it. Anasuya then contemplated of her husband and thought that all the guests were all her children. The trinity of Brahma Vishnu and Maheshwar were immediately transformed into 3 small children. She then took them in her arms and breast fed them.
When the sage Atri came in, Anisuya told him what had transpired, and Atri realized who they were in reality. He paid his obeisance to them the Gods were appeased and the appeared in their true form in front of Anasuya and Atri. The Gods asked them to ask for a boon. The couple asked that the babies remain with them. The babies, Chandra, Dutta and Durvas were Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively. Chandra and Durvas left for heaven to seek penance and Datta stayed back to establish and accomplish the mission of Lord Vishnu. His mission was creation, sustenance and teaching people how to lead an ideal life.
Celebration of Dattatreya Jayanti
- A week prior to Dattatreya Jayanti , traditional recitation of Shri Gurucharitra is done
- Early in the morning a cleansing and ritual bath is taken
- A puja of Dattatreya is done with flowers, lamps, incense and camphor.
- While performing the puja, apply sandalwood paste using the right finger of the right hand.
- Then offer haldi and kumkum at Dattatreya’s holy feet.
- Circumambulation for 7 times is done around the idol ofDattatreya.
- Devotees read the works of Dattatreya which are Avadhuta Gita and the Jivanmukta Gita.
- Literary discourses based on Dattatreya’s life like Datta Prabodh by Kavadi Baba and Datta Mahatmya by Vasudevananda Saraswati is read by devotees.
- Bhajans and kirtans are sung by the devotees in praise of Dattatreya
Significance of the Dattatreya Jayanti
Sri dattatreya had remained the Avadhuta all his life and he was a supreme yogi. He had narrated the secrets of Vedanta to Lord Subramanya and it later came to be known as the Avadhuta Gita.
Temples like Manik Prabhu Temple in Manik Nagar hosts an annual 7 day festival for the Dattatreya Jayanti. Devotees from places like Karnataka, Maharshtra and Telengana come to visit the deity at this time. The saint Manik Prabhu, considered to be the reincarnation of Dattatreya, worshipped by the devotees of Datta community, was born on this auspicious day.