Lord Dattatreya represents the guru principle of the universe. He is the world teacher that guides the beings and a principle that incarnates as per time and need in any plane of existence. He is considered to be an incarnation of three Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva or Mahesh, collectively known as Trimurti. Datta means ’given’ and Attreya refers to sage Attri, proclaiming Dattatreya as the son of sage Attri and Anasuya. He is said to have born when Attri and Anasuya sought the help of trinity gods for a child and the trinity, pleased by the couple for having brought light and knowledge to the world, instantly granted the boon, which led Dattatreya to be born with characteristics of all three.
In this statue he is shown with three heads and six hands. Lowest left hand carries a Kamandalu (water pot- the life carrier) and right in Abhaya Mudra (blessing). Middle hands hold a richly constructed gada (symbolic of pride) and a Trishul (balance all negative energies for the best possible life) and the top hands have a chakra (symbolic of time) and conch (divine sound) each. Brahma (right) has the round tilak, Vishnu (centre) carries a vaishnava tilak and Mahesh (left) has the third eye and Ganga flowing out from his hair. Dattatreya wears a yellow colored dhoti, a long flower garland and adorned with beautiful jewels.
He protects a white cow, standing behind him, as in Vedic traditions, cow is the mother earth embodying creation, which nourishes its being with its milk and the four dogs, two on each side of the pedestal represent the four Vedas (rig veda, sama veda, yajur veda and atharva veda).
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