Lord Dattatreya was the son of the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya. His mother performed tapas or severe moral live abstaining from carnal pleasures, to get a son with qualities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Per the legend, seeing Anasuya perform severe austerities, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati became jealous and asked their husbands - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva - to test her virtuousness.
Disguised as ascetics, the three appeared in front of Anasuya and asked her to give alms in a naked condition. Confused for a while Anasauya uttered a mantra and sprinkled water on the three ascetics and turned them into babies. She then fed them breast milk naked. When sage Atri returned and heard about the incident, he hugged the three babies to his heart and transformed them into a single baby with three heads and six arms.
When Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati got to know about the incident, she begged for forgiveness and requested Anasuya to return their husbands. Anasuya accepted their request. The Trimurti then appeared in their true form before Atri and Anasuya, and blessed them with a son Dattatreya.
Datta Jayanti, also known as Dattatreya Jayanti, is birth anniversary of Lord Dattatreya, the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, also known as Trimurti. Datta Jayanti is celebrated on the full moon day or Purnima of the Margashirsha. The day is primarily celebrated in Maharashtara. On this day, devotees wake up early morning and take bath and then keep fast throughout the day. The day is spent singing devotional songs (bhajan) and naam jaap, remembering Lord Dattatreya. Sacred books Avadhuta Gita and Jivanmukta Gita are read to mark Datta Jayanti.
Temples dedicated to Dattatreya are located pan India, but the most important ones are said to be in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
Deity Dattatreya is known to guide people to live a good life in the right manner. Worshipping him on the day of his incarnation helps devotees to lead a prosperous life. Naam jaap of few thousand times is very beneficial to everyone on Dattatreya Jayanti. It is important that one do more jaaps for severe problems as compared to small issues of life.
Rituals of Datta Jayanti and Dattatreya vrat
Like other pujas, the devotees wake up early, take bath in holy water bodies, and observe fast for the day.
Specific flowers, incense stick, lamp, and sweets are offered during the puja ceremony. One should sing devotional songs and read devotional book like Avadhuta Gita and Jivanmukta Gita.
During the course of the puja, one must apply sandalwood paste, vermillion, and turmeric to the idol or photo of the deity.
It is also important that after the puja commences, devotees should take seven circles around the Lord Datta’s idol distribute prasad and aarti to everyone in the puja.
Chanting mantras like “Sree guru dattatreyaya namah” or Om Shri Gurudev Datta is quite beneficial for purity in mind and soul.