Dattatreya Jayanti or Datta Jayanti is celebrated today. As per the Hindu calendar, the occasion falls on Purnima (full moon day) in the Margashirsha month. The day commemorates the birth of Guru Dattatreya or Datta, who is considered to be the incarnation of the Hindu trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. The festival is celebrated all across India, especially in the state of Maharashtra, with great pomp and grandeur.
Story of Guru Dattatreya:
Dattatreya was born to sage Atri and his devout wife Anasuya Devi. Legend has it that Anasuya Devi prayed with utmost devotion to be blessed with a son who would have all the qualities of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. One day, the three Gods decided to test her devotion and virtuousness and appeared before her in the form of ascetics. When Anasuya Devi asked the ascetics how she could be of any help to them, the three ascetics asked her to donate alms without wearing any clothes. A perplexed Anasuya Devi then turned the three ascetics into babies by sprinkling water on them and uttering a mantra. She then fed them as they wished. When sage Atri came to know about this he hugged the three babies together and transformed them into one child with six arms and three heads. On coming to know about the incident, the consorts of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara rushed to Anasuya Devi and asked her to return their husbands to which she readily agreed. The three Gods then appeared before her and blessed her with a son who would have all their qualities. The son was duly named Dattatreya.
Rituals Observed on Datta Jayanti:
Devotees take holy dips in rivers and conduct pujas in honor of Lord Dattatreya with camphor, lamps, incense sticks and flowers. Devotees read a number of books such as Jivanmukta Gita and Avadhuta Gita that detail the Lord’s discourses. It is believed that one absolves himself of all sins by worshipping Lord Dattatreya. The Manik Prabhu Temple in Manik Nagar, Karnataka celebrates the festival for a period of 5 days.
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