Friday, August 27, 2010

Dattatreya the Guru of all Gurus

Om Shree Ganeshaaya Namaha

Lord Dattatreya

About Lord Dattatreya

Lord Dattatreya is Guru of all Gurus and considered as Incarnation of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma born to the great Saint Atri and his devoted wife Anusuya .  

Birth of Lord Dattatreya

To know the birth of Lord Dattatreya one should know about the story of Sati Sumathi.

Story of Sati Sumati

There was a great pativrata named Sumati, who served her husband with great devotion. Her husband  was afflicted by leprosy due to excess kama/sex and was unable to walk. Even in that condition, one day when he saw a beautiful courtesan , desire arose in his mind. He asked his wife to intercede on his behalf with the courtesan and take him to her to fulfill his desire as he can not walk.

Sumati accepted his request and as he can not walk, she tried to carry him in a basket on her head in a night. Being a nil moon day it was very dark and she could not see the great sage Mandavya who was impaled on her way. The leg of Sumati’s husband brushed the body of the sage who was in meditation, causing him a lot of pain. The sage cursed that the person who has caused him the pain would die before the sunrise. Knowing this Sumati, wished that the sun should not rise that day such that the curse of sage Mandavya would not come to fruition and her husband would not die. Total worlds were thrown into a big turmoil as Sun did not rise. The Gods went to Lord Brahma who has asked them to approach Anasuya to come out of this problem. When they approached her being a pativrata herself, she looked at her lord sage Atri. He asked her to accede to the request of the gods and help the worlds. So, they all went to Sumati, who was sitting with the head of her husband in her lap with sorrow. When Sumati was asked to with draw her injunction she said "her husband will die if she with draws it". Anasuya requested Sumati to lift her injunction and help the world and assured Sumati that she would bring her husband back to life with her pativrata powers. Sumati agreed and allowed Sun to rise in the eastern sky.That made Sumati's husband die and  Anasuya  brought back life to the husband of Sumati. All gods were very pleased and praised Anasuya and Sumati for their pativratya.

Anasuya has become very popular because of the  above incidence and ladies started worshiping her negeleting the wives of the great trinities.

Story of Anasuya and birth of Lord Dattatreya

Anasuya Temple at Mahur
Once Sage Narada praised Anusuya's "pativratyam" (Devotion to her husband) a lot before Sarswathi,Lakshmi and Parvathi ,the wives of Brahma-Vishnu-Maheswara, which made them jealous of her. Then they requested their husbands to reduce her pativratyam. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara went to Anusuya as sages when Atri was not there at home and asked her to serve them food. When she agreed to do so, they said that they will accept her alms only when she serves them without wearing clothes. Anasuya falls into a dilemma. If she comes without clothes in front of other men her pativratyam will be reduced. If she refuses then that is dishonour to the guests.. Anasuya felt that the three guests who asked such a strange favour are not normal people since they are trying to place her in a tricky situation. Anasuya prayed to her husband in her mind and said that she doesn't have any fear serving them without clothes as she is not affected by lust. Since the guests asked for alms saying "Bhavati Bhiksham Dehi" (Oh Mother! Give us some food) and indirectly called her a mother. She decided that she will consider them as her children and serve them as requested. Because of her greatness and powers, when  she came to serve food to the three gods with out clothes ,all three have become as small children and her breasts started producing milk. She then breastfed them and put them to sleep in a cradle. Atri came back afterwards and hearing the story from Anasusuya praised the three gods sleeping in the cradle. Knowing this their wives rushed to the ashram of Atri and accepted their mistake and requested Anasuya to forgive them and give their husbands back in original form. Then Anasuya make them to their original form and all of them have praised Anasuya's pativratyam.. Anasuya requested that the trinity should be born as her children as she developed affection towards them when she was feeding them and they have agreed and gave her that boon.

Later Anasuya had three children.

The first one with the incarnation of Shiva called as Durvasa and second one with the incarnation of Vishnu called as Dattatreya and third one with the incarnation of Brahma called as Chandra.

When Durvasa left for jungle for tapasya he gave his powers to the same way Chandra gave his powers to Dattatreya when he left to space to do his duty.
As such Dattatreya is treated as the incarnation of the trinity.

Lord Dattatreya
The birth place of Dattatreya

Sati Anasuya with Trinities (as babies)  and their wives

It is said that Ansuya with Sage Atri lived in Chitrakut and Dattatreya was born there.
We will find Sati Anasuya Temple  located at a place called  Anasuya in Chitrakut District of Uttar Pradesh. It enshrines the idol of Sati Anasuya, the wife of saint Atri, with her three babies who are said to be the incarnations of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswar.
The  temple is located further up-stream from Janaki Kund, amid thick forests, about 16 km from Chitrakoot. It is considered as the place where Atri Muni and his wife, Anasuya, had their ashram with their three sons, who were believed to be incarnations of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Mandakini River lies close to this place, is believed to be have been created by Anasuya through her meditation. A delightful shrine situated here enshrines an image of Anusuya swinging her three babies. The temple features exquisite statues, depicting the story of Atri Muni and Anusuya.
How to reach Chitrakut
From Chitrakoot the nearest airport is Khajuraho : 185 km.

The nearest railway station for Chitrakoot is Karvi : 8 km. Some of the major trains are 1181.1182 and 1159/1160 Agra Howrah Exp); 1107/1108 Bundelkhand Exp; 1449/1450 Mahakaushal Exp (Kutub Exp_; 5009/5010 Chitrakoot Exp (Lucknow-Jabalpur); 1069/1070 Tulsi Exp (Allahabad-Mumbai), Bundelkhand Exp (Gwalior-Allahabad).
Chitrakoot is well connected by road. There are regular bus services to Banda, Allahabad, Jhansi, Varanasi, Chhatarpur, Satna, Kanpur, Faizabad, Lucknow, Agra, Maihar, etc. Some Road distances are : Allahabad - 125 km. Satna - 75 km. Lucknow - 285 km, Mahoba - 127 km, Kalinjar 88 km, Jhansi 274 km.

But some people believe that Sati Anasuya and Sage Atri stayed a  placed called Anasuya hill in Yavatmal dilstrict in Maharashtra

The place is near Mahur where we will find Anasuya temple on a hill called Anasuya shhikar and Dattatreya mandir on another hill called Datt shikhar.

Datta Mandir at Mahur

Dattatreya (Rare photo ) at Mahur

On a third shikhar we will find the famous Renuka Devi mandir.

Mahur is also famous for Ekaveerika devi shakti peetha also.
For more details of Mahur please visit the following blog

How to reach Mahur.
Nearest Rail link is Kinwat in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra.
1401 Nadigram express (Mumbai-Nagpur) stops here.
It is 50 km from Kinwat and 126 km from Nanded. Nagpur is 210 km .

Some people believe that Sati Anasuya has stayed at Sucheendram and it is the birth place of Lord Dattatreya
Temple at Suchindram , Kanya kumari

Sucheendram is situated in a dense forest called jnanaranya in Tamil nadu.

Jnanaranya is famous for its legendary story of Atri Mahirshi and his chaste wife Anasuya.
The Suchindram means the purification of Indra. It is believed that Indra was purified of his sins for his misbehavior towards Ahalya here. The purification happened by thrusting his hands into the boiling ghee. Ahalya was also purified here. Thus this place is also known as sodhana Teertha. Tanumalayan Koil is another name attributed to Suchindram. The Mazhgazhi Utsava, the chaitra utsava and the Avani utsava are the three major utsavas conducted here. This temple is known for its architectural and sculptural beauty. There are three lingams placed namely Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesara and also an image of anasuya turning the trinity into babies. The Gopurams and the mandapas are huge and very beautifully decorated with sculptures and paintings. It is also believed that goddess Uma married Siva in Sucheendram. There are numerous idols of Vinayaka here. There is also a huge idol of Hanuman here. The temple is full of paintings and carvings depicting mythological legends.

Sucheendram is in the kanyakumari district. Kanyakumari can be accessed by rail or road from the major cities in the south.

There is one more place called Anasuya in Uttaranchal wher people believe that Sati Anasuya has lived.

Ansuya temple in Uttarnachal
The temple is in trekking route to Kedarnath. Ansuya Temple 13 Km from Gopeshwar. This place is mostly visited by the devotees seeking children. Ansuya (name of the deity as well as the place), hosts mela every year during December-January.

Lord Dattatreya in Kaliyug

Lord Dattatreya has descended on this earth twice in this Kaliyug to establish 'Satya' (the Universal Truth), 'Rta' (the CosmicOrder), Dharma', (the perennial principles), in all its entirety.
The first incarnation is Lord Sripada Srivallabha and second one is Sri Narasimha Sarasvati.

The story of Lord Sripada Srivallabha

Lord Sri pada vallabha

Lord Sripada Srivallabha is the first and foremost incarnation (avatar) of Jagatguru Sri Dattatreya. Sripada Srivallabha’s incarnation took place in 1320 AD. at Srikshetra Pithapuram in east Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

Sripada Srivallabha was verily Sri Dattatreya Himself. There is no difference and deviation between Sridatta and Sripada. Hence if worshiped and prayed Sripada Srivallabha in the same way as that of Sridatta.

Even from the Childhood while He was at Srikshetra Pithikapuram Sripada Srivallabha narrated many times that,   he is a special phenomenon like the Trinity i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.” This can be understood by his Preachings, Actions, Sportive Plays and Miracles done upto his 30 years of age at Pithapuram and Kuruvapuram. Sripada Srivallabha proved His Power and Position through His divine miracles; and conveyed the good news of His decent to His devotees spread at very distances also, through some extraordinary miracles; which can be traced out by some experiences only.

The aim of His incarnation is to bless maha siddhas, maha yogis and to uplift dharma through them in the Universe. To impart knowledge to the ignorant; through His actions, sportive plays and miracles was a part of His Avataaric Programme.

His Karmabhoomi was Pithapuram and His Tapobhoomi was Kuruvapuram, presently known as Kuruvapur or Kurugadda of Raichur District, Karnataka. His incarnation has started in Pithapuram and completed in Kuruvapuram. The tenure of Sripada Srivallabha incarnation was too small, but its prominence is that much high; which is not possible to explain even for celestials and seven sages.

How to reach Pithapuram the birth place of Lord Sri Padavallabhva

Pithapuram has a rail link and it is in Howrah – Chennai main line and the following expresses stops there.

3352 Dhanbad exp, 7487 tirumala exp, 2728 godavari exp, 8646 east coast exp and 7480 tirupathi puri exp.

It is 572 km from Hyderabad,139 Km from Vishakapatnam ,626 km from tirupathi and 240 km from Vijayawada.

It is 12 km from kakinada by road / train .
Pithapuram is famous for Sri Kukkuteswara Temple and Puruhutika Devi temple. This temple is one of the shakti peethas and very close to Sri padavallabha's temple.
For more details of this shakti peetha please visit the follwing blog

Kuruvapuram is the karma bhoomi of Lord Sri Padavallabha

Sri Padavallabha at Kurvapuram
Shripadji stayed at Kuruvapuram  most of his life.This is a small island in River Krishna. There are two, frequently used, routes to reach Kuravapur. One is via Raichur in Karnataka state and another one is via Makthal in Andhra Pradesh state. Either way one has to cross the Krishna river in a small elliptical boat (Putti or Theppa) to reach this island.

Via Raichur: Raichur is about 10 or 12 hours journey from Pune by train. At Raichur one can hire a bus/rickshaw towards ATKUR (40 km). At ATKUR one can hire a Putti to cross the Krishna river and reach Kuravapura. There is also a KSRTC bus service from Raichur bus stand to Atkur, which leaves for Atkur at 7:30 am, 10:30am, 1:30 pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm. The 13:30PM bus ends at Atkur(village), the other buses end at the bank of Krishna.

Via Makthal: Makthal (Mahaboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh) is 68 KM from Mahaboobnagar bus station and 168 KM from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Some buses from Hydrabad to Raichur, via Mahaboobnagar, stop at Makthal. Mahaboobnagar is connected by rail route also. One has to hire an auto or taxi (jeep) from Makthal to river bank(ask for Panchdev Pahad or Vithal baba ashram). River bank is 17 KM from Makthal. There are two locations on the river bank where Putti or small boats can be hired. One is Panchdev Pahad and another one is behind Vithal baba ashram (1 KM from ashram). Number of boats near Vithal baba ashram are less. It is risky to travel by Primitive means of Putti when the River Krishna is full of water i.e during rainy reason.

The story of Sri Narasimha Saraswati
Sri Narashimha Saraswati is the second incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.

Sri Narasimha Sarswati

Sripaad Swami during his tenure identified a Brahmin lady and told to devote her life to the worship of Lord Siva. She did accordingly and, as a result of it, she was born in Karanja a town near Akola (Maharashtra) in a pious family and was named Amba.She grew and she was married to a pious man Madhava Sharma. She was devoted, her heart and soul, to the service of of her husband.  She now became an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.

Karanja, the birth place of Narasimha Sarswathi

In course of time, she gave birth to a son.The child did not cry, as usual, at birth.On the other hand, the only sound he uttered was 'OM' (the eternal sound is the manifestation of the spirit) and everyone was amazed at it. Astrologers assured Madhava Sharma that their child was indeed an avatar of the Lord. They also prophesied that he would renounce all worldly ties and that he would uplift the fallen souls. The child was named Narahari.

The name signified that he was the dispeller of the sins and miseries of human beings.

The child Narahari grew up to be a handsome boy of five, but he could not speak and the parents were very much worried about it.

One day, the boy conveyed to them through gestures that he wished to be invested with the sacred thread. Young Narahari learned the 'Gayatri Mantra', adopted the vows of a young celebate (Brahmacharya), accepted the first offering of food from his mother's hands and at once recited the Vedas (external repositories of Spiritual Wisdom) . The parents were overjoyed but their joy did not last. According to tradition after the sacred thread ceremony, the initiate is a sannyasi and left for Badarinath.

On his way to Badrinath, Narahari reached the Holy Varanasi (Kashi) in the guise of a seeker after liberation. Lord Narahari, in accordance with Holy tradition, resorted to His Holiness Swami Krishna Saraswati as his Guru and from him took the vow of sanyas. Henceforth, He came to be known as Shri Narasimha Saraswati. He formally took the vow of lifelong celibacy. Thus he became a full-fledged sannyasi who has transcended the opposites of joy and sorrow and the limitations of a self-centered will.

This World Teacher has laid down the tradition of sanyas for seekers after liberation.

Shri Nrishimha Saraswati expounded the nature of sanyas to some and the meaning of the Vedas, which can secure the true objects of life (Purusharthas), to others. Then, he proceeded in his wanderings round the country in a clock-wise direction, along with his disciples. He had seven disciples and they were Baala, Krishna, Upendra, Janajyotim Sadaananda, Madhava and Siddha. All have the title 'Saraswati' suffixed to their names.

He took holy dips in all the holy rivers along the way and reached the sacred place where the river Ganga joins the sea. From Benares he went to Badrika Ashram with his disciples. Then moving from place to place for the welfare of common people, he arrived at Ganga sagar, near calcutta. Some Twenty years passed this way. Shri Nrisimha Saraswati reappeared at his home to the wonder and joy of his family and town people, He blessed them all.

Shri Narasimha Saraswati then went to Trumbakeshwar, Parli and Parli vaijnath. At Parli Vaijnath he did penance for one year and remained in seclusion. Afterwards he went to Audumbar and Amarapur near the confluence of the rivers Krishna and the Panchaganga. At Amarapur he stayed 12 years. This place was called "Nrisimhawadi" and later "Narsob awadi" by his affectionate disciples and devotees. From Amarapur he went to Gangapur and remained there for 24 years. During his stay there many astonishing incidents and miracles took place.

Shri Narasimha Saraswati was now considered as 'Siddha Purusha' (Perfect, almost Godlike being) with Divine powers of healing physical ailments and alleviating worries of his devotees. Hindus and Muslims used to come to him considering him their Sadguru.

One day he bade good-bye to people of Gangapur and with his 7 select disciples went to the confluence of Bhima and Amraja rivers and stood for a while under the Aswatha tree. He stated "worship this tree and practice penance, your wish will be fulfilled and your life will be blessed". He announced his departure from this world and his disciples were plunged in grief.

A float was prepared on the banana leaves and was adorned with flowers. This float was placed in the river and Shri Nrisimha Saraswati sat on it. All the disciples offered worship although their hearts were weighed down by grief. Shri Nrisimha Saraswati cheered them up and told them he was going to Kadali-vana (grove of banana trees) near Srisailam (One of the 12 "Jyotir Linga" is located here) and upon reaching there, as a mark of his safe arrival, clusters of flowers would come back floating against current. Soon after, as per the Master's promise, clusters of flowers came to them drifting on the river against the current!

When the Master got ready for departure, the natives of the village rushed to him and begged him not to deprive them of His Divine presence, but to stay on. The Lord said, "Do not feel sad that way. How can I bear to be away from my devotees? I only seem to leave for Srisailam only to the grosser vision of the physical, but I will ever abide at Gangapur in my real state as the Spirit or the real Self. I will seek my noon alms in this village and accept your loving devotional services. My living presence will be experienced by anyone who bathes in the Sangam (confluence of holy rivers), worships the Holy peepal tree and takes darshan of my 'pudukas' (sacred foot-wear) here.

"The Master can be seen even today by the virtuous and the devout. Only the unrighteous cannot experience his living presence. Taking his daily dip at the holy Sangam, he ever abides there. In fact, he has been blessing devotees with his divine acts (leelas) on countless occasions. The aspirations of those who worship him there with true love will be fulfilled. Indeed, the Lord is ever present with those who incessantly adore him. The miraculous experiences of such will ever remain hidden in their own hearts. He is the granter of prayers!"

When people were in utter despair, Shri Nrisimha Saraswati brought about a religious and spiritual renaissance and restored their morale. The places where He stayed, have become centres of pilgrimage viz., Narsobawadi, Audumbar and Gangapur. Gangapur is believed to be the abode of Lord Dattatreya. There is a holy hillock of Vibhuti (holy ash) from which devotees pick up the sacred ash as Prasad to take home. This hillock has not been depleted, even though devotees have been taking away sacred ash for centuries.

The atmosphere in all the three pilgrimage centers is sublime and devotees feel peaceful and spiritually uplifted. Miracles take place at Gangapur specially, even now.

Padukas at Gangapur
How to reach Karanja

Karanja is located on the historic narrow guage railway (over 100 years old) between Murtijapur & Yavatmal.
The nearest broad-guage railway stations to go to Karanja are Murtijapur and Akola.
From Mumbai - There are several Superfast, Mail, & Express trains that ply between Mumbai and Akola or Murtijapur .
The journey by train takes approximately 12 hours. After reaching Akola or Murtijapur, an hour's bus ride by the ST or private bus will take you to Karanja. From Murtijapur, you can also hop aboard a narrow guage train from Murtijapur to Karanja on the Yavatal line - more popularly known as the 'Shakuntala Railway'.
From Pune - There is a Kolhapur-Gondia Maharashtra Express that goes via Pune and it takes approximately 14 hours to reach Murtijapur from Pune by this train.

Sri Narasimha (Nrusimha) Sarswathi at Karanja

How to reach Gangapur

The Train Station at Gangapur is called as Gangapur Road.

Mumbai to Ganagapur Rail Distance - 526 Kms

Mumbai to 'Ganagapur Road' Direct and most convenient Train is 1013 Dn L.T.T. Kurla Terminus -

Coimbatore Express, which departs from Kurla Terminus at 10.10 PM & departs from Kalyan 11.15 in the night. It reaches Ganagapur at 8.08 in the morning next day.

From 'Ganagapur Road' to Ganagapur City (town), where Datta Mandir is situated is around 30 minutes journey by road. Trax/Jeep/Sumo drivers charge Rs 20 Per Passanger

It takes around 2 hours maximum for a family to perform Pooja/Abhishek at Ganagapur.

Local people arrange for accomodation, bath and if required food also, on payment basis.

Nearest City is GULBARGA : 40 Kms.

Gangapur to Sholapur Distance: 94 km (approx.) and travel time is 2 ½ hours

Though as per dutta puran only two avatars are there for Lord Dattatreya people quote the following are also avatars of Lord Dattatreya.

Sri Sai baba of Shirdi , Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, Hazrat Babajan of Pune, Shankar Maharaj of Pune, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba, Narayan Maharaj, Shri Upasani (Baba) Maharaj, Meher Baba, Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj. ShriKrishna Saraswati Swami, ParamSadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Akkalkot, Swami Swaroopanad, Pawas, Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati (Tembe) Swami Maharaj.

please visit my new blog on famous Devi temples at the following URL address and  post your comments.