Dattatreya Jayanti

Dattatreya Jayanti

November-December; full moon day of Hindu month of Margasirsa
Dattatreya's birthday is celebrated all over India. One legend has him as the son of Anusuya, an exceptionally devoted and virtuous wife. The wives of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva decided to test her virtue by sending their husbands, disguised as beggars, to ask her to give them alms while in the nude. Anusuya avoided the trap by transforming them into babies and suckling them. When her husband, Atri, returned from his morning bath and discovered what had occurred, he turned them into one child with three heads and six hands. The wives begged for their husbands' return, and when Anusuya restored them to their original forms, they blessed Anusuya, Atri, and their son Dattatreya.
On Dattatreya's birthday, Hindus rise early and bathe in sacred streams, fast, and spend the day in worship and prayer. They also meditate on sacred works that include the Avadhuta Gita and Jivanmukta Gita. Recently, Dattatreya is identified with the triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, for it is believed that portions of these deities were incarnated in him. He is usually depicted with three heads and six hands.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 180
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