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24 GURUS OF LORD DATTATREYA

Lord Dattatreya is considered as among one of the 24 Vishnus Incarnations. He was


born of Rishi Atri and Anausya. Name Dattatreya can be divided into two words,
Datta (means Giver) and Atri (Sage Atri). 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 of
mundane attachments, and teach the path towards the spiritual self-realization of
the Supreme.

The core message of Lord Dattatreya is, Never judge by surface appearances but
always seek a deeper Truth.

Lord Dattatreya is imaged with three faces, six hands and single body. The three
faces represented the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). Each pair of hands carries
two of the symbols of the three deities. The four dogs are shown with the image of
Lord Dattatreya represents the Four Holy Vedas. A cow standing behind in the image
represents the Mother Earth.

Narration of Story as in Srimad Bhagavata

Shri Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead narrates the story of Lord
Dattatreya and his 24 Gurus, in His final teaching to his dear friend Uddhava. This
teaching is considered as second best teaching by Shri Krishna after Bhagavad
Geeta, and is known as The Uddhava Geeta.

Once King Yadu saw Lord Dattatreya (Avadhoot) wandering in a forest happily, free
from worries. The king with humbleness asked the sage, about the secret of his
happiness and the name of his Guru. Further said to sage, that despite you look
capable and wise, why do you live in the forest. Even though you have no family,
nor any loved one, how could you be so blissful and self-contented?

To answer the Yadus enquired queries, the Lord Dattatreya (Avadhoot, one who
have given up all worldly desires) replied:

My bliss and contentment are the fruits of self-realization. Soul (Aatmaa) alone is
my Guru, yet I have gained the necessary wisdom from the whole creation, via 24
individual who were therefore my Gurus. I shall elaborate the same for you.

The Avadhoot (one who has shaken off all worldly desires) replied, My bliss and
contentment are the fruits of self-realization. I have gained the necessary wisdom
from the whole creation, through 24 Gurus. I shall elaborate the same for you.

Shri Dattatreya had twenty-four teachers from nature many are my preceptors, he
told King Yadu, selected by my keen sense, from whom acquiring wisdom freely, I
wander in the world. The earth, air/breeze, sky, fire, the sun, pigeon, python, sea,
moth, elephant, ant, fish, Pingala the courtesan, arrow-maker, infant/playful boy,
the moon, honeybee, deer, bird of prey, maiden, serpent, spider, caterpillar and
water are my twenty four preceptors.

(Srimad Bhagavatam: Canto 11: Chapter 7: Slokas 33~35)

1. Earth: All creatures, in accordance with their previous store of karma (action)
assume different physical forms and live on earth. People plough, dig and tread the
earth. They light fires on it. Still, the earth does not swerve from its course even by
a hairs breadth. On the other hand, it feeds and houses all creatures. Seeing this, I
learned that the wise one should never swerve from his vow of patience, love and
righteousness under any circumstances and one should dedicate his life for the
welfare of living beings. The earth along with its mountains and rivers is my first
guru. Earth teaches course of Dharma, art of Tolerance, art of Performing Duty. One
can learn Patience and Forgiveness from Earth. Like mountains and trees, one
should devotedly dedicate self to the welfare of other living beings.

2. Air: I observed that air is pure and odorless in itself. And it blows on both sweet
and foul-smelling things without any discrimination or preference. Though it
momentarily seems to take on the smell of its surroundings, in a short while, it
reveals its pristine quality. From this I learned that a spiritual aspirant should live in
the world, unaffected by the dualities of life like joy and sorrow and by the objects of
the senses. He should keep his hearts feeling and his speech unpolluted by vain
objects. As I have learned all this by observing it, air is my second guru.

Air being pure and odorless in its characteristics, move freely among all objects and
yet remain unaffected. The Air teaches the value of being free from all
contamination, and of staying clear of material worlds disturbances.
When Air blows out of control, the atmosphere becomes agitated, similarly if the
mind is constantly attracted and repelled by material objects, it will be next to
impossible to think of the Absolute Truth, Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri
Krishna.
3. Sky: The soul is also like the sky, which is omnipresent. I have noticed that
sometimes the sky (or space) gets thickly overcast, or filled with dust or smoke. At
sunrise and during night, it apparently takes on different colors. But in fact, it ever
retains its colorless self, and it is never touched or stained by any thing. From this I
learned that a true sage should remain ever pure like the sky or space, untouched
or unaffected by anything in the phenomenal universe in time, including his own
physical processes. His inner being is totally free from emotional reaction to things
and events even like the space. Thus I accepted the sky or space as my third guru.

Sky having no boundaries, beyond the reach of material nature. Infinite in nature,
sometime clouds cover the sky but yet sky remains unaffected. In the same way,
the soul is never affected, by the material body contamination. Like sky, the Soul is
omnipresent, all-pervading, and infinite in nature. The inner emptiness of sky i.e.
space, teaches the sage should be free of emotions within insight.
4. Fire: My fourth teacher is the element of fire. Sometimes, it manifests itself as
blazing flames; sometimes as smoldering embers, covered by ash. But it is always
present in all objects as latent heat. The god of fire accepts the offering of
everyone, irrespective of his moral worth and burns down his sins; and it still
remains the ever-pure divinity as the fire-god; he is untainted by the sins of such
devotees. So too, a sage of perfect realization should accept food of everyone, burn
down his sins and bless the giver. Though fire has no specific form of its own, when
it is associated with fuel that burns, it assumes such apparent forms. So too, the
true Self, though formless in itself, appears in the forms of deities, human beings,
animals and trees when it is associated with the respective physical structures. The
source of all forms in the universe, as also their end, remains ever mysterious. All
the things are manifest only in between their origin and their end. Their source and
end is the true Self, which is eternal, unchanging, unmanifest and omnipresent. The
nature of the element of fire is such. The manifest fire transforms the various things
it consumes into the same ash. So too, the wisdom of self-realization rejects the
manifest forms and properties of things as illusion and realizes their one original
essence as itself. Thus the element of fire is my fourth guru.

Fire burns bright, cannot be suppressed by others. It has no extra storage place, it
keeps all inside itself and it can eat anything and yet not get dirty when comes in to
contact of other dirty things. The sages glory is like the fire, is made brighter by
austerities, his knowledge and tapas; having no vessel other than his stomach.
Although having no shape of its own, the fire assumes the shape of the firewood
through which it reveals itself. Similarly, having entered a particular body, the soul
reveals the traits through that body.
5. Sun: My fifth guru is sun. Though the sun we see in our daily life is one, it appears
as many when reflected by water in different vessels. Similarly, the one real Self
manifests itself as many selves of living creatures when reflected by their physical
structures. As Sun illuminates the many forms in nature to our visions, the sage too
illuminates the true nature of all things to his devotees.

The 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.
The sun evaporates water, and it returns water back to earth in the form of rain
without any attachment or entangled with its act. Similarly the sage can accept
material things with his senses, but at the appropriate time he should give these
things back, as an act from sense of duty. Without getting attached to material
sense objects.
6. Pigeon: I have gained wisdom from a pigeon too. Once a pair of pigeons lived
together on a tree. They bred their young and were bringing them up with deep
affection and love. One day, a hunter caught the young fledglings in a snare. The
ladybird, which returned from the forest with food for its young ones, saw their
plight and, unable to leave them, she leapt in the snare to share their fate. Shortly
after, the male pigeon turned up and, unable to bear the separation from its
sweetheart, it too jumped in the snare and met its end. Reflecting on this, I realized
how, even after being born as an intelligent human being, man is caught in the coils
of possessiveness and brings about his own spiritual destruction. The self, which is
originally free, when associated with the body sense, gets identified with it, and
thus gets caught in the endless cycle of birth, death and misery. Thus the pigeon
was my sixth guru.

Once a devoted pigeon couple along with their babies lives happily in jungle. The
couple loves each other too much, also take care of their infant babies. The love
among them is ever growing every day. One day the couple went to bring food for
their children. In the meanwhile, the bird-hunter came to their nest and caught the
children in a net. When the couple returned back, they saw their dear children were
caught in net. Unable to live without their children, the couple foolishly also jumped
into that trap of net. The bird-catcher returned home with the complete catch.
Teaches:
The pigeon story warns against developing obsessive love or attachments in the
transient material world. The sage would refrain from attachment after attaining the
human body, which is the open door to Mukti (Moksha, Liberation), a door to God-
Realization. Even after being born as an intelligent living being, one is caught in the
clutches of possessiveness and brings about his own spiritual destruction. Excessive
attachment and love with anything except wisdom, is the cause of bondage.
7. Python: The python is a sluggard, unwilling to move out briskly for its prey. It lies
in its lurch and devours whatever creature it comes across, be it sufficient to
appease its hunger. From this I learnt that the man in search of wisdom should
refrain from running after pleasures, and accept whatever he gets spontaneously
with contentment. Like the python, he should shake off sleep and wakefulness and
abide in a state of incessant meditation on the Self. Thus the python was my
seventh teacher of wisdom.

A python eats whatever comes in its way and satisfy, whether it is sufficient or not,
bitter or sweet etc.
One should accept whatever one comes across in the life with full contentment.
While suffering the hardships and miseries in life, one should think, it is due to past
sinful activities that one is being punished. A sage always goes for search of wisdom
and refrains from running after unwanted pleasures.
8. Sea: Contemplating the marvelous nature of the ocean, I have gained much
wisdom. Any number of overflowing rivers may join it, yet the sea maintains its
level. Nor does its level fall even by a hairs breadth in summer, when all the rivers
dry up. So too, the joys of life do not elate the sage of wisdom, nor do its sorrows
depress him. Just as the sea never crosses its threshold on the beach, the wise one
never transgresses the highest standards of morality under the pull of passions. Like
the sea, he is unconquerable and cannot be troubled by anything. Like the
unfathomable ocean, his true nature and the depths of his wisdom cannot be easily
comprehended by anyone. The ocean, which has taught me thus, is my eighth guru.

Ocean neither increases due to excessive inflow of rivers nor decreases due to
stoppage of flow of rivers, yet it maintains its level. The calm sea never disturbed,
always remains in its boundaries (except the Natural Catastrophe).

The sage should be equipoised and in state of calmness. The life of sage remains
balanced; the joys of life do not excite him, nor do sorrows depress him. The wise
sage never transgresses the highest standards of morality. The depth of such sages
wisdom cannot be easily comprehended by anyone, just as hidden pearls at the
depth of ocean cannot easily be discovered.

9. Moth: I often observed that the moth (or, more precisely, a grasshopper) is
tempted by fire to jump in it and get burnt down. So too, the unthinking man is
enticed by the illusory pleasures of the senses and thus gets caught in the
ceaseless cycles of birth and death. On the other hand, the wise one, when he
catches even a glimpse of the fire of wisdom, leaves everything aside, leaps in it
and burns down the illusion of being a limited self. Thus the moth was my ninth
guru.

The moth is tempted by fire, being attracted by the delightful beauty of flame, it
jumps into it and get burns within it. Similarly a foolish man is enticed by the illusory
pleasures of the visual senses and thus gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth
and death.

Teaches:
To control the sense of sight (and all other senses) and to try to avoid being greedy.

10. Elephant: The elephant was my tenth guru. The human beings raise a stuffed
cow-elephant in the forest. The wild tusker mistakes it for a mate, approaches it and
then skillfully bound in fetters by the cunning human beings. So too, the
unregenerate man is tempted by the opposite sex and gets bound by the fetters of
infatuation. The seekers after liberation should learn to be free from lust. The
elephant was thus one of my teachers.

The male elephant out of immense lust falls into a pit covered over with grass by
the scent of its mate, a paper and wooden made female elephant. The elephant
gets caught and enchained after being attracted towards its opposite gender
mate. Similarly, a passionate person is tempted by the opposite gender and falls
into the trap and come to grief. The seekers of Spiritual Truth should learn, to get rid
from the clutches of lust.

11. Ant: The ant stores up lots of food materials which it neither eats nor gives away
in charity to any other creature. In consequence, other more powerful creatures are
tempted to plunder the ants. So too, the man who lays by treasures of merely
material things becomes a victim of robbery and murder. But the ant has something
positive to teach us, too. It is a tireless worker and is never discouraged by any
number of obstacles and setbacks in its efforts to gather its treasure. So too, a
seeker after wisdom should be tireless in his efforts for Self-Realization. This noble
truth has the little ant taught me and became my eleventh guru.

12. Fish: The fish greedily swallows bait and is at once caught by the angle-hook.
From this, I realized how man meets his destruction by his craving for delicious food.
When the palate is conquered, all else is conquered. Besides, there is a positive
feature in the fish. It never leaves its home, i.e. water. So too, man should never
loose sight of his true Self, but should ever have his being in it. Thus the fish
became my twelfth guru.

Due to uncontrolled tongue, the fish is caught on hook. It is through tasteful bait
(small food use to catch fish), that the fish meets its end.

Teaches:
Among the sense, tongue is the most difficult to be controlled. When tongue is
controlled, other sense will become easy to be controlled. Apart from that, fish
never leaves its home (i.e. water), so one should never lose sight of his True Self.

13. Pingala: The thirteenth guru that has awakened my spirit is a prostitute named
Pingala. One day, she eagerly awaited a particular client in the hope that he would
pay her amply. She waited and waited till late in the night. When he did not turn up,
she was at last disillusioned and reflected thus: Alas! How stupid I am! Neglecting
the divine spirit within, who is of the nature of bliss eternal, I foolishly awaited a
debauchee (sensualist) who inspires my lust and greed. Henceforth, I shall expend
myself on the Self, unite with Him and win eternal joy. Through such repentance,
she attained blessedness. Besides, reflecting on its obvious purport, I also realized
that a spiritual aspirant should likewise reject the lure of lesser spiritual powers,
which are mere by-products of sadhana(spiritual practice). I learned that the
temptation to secure things from others hands are the seeds of misery; that
renunciation of these is the sole means of realizing infinite joy.

There was a dancing girl named Pingala, she was tired of looking for customers one
night to come and give her sensual pleasure along with lot of money. She became
hopeless and ultimately out of frustration gave her plans for earning money via this
means. Feeling satisfaction from her abandonment of material desires, she was
contented with what she had, and then had sound sleep. She has realized that
divine spirit lies within herself, who is of the nature of bliss eternal.

Teaches:
The abandonment of expectation from people, leads to contentment and infinite joy.

14. Arrow-maker: Once I observed an arrow-maker who was totally absorbed in


molding a sharp arrow. He grew so oblivious of all else that he did not even notice a
royal pageant that passed by. This sight awakened me to the truth that such single-
minded, all-absorbing contemplation of the Self spontaneously eliminates all
temptation for the trivial interests of the world. It is the sole secret of success in
spiritual discipline. Thus the arrow-maker is my fourteenth guru.

Once there was an arrow maker, he was so absorbed in making the tip of an arrow;
that he didnt notice the procession of King passes nearby him. He was very much
keen in his work.
Teaches:
Focused Mind, Concentration is the way to achieve Self-Realization.

15. Playful Boy: Little boys and girls know neither honor nor dishonor. They do not
nurse a grudge or a prejudice against anyone. They do not know what is their own,
or what belongs to others. Their happiness springs from their own selves, their
innate creativity and they do not need any external objects or conditions to be
happy. I realized that the sage of perfect enlightenment is also such. A playful boy
thus happened to be my fifteenth guru.

A child has no grievance, anger, jealousy, hatred and above all Free of Ego and
Arrogance. Both child and sage are free from anxieties, and fully engrossed in the
supreme joy. A child is happy and enjoying due to ignorance, while sage is happy
free from all worldly desires, which is transcended the three gunas (satva, rajas and
tamas).

Teaches:
Live like being child at heart, innocent, care free and full of Supreme Joy.

16. Moon: Of all things in nature, the moon is unique. It appears to wax and wane
during the bright and dark fortnights. In fact, the lunar globe ever remains the
same. In this, it is like the self of the man. While a man appears to pass through the
stages of infancy, boyhood, youth, maturity and old age, his real self remains
unchanged. All changes pertain only to body and not to the self. Again, the moon
only reflects the light of the sun, but has no such of its own. So too, the soul or mind
of man is only a reflection of the light of awareness of the real Self. Having taught
this truth, the moon became my sixteenth guru.

The moon waxes and wanes, despite this continuous change taking place with the
moon, yet it remains unaffected by this process. Similarly the sage should not be
affected by the continual change of body from birth to death including diseases and
old age.
17. Honeybee: Honeybee wanders from flower to flower and, without hurting them
in the least, draws honey. So too, a spiritual seeker should study all the Holy
Scriptures but retain in his heart, only that which is essential for his spiritual
practice. Such is the teaching I imbibed from my seventeenth guru, the honeybee.

Honeybee wanders from flower to flower to collect nectar from them, without
hurting the flower and draws honey.
Similarly the sage takes the essence of different various Holy Scriptures, study and
practices them spiritually. The sage should wander from door to door to beg just
enough food for his living without troubling the householders who provide them. The
sage should not become greedy.
18. Deer: It is said that deers are very fond of music and that poachers employ it to
lure them before hunting them. From this, I learned that passions and sensual
desires will soon bog down a spiritual aspirant who has a weakness for merely
secular music, till he ultimately loses whatever spiritual progress he has achieved
earlier. The deer that taught me this truth is my eighteenth guru.

The deer is very fond of music and is very much attracted by it. The deer is trapped
by hunter through its love for music. Hunter employs music to lure the deer before
hunting it.

Teaches:
Passion and Sensual Desires will later or sooner bring down a sage from his spiritual
progress. A renounced person should never become attracted by mundane sounds
like sensuous music, specially the sweet singing and dancing of girl.

19. Bird of prey: A bird of prey is my nineteenth guru. One day, I saw one such
carrying away a dead rat. Many other birds like crows and eagles attacked it, now
kicking on its head and again pecking on its sides in their endeavor to knock off the
prey. The poor bird was thus very much pestered. At last, it wisely let its prey fall
and all the other birds rushed after it. Thus freeing itself from so much botheration,
it sighed in relief. From this, I learned that a man who runs after worldly pleasures
will soon come into clash with his fellow-beings who too run for the same, and has
to face much strife and antagonism. If he learns to conquer his craving for worldly
things, he can spare himself much unhappiness. I realized that this is the only way
to the peace in the world.

One there was Kurari bird who pick some sort of food in the beak from somewhere.
At that time, the other stronger birds having no food to eat attacked that bird to
take food away from his beak. In order to get rid of the attack and to attain peace,
the bird dropped the food from beak.

Teaches:
The worldly possessions are source of trouble. If one run after sensual pleasures,
will soon come into clash with his fellow-beings, who too run for the same, and has
to face much miseries and strife. Happiness and Enlightenment belong to one who
lives simply, conquer his craving for worldly things and seeks only spiritual goals.
One becomes as happy and relieved only on abandoning the sensual pleasures.

20. Maiden: Once, I observed a family visit a maidens house, seeking her hand in
marriage for their son. At that time, her mother was away from home. So the
maiden herself had to entertain the guests with refreshments. She at once started
pounding food-grains with a pestle. The bangles on her hand started knocking
against each other, pounding sound. She was afraid that the guests might hear the
sound and be unhappy for having caused her so much of trouble. As a Hindu
maiden, she is not expected to remove all the bangles on her hand at any time. So
she kept two on each hand and removed all the rest. Even then, they were knocking
against each other and were making noise. So she kept only one bangle on each
hand this time and she could finish her task in quiet. Reflecting on this, I realized
that when a number of spiritual seekers live together, a lot of unwanted gossip
ensues and no spiritual practice can be pursued with a single-minded effort. Only in
solitude, a spiritual aspirant can carry his task. Knowing this truth, I henceforth
resorted to solitude. Thus, a maiden happened to be my twentieth guru.

Once some people came home to see a Maiden Girl. Her parents were not at home,
so she had to entertain them herself. She went to kitchen and started beating rice
for their food. At that time her hand bangles started making noise. She did not like
that noise [because it showed that they were so poor that she herself had to beat
the rice]. So she broke all the bangles except two in each hand. But still they made
noise. So she broke one more bangle from each hand. Hence no noise produced.

Teaches:
When there are 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 in solitude, as it is better to live alone, without creating any
unwanted noise, gossips.

21. Serpent: I observed that a serpent never builds a dwelling for itself. When white
ants have raised an anthill for themselves, the serpent eventually come to inhabit
it. Similarly, worldly people have to endure many hardships in raising houses for
themselves, while a recluse monk does no such thing. Worldly men raise the
monasteries and the monk lives in them; or, he leaves in old dilapidated temples, or
underneath shady trees. The serpent moults, leaving off its old skin. So too at the
end of his life Yogi leaves his body deliberately and in full awareness of his own true
self and is not frightened by the phenomenon of death. On the other hand, he casts
off his old body as happily as he does his worn out clothes and dons new ones. Thus
has my twenty first guru taught me.

The snake lives alone and avoids the company of other creatures. In order to seek
Self-Realization, one should abide in the cave of his own heart.

The snake leaves of its old skin after sometime, and gets the newer one; that make
resemblance with phenomenon of death. A true sage never frightened by the death,
knowing sooner or later he will get a new life based on his karmic actions.

22. Spider: The spider is my twenty second guru. It weaves its web from the thread
in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up the web into itself. The supreme
projects the whole creation out of itself and after sometime, withdraws it into itself
at the time of dissolution. The individual soul too, bears the senses and the mind
within itself and, at its birth as a human being or any other living creature, it
projects them out as the sense organs, organs of action and the whole body. In
accordance with its latent tendencies, the creature thus born, gathers up all the
means and objects needed for its living. At the end of its lifes duration, the soul
again withdraws the senses, mind and acquired tendencies at the hour of death.
Thus have I learned from the spider.
Spider builds a beautiful web from his heart through the mouth; play and enjoys
with it and then after some time swallow that very same web.

Teaches:
Lord Supreme creates material universe from His Maya, preserves it and after a
while draws it back into the Self. The Supreme Self has no desires and is beyond the
reach of cause and effect.

23. Caterpillar: The caterpillar is also one of my teachers of wisdom. The wasp
carries its caterpillar to a safe corner and closes it up in its nest and goes on
buzzing about it. The young caterpillar is so frightened by the incessant buzzing,
that it cannot think of anything else than the buzzing wasp. Through such
unintermittent contemplation of its mother, the caterpillar too, soon grows up into a
wasp! In a like fashion, a true disciple is so charmed and over-awed by the spiritual
eminence of his own guru that he cannot think of any one other than him. Through
such contemplation, he soon blossoms into a great spiritual master himself. The
caterpillar is thus my twenty third Guru.

The wasp catches hold of a worm (caterpillar), put it in its hive (nest), gives it a
sting and goes on buzzing about it. The caterpillar is so frightened by this whole
ongoing process of buzzing, that it cannot think anything else apart from wasp. The
constantly kept thinking of caterpillar of about wasp, eventually make a caterpillar,
a wasp itself.

Teaches:
Whatever form a man constantly thinks of (knowingly, unintentionally, be it with
love, jealousy or fear etc.), he attains in course of time that form. As a man thinks,
so he becomes. Even at the time of death, whatever ones mind focused on, one
attains the same living species form in his next life.
Thus one must try to give up all attachment to the body and attain Moksha or
liberation.
If one constantly, devotedly without any sort of deviation mediates upon the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, one will achieve a spiritual body just like that of
the Lord, qualitatively.
24. Water: Water is my twenty fourth Guru. It quenches the thirst of every creature,
sustains innumerable trees and all creatures. While it thus serves all living beings, it
is never proud of itself. On the other hand, it humbly seeks the lowliest of places.
The sage too should likewise bestow health, peace and joy to every creature that
resorts to him. Yet he should ever live as the humblest of Gods creation.

The sage is like water because he is free from all impurities, gentle in nature and
while speaking he creates a beautiful vibration like the flowing of water. By seeing,
touching or hearing such a saintly person, the living entity is cleansed as if coming
in contact with pure water.
Water quenches the thirst of every creature, very important element for all
creatures. Without feeling any proud, water serves all living beings. The sage too
should likewise bestow health, peace and joy to every creature that resorts to him.
The Sage should ever live as the humblest of Gods creation. Water teaches the
quality of purity. Just as the pure water cleanses others, so also the sage, who is
pure and free from selfishness, lust, egoism, anger, greed, etc., purifies all who
come in contact with him.
With such humility and devotion, I looked upon the whole of Gods creation as my
teacher, gathered up wisdom and, through patient effort I realized my goal of
spiritual enlightenment.

Further Lord Dattatreya explains what he has learned from his own body.

My Body teaches me Gyaan (knowledge) and Vairaagya (detachment). Birth and


death are along with it. It means that if we hold on to this body then we have to
bear sorrows. Although it helps to think about Tattwa (elements) still I never
consider it mine.

To please whatever body, the living being is always busy in desiring many things,
does Karma (deeds) and collects wealth with great difficulties; the same body is
destroyed after its time is completed.

Although Bhagwan created many Yonis (as many as 84 millions), but he did not get
satisfied with them, then he created (Manushya Yoni) human being. Mokash is the
main objective of this Yoni, because pleasures can be achieved in many other Yonis,
but Mokash can be attained only in this Yoni. Therefore one should not waste this
valuable Yoni in enjoying pleasures. Thinking thus I took Vairaagya. Neither I love
anything, nor am I proud of anything.

With humbles and full devotion, I looked upon the whole of Gods creation as my
various Gurus; trying to gather Wisdom from them and realizing my goal of Spiritual
Enlightenment.

Summarizing the 24 Gurus

The Earth represents the Dharma. The Wind symbolizes freedom of Truth. The Sun,
Moon and Ocean emphasizing the unchanging Nature of Truth. The Sky shows the
Infinite Nature of Self. The Spider reminds the Transient Nature of Material World.
The Moth, Elephant, Deer and Fish warn against the Overwhelming of distraction
caused by desires. The Pigeon, Honeybee, Kurari Bird and Pingala warn against the
Worldly Attachments. The Child evokes the happiness of freedom from material
care. The Python and Honeybee emphasize the benefits of simple living. The Fire
and Water teaches the Power to Purify the Contamination of Material World. The
Maiden and Snake teaches to avoid any distraction caused by unwanted things. The
Arrowsmith, teaches to remain focused and concentrate towards the goal. The
Caterpillar teaches that by concentrating on God, one can return to Godhead, the
Ultimate Goal.

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