Datta Jayanti, or Dattatreya Jayanthi, celebrates the birth of Adi Guru Dattatreya, the Trimurti Avatar – the united and single incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In 2016, the date of Dattatreya Jayanti is December 13. Dattatreya was born as the son of Atri Maharshi and Anasuya. Datta Jayanthi is observed on the full moon day in the month of Margashirsh.
Anasuya, the wife of Sage Atri, was a pious lady and performed intense austerities to beget a son with qualities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Above all Anasuya was noted for her Pativrata Dharma – unparalleled devotion to her husband.
To test her Pativrata Dharma, the Trimurtis appeared in the guise of three Sanyasins and asked her to give food in nude. This put Anasuya in a great dilemma. Confident of her Dharma, the pious lady took some water and sprinkled it on the three Sanyasins in order to clean their feet before giving food. Immediately, the three Sanyasins were transformed into three babies.
Anasuya suddenly felt like she is a mother and fed the three babies with milk from her breast. Thus she gave alms to the Trimurtis in the way they wanted it.
Soon Atri Maharshi returned and realized that the three babies were Trimurtis who had come to fulfill the wish of Anasuya. The sage embraced the three children and they suddenly took the single form of Dattatreya.
Dattatreya remained an Avadutha – a sage who remains in pure nature. He was a supreme yogi. Dattatreya narrated the secrets of Vedanta to Lord Subrahmanya and this teaching later came to be known as Avadhuta Gita.
The twenty four gurus that Dattatreya found in Nature and Society became very famous and is part of several scriptures.