The birth of Shri Datta, Who incarnated on the full moon day (pournimā) of the Hindu lunar month of Margshirsha, is celebrated as Datta Jayanti. In the previous eras, the atrocities of demonic forces increased tremendously; hence, Shri Dattatreya incarnated in different forms and destroyed the demons.
On Datta Jayanti, Shri Datta’s principle is 1000 times more active on Earth as compared to any other day. By worshipping Shri Datta with full devotion, one can derive maximum benefit of the Datta principle.
Celebration of Datta Jayanti
There is no specific spiritual ritual for celebrating Datta Jayanti. However, it is celebrated as follows –
1. Seven days prior to Datta Jayanti, there is a tradition of recitation of the Shri Gurucharitra (a Holy scripture which describes the glory of Deity Datta)
2. Other prevalent types of devotions are – singing bhajans (Holy songs) and pūjā (ritualistic worship). Puja of Deity Datta is performed in the following way –
2.a Before commencing the puja, apply two vertical lines on the forehead using the ring finger of the right hand. This assists in obtaining Deity Datta principle and awakens bhāv (spiritual emotion) which results in achieving concentration of the mind while doing the puja.
2.b When performing the puja, apply gandha (sandalwood paste) using the ring finger of the right hand, then offer haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion) using ring finger and thumb at the Holy Feet of Deity Datta. Joining the tips of ring finger and the thumb activates the Anāhat-chakra, which helps in creation of devotion.
2.c Specific flowers attract a particular principle of a Deity. Flowers Common Jasmine and Tuberose have the ability to attract maximum Deity Datta principle. When these flowers are offered at the Holy Feet of Deities in specific number and pattern, it rapidly attracts that Deity’s Divine principle. Thus, when offering flowers to Deity Datta, it should be offered in the count of 7 or multiple of 7 in a pattern of a diamond.
2.d Specific fragrance attracts a particular principle of a Deity. Deity Datta’s principle gets rapidly attracted towards fragrances of Sandalwood, Screwpine, Lawsonia alba and Pinus Succinifera. Hence, by using incense sticks of these fragrances, one obtains maximum benefits of the Datta principle. Lighting two incense sticks at a time is more beneficial for seekers in the primary stages of sādhanā (spiritual practice). The incense stick should be held in the right hand using the index finger and the thumb and should be moved three times consecutively in clockwise direction in front of the Deity’s picture or idol.
2.e One should perform circumambulation around the idol of Shri Datta seven times or in the multiples of seven.
3. On Datta Jayanti, the Datta principle is 1000 times more active than on any other day. Hence, one can derive maximum benefit from it by chanting ‘Shree Gurudev Datta’ for at least 1-2 hours. If possible one can chant up to 4-6 hours. If one is not able to monitor number of hours, one can chant as much as possible throughout the day.
Practical tips for celebrating Datta Jayanti
Datta means experiencing ‘I am the soul’. We all can walk, talk, and breathe only because of the soul in us. This indicates presence of God in us. We cannot exist without the soul. Once we realize this, we will be able to behave with everyone lovingly. Let us make efforts to achieve this on Datta Jayanti.