Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara: A Study of the Transformative and Inclusive Character of a Multi-faceted Hindu Deity
Presents the multi-faceted Hindu deity Dattatreya from his Puranic emergence to modern times.
This book presents the multi-faceted Hindu deity Dattatreya from his Puranic emergence up to modern times. Dattatreya's Brahmanical portrayal, as well as his even more archaic characterization as a Tantric antinomian figure, combines both Vaisnava Saiva motifs. Over the course of time, Dattatreya has come to embody the roles of the immortal guru, yogin and avatara in a paradigmatic manner. From the sixteenth century Dattatreya's glorious characterization emerged as the incarnation of the trimurti of Brahma, Visnu, and Siva. Although Maharastra is the heartland of Dattatreya devotion, his presence is attested to throughout India and extends beyond the boundaries of Hinduism, being met with in Sufi circles and even in Buddhism and Jainism via Nathism.
The scarce attention which most Western scholars of Indian religions have paid to this deity contrasts with its ubiquitousness and social permeability. Devotion to Dattatreya cuts through all social and religious strata of Indian society: among his adepts we find yogis, Brahmans, faqirs, Devi worshippers, untouchables, thieves, and prostitutes. This book explores all primary religious dimensions: myth, doctrine, ritual, philosophy, mysticism, and iconography. The comprehensive result offers a rich fresco of Hindu religion as well as an understanding of Marathi integrative spirituality: precisely this complexity of themes constitutes Dattatreya's uniqueness.
"I learned a great deal from this book. Although I had known about Dattatreya as an important figure in Hinduism, I had never realized the richness and complexity of this truly Protean deity. As Rigopoulos notes, Dattatreya has been largely neglected by scholars, and this book makes you wonder why, since he is so intriguing. I suspect that this will become a classic in its area, since there really is no comparable work which does so much relating to Dattatreya. In a way, to read the history of Dattatreya as presented by Rigopoulos is to engage the history of Hinduism! Virtually all of the major historical phases and issues are there, from the Vedic period up to the last decade." -- Glen Hayes, Bloomfield College
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adept adhyaya Advaita Aghori aiva akta Alarka Anasuya ascetic asrama atman Atri Atri's attain Avadhoota Gita Avadhuta Avadhuta-gita Avatara Bhagavata Purana bhakti body Brahma Brahmin Cakradhar century chapter consciousness cult darsana Dasopant Datta sampradaya Dattatreya deity deity's demon Devi devotion Dhere disciple divine Durvasas Eknath Ganagapur goddess gods Gorakhnath Guru Guru-caritra H. S. Joshi Hindu ibid icon identified important India Janardan Kartavirya king Krsna literally literature Mahabharata Mahanubhava Maharaj Maharashtra manifestation mantra Marathi Markandeya Purana Medieval meditation Mokashi-Punekar Muslim myth mythology narrates Natha Nathism nondual Nrsimha Nrsimha Sarasvati Origin and Development padukas Paramahamsa Parasurama Raeside realization religious renouncer renunciation Rg Veda ritual sacred sage saints Saiva Sakti Sal Baba Samhita Samnyasa Upanisads Sanskrit Siva Siva's slokas Soma spiritual Sri Purohit Sripada story Sufi supreme Svamin Tantric tion tradition translation trimurti Tripura Tripura-rahasya Tulpule upadesa Upanisad Vaisnava Vedanta Vedic Visnu worship Yoga Yogic Yogin Zelliot