Lord Shree Dattatreya is regarded as an aspect of the divine Trinity or Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; Creator, Preserver and Destroyer respectively. Thus creative, preservative and disintegrating powers are visible in the personality of Lord Dattatreya. The name "Dattatreya" is derived from two Sanskrit words, Datta means given and Atreya refers to Rishi Atri father of Lord Datta. Lord Dattatreya is considered to be an avatar of Lord and honored as the Adi-Guru and teacher of Yoga. He is regarded as the Guru of Gurus and he is specially worshipped on Brihaspativara which is the sacred Thursday. Thursday is supposed to be the Guru day and we worship the great Guru Lord Dattatreya on every Thursday.

Guru Dattatrey is the son of rishi Atri & mother Anusaya. Anusaya was a Pativrata, an incarnation of chastity who worshiped and considered her husband as God. Her fame and glory spread far and wide, all over the three worlds. Thus Tridev thought of test her purity; they transformed themselves into beggar and begged for alms. At that time, Atri rishi was not there so Anusaya welcomed them with respect and invited them to the dining center and about to serve food. At that time guests made an unusual request. We desire that you should undress yourself and serve food without wearing any garment then only will we eat the food. Anusaya thought for a while, guests cannot be turned away; they are aspect of God. My mind is pure and spiritual strength of my husband will surely save me. She meditated and prayed at the holy feet of her husband. With motherly feeling towards the guests she went undressed into the dining place to start serving the food but, at that time the 3 guests were transformed into infants. She fondled the infants and happily fed them. When Atri rishi returned home, he found Anusaya fondling 3 new born babies. Anusaya offered the 3 babies at the feet of her husband. Atri rishi recognized the tridev as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. After witnessing the devotion and purity of couple the 3 infants assumed their real forms and requested the couple to ask for a boon. Anusaya replied that he might ask them to actually become their children. The trinity granted the boon and the three Gods merged into one body. This is how Shri Dattatreya incarnated and is known as Gurudeva Datta - the Guru of all Gurus.

Guru Dattatreya gave Ashtanga Yoga to the world thousands of years ago. First one is Yama, - non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gifts. Second is Niyama – cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and self-surrender to God. Moral discipline of Yama and Niyama are moral training and form the basis of Yoga. As these two become established, the Yogi will begin to realize the fruits of his practice.Third is Asana – posture, Fourth is Pranayama – ‘Prana’ is the life-force, ‘yama’ is control. ‘Pranayama’ consists of breath control exercises. Fifth is Pratyahara – withdrawal of senses from sense objects. Sixth is Dharana – concentration, seventh is Dhyana – meditation and last eight is 8. Samadhi – the transcendental or super conscious state of being one with God.

Lord Shree Datta is believed to be the author of the Tripura Rahasya, a treatise on Advaita Vedanta. Avadhuta Gita is a work compiled from the words uttered by Dattatreya. References of Lord Dattatrey can be found in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, thus Lord Datt is most ancient deity. The Dattatreya Upanishad, which is part of the Atharva Veda, describes him as variously taking the form in order to help his followers attain moksha from the material world.

Though Lord Datta is the Supreme Lord of this universe; he moves from place to place, His favorite abode is the Holy Audambar tree. Lord Datta had knotted hair on head and body is ever smeared with holy ashes. A cow and four dogs are always with him as stable companions. Lord Datta is Avadhoot and always overflowing with kindness for all the beings and entire creation. All the aspects of Godhead are fully manifest; faces and form are ever radiant with peace and divine charm.

Significance of form of Lord Dattatreya : The 3 heads of Shri Guru Datta are said to embody his identity as supreme Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This is why he is also regarded as the teacher or the divine Guru. Dattatreya is most often shown as having 6 hands, each holding Shankha, Chakra, Gada, Trishul, Kamandalu and the Bowl.

The Shankha resonates with the divine sound. Combination of word Sam and Kham stand for Jupiter and Saturn respectively. Saturn forms basis of knowledge spiritual expansion, and present by Jupiter. Same as, the Guru is responsible to first awaken the need for gaining knowledge in the student and then help in extensive training to achieve the same. The Chakra stands for time or Kalachakra. Guru trains student to gain knowledge regarding the time and adapt good and bad times in his life without getting affected. The Gada is symbol of pride and it must be sacrificed in order to walk the path of the truth.

The Trishul is symbol of triple energies of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, Ida at the left gives right to materialization; Pingala at the right to spirituality and Sushumna being in center work to balance out both these right and left energies. Lord Datta promise to followers, to balance out their energies in a way that helps them lead the best life possible. The Kamandalu indicates that Guru Datta is in the life carrier. Lord Datta helps disciples in performing his daily Yogic practices and finally raising his Kundalini. The begging bowl of Lord Datta signifies that he begs followers to donate their ego, limitations, pride, negativity, evil thoughts and sickness.

According to sacred text - Shri Dattatreya Shodashavatar Charitanee, Guru Sri Datta took 16 avatars which are Yogiraj, Atrivarad, Dattatreya, Kala Agnishaman, Yogijan Vallabh, Lila Vishwambar, Siddharaj, Dnyanasagar, Vishwambharavdhoot, Mayamuktavadhoot, Mayayuktavadhoot, Adiguru, Shiva Guru Dattatreya, Devdeveshwar, Digambar, Sri Krishna Shyam Kamalnayan.

Lord Dattatreya is considered as among one of the 24 Vishnu Incarnations. Lord Dattatreya considered as guru of environmental education, gained enlightenment by his observation from surrounding, which provided him 24 gurus. These gurus explain the problems and teach the path towards the spiritual self-realization of the Supreme Lord. The core message of Lord Dattatreya is - never judge by exterior appearances but always seek for deeper truth.

Lord Shri Krishna tells the story of Lord Dattatreya and his 24 Gurus in His final teaching to Uddhava, this teaching is known as The Uddhava Geeta. King Yadu saw Lord Dattatreya roaming in forest happily without worries, the king asked the sage, about the secret of his happiness and the name of his Guru. To answer the Lord Dattatreya replied: my happiness is the fruits of self-realization. Soul is my Guru and I have gained the necessary wisdom from the whole creation via 24 individual who were therefore my Gurus.

Earth teaches course of Dharma, patience and duty. Wise can learn patience and forgiveness from Earth. Like mountains and trees, one should dedicate self to welfare of other lives.

Air teaches the value to be free from all contamination and stay away from material world disturbances. If mind is attracted by material objects, it is impossible to think of the Absolute Truth.

Sky has no boundaries, infinite in nature, sometime clouds cover the sky but yet sky remains unaffected. Same way, the soul is never affected by the material body contamination.

Water teaches the quality of purity. So wise that is pure and free from selfishness, lust, egoism, anger, greed, etc., purifies all who come in contact with him.

The glory of wise is like the fire, made brighter by austerities, his knowledge and tapas.

Moon shines and vanishes, despite this continuous change taking place with the moon, yet it remains unaffected by this process. Similarly wise should not be affected by the continual change of body from birth to death including diseases and old age.

Reflection of sun can be seen in many objects, but the actual sun is One and undivided. That teaches the supreme Soul is one, and reflected into various bodies; but the soul is not body itself.

Python eats whatever comes in its way and satisfies, whether it is bitter or sweet etc. Wise should accept whatever one comes across in the life with full contentment. He always goes for search of wisdom and avoids from running after unwanted pleasures.

Sea neither increases due to excessive inflow of rivers nor decreases due to stoppage of flow of rivers, yet it maintains its level. The sage should be equipoise and in state of calmness.

Patanga is tempted by fire as it attracted by the delightful beauty of flame, it jumps into it and get burns within it. Similarly a foolish man is attracted by pleasures of the visual senses and thus gets caught in the continual cycles of birth and death.

Story of pigeon family warns against developing obsessive love or attachments in the transient material world. Wise would refrain from attachment after attaining the human body, which is door to Moksha or door to God-Realization.

Honey Bee roams from flower to flower to collect nectar from them, without hurting the flower, draws honey. Similarly the sage takes the essence of different various Holy Scriptures, study and practices them spiritually.

Elephant gets caught and enchained after attracted towards its opposite gender mate. Similarly, a passionate person is tempted by the opposite gender and falls into the trap so must aware about this.

Deer is trapped by hunter through its love for music. Passion and Sensual Desires will later or sooner bring down a wise from his spiritual progress.

Fish is caught on hook due to uncontrolled tongue, among the sense, tongue is the most difficult to be controlled. When tongue is controlled, other sense will become easy to be controlled.

From the story of Kurari bird and other stronger bird, wise should not run after sensual pleasures, will soon come into clash with his fellow-beings, who also run for the same. Wise becomes as happy and relieved only on abandoning the sensual pleasures.

Pingala a dancing girl, she was tired of looking for customers one night to come and give her sensual pleasure along with lot of money. The abandonment of expectation from people, leads to contentment and infinite joy.

Child has no grievance, anger, jealousy, and free of ego and arrogance. A child is happy and enjoying due to ignorance, while wise is happy and free from all worldly desires.

From the story of maiden girl, when number of spiritual seekers living together, there will be clash of interests. Even among two persons, there might be disturbance, dispute etc. The sage should live alone as it is better to live alone without creating any unwanted noise.

Snake, lives alone and avoids the company of other creatures it leaves of its old skin after sometime, and gets the newer one; that make resemblance with phenomenon of death. Wise never frightened by the death, knowing sooner or later he will get a new life based on his karma.

Arrow maker was absorbed in making the tip of an arrow; that he didn’t notice the procession of King passes nearby him. Focused mind, concentration is the way to achieve self-realization.

Spider builds a beautiful web, it plays and enjoys with it and then after some time swallow that web. Supreme Lord creates material universe, preserves it and after a while draws it back into the self. Wise has no desires and is beyond the reach of cause and effect.

Fro the story of wasp and caterpillar, whatever form man constantly thinks of, he attains in course of time that form.

Lord Datta said that my body also teaches me Gyaan and Vairaagya. Birth and death are along with it also helps to think about tattwa. Human being is created by supreme Lord to get Mokash, the main objective of this Yoni, because pleasures can be achieved in many other Yonis, but Mokash can be attained only in Manushya Yoni. Therefore one should not waste this valuable Yoni in enjoying pleasures.

Holy places of Lord Shree Dattatrey are in Maharashtra, mount Girnar Gujarat, Karnataka, UP, Nepal etc. The main principal of Dattatreya tradition are, everyone should know oneself first One should realize the relationship between God, man and creation. Guru grace is vital; one has to surrender oneself absolutely at the feet of the Guru. Apart from this the disciples should; have purity of thought, word, deed, kindness and love for all beings.