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Appearance of Lord Dattatreya According to Puranic history (Brahmanda-purana) Lord Dattatreya appeared during the reign of Vaivasvata Manu

(who is still ruling), in the 10th yuga cycle in the Treta-yuga. Since we are currently in the 28th Kali-yuga, He appeared occurred about 80 million years ago to Atri and Anasuya,His parents. Devi-bhagavata-purana suggests an even older date (2nd yuga cycle) as does Sri Rupa Goswami (Svayambhuva-manvantara) in his commentary on Srimad- Bhagavata, the Laghu-bhagavatamrta. The differences in dates may reflect the different appearances in the various kalpas. The story itself, alluded to in Srimad Bhagavatam, is described in detail in the Markandeya-purana. The translation given here is from Frank Pargiter's edition, famous for being the second Purana to appear in the English language in the late 1800s. The Boon of Anasuya from Markandeya-purana (16) Once there was a brahmana who was cursed to die at sunrise, and his devoted wife by the power of austerity, restrained the sun from rising, upon which all activity ceased. The gods, alarmed by this, went to Lord Brahma for counsel: Lord Brahma said: "Majesty is subdued by majesty indeed, and austerities also by austerities, O ye immortals! Hearken therefore to my advice. Through the might of the faithful wife the sun does not rise, and from his not rising loss befalls mortals and you. Hence do ye, through desire that sun should rise, propitiate Atri's faithful wife Anasuya who is rich in austerities." Having been so instructed, they sought the help of the wife of the sage Atri. When they submitted their desires, she replied, "The might of a faithful wife may not be lost in any wise. Hence while honoring that good lady, I will liberate the day. O ye gods! that day and night may again exist, and that that good lady's own husband may not perish." At Anasuya's exhortation the brahmana's wife relented, the sun rose, and the brahmana died, but he was restored to life by the virtuous Anasuya. Then there fell a shower of flowers, accompanied with the strains of heavenly instruments and other musical instruments. And the gods were delighted and said to Anasuya:

"Choose a boon, O blessed lady. Inasmuch thou hast accomplished a great matter for the gods, therefore the gods will grant thee a boon, O ascetic lady." Anasuya spoke: "If ye gods headed by Brahma, being favorable, will grant me a boon, and if ye deem me worthy of a boon, then let Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva become sons to me, and let me in company with my husband attain religious devotion, to the end that I may be delivered from affliction." "Be it so!" exclaimed Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and the other gods to her; and they departed, duly honoring the ascetic lady. The Birth of Lord Dattatreya from Markandeya-purana (17) Then after many days time the adorable Atri, the second son of Brahma, looked upon his wife Anasuya. Her very lovely in body, seductive and perfect in form, free from blame, the love possessed muni enjoyed mentally. But while he contemplated her, a powerful wind through and above brought the change that was produced in her. The ten regions of the sky seized the white-lustred form of Brahma, as it fell all around, in the form of Soma, characterized by passion. That mental Soma was begotten in her as the son of the prajapati Atri, the life and possessor of every excellence. Magnanimous Vishnu being pleased begot of her Dattatreya, the brahman, in whom goodness predominated, by production from His own body. Dattatreya was he called; he sucked Anasuya's breast: He was Vishnu indeed incarnate; He was Atri's second son. He issued from His mother's womb seven days afterwards being enraged on seeing that haughty king of the Haihayas was near and offending Atri. Being angry He at once desired to burn up the Haihaya. Filled with indignation at the long pains and toil of his residence in the womb, a portion of Shiva was born as Durvasas, in whom darkness predominated. Thus three sons were born of her, being portions of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. Brahma became Soma, Vishnu was born as Dattatreya, Shiva was born as Durvasas, throught the boon granted by the gods. The prajapati Soma, ever causing creepers and medicinal plants and manking to grow with his cool rays, abides in Svarga. Dattatreya protects offspring from destruction by the malignant Daityas: and Vishnu's portion must be also be known as the benefactor of the docile. Durvasas, the adorable birthless god, destroys the scorner; assuming a formidable body, he is haughty in look, mind, and speech.

* Dattatreya offers Benedictions In chapters 18, 19, the Markandeya-purana goes on to relate how benedictions were bestowed by Lord Dattatreya upon those who worshipped Him. First the story of the demigods' obtaining His blessings and of their subsequent victory in battle, followed by the story of King Kartavirya Arjuna who similarly became powerful in battle and eventually became a universal monarch. The story ends with the glorification of Lord Dattatreya: Such is this magnanimity of the wise Dattatreya, who is Vishnu, the guru of all things movable and immovable, endless, high-souled. In the Puranas are narrated the manifestations of the bearer of the bow Sharnga, who is endless, inscrutable, the bearer of the conch and discus and club. Whatever man ponders on His highest form, happy is he, and he may soon pass over mundane existence. "Ho! I am ever in truth easy of reach by faith even to Vaishnavas"--how is it that a man should not have recourse to Him, whose are these very words? For the destruction of unrighteousness, and for the practice of righteousness, the God, who is without beginning and without end, preserves the stability of nature. Additionally, Lord Dattatreya is glorified in the Pancaratra as the upholder of Dharma: He is jnana-murti-the form which personifies spiritual wisdom. He directs men and gods along the path of spiritual progress. And He protects the Vedas and regulates the conduct according to castes and stations in life (varnasramacara). -Sattvata samhita 12.109-114 Dattaatreya Upanisad Once Brahma the creator asked Lord Narayana about the efficacy of the taaraka-mantra to which the latter replied: "Always think of Me and My glory, and be in commune with Me in the attitude 'I am Datta, the great Lord.' Such ones who medidate thus do not swirl in the ver-recurring course of worldly existence." Accordingly, after meditating on Lord Vishnu (Dattatreya), Brahma said: "Yes. The Brahman that is the infinite and peerless alone remains as the residuum after negation of everything else."

The one-, six-, eight-, twelve-, and sixteen-syllabled mantras of Dattaatreya The taaraka monosyllable is 'Daam'. He is the haMsa established in all beings. 'Daam' in the lengthened form is the Paramaatman. The six syllabled one is 'OM, ShriiM, HriiM, KliiM, GlauM, DraaM. The eight-syllabled one is 'DraM' or 'DraaM' and then adding to it the syllables 'Dat, taa, tre, yaa, na, maaH." The portion 'Dattatreya' is of the character of knowledge, existence, and bliss, and that of namaH is of full- blown bliss. The twelve-syllabled formula is 'OM, AAM, HriiM, KroM, ehi Dattatreya svaahaa.' The sixteen-syllabled formula is OM, AiM, KroM, KliiM, CluuM, HraaM, HriiM, HruuM, SauH (nine) and the five syllables constituting Dattaatreyaaya, and the twin syllable svaahaa. The whole formula is 'OM, AiM, KroM, KliiM, CluuM, HraaM, HriiM, HruuM, SauH Dattaatreyaaya svaahaa.' The anushhtubh-mantra of Dattaatreya All the portions of the mantra are said to be in the vocative forms right through as 'Dattaatreya Hare KRshhNa unmataananda-daayaka, digambara, mune, baala, pishaaca, jn~aana saagara.' The mala-mantra of Dattaatreya This is then given as: 'OM namo bhagavate dattaatreyaaya, smaraNa-maatrasamtushhTaaya OM salutations unto Lord Dattatreya who is propitiated by remembrance (devotion), mahaa-bhaya-nirvaaNaaya, mahaa-jn~aanaa-pradaaya, cidaanandaatmane that is the dispeller of great fears, who bestows the highest character of sentience and bliss baalonmatta-pishaaca-veshaaya' who is in the guise of a child, a mad-man, a devil, thus:

mahaa yogine avadhuutaya, anasuuyaananda-vardhanaayatri-putraya a great yogin, is the enhancer of the bliss of Anasuya (His mother), is the son of the sage Atri, sarva-kaama-phala-pradaaya, bhava-bandha-mocanaaya, who bestows the fruits of all the desires of the devotee's heart, the redeemer of the bonds of worldy existence, sakala-vibhuuti-daaya saadhyakarshhaNaaya sarva-manaHkshhobhaNaaya, ciram- jiivane vashi-kuru, vashi-kuru, aakarshhayaakarshhaya, vidveshhaya, vidveshhaya, uccaaTaya-uccaaTaaya, stambhaya-stambhaya, maaraya-maaraya namaH, saMpannaaya, namaH saMpannaaya, svaahaa poshhaya, poshhaya, para-mantra para-yantra para tantraaMshh ccindhi, ccindhi; [no translation] grahaan nivaaraya; nivaaraya; vyaadhiin nivaaraya, nivaaraya; duHkhaM haraya, haraya; daaridryam vidraavaya, dehaM poshhaya, poshhaya; citttam toshhaya, toshhaya: Do thou counteract the malignant influences of the planets, cure the ailments, drive off anguish, melt away all penury, fill the mind with joy sarva mantra sarva yantra sarva tantra sarva pallava svaruupaaya iti oM namaH shivaaya. OM .unto Thee of the real form of incantations, all mystic symbols and powers, etc. OM salutations! OM salutations unto Lord Dattatreya who is propitiated by remembrance (devotion), that is the dispeller of great fears, who bestows the highest character of sentience and bliss and who is in the guise of a child, a mad- man, a devil, a great yoin, is the enhancer of the bliss of Anasuya (His mother), is the son of the sage Atri, who bestows the fruits of all the desires of the devotee's heart, the redeemer of the bonds of worldy existence, ..Do thou nourish my body, counteract the malignant influences of the planets, cure the ailments, drive off anguish, melt away all penury, fill the mind with joy...unto Thee of the real form of incantations, all mystic symbols and powers, etc. OM salutations! He who knows all about this vidyaa and practices this becomes holy, and he attains the fruits of having muttered the Gayatri, the

Mahaarudra, and the PraNava innumerable times, and he is absolved of all his sins. Thus ends Dattatreya Upanisad.