śrī mahāganapate namaḥ
śrī sarasvatyai namaḥ
śrī pādavallabha narasimha sarasvati
śrī guru dattātreyāya namaḥ
Today on the full moon day, we performed Pavamana Homa with the 684 principles from the Rig Veda, praying to Lord Shiva through the interface of Fire God, to remove all our sins. Today’s special event is Taila Abhishekam (ablution to Lord Datta’s idol with oil). We perform Taila Abhishekam to strengthen our sense organs. The malefic effects of evil and cruel planets will be removed. There are several special meanings for this ritual. The Lord bestows auspiciousness when we perform Taila Abhishekam. Taila Abhishekam is regularly done to Guruvayoor in Kerala. I do not know where else in the world it is done, but it is done here. Have darshan of the golden idol – the main idol that you only see once a year. I can tell you countless stories about the glory of the idol - how old the idol is or when it reached Swamiji and where it came from.
Anyway, Lord Dattatreya who is the form of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara is giving us Darshan. May Lord Datta in the form of Brahma give us a healthy mind and good intellect. May Lord Datta in the form of Vishnu protect that intellect and enable us to serve our families and the people around us. May the Lord in the form of Shiva reduce to ashes the sins committed by us and those around us. This is the principle of Lord Datta. The ferocious lion of desire is killed with Lord’s trident. The Lord drives away the thieves called the six vices, laziness, inertia, excess sleep etc. with his drum (dhamaru). The lotus in the Lord’s hand represents knowledge the Lord grants us. The pitcher in His hand is for sprinkling nectar on us. The Kamadhenu – the divine cow – that is behind the Lord, fulfills all our wishes. This is the Lord’s twenty fourth incarnation. The Lord first incarnated in the Krta Yuga. God created the panacea before he created the problem. That panacea is appearing to us as our Sadguru. To remove all our desires, we need a panacea – that is Lord Datta. “Datta” is the Lord who has given himself to us. “Datta” is also He who is always with us. The utterance “Datta” indicates we are getting closer to him and he is getting closer to us. Praying thus, all our wishes can be fulfilled. In Kaliyuga, we are still riddled with desires. Despite being surrounded by wisdom, scriptural knowledge, divine discourses and reminders about the impermanence of our existence, we embrace desires again at the end of the day. After we finish listening to those divine messages, we still have hunger, thirst and are enveloped in dualities such as honor/dishonor and other sensory perceptions. Lord Datta grants us dispassion.
The Gods have always prayed to Lord Datta. He is Guru to the Gods such as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna etc., to the demons such as Prahlada as well as to humans. He turns the useless people into worthy individuals. The wise fear and pray to Lord Datta even despite intense penance and worship of other deities. The Lord resides in the Audumbara (Indian fig) tree. Even touching the tree removes the poison in us. He resides in Gow Puja (worship of the cow), in Darshan of the Guru etc. The Lord that is in all forms and in all worships is Lord Datta. On this Datta Jayanti, you are gathered here in the presence of Lord Datta. About 10-15 years ago, we did not publicize Datta Jayanti. We used to have under 100 people attend the event. Nowadays, we have a lot of people. Everyone can perform Taila Abhishekam. All our sins will be removed. Chant Datta Stavam loudly.
Everyone chants Datta Stavam
We need to pray to Lord Dattatreya to get rid of our selfishness. To King Yadu, who was a predecessor in Lord Krishna’s lineage, Lord Datta gave the Datta Upanishad, also known as Avadhoota Gita. The lessons therein cannot be explained away easily. It needs to be given by a Guru to a disciple who is filled with sacrifice. The disciple should firmly have no other desire or needs or attachment to the body or to this world. That is when the disciple can listen to the lessons of Avadhoota Gita. It is not like other stories. It is more difficult than other Upanishads. The Avadhoota Gita is the highway to liberation. Simply listening to the Avadhoota Gita is enough, nothing else is needed. A desire may pop up in us to listen to the Avadhoota Gita, but with the many desires, hopes and wants we harbor, we are not eligible. Only those who have renounced everything mentally and physically can listen. The Avadhoota Gita has also been printed, but there is not much use reading it. To get the real Upadesha of the Avadhoota Gita, you should have single-minded dispassion and want nothing but God. It is not the dispassion you get overnight after fighting with your spouse. Nor is it the dispassion you think you have when you leave your house behind and put your kids in a hostel. Fasting endlessly is not dispassion either; rather it is the way to ill health. What you need is mental renunciation. Only the Guru can tell you when you are ready. But the Guru will not tell you that easily. If you ask Swamiji every time you have his Darshan, He will say you are only eligible to be kicked out. I did not want to kick you out, but if you ask repeatedly, you will be eligible to be kicked out. So, forget about it. Do not ask me for Atma Vilasa (reveling in the bliss of the inner self). Many people keep asking for this Upadesha. I only gave two lines about forty years ago.
Now, in Mahabharata, how passionately did Lord Krishna give Upadesha to Dhrtarashtra? Did Dhrtarashtra listen? In the Bhagavad Gita, Dhrtarashtra said “mamakāḥ pandavā…”. He enquired how his children and the Pandavas were doing in the battle at Kurukshetra. He did not count the Pandavas as his children. That is wrong. He was exploding with jealousy. He refused eyes of knowledge. He even refused eyesight to witness the battle. However, he had the desire to listen to the happenings of the battle. He refused the eyesight that Lord Krishna offered because he knew defeat was imminent and he would lose his children. Sage Vyasa spoke at the end of the Mahabharata. Sage Vyasa was the grandsire to this dynasty of Pandavas and Kauravas. Without Vyasa, there are no Kauravas or Pandavas. It is with his grace and not directly from the mother’s womb that those children were born in Vichitraveerya’s lineage. Dhrtarashtra fell into severe delusion, even though he was aware of his birth in such a great lineage. He refused eyes of knowledge as well as eyesight citing his inability to withstand the outcome. He had some knowledge, but was overcome with delusion. No one, no deity has ever bestowed so much benefit as Lord Krishna had on Dhrtarashtra. Lord Krishna perhaps did not bestow as much on Dharmaraja either. But Dhrtarashtra could not let go of his delusion and attachment. Thar is why, he died a dog’s death, succumbing to a fire. Dhrtarashtra was truly blind because despite having God by his side, he never realized it. One who cannot understand God’s plays and Guru’s grace is blind even if he has eyes.
Dhrtarashtra had no eyes, but we have eyes and are yet blind. We are blinded by ignorance. The Lord offered to give him eyes to see his cosmic form, but Dhrtarashtra refused. Dhrtarashtra asked in the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita – what are my children and the Pandavas doing? How strange! Delusion hits you on the head right away. The Bhagavad Gita destroys ignorance and bestows enlightenment. We wonder why Lord Krishna did not uplift the Kauravas. Did he not try to uplift them? Did he not show them his cosmic form? Did he not beseech them as a negotiator in the Kauravas’ assembly despite which Duryodhana showed arrogance? Arjuna sat at the Lord’s feet, but Duryodhana sat by the Lord’s head when they went to request Lord Krishna for assistance in the battle. Dhrtarashtra fed his children the same potion of arrogance that he drank. So, to let go of delusion, no other deity but Lord Datta alone is our savior.
The Bhagavad Gita, in reality, was a personal discussion between two people. It is the conversation between the Guru and the disciple, between two relatives. The first person listening to the message of the Gita was Arjuna. The second was Lord Hanuman who sat on the flag mounted on the chariot. The third was Sage Vyasa. Sage Vyasa had divine vision. He had the power to witness anything happening anywhere in the world. Sage Vyasa is himself Lord Vishnu.
vyāsāya viṣṇurūpāya vyāsarūpāya viṣṇave
namō vai brahmanidhaye vāsiṣṭhāya namō namaḥ
He gave us such voluminous knowledge because he was not an ordinary saint. To help us understand the greatness of the Lord, the Lord Himself had to come to us. Maha Vishnu himself came to us as Sage Vyasa and gave us the secrets of Vedanta. Sage Vyasa had the power to witness anything happening anywhere. He gave the same boon to Sanjaya. He let Sanjaya wander anywhere in the battlefield in an invisible form. That is why Sanjaya, as the fourth person listening to the Gita, was able to relate the progress of the battle to Emperor Dhrtarashtra who was his stepbrother. Dhrtarashtra kept Sanjaya with him as a small minister to relate the events unfolding at Kurukshetra. No one else but Arjuna was physically a part of the Gita Upadesha. The Lord did not invite people around him to the conversation. Only Arjuna needed to listen. A second meaning for the word Arjuna is ignorance (ajñāna). In order to injure and hamper ignorance, Lord Krishna gave us the Gita. It might seem like we do not have the right to listen to a personal conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. However, it was only so we receive the Bhagavad Gita that Lord Hanuman, Sage Vyasa, Sanjaya, and Arjuna (in the form of ignorance) listened to the Gita. That the blind king listened to the Gita indicates that we are all blind despite having eyes. We are unable to witness the battle and absorb the divine words. Lord Datta has the aspect of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, Lord Datta imparted many supreme teachings in the form of Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Vamana where he tamed emperor Bali’s ego etc. We should keep reminding ourselves of these glories. We are worshiping such a Lord on Datta Jayanti. Many have taken Datta Deeksha during Datta Jayanti. More and more people should do this. May God bless you and your children.