Jai Guru Datta!
It’s extremely auspicious today. First of all, Dattatraya coming to Skanda Vale – it’s always purpose-bound. Datta is always purpose-bound. He means transformation. Transformation is the purpose.
Transformation means integration. When I say integration it’s being one unit. Becoming one unit. That’s the only thing a human being needs to do in a lifetime. Being one unit.
Remember this carefully. When I say being one unit – we look like one unit. We have a body, we have a mind, an intellect, we have an ego and we have a spirit. Ego means personality. We have a personality and we have a spirit.
Is it all aligned in us? Body is here, where is the mind? Most of the times mind is scattered in the past or moving towards the future. So we are not aligned that way.
Mind is fully settled in the body. That means minimal mind; the mind which you work through your eyes so that you are able to see, through your ears so that you are able to listen, with the tongue so you are able to taste. That kind of mind which is just utility mind.
Dattatreya & the Nath Tradition
I have not seen many lineages that do not have Dattatreya. First of all in the tradition of Nath; that’s a very common tradition. Most of the gurus of the world are from Nath. Because it has structure. Structure in the sense that it displays bhakti yoga fully, jnana yoga (knowledge) path, devotion path… all practices. All these paths are defined in Nath.
When Lord Krishna was about to leave his body he called Datta. He spoke to Datta because Dattatreya was the Yug Acharya (the teacher of the era of Lord Krishna) Dwapara Yuga.
He spoke to Lord Datta, and said ‘After my leaving the body what I came for will not be followed because people are going into Kali Yuga’. (An age where people don’t care about other people. It’s about cheating and stealing, you know?)
He said, ‘There’s no alignment, so that which I came for will not be carried forward. Can you make a system which will help people to maintain what I came for?’
Lord Krishna and all the avatar’s incarnations are to maintain dharma. (Dharma means righteous lifestyle, or ground rules of existence – Sanatana Dharma – ground rules of existence. This is based on which the universe is created.) To preserve Sanathana Dharma they appear at times. They keep reincarnating.
So Dattatreya has taken birth because of that purpose. Krishna said ‘Create a tradition which will preserve what I came for.’ That is how Lord Dattatreya created and codified the Nath tradition, based on the state of Shiva. He used the state of Shiva – totally in bliss, completely in detachment and existing as a source – all the time.
He used Shiva as the state and created the Nath tradition. That is why, in the Nath tradition, enlightenment is only one part. It is not the end. It’s only one stage. You don’t see many traditions where enlightenment is only a stage. Most of the traditions end in enlightenment. Then what do you do?
When I say total dissolution – even the seed form (which is the subtlest form) falls into the ocean and becomes the ocean. Total expansion. Becoming Shiva. That’s the pattern or structure of the Nath tradition which Datta created.
That is one side – Datta’s role in the creation of the Nath tradition. There are a lot of Nath gurus. Babaji is Adinath (of Yogananda’s book in Nath tradition.) Babaji is also in the Kriya tradition, so that is also him.
The perfect Avaduta
Then in the Avaduta tradition, there are people who are not even conscious of the body. This is the fifth stage of samadhi, defined in the yoga sutras by Patanjali.
An average individual has a desire that requires a fulfilment. In that stage, the mind is still. For example; you are hungry, you have some food. For some time you are happy. But again you will become hungry. Again you need food. This is the average human existence.
Then you reach a stage where you are hungry, but you are not affected by it. Second level of samadhi. Means you have a desire and whether you get the fulfilment or not you are okay. Second level of samadhi.
Third level of samadhi is that the thoughts that carry the desire itself are outside of you. It means they do not affect you. Desires do not affect you. That means you are getting much more free. Thoughts drive desires, right? So your thoughts are not powerful enough to bring forth the desires, so then you attain a deeper level of freedom.
The fourth state is where thoughts die. Because thoughts cannot influence you they die. They have no reason to stay alive. They die.
That’s the fourth level of samadhi. When mind collapses, the mind becomes the minimal mind. The mind will not go away completely – you will have the minimal mind just to experience the surroundings and whatever you are incarnated for. If you eat food, you will know you are eating food and there will be a taste, but you are not bound by the taste.
That is how Avadhutas eat food. You know, Datta is a perfect Avadhuta. They never eat food separately. They mix everything together. Everything becomes one taste. They are not bound by taste. You can look at any Avadhuta – they walk with a bowl and they put everything together – sweet, spicy – everything together and they eat it like that.
So you’re not bound by anything at that stage. At the fourth state, when the mind becomes the minimal mind then you are not going to go back. That’s like graduation. That’s what we call stability in awareness. Here awareness stabilises and you become Buddha.
Then comes a state where you are aware of the body, but you are not bound by the body. It’s again a much more liberated state. You know you have a body, but you are not bound by that body or the needs of that body.
In the sixth state, you do not even know that you have a body. Total abandonment, complete bliss, total expansion.
So becoming a unit happens in the fourth state. Until then, you will be guided by a master. The master holds your hand until you reach the state where the mind collapses. Then you become the master.
That’s the tradition of dissolution. Datta stands for that because he’s an Avadhuta, he’s a person who’s almost reached the sixth state, where sometimes he doesn’t even know that he has a body.
Neem Karoli Baba was a prime example. When people give him food he would ask people nearby ‘Have I eaten?’ Someone would say ‘Guru you have not eaten’, so then he would eat.
Then half an hour later somebody else would ask again, and if the guy says ‘no you have not eaten’ then he will eat again! So it’s all happening but in total abandonment. That’s the state. He’s a perfect Avadhuta.
“Avadhuta Chintana, Sri Guru Deva Datta”
That’s the chant. In the Dasa Mahavidyas – the ten Mahavidyas including Sri Vidya – sixteen thousand stanzas delivered by Datta. So he is also in the Sri Vidya tradition.
So in the Shakti tradition, or the Shiva tradition, or the Vishnu tradition, you will see Datta. He is Mahaguru. Great master. He is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva all put together. Here [Mohanji points to the murthi] we have Datta predominantly as Mahavishnu – as the prime deity.
Shiva on that side and Brahma on that side. Right is Brahma, left is Shiva, centre is Vishnu, so mostly worship method would be that of Mahavishnu, who is in the front. That’s the worship method.
The Gayatri you already know:
“Om Digambaraya Vidmahe
Atri Putraya Dhimahi
Tanno Datta Prachodayat”
Digambaraya is one whose clothes are the sky – one who is naked, just a loincloth. Digambaraya Vidmahe Atri Putraya Dhimahi – son of Atri. (I recognise you as an incarnation of the son of Atri). Tanno Dattri Prachodayat – that Datta may enlighten us.
That’s the Gayatri. There’s another version; Avadhutaya Vidmahe. I respect you as an Avadhuta. (the state I mentioned earlier). Also Atri Putraya (son of Atri) Datta Prachodayat. These are the Gayatris usually chanted.
Please understand Datta has every dimension. Whatever dimension you can look for, in every deity, he has it. So he’s not just a guru, he’s a complete god – whether it is Shiva or Vishnu.
Shiva & Vishnu in Dattatreya
There are certain idols with the face of Shiva. (I think one of them we have in Switzerland – the front is Shiva). That’s the intense mode, when he’s just destroying all the negativities in one blow. That kind of aggressive mode. And this is more peaceful, loving, kind – the Vishnu mode.
Please understand the operating level of Shiva is usually no-nonsense. He wouldn’t even care. Ravana came and asked him for a blessing. Shiva gave part of his soul and said ‘take it’. It then became a problem for Vishnu and people to salvage it! Because Mahavishnu is looking at maintenance. Everything is peaceful; that’s why he took many avatars.
For Shiva it doesn’t matter, it’s all dissolution. Okay, you have this desire; take it. Then what happens next… we’ll see!
That’s why he gave the blessing to Bhasmasura. He gave the blessing that whoever he touches becomes ash. A very dangerous blessing. First, he tried to touch Shiva himself. Shiva ran away.
But he gave the blessing. He said ‘Whoever you touch will become ash.’ And then he tried to do it on Shiva. Shiva escaped. Then Mahavishnu had to come as a beautiful woman – Mohini. And told Bhasmasura ‘I don’t believe that you have this kind of a blessing.’
‘Yes I have, I can show you’.
‘No, no put it on your head, let me see.’
So he touched his head and he became ash! That is how Vishnu saved people. Shiva is a very funny guy.
The miraculous birth story of Lord Datta
Back to Lord Datta. You know his origin, right? Atri and Anasuya. Anasuya was only taking care of her husband and attained immense powers. Just by focusing on care. Concentration, dedication and consistency give you immense powers.
Concentration is very important. Any object. Keep concentrating it will give you powers. Dedication means there’s nothing else – only this. That gives you powers. Consistency means you don’t deviate into too many things. Just focus. Do it.
These three are a deadly combination. She became very powerful and her power was so immense that it was even more than great Rishis. Her fame reached the heavens. So the gods told the trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva – there is a woman who is very very powerful. ‘Will you go and check how she is? Test her.’
So they came to her doorstep as wandering monks. (In our system you cannot send off anybody without food. Anybody coming to your house should be given what you have. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, but you should share.)
These monks came and said ‘We are hungry, can you give us some food?’ But she hadn’t prepared food as yet, and she said ‘Please wait, I will prepare it and give it to you.’
They said, ‘We have one condition; you should serve us totally naked. You should give us food completely naked.’
This is a problem. It’s an embarrassment. How do you go in front of strangers totally naked? It’s inappropriate because she’s married. (Even if she’s not married it’s inappropriate, but otherwise, it’s even more inappropriate!)
So she went inside, brought some water, did some prayer and sprinkled it on them. Everyone became small babies! Then with her yogic power, she produced milk and breastfed them. So both the conditions were solved. She served them food, naked.
She fed them, then they became their usual selves. Then the monks said ‘Actually we are not monks. we are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. We have come to test you because the gods were very worried about you… because you attained the state of gods.’
Then they said ‘What can we do for you?’ (Because if they like something they have to bless and give some boon). ‘What do you want?’
So she said ‘I would like you to come into my womb as my child.’
So they said ‘So be it’ and they blessed her.
She conceived and later told Atri her husband what had happened, and Atri was very happy – her own yogic powers are so envious to gods! They were very happy. Later on, she became pregnant and she delivered the child.
The child had three faces; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Then she told the child ‘This is okay, nice to see your faces! I know that you three have come to keep your promise, but it will be difficult to be in the world with three faces; you’ll be a freak child! Why don’t you have one face?’
So then their three faces joined together as one. That is why all the old Datta idols will have only one face. Earlier idols all have one face. Then later on, in the last century or two, people started getting confused between Datta idol and Mahavishnu idol. That’s why people started making three faces, to differentiate between the two.
Incarnations of Datta Avatar
Then Dattatreya became a powerful master. He has many incarnations. First incarnation – Sripad Srivallabh a powerful incarnation. You can read the Charitramrut – the story of Sripad Srivallabh, that book is available. That story was written 33 generations ago.
At that time, Sripad Srivallabh said ‘This story should not be available to people until 33 generations have passed because people are not ready for this story.’ But it’s released now, it’s available.
That’s the first avatar. Then the second avatar was Narasimha Saraswati and third was Akkalkot Swami; he was another very powerful avatar. Then we have Manik Prabhu and fifth avatar we have Shirdi Sai Baba. In fact, there are so many avatars.
We were chanting this morning – Nama Mantra. When you think or use the name he is pleased. Smaran Mantra – even if you think ‘Dattatreya’ he becomes happy, he connects. It’s that simple. So if you chant, definitely he becomes pleased.
‘Om Sri Gurudev Datta’ is usually what people chant. Very simple. Dram is the Bija Mantra. People greet each other with ‘Jai Guru Datta’ – like that.