Dattatreya- Adi Guru or the primordial spiritual Master


He is loved and considered

Legendary divine Avatar,

master of the yogic masters and

fundamental initiator of humanity.

It is considered the incarnation of the Divine Trinity of India or Trimurti, consisting of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is responsible for the creative aspect of the world , Vishnu for maintenance, and Shiva for resorption.

The three gods merged and manifested themselves in the physical world, embodying in the son of Atri, named Dattatreya, a divine being, who manifests the atibutes of divinity- omniscience, obnoxiousness, omitance, exceptional qualities of healer, visionary and spiritual guide.


Hence the meaning of the name, which consists of “Datta”, meaning “given” and Atreyathe prick Atri, who is his father. So, it would be translated as: “he who was given to the wise Atri.”

It is also called only “Datta”.


Legend has it that the three supreme goddesses Lahshimi, Saraswati and Parvati, consorts of the three great gods of the Divine Trinity, wanted to test Dattatrya’s parents before deciding whether they were fit to receive in the bosom of their family an evolved soul with a special dharma.

They have successfully passed the spiritual tests to which they have been subjected and have demonstrated that they manifest spiritual virtue with power. So, they were blessed with the coming into their family of a divine child, who would live a spiritual life, through which to inspire and guide others on their way to perfection.

The feast that is held on the occasion of his birthday is known as Dattatreya Jayanti or Datta Jayanti. It takes place on purina day, which coincides with the full moon in December, in the Hindu calendar having the name of Margashirsha.

Symbolic representation

It appears represented with three heads suggesting that it is a manifestation of the Trinity on the physical plane.

He sits next to the tree that fulfills desires.

It has six hands with which it holds objects with a special symbolic meaning, such as shankha or choanca, disc or chakra, gada, kandalu, drum and trident.

Shankha emits the primordial sound of AUM and aims to awaken us from ignorance and approach the divine.

The disc is the symbol of time, which suggests the burning of karma and the passage beyond time or other limitations. At a certain level of evolution we can be aware of the past, present and future simulan, we can perceive them at once. Which makes us feel free, unlimited and happy, because we come to feel that we do not depend on anything from the outside.

The gada or mace is a symbol of pride to which attention is drawn in the sense of not cultivating it, but of being replaced by humility, compassion and gentleness.

The trident is the symbol of the trinity, the representation of the three transcendent, immanent energies, and the middle arm being the energy that is at the same time transcendent and immanent.

Kamandalu is a small pot of water. Water is the symbol of life.

The presence of this symbol in its representation suggests that the master himself is a source of life. He inspires, sustains, and stimulates his followers in their efforts on the road to perfection.

Toba Damaru aims to awaken us from the sleep of ignorance and to turn us towards spirituality, knowledge and transformation.

He has four dogs and a cow around him.

The cow is a symbol of mother Earth and abundance, in that it is she who embodies creation and feeds beings with its milk. Therefore, it supports beings to grow, be healthy, happy and contented. For this reason, datta is associated with the symbol of the cow, because he can show us the way to happiness, peace, health and joy.

Similarly, Krishna is accompanied by a cow in iconographic representations for the same reason. He exhibits qualities similar to Datta, such as the ability to create, maintain and destroy, that is, to master the three aspects of creation.

The dog is an important symbol in Vedic philosophy. He has the ability to perceive more subtle sounds, to be attentive and vigilant. These qualities are important for a good disciple who has the ability to correctly understand the teaching, to be attentive, vigilant and receptive to more subtle aspects.

The dog can show great courage, fidelity and devotion, but also love and compassion. Cultivating these qualities helps people to overcome their limits and to bring them closer to infinity, to the Truth, which is becoming more and more accessible to them.

The four dogs symbolize:

  • The Four Vedas- Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yayur Veda, Atharva Veda
  • The four Yugas- Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, D wapara Yuga, Kali Yuga
  • The four states of the word- Psara-beyond, Pasyanti-perception, Madhyama- conception, Vaikhari – vocal
  • The four states of existence existence, awareness, thinking and speech or action.

It is considered the Adi Guru or the Primordial Guru

Datta is among the first spiritual teachers, who led people to a better understanding of spiritual teaching, to true spiritual knowledge, to be wiser, closer to the divine, and even to achieve the supreme realization.

According to some sources, it seems that he was born in Kasmir, very close to Amarnath. He left home at an early age, choosing a life totally dedicated to spirituality.

In the Upanishads he is shown leading a life to be given up, a Sadhu walking completely naked or scantily clad, covered with ashes and is said to have lived under a fig tree.

He had many disciples who took his teaching further and who gave rise to several traditions among which we mention: the Puranical Tradition, the Mahanubhav Tradition, the Sri Gurucharita Tradition, the Sakalmat Sampradaya Tradition and the Avadhoot Panth Tradition.

They gathered the teaching conveyed by their master and transcribed it into reference works , such as “ Avadhuta Gita”, written by Swami and Kartika. The philosophy in this treatise is similar to the Shaivite philosophy, Vaishnavite Agamas and The Buddhist Tantra.
Another valuable work is the treatise on Advaita Vedanta, “Tripua Rahasya”.

His teaching is based on a few key words- “prathiba”, “sahaja” and “samsara”.

PRATHIBA: Datta explained what “prathiba” means in “ Avadhuta Gita”.

Prathiba means: vision, acumen, intuition, inner understanding, unconditional knowledge, inner wisdom, awareness, awakening .

Inner transformation allows the aspirant to distinguish reality from falsehood and cross his path to enlightenment.

In yoga aphorisms or sutras, Patanjali expresses “pratibha” as the spiritual enlightenment that is obtained through the discipline of yoga to allow the disciple to know everything else.

SAHAJA meansnatural- referring to that person who has returned to his natural state, free of conditioning, spontaneous and uninhibited. In other words, that person who acts according to the principle “what follows must come by itself” because he manifests a state of absolute freedom.

Taoism speaks of “Sahaja” as a supreme virtue. This state is found in an innocent child, who is always in the Sahaja state.

The person who conquered the Self, which is the foundation of all that exists and has reached the level of self-control: he is at peace, whether it is cold or warm, pleasure or pain, honored or dishonored” – Bhagavad Gita.

SAMSARA: It is said that understanding what the word “samsara” means is the basis of understanding the philosophy of Avadhuta Gita . It is also found in Upanishad and Tantra where the wise men used the word to mean “higher truths”.

“Samsara” is like a state of absolute freedom, peace and bliss placed at a higher level than samadhi. Thus, “samarasa” refers to the perfect joy, happiness and tranquility, maintained after the state of Samadhi and further, in the waking state, as a form of permanent ecstasy and contemplation that the saint maintains at all times.

Datta practiced “samsara” as an inner state that he kept while also facing outwards, towards the world. He sees himself in the world and the whole world itself.

The 24 Gurus

Dattatreya is famous in Hindu texts as the one who reached self-awareness by observing nature during his wanderings as Sadhu. In this way he finds in nature models that he synthesizes in the 24 Gurus.

Mother Earth – She supports and nourishes the world and its creations and bears without complaint their burden on her own self. Tolerance and patience are the lessons datta learned from her.

Water – Water is the life-sustaining force that quenches thirst and soothes the body of its heat. Its sweetness and smoothness soothes the world and provides comfort.

Fire – Fire is bright, bright and sinless. It burns everything in plain sight, but it’s not cruel or judge. It also releases everything from impurities.

Air – The air is in constant motion, regardless of right or wrong. It’s free and unattached to anyone or nothing. The seeker, too, should be so unlimited, while following the path of Truth. Rhythm consists of everything, and yet, it is made up of nothingness. It is also not attached, although it is part of the Cosmos.

Sun – Heats the water, but sucks it in. It gives light to the Earth, therefore it breathes life to the planet. It casts its bright light on the whole world and cheers everyone up.

Snake – Snake never lives in its own home. He moves as he pleases, in any direction he wants to go. He also does not want anything for his own happiness or benefit.

The python is selfless and desireless. He accepts anything he can find as food and continues to go on his way.

Moon – The moon continues to rise and fall; however, it remains unchanged. Similarly, the seeker should remain unaffected by all the changes that occur in his life cycle.

Ocean- The ocean never changes its appearance or size during periods of tide and tide. While some adore him, others fear or even hate him. However, it remains unaffected by the opinions of others.

Butterfly – The butterfly always flies happily, knowing that his life is short. He is not attached to anything and willingly embraces death by jumping into the flame of the lamp.

Dove- Pigeons are messengers of love and peace. They are beauty and tenderness personified. A seeker should learn to imitate these qualities of a pigeon.

Fish – Fish are always tempted by a sense of taste. Invariably they suffer a lot of pain and suffering, and in the end they die from the hands of a human being, trying to lure them. Human beings also exhibit the same tendency to fall into temptation. This should be avoided at all costs.

Bee – The bee works hard to collect honey, but someone else uses it. Likewise, greedy people make others work hard and enjoy the fruits of the hard labor of others. However, greed does not pay off, and such people will always be miserable. A seeker should avoid becoming greedy and avaricious.

Deer – The deer, which is such a gentle creature, is always tempted to fall prey to the bait of a villainous hunter. A seeker should always be cautious about people exploiting the weaknesses of others for their benefit.

The elephant has an amazing memory power. He is able to remember people and courts for life. It is also able to show a lot.

The bumblebee enjoys the scent of flowers, but he does it without injuring any flower. It also remains unattached to a certain flower or type of flowers.

Prostitute Pingala – A prostitute named Pingala lived in the town of Videhnagar. She became disillusioned with her profession and the way she earned a living. One day, he decided to repair his ways and devote the rest of his life to serving God. Since then he has led a peaceful life.

Eagle – An eagle held a piece of meat between its beaks and flew with it. Other greedy eagles began to chase her after the meat, and eventually grabbed her. The poor eagle was left badly wounded in the battle. Seekers should take care not to accumulate anything, as they can fall prey to greedy people.

Child – A child has a pure heart and has no rancor. He is not affected by the cycle of life and desire, he is loving, confident and does not judge others. You should learn to be clean like the child.

Village girl – A girl from the village was at home, throwing rice. Her bracelets made noise while she was working. There were some guests there and she didn’t want to bother them. Realizing the noise of her bracelets could wake them up, she removed them and then continued to work. Similarly, a seeker should try not to disturb anyone at all times.

The arrow manufacturer was so focused on his work that he did not even notice that a king and his entire army were passing. This quality of attention is something that everyone should learn from.

Spider – A spider spins its web from its own mouth and lives in it. Once its use is over, the creature swallows it back. A seeker should also remain free and unattached from the material things around him.

Wasp – The wasp is known for its sharp eyesight and understanding of intention. They keep groping and pushing the little ones until they turn into wonderful-looking creatures, completely bred.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top