Jai Veera Hanuman ki Jai!
Siyavara Ramachandra Prabhu ki Jai!
Jaya Guru Datta. Sri Guru Datta.
śrī mahā gaṇapataye namaḥ
śrī sarasvatyai namaḥ
śrī pādavallabha narasimha sarasvati
śrī guru dattātreyāya namaḥ
Today, I am very happy with the enthusiasm here and the inauguration of the small Datta temple that began today and continues for the next three days. This is a very rare occasion. Datta means only surrender to God. God is like a small child coming to us and entering our hearts. That is the real meaning of Datta who incarnated in the Krta Yuga. This is the first Avatara. Maha Vishnu took 32 Avataras, Dattatreya being the first.
Sri Rama, Krishna, all of the Yadu clan (Sri Krishna's lineage), and many saints also followed Datta. If we have no Guru, we take Lord Dattatreya as our Guru. In the olden days, people wanted to get Sannyasa and were searching for a Guru. It was not easy to get Sannyasa. People then worshiped Dattatreya and took up Sannyasa. Dattatreya is a Guru in our hearts as well as our family Guru.
At the beginning of creation, all great sages asked Lord Brahma – You are creating this world with human beings, animals, and various other species. Your creation is beautiful, but human beings are dangerous. Who will offer protection? Once human beings take form, they always sin. They are driven by the vices such as desire, anger, greed, etc. They become grave sinners. Who will protect them?
Then, Brahma first created Dattatreya. Dattatreya is verily Maha Vishnu, Maha Brahma, and Shiva. He took form with one head and three sets of arms. Study Datta Darshanam to understand these details. In Ganagapura (Maharashtra), Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, Datta is an important deity, and they read the Datta Darshanam daily. In Venkataramana temple too, Lord Datta is praised as Venkataramana. Great saints such as Annamacharya, Tyagaraja, and Purandara Das also praised the Lord. He is the primordial and ancient Guru. So, the Lord first created Dattatreya as Guru and then made this creation. That is why we all follow Guru. Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu Gurudevo Mahesvara - refers to Lord Dattatreya. That is why we are following Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma in the form of Lord Dattatreya Himself. There is a big story about the connection between Dattatreya and Swamiji's life. You can read Appaji's biography to understand the connection.
Why did Swamiji select Chicago for Dattatreya consecration?
A big story is behind it. A devotee came and said they were building a Dattatreya temple. I was happy and said I would send Datta moorti along with Anagha Lakshmi moorti to Chicago. What happened after that? Due to some misunderstanding with the committee, that devotee exited or was removed from that committee. Who would look after that idol?
In my Sankalpa, this was Chicago Datta; it was not meant for other places. I did not want to ship the Datta to other places regardless of how many years it took, even if took until the next Kalpa or next incarnation. This was to be the Chicago Datta. That was my Sankalpa. Sri Krish Raman prayed to Swamiji many times for permission to build the temple, but his son was not ready yet. I told him to register an organization and that I would give him strength. He was afraid about undertaking this. Then, Krish Raman ji said - There is a Rama temple we are building, we can put Lord Datta there as well. But I refused. At the same time, Agadi, a disciple, came forward to protect and care for the Datta moorti. He then took the Dattatreya moorti to his house. Every year, they would think about Datta consecration and I keep postponing. Other centers were planned and developed, but Chicago center was in confusion. There was so much confusion.
A devotee, Jagan, was always asking about doing something in Chicago. I asked him to keep quiet. One day when I was at the airport, he asked Swamiji again. Then, Swamiji took sankalpa and asked them to search for a place. I asked them to look for a small place even though bigger places were available. A small place would suffice for Bala Datta programs, Satsangas, and other activities. If Swamiji were to visit for a large program, they could rent a big place for a few days, but a small center was sufficient for Chicago.
It is a miracle that this center came about. The Raman family took on the responsibility and raised funds within a few minutes. Founder members joined with $100k or more. This size temple is enough. We have a big temple in Dallas. We do not need a big temple. He likes a small temple. Lord Datta is very adjusting because He stayed in the basement of the devotee who was caring for the moorti for 19 years. That moorti is very powerful.
God always wins! We are all His servants. I am very happy that Dattatreya is going to be installed here in 3-4 days. Lovingly, devotionally and simply, this moorti will be consecrated. This moorti is my child. The devotee kept taking good care of the moorti. That is why Swamiji has blessed him with health and longevity. He was very concerned about how to care for it. He did not know who to turn to. I told him – do not worry, you can place the moorti in Dallas or JDRC, but not until Swamiji gives the order. But I was stubborn that it be consecrated. Krish Raman was keen that it be done here too. This land was in the Sankalpa, that is why I am here. The church people were not ready 3-4 years ago, but due to Datta's Sankalpa, they sold us this place. Things will happen as they are to.
A small Ganapathy Swamy and Subramanya Swamy needs to be established here. Vishnu Panchayatana needs to be placed here. In ancient times, it used to be done this way, where the Gods were placed right against the columns. Shiva on one column, Durga Parameshvari on the other. That will make it Vishnu panchayatana. On the back against the marble wall will be Ram Parivar. There will be another column raised for Lord Hanuman in Abhaya mudra. That will make this a complete temple complex, and our personal complexes will be driven away. Ganapathy, Subramanya Swamy, Shiva, and Mother Goddess will be placed on the columns, each about 1.5 feet. That will make it the Vishnu Panchayatana. It will be a small temple. Anyone who is retired from their profession can come here to do Seva.
I can say that devotee Jagan Bukkaraju was the cause for this. He was bent upon getting this temple. He worked on all this like it is a dream. He did not sleep until this was done. I know about Jagan’s situation. He was very tense about doing all this. He may not have been that tense even when his wife was critically ill; he was so desirous of getting this temple. I do not want to praise him; that will diminish his merit. Many work so hard and wonder why Swamiji is not expressing happiness. I should not express happiness and appreciation because that will remove your merit; your merit will go into Agni. Your merit should be in your bank account. I should never praise you. We are here to serve. I have helped you so much. I transformed your mind and your life. I made you human. How much should you praise me then? How can you thank me? So, it is in My (Datta's) system that the devotee not be praised for his seva. It is enough if Swamiji knows it in His heart.
I have no words for this temple. There is more work to be done. Everyone can join hands; it is not one person's project. This temple is a big Yajna; the size of the temple does not matter. We are very fortunate to get this opportunity through Guru. Swamiji is also happy, and we are too. The devotee who kept the moorti for so many years is grieving now to give up the moorti. He felt the moorti was like his son. He was doing Puja to the moorti. He did a lot of seva. He had a lot of courage to keep such a large moorti at home. It was not easy. We cannot explain that situation. The temple did not take that idol. What could he do? He kept the moorti at home. That is real seva, it is great seva. Anyone else would be afraid to keep the moorti at home. He did not at the behest of Swamiji, no questions asked.
Swamiji appreciates the devotee and his wife who kept the idol at home. He says they will be part of the history of Lord Datta at this place.