Dattātreya Author(s): I. M. P. Raeside Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 45, No.
3 (1982), pp. 489-500 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/614921 Accessed: 20/02/2010 04:48
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M. Bombay. xlix. Oxford. Joshi in English and R. does not present himself as a committed devotee of Dattatreya in one form or another. 1974. Die Religionen Indiens. P. 3. C. it is generally agreed that he was born
1 Examples would be J. 1965. notably 1000 arms. Out of all the Marathi writers. Origin and developmentof Dattatreya worship in India. where it is published at all. Poona. xII. RAESIDE 1.' Puri. 12. Josi. although she is not here concerned with Dattatreya.1 and fails to distinguish between what is said of Dattatreya in the early Mahanubhava texts and the tales of the later material. though extremely tactful. M.3 2. H. Datta sampraddydcditihdsa. 8+. Cakrapani or Cangadeva Raula. S. Baroda. It is of interest to recall that the Kartavirya episode provides Madeleine Biardeau with a platform from which to launch one of her attacks on the 'reconstructed' Mahdbhdratatext. An outline of the religious literature of India. is published in Marathi. The little written on the subject in the West is either out-dated or extremely sketchy. These sections are far from exhaustive for there are more trails than can be pursued in the course of one article.4 In the Puranas. Dhere in Marathi. Joshi. S. Dhere alone. most of it would consist of hagiographical works emanating from one of the modern cult-centres in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Raeside. For Dattatreya there is more background. 286-303. 2. 3 R. N. phere. Gonda. 1964. 'The story of Arjana Kartavirya without reconstruction. The more recent Sri Dattatreyajidnackosddraws largely on these two books. July 1970. BSOAS. 1920.2 It is true that the third avatar. At the same time it is necessary to provide some kind of context by referring to the Puranic evidence and also to the more recent developments of the Dattatreya cult which is confined almost entirely to western India-Gujarat. 177-8. Biardeau. however. has practically nothing upon which to operate. M. is clearly shared by the Mahanubhavas and the Natha sect. cxxxvii. The references to Dattitreya in the Anusdsanaparva have. but so little is known of him that speculation. J. Farquar. Although an impressive bibliography in English and Marathi could be assembled around the name Dattatreya. 67. Maharashtraand northern Karnataka. N.na. nor that of purely Mahanubhava cult-figures such as Cakradhara or Govindaprabhu. cxv.. Introduction The object of this brief account is primarily to make available the Mahanubhava evidence on Dattatreya-most of which. at least historically. 2 .DATTATREYA
By I. P. 593-4. 'ridattdtreya jndnakosa. cxxxviii.
. been allowed to remain. XII. 1963. though agreeable. to Kartavirya or Sahasrarjuna. The references are to the BORI edition which is not the most convenient since it consigns the first two cases to an appendix or footnote as interpolations. 21. XIII. or from offshoots of these in neighbouring Andhra and Mysore. xxxix. 1976. Stuttgart. those late ones which mention him at all. though even here almost every line of enquiry ends in a question mark. 2nd ed. C. Dattatreya is the most enigmatic as well as the most fascinating of the Mahanubhava paica krsna-the five manifestations of god (paramesvara)on earth that the sect worships. and although it adds more details of cult centres and their associated legends these are scarcely ever supported by references and are impossible to evaluate. His standing is neither that of an all-India panHindu figure like Krsna. 247-9. There are only two basic scholarly works: by H. 5-6. cxlii. 4 III. 30+ . II. 'The Mahanubhavas '. Purmina In the MahdbhdrataDattatreya is a rishi who when propitiated granted gifts. P.
xviii. and Durvasas. 23-30. 51-4. iii. 13 See Joshi. 10e. Joshi. can only be noted as exemplifying the same general gakta connexions-which leaves Dattatreya's role in the early Mahanubhava texts as the first roughly datable testimony to the next stage in his cult. 6 Siva II. 11.7 and the story reaches its maximum elaboration in the Mdrkandeya-purSna where Dattatreya has become a Yogisvara and is heavily tinged with Shaktism-indulging in meat and wine and showing himself in the company of a beautiful woman. xix. 8 Mdrkaindeyaxvii.9 does Dattatreya relent and grant them their requests. Kartavirya is one of these aspirants. iii. op. cit. 4-5.
.10 thus supporting the Mahdbhdratatradition that associates Kartavirya with austerities. 3. in his Philo8sophies '.12 Another aspirant to whom Dattatreya gives yogic instruction is the king Anarka or Alarka. 32). 17 See Joshi. though in the trio story his brothers are given the names of Soma. while he is just Datta.g.. Whether it always was is another matter. persist and declare that they know both him and his woman. son of gankara. 71-2. cit. Since Atreya is also a name of Durvasas some conflation seems to be indicated. 55-63. 10.D. his sakti.. 16The appellation avadhuta has come to be particularly associated with Dattatreya in the modern cult. to be beyond all such trivia.. the Kartavirya episode from the Bhdrata. 7 For the full puranic references see H. with whom he himself claims to have been making love. cit.490
I. 448-9) cites the Avadhu?ta Joshi. P.14 It seems that at this stage Dattatreya is a master of yoga. RAESIDE
to Anusuya and the rishi Atri as a fragment of Visnu 5 or as the Visnu part of a trio when Brahma Visnu and giva all consented to be born as three sons from the womb of Anusuya.16 Similarly. op. varsayutam taptvd (Brahmapurdna XIII. Mdrkandeya xvi. 72-5.
5 Bhdgavata II. 9 anagheyarndvija8resthajaganmdtd na dfusyate/yathd4rsumdld s8ryasya dvijacd. 14 Mdrkandeya xx-xliv. associated with Sakti and potentially divine.. 21-5. usually at greater length. M.nS4ilasangini (Mdrkandeya xviii. massaging his feet and serving him delicious food. The episode is briefly mentioned elsewhere 13 but in the Mdrkandeyais expanded to a considerable length. xiv. 63. xi. problems which are doubtless destined to remain unsolvable.6 A common though doubtless mistaken etymology of his name is datta -+ dtreya(' the given son of Atri '). xix. S. 21-3. 1-3. but still not unambiguously the recipient of human worship. Visnu IV. 89. 11. or at least not sufficiently well dated to form the basis of an argument.. Zimmer. 1-28. the world mother.15while the Dattdtreyopanisad and the Avadhatopanisadare entirely sectarian works which presumably post-date his establishment as the centre of a cult. of India (1964 ed. cit. I. 15Joshi. III. Gitd simply as one of many ' Veddnta GitMs Cf. for instance. 11II. op. it is enough for us to know that by say A. and it is perhaps significant that while the other puranic references imply that he obtained his boons from Dattatreya by austerities. His yogic connexions are also established by the appearance of his name in the late yogic upanisads such as the Sdndilya. Whatever the origins of the name Dattatreya and whatever the relationships between the Mahdbhdrataand the Purdnas." in the Mdrkandeyastory he serves Dattatreya like an ordinary disciple. 4.8 Only when the aspirants for his favour. his appearance in Tantric works like Tripurarahasya17 being undatable. op. 161). son of Brahma. 12 Mdrkandeya xix. son of Madalasa. The same Purdnas repeat. vii. Dhere. 1000 the connexion of Atri with Dattatreya was firmly established. whether gods or men.
Tulpule. While convincing Mhaimbhata of his own divinity Cakradharamentions the other avatars of Isvara through which the human soul (jiva) may be released from samsdra.ld within the three sections Ekdnka. When some rival yogi. When Cakradharais expounding the greatness (mahirn) of Dattatreya. Mhaimbhata protests that he is unseen and gives no darsana. This last phrase appears again in almost the same words in Sutrapdtha. Feldhaus. is challenged to conjure up demons and fails. will of course supersede this. 19I refer to the Lildcaritra in the edition of S. 4. Kolate.l8 1. without further comment. Cakradharavisits Pancalesvara and points out.2 6. Among these are ' Sri Dattatreya-prabhu in Matapura '.respectively the Life and the Teachings of Cakradhara. 22 Raeside. He advises then how to achieve this and they set out for Devagiri at MIatapira but later turn back because they know that they have not carried out his instructions with sufficient care. that supreme (amogha)darsana! ' (Purvddha62).. the site of Dattatreya's hut (gumphd) (Purvdrdha312). by the number of the l.tha excellent edition. 5 vols. which were first constructed by his disciples between 1274 and 1287. The Datta temple there was recently (in 1963) rebuilt and reconsecrated by an active group of MahanubhKvas. Univ. Nagpur. and later reconstructed in the early fourteenth century. 1976. Lkldcaritraand Sutrapdtha It is instructive first to isolate what is said about Dattatreya in the Lildcaritra and the Sutrapdtha. 1952. Sri Cakradhara caritra. thesis. 21 See Feldhaus.DATTATREYA
3.594. ' gri Dattatreyaprabhu's avatar [takes place] in all four yuga' (282). significantly named Vamadeva.D. he makes the somewhat lame excuse that some have gone to Kolhapur and some to Matapur (Uttardrdha284). 1976. Purvdrdha and Uttardrdha. Feldhaus's Sutrapd. 19-21.
. 23 I cite the from my own pantha edition of the text.' (283) 9. 1959. Poona. 'How shall one obtain darsana of gri Dattatreya Prabhi. 589. only four sutras are devoted to him at the very end of Vicdra: 7. 3. 1964-7. cit. V.as I have pointed out elsewhere. subsequently lost in the troubles that accompanied the fall of the Yadava kingdom of Devgiri. B. for a discussion of the relationship of the Pancakrsna to the rest of the Sutrapdtha. The MahdnubhdvaSutrapdtha. ' The three afflictions (tinhi tdpa) of Alarka were removed at the first sight [of Dattatreya] when he said " Sambali gambali! " That speech is a very shower of nectar. Cakradhara recommends some of his followers to visit Atmatirtha at Pancalesvara 20 because it is associated with Dattatreya and 'not like other places' (Purvdrdha 43). Vicdra 284. He says to them. The most recent treatment is A.23 8. At Matapura (Mahur) on the hill of Devagiri Sri Dattatreya Prabhu passed on his sakti (or alternatively his avatdra) to 'the Gosavi' [who at this time was gri Cangadeva Raula] in the guise of a tiger which laid its paw on Cangadeva's head (Ekdnka 1). when published. 1976. These sayings underly the whole of the Pancakrsna section of Sitrapdtha. 13-29. G.. 284-318. of Pennsylvania Ph. discusses the dates of Cakradhara and of the Lildcaritra at length. Malkapur. and. as is conventional. Dr. In the Sutrapdtha. two of his disciples express the desire to obtain his darsana.22 apart from the mention of Dattatreya in the lists of the Pancakrsna and Pancandma sections. Cakradhara does not contradict him but indicates himself as the only efficacious means of release in the present age (Uttardrdha 113). 20 On the south bank of the Godavari east of Paithan. op. 'That supreme darsana!' (284)
18 See Raeside.19 2. 5.
rather than telling a story. 26V. 233). B.25 At first Dattatreya refuses. Gadyardjaand Sahyddri-varnana In all this the only connexion with the Puranic Dattatreya is the allusion to Alarka. 235).' In addition there is in the Siutrapdtha reference to Mahur: one 11.24 The first and fifth are rather general. Desapande and Kr. Bombay. These prideful (sdbhimaniyem) places cause obstacles (vighna) for those who strive to attain (sddhaka). Ravalobasakrta sahyadri-varn. (c) Renuka tells Parasuramato seek out Dattatreya to perform the office of priest at her cremation. indicating only that Dattatreya was born into a line of rishis and that he was elusive. c. is the Sahyddri-vartnana Ravalobasa which. Next in date.nadasa Mahanubhava. They are apparently to be found in several manuscripts of L.ldcaritra gathered together as lila specifically relating to Dattatreya. HayagrivdcdryakrtaGadyardja. the Sahasrarjunastory and the Parasurama story. RAESIDE
10. 151-83. (b) He ended the afflictions of the son of Madalasa (Alarka) with the arrows of triple utterance (vdktraya).
24 J. Kolate. M. has little more than a third of its 517 verses devoted to Dattatreya and which. in the main. an explanation of all three stories can be found in a series of lil. so consistent that it is unlikely to be far out. who established the linga of Vijnanesvara (179) and also Atmatirtha (180). Sathydra-lild Finally. 1966.
.sa). but there are other. wanders everywhere carrying their bones on his shoulder with a pole (kdvadi)(151). ' One should not go to Matapur and Kolhapur. 5.they do not inspire confidence and I would regard them as having been written explicitly to fill out the bare references of the Sahyddri-varnanaitself. appearing in many forms and disguises. 127-31. ' ri Dattatreya prabhu is the first cause (ddikdrana) of this path (285) (madrga).' (Acdra 25) 4. Although ostensibly written in the form of the original l. S. but finally agrees when besought by a woman (v. to the Alarka story. 21-6. Apart from this: (a) He gave world dominion to Sahasrarjunawho had made an incenseburner of his hands (v.lds of Cakradhara. but the Mahinubhava histories are so detailed and. in spite of of its name. 307-9).492
I. He will be recognized by the dead becoming quick (jada cetana lak. [Disguised as] an outcaste he carries a load of meat upon a carrying pole (kdvadi) (v.26 Only this last has details that are worth noting: Parasurama. He comes to Matapur and there meets Dattatreya (173) who accepts the role of priest (dcaritva) (177)-Dattatreya at the touch of whose feet Sarvatirtha was created (178). who gave enjoyment (bhoga)to Ekavira. Poona 1964. vv. 25 The line is obscure and has admittedly been translated in the light of the later commentaries and of the version translated below. makes passing allusions to his birth in the line of Atri. 234). The dating of this work could be challenged. almost contemporary-that is early fourteenthcentury-Mahanubhava works which clearly refer to three main stories. 132-6.ana. P. First is the Gadyaraja-stotra Hayagrivacarya written about 1320 which contains of five slokas on Dattatreya (232-6). feigning sorrow for his parents. They occur in the same order and often seem to be commenting the actual words. that Kolate has published as an appendix to Sahyddricalled Sahyddra-lZTl varnana (pp. 1330.
thick-soled (?) sandals on his feet. On the other hand there is no mention of such a sthdna in the relevant section of the Sthdnapothi (ed. 35 The tradition that Kartavirya was born armless or. " How? Through what have I become eased? " Then he looked and saw him thus. The Gosavi was staying 28 in the Ganapati temple. 33 cf. This commentary is traditionally ascribed to Bhismacarya Lasirakara in the late fourteenth century. 36 mardand The ceremonial oiling and bathing of Cakradhara is frequently mddanenm jdlern. V.' ' How so lord? ' The Gosavi said. C.
. 'He set out from the wicket gate. Kolate. xxvii note 62). Wright. Malkapur. Some particular way of tight-binding the head-cloth seems to be meant.nesa-purdaa 72-3 and in the Renukd-maidhtmya I. c. 32 ' ubhe dhtdiyd' and ' suld '. Her questions originate many lil. " Semboli semboli! ". 29Mahadaisa was one of Cakradhara'sfirst female disciples.33 Alarka who was burning with the three fevers was eased. about his divine neck a necklace of borabeads.' The Gosavi said. He set out. One day he obtained the sight of Sri Dattatreya Prabhu. There are many similar anecdotes in Lildcaritra where Cakradhara discourages his flock from expecting miracles from him. B. He performed no service at all. In Mahanubhava works avatars of Paramesvara never ' go ' or ' walk ' they ' advance in triumph ' (bijem < vijaya ?). one of the lowest of the old untouchable castes of Maharashtra. 31 bijesmkaritdti '. (Another opinion: Mhaimbhata asked. He did not take control of his state.tha(above p. 234 and especially Purvdrdha 262 for a detailed account.) 'In what guise did ri Dattatre Prabhu encounter Alarka? ' The Gosavi c said. 492).36
27 The versions of the three main stories given here have close parallels in the prose commentary on the verses of Gadyardja already referred to. The words are perhaps derived from Skt. Cf.'34 Granting of boons to Sahasdrjuna. Aambaliin the Sutrapa. He was wearing a tall turban and a dhoti. Then he saw in the ashram of Sri Dattatraye Prabhu spirits that were not hostile (?nWvaireyn bhute)). referred to in Lildcaritra. 1950). This possibly refers to a sambandhi sthdna-an existing door of the Devadevesvara temple that would be sacred to the faithful through being ' connected' with Paramesvara. Then before him he saw Alarka and said. Semboli! Semboli!" That speech is a shower of nectar.' ' Ji Ji! From that speech nectar was showered upon him.' Thus saying he came. Then would nectar be showered upon us also from that speech?' The Gosavi said. 30 ' khidakidvdrehuni'. should not expect similar effects '.32 A knife for cutting up meat was thrust into his waist-cloth. Uttardrdha8. plus a waist-cloth-both presumably typical of the Manga.DATTATREYA
Whatever their date 27 they are interesting as representing the most developed stage in the Mahanubhava Dattatreya legends and are worth translating here in full. referring to the load of meat-a suggestion I owe to J. There he remained. to Sahyadra. We by imploring with joined hands will get for ourselves an empire. 28 avasthdna' in the meta-language of Lildcaritra means a stay of more than one day in any place. examining all the ashrams of the high rishis. He handed over his state to the minister. (see below. so probably the nearest one can get to dating the Sahyddra-lild is some time between 1330 and 1400. 'All three fevers of Alarka were removed at the " very sight of him when he said. Mahadaisa 29 asked the Gosavi. 'In the guise of a Mang. Then he asked.30 Alarka was afflicted with the three fevers. having only fingerless stumps in place of hands can be found in the Ga. as here. Aambala-' provisions for a journey '. The ambiguity over the ' he' runs throughout this passage but it is not hard to work out who is doing what. and made obeisance. He was massaged with oil and bathed. who are my followers. On his shoulder was a kdvadi of flesh and through its great weight his body was bent. 34 Meaning: ' You. ' Alarka was a follower of Sri Dattatraye Prabhu. 'You care for the state. He was going thus when from the other side proceeded 31 gri Dattatraye Prabhu in the guise of a Manga. Sahasarjuna [sic] was maimed 35 (aupalinga). He came to the Sahyadra. Meeting with Alarka. thus he made it seem.
You should perform the rite on ground that is ' ' pure (n7salye). S. I have no idea what this might be. Kolate. The flowing hair (kesa-ka. Then the devi that was with him also begged him and thereupon gri Dattatraye Prabhu accepted his plea. he harmed Renuki. 41 doriydnd. 43 hotipz. A. a brahman and a cow. Then the carrying pole sprouted shoots. Poona. 1953) 224. then he came to Saihyadra. (Another opinion: 'There shall be rule over the whole circle of the earth' (valdnkrtaprthviceem rajya). 1966. Vachdharaga226) therefore is to wear a garment in this way (Lildcaritra Purvdrdha 254).38 The story of his officiationfor Pharasarama. 142. 43 a fresh new choli knotted at the ' wings '. M. cit.494
I. Biardeau.lpa) was becoming dry. 38 That is. For thdpdin the sense of 'fingerless stump' see Drstdnta53 (the Leper): hdtdpdydce thdpejale hote-' his arms and legs had turned into stumps' (ed. Straightway he set down the pole and made obeisance and besought.40 In one hand he held a pair of dogs and under his arm a pitcher (gadiydid)1.) But if thou shalt anger a woman. but it seems reasonable to connect it with dorn ' cord '. and parivanfer nesa. also Vachdharana(ed. 'Here should be all are the tirthas.' By what shall I recognize him? ' At the sight of him shoots will spring out upon dry wood. G.42 She had a fresh starched garment that she wore tucked in at the waist. It is unusual that Reniukashould actually die. 'Run to me ! ' Mahadeva said. He was continuing like this when from before him came gri Dattatraye Prabhu in the guise of a hunter (pdradhi). Pharasarama wandered over many lands.stintapdtha. 44 ? pdkhoveydgdthi didhaliyd hotiyd. in his right hand meat and a coconut-shell of liquor. sandals on her feet-thus she appeared. for a discussion of this part of the legend.' Pharasarama came and Ekavira said. P. Tulapule. She is calling ' you. With joined hands he stood in front of him and said. Uttdrdha 114-eku sduld mdlaganthi vedhild. thou art destroyed. Cf. 421). mdtd. There where it
37 thdpdi. 'Ji Ji! The Gosavi knows it [already] '. There on his stumps 37he put an ember and upon that incense. in note 4. ri Dattatraye Prabhu said. Thou shalt be of unmatched strength. art. Lildcaritra. The paravanta or parivanta appears to be the end of a dhoti or parivanti. 1977. Pharasarama was acquiring wisdom with Mahadeva in Kailasa when Ekavira cried out. Wiesbaden. Pharasarama began to beg.' Saying this Ekavira straightway abandoned life. ParaJurdma Brahmane und Krieger. gri Dattatraye Prabhu would not accept his plea. and he began to cense the hair.' He came before him. With him was a dev.' ' Ji Ji! All the tTrthas in the feet of the Gosavi. Sri Dattatraye Prabhu began to refuse him. Possibly the word implies a female yogi for Ausem is the name of such a person who became one of Cakradhara's disciples (Pirvdrdha 349-50). V. Perhaps a rope head-band ? 42 duserp' mother. Gail. on his head a thong. 39The corpses of both his parents. ' Some harm (adani) has befallen your mother. Cf.44 her braid hanging free. See M. Pharasarama took both 39 upon his shoulder in a kdvad7. Then Sri Dattatraye Prabhu said. dev '. B. Dr. 27). Then there was a smell of burning flesh. Probably a characteristically pdradhi fashion of tying the two halves of the choli. There will be imperial rule (cakravartipada).
He was seeking for the incense-burner (dhupatana)in order to perfume his hair. Malkapur. 211.' Then Sri Dattatraye Prabhu caused Pharasarama to fire an arrow. these three. 'What's this? Drop it! Drop it! Ask! I am content. but he could not see it. He was wearing a new-starched dhoti tied close in the wrestler's style. 41 on his feet double-soled sandals. 40 khalica seduld mdlaganthim vedhild hotd. and thereupon Sri Dattatraye Prabhu saw him thus.' And he did that very thing and therefore such befell him. gri Dattatraye Prabhu should act as priest (dcdryekardve).nerm The phrase paravanta bdndhanem or ddtanem occurs often in Litdcaritra in the context of a woman's girding herself up for a journey (Uttardrdha62. Soon the dhupa would not ' take ' on it.mnesalgim sari as tucked in tight round the waist and not draped over the shoulder (cf. Jamadagni and the kdmadhenu. 'There will a thousand arms. 231.
and therefore she has enjoyed. (Another opinion: ' bhogapava '. 51pavhd means a throng of pilgrims at or going to a festival. ' gri Dattatraye Prabhu established her and said.) 48 Mahadaisa asked. All the devotees were with him and chiefly Mahadaisa." gri Dattatraye Prabhu said. spirit (madira) the opinion of Ramesvaraba. woman'. Sthdnapothi. 192. 457. this seems to be a shrine of some kind.46 He took a stone. 78. See Feldhaus. 82-4. 62 There is no mention in Lildcaritra of any Ekavira sthdna in Paithan itself.and yet how is he accepted as he is in the world? ' The Gosavi said. He said. It was the last place in which Cakradhara lived before being summoned to the capital and his death-Uttardrdha 458. Uttardrdha188. concerning the presence or absence of the -teri ending. then how should meat and wine be pleasing to her? ' The Gosavi said. 50udaydncd pujdvasaru-not worship by but worship of Cakradhara-his regular levee. 47 This presumably reflects a dispute as to which tdndald (a more or less featureless stone which has become a cult object) is the original one: that in the Mulapitha (Ekavira-Renuki) or some other outside. ' Ji ! A sannydss has no tuft of hair or sacred thread.dd karitdti) at Merubala?' 54 The Gosavi said. and therefore it was pleasing to her. There are many references to the prevalence of drunkenness at Devi festivals when theoretical offerings of liquor were distributed as prasdda.DATTATREYA
landed he placed the toe of his holy foot and made all the tirthas. 53 The suggestion seems to be that the occasion was fairly riotous.55 Mahadaisa asked the Gosavi. let the appearance that I have shown be accepted in the world. (Another opinion: 'He is. See Sthdnapothi. 'Ji Ji! Ekavira was a rishi's wife.does not perform the six duties (sadukarma). 213. Parakaramabasa and Rameivarabisa were the two principal ' editors' of the Lildcaritra when it was reconstructed in the early fourteenth century. He performed the ceremony in the Muladari. 48 The difference between the two versions is purely grammatical.) 'Woman. and so it was. she was Anava. Cf.'
45That is Sarvatirtha. 77-8. R. 1967-72). Prabhudesai. woman. 'Ji! Who was she that was with him? ' The Gosavi said. According to the Sthdnapothi. Sricakradhara caritra. 'When gri Dattatraye Prabhu established her he held meat in one hand and wine in the other. 68. ]Dhere. 'It is true. He set it up in the Mulapitha (another opinion: He set it up in the yard). offered the meat. For a description see Kolate. Malkapur. This lild is very similar to Uttardrdha188 which relates to the Mhdlasd festival in Nevasa. 'Sankaracarya besought gri Dattatraye Prabhu: " Ji Ji. After the morning worship 50 had taken place the Gosavi proceeded to walk abroad (viharanasthdna)..47 He sprinkled it with liquor. 54 Merub$a| is the name of a sacred pool near the Devadevegvara temple at Mahur.. 374. I5 Belopur on the Pravara north of Rahuri in Ahmadnagar District. (P. 158-9. " It shall be ". " Achieve enjoyment" (another opinion: He said. Purvdrdha. mentioned in all the accounts of Mahur. 1952..4 He accepted the office of acarya and in that very place performed the final rite.52 Mahadaisa asked.
.ir. He sprinkled the wine. op. talks of mulajhari in a list of minor holy places at Mahur. The devotees questioned the Gosavi. The Gosavi was staying in Pratisthana. The Gosavi was staying at Belopura. The story of enjoyment for Ekav. There was a great crowd (pavhd) 51 come to the Ekavira [festival].' (This is Ramesvara's opinion. ' bhoga! '). Devikosa. 4 vols. Mahadaisa asked the Gosavi. 'What people? ' The Gosavi said. 77. Cf. 49 Anava here is a deified form of vedha or inspirational teaching. does not bathe and keep his purity (sandhydsndna ndahm). C. 'Woman. The Dattitreya jndnakosd. cit.' Wine (madya)is the opinion of Pharasaramaba. K. Poona.' (This is Pharasarama's opinion. Datta sampraddydcd itihdsa. 'Enjoy ! ' (bhogdtem pava).)49 Establishmentof Ekavira. she was Mayadevi.' 53 at Water-sport Merubala. Devikoga iI. ' Ji Ji ! Is it true that gri Dattatraye Prabhu sports in the water (jalakr. Still gri Dattatraye Prabhu is sporting at Merubala'.) Giving of boon to Sankaradcrya. He offered meat.
probably prehistoric mother goddess that dwells in the stone on the peak of Matapur.63Whether Sahyadri here is meant to refer to Matapur or not is really irrelevant. whereupon he burns Jamadagni's body and Renuka becomes sati with Dattatreya's approval.61 The next stage of Renuka as the great sati is perhaps represented in the Renukc-mdhdtmyaof the Skanda-purdna. On the status of the Sahyddri-khandaitself see S. 563-72. 8-40. At this stage Renuka is of slight importance in her own right. Burgess. London. Kolhapur. 104-15. 206-9. 1876.59 it was in revenge for for Kartavirya's murder of Jamadagni that Parasurama extirpated the ksatriyas 21 times.. 61 For instance in gdntiparva xlix-1. or. Burgess was told. R. The Hague. and therefore that by the thirteenth century-and probably for long before-he had a sthana or associated shrine at Matapur. Harivams'aI. M. Biardeau.Kolhapur. cit.. and it is entirely possible that the RenukA-mdhdtmya we now have it is considerably later than the Mahanubhava texts considered so far. . ' La decapitation de Renuki dans le mythe de Parasurama '. .nuka and Paraguramawas attached. RAESIDE
6. 461 ff. The Renukd-mdhdtmya is the longest of a number of local mdhdtmyaspublished at the end of J. 33. 443. Gerson da Cunha. There seems to be uka there may be in the Deccan agreement that however many shrines of Ren. but we can never hope to demonstrate this beyond all doubt. as witnessed especially in the Mdrkandeyapurdna. 57 On the identity of Renuki and Ekavira see Devikosa ii. op. nor even to decide whether Dattatreya brought Renuka or Renuka brought Dattatreya to the hill of Mahur. 4odha. On his reaching Dattatreya's dsrama at Alaki in the Sahyadri a heavenly voice informs him that this is the fitting place. One automatically suspects any work that calls itself part of the Skandaas as purdnsa being very recent. ' The Sahyadrikhanda: some problems . might have been brought in to the end of it in a Renukd-mdhatmya which in its turn was attached to the ancient. Purdna. as we have seen. xix. the first place of the goddess to which the Puranic story of Re. On the latter see J. I have never seen it suggested that Mahur was anything but a full one. The Sahyadri Khanda of the Skandapurdaa. Agnipurd&aIV. that king Dattatri had been the first convert of Neminitha. Parasurama with his kavad1 and Dattatreya. the sacrifice through which dilution of brahman and ksatriyaness is avoided. 472). if one accepts Biardeau's thesis. 1968. 1977. gives a fairly detailed summary of the Renukd-mdhdtmya whole mdhdtmya.thas of Maharashtra.58 Dattatreya's connexions with Alarka and Kartavirya are Puranic. Bombay. Matapur was the principal sthdna of this goddess or. P. then sets out to find a site pure enough for the funeral rites. 62 And perhaps not. and although there is controversy over which is the half. who was in at the beginning of the Kartavirya story in the Mahdbhdrata. Levitt. Report on the antiquities of Kathiawad and Kacch (Archaeological Survey of Western India iI).62 Here after Jamadagni's murder Parasuramaputs the rishi's body into one basket of a kdvadi. H. 60 M. are evidence of a close association with Shakta Devi worship. lSdktipifthncd 58 Traditionally Maharashtra has 3 sadktipithas:Mahur.
.60 Often she plays no part in the Kartavirya-Jamadagni story at all. All we need to know is the coming together of the name Renuka at one or other of her sthdnas. C.496
I. Her place in the story is simply that of the victim of Jamadagni's wrath and the means by which Parasuramadisplays his obedience. It is easy to imagine how Dattatreya. xli.'. and Kartavirya is an integral part of the Parasurama story as told in the Mahdbhdrata. Jogesvari at Ambe Jogai and Saptasrngi near Nasik (Deviko4a ii. XII (dantiparva) xlix-1. doubtless by a local Jain. to put it another way. 63 xxxvi-vii.
56 Cf. his live mother and Renuka into the other. 59 MahdbhdrataIII (Vanaparva) cxv-cxvii. Gail. 175-6. Pratiddnam (Kuiper Festschrift). the similar situation of mountain-peak Datta temples on Guru Shikhar at Abu and at Girnar. today.56 Even today Mahur with its temple of Renuka-Ekavira 57 and Kolhapur with MahalaksmI are the two main saktip. 1. 1973. 1877. 12-20. Dhere. Dattatreyaand Renuka How is one to interpret these tales? We may suppose that the Tantric connexions of the rishi Dattatreya.
47) which is not open to inspection and of which varying descriptions exist. with a 'mouth' about two feet long and nine inches wide into which at times of major offerings a pdna composed of 1. 67 For instance at Tuljapur. One can speculate that it was Dattatreya's sdkta attributes which gave him these outlandish. the lower half of a female body with spread legs and exaggerated vulva. references to Dattatreya in L. D. 69 Cf. 113-5.68 From the Mahanubhava stories of Dattatreya one may also deduce that along with a certain bizarreness of form his manifestations had already become characterized by unexpectedness in timing.. 40-42. No doubt in the past more bloody offerings were made. by a tendency to appear suddenly when one had almost given up hope. 1973.69 We may suppose that Cakradharaadmitted Dattatreya to his
Devikosd. 66 Or at any rate in the Sahyadri. 1. xv. discusses the site of Dattatreya's 7sgrama without. 593-5. ' Ndrada Purd. cit.na: a critical study '. xvII. Yallamma and so on. indeed inconsequential. op. Dattatreya's appearance as an outcaste Manga carrying a load of meat in the Alarka story and the mantrawith which he heals Alarka. 7. at most other Devi temples in Maharashtra. Mitangi is black with hairy legs and often drunk (K. 1915. 144. believing now that at least Dattatreya at Pancalesvara must have meant something to Cakradhara. Nambiar.64 Dhere has argued strongly that the tdndald at Mahuris one of a series of fertility goddesses which represent.DATTATREYA
Nowadays the primary name of the Devi at Mahur is Ekavira. even bibhatsaforms.65 The image was almost certainly a large rock with a natural cleft. having any idea that Mahur might be involved. 28-30) are probably only a regional development. Raeside.000 leaves is placed. The human Matangis described by Elmore (' Dravidian gods in modern Hinduism '. I have rather modified the views expressed here. Her form is a tdndald (see n. 1.. II. 1975). Presumably these would acquire accretions: the 'incense-burner' story for Sahasrarjuna.
. for which he can adduce only very recent evidence. is interrupted and emerges only as a head. 467.ldcaritra and Sutrapdthato convince one that he was important for the sect at a very early stage-possibly from the time of its founder. lies here. op. From the description given to the author of it DevTkosa is a stone five feet high and of great girth. There is no reason to doubt that they were known also to Cakradharahimself. II. as in the Sahyddra-11dtranslated above. 68 Gail. Modern devotees say that it is a head only and there are justificatory stories in which Renuka while being reconstituted in the fire after being beheaded by Parasurama. According to the Narada-purdna.na. 64. This has become part of the Marathi language in the phrase dattamha. although she is commonly assimilated to other names such as Renuka. apparently. for that matter. 1976. Gail. established at Mahur 66 it is only a small step With Dattatreya's adsrama to transfer the Alarka and Sahasrarjuna episodes there as well.67 Probably the origin of Gail's ' Parialegende '. cit. 466-6. in Purd. Jogai. 211. there are enough random. and even if one discards the evidence of the Sahyddra-1l1i for the reasons that I have given. or adumbrate. Dhere. or perhaps a head and torso. University Studies. The MahanubhavaDattatreya These then were the stories known in the early fourteenth century to Ravalobasa and Hayagrivacarya and to whoever composed or 'remembered' the Sahyddra-lild.nunaubhdrahanem-' to appear all of a sudden like Datta '. For the one at Mahur see Devikosa. connecting him also no doubt with the outcaste Devi Matangi who has a sthdna at the main temple of Mahur and.
Dhere has shown very convincingly that one can find no certain reference to the modern Dattatreya-three-headed and representing an oecumenical fusion into one u-giva-before the Gurucaritra(c. to go there by the dying Govindaprabhu. See . This three-headed Dattatreya is the productive form of modern Hinduism. Joshi. pp. are new. Dattatreyain sixteenth-century Marathi literature After the early Mahanubhava texts the next appearance of Dattatreya in Marathi literature marks the beginning of the modern era.. cit. RAESIDE
list of genuine avatars of Paranmevarabecause he was an object of worship for his guru's guru. 71 Dhere. 43-5.72 he is the object of virtually all Dattatreya worship in modern India except for the vestigial Mahanubhava tradition. rejecting any connexion with wine and women and crediting Dattatreya with the authorship of the Avadhuta-gita including its virulently anti-feminine eighth chapter. 8. using the name of Dattatreya as its sadguru. Ganagapur and Narsobavadi. before he became convinced of his own divinity. Saka 1808 (1886). 28-33. It was a place of bhutas and secret powers that were opposed to the ascetic life that he recommended. S.written at least a century later.tha and it was only after Cakradhara'sdeath that the disciples were permitted. 98-116. 78Gainagapur. 1550) and person of the trinity Brahma-Visn. 62.71 One can see how suitable Dattatreya is for this role with the Puranic support of the Atri-Anusuya legend-itself a device to bring the trinity within a single womb-and possibly also by his associations with a Shakta Tripura-sundaricult.73
70 phere. Of course everything that is known about him comes from the Gurucaritra. Perhaps in the end Dattatreya had to be absorbed into the sect as a way of tapping the immense power of the Devi of Mahur without becoming too closely involved in the tantric excesses of her worshippers. The ' edition' that I have used is Bombay. was attached to or at least drawn towards the Natha sect. Nevertheless.in Gulbarga District near the confluence of the Bhima and the Amarja. even exhorted. 1964. The complication is (vayastambhdcg explained away but remains somewhat embarrassing for an avatar of Paramesvara. 72-5. and Narsobavadl (or Wadi Narsinh) in Kolhapur District at the meeting of the Krishna and the Pancaganga. Dhere has already pointed out the connexions between the Nathas and the Mahanubhavas and has plausibly suggested that both Cangadeva Raula and Govindaprabhu may have been Natha yogis. or more simply perhaps because Cakradhara himself. Earlier. it is at least clear that Cakradharahimself never visited Mahur and on the evidence of Acdra 25 actively discouraged his followers from going there. 1964. whatever his connexions with the Natha sampraddya and whatever the motives that made him exempt Dattatreya from his sweeping dismissal of all the gods of the Hindu pantheon except Krsna. he sees in the Natha sect a movement of reform against tantric excesses. Jagamitra Chapakhana.498
I. 1964. Cangadeva Raula. For the Avadhuta-gita see H. In short it was a sdktip. op. 72 The Gurucaritra has never been properly edited but has been published many times in pothi form. were both places where Nrsimhasarasvati lived reputedly in the mid fifteenth century. The present MahanubhavaDevadevesvara mathais at the foot of the hill of Renuka.
.Dhere. the hymns attributed to Ekanatha (1523-99).70 Both Lzldcaritraand the stories of Govindaprabhu are full of miracles performed by yogic powers and there is also the curious episode of Ekdnka10 where Cakradhara' receives' the power of arresting the aging process vidya) from a rajaguru called Udhalinatha. Proselytized seemingly by the shadowy figures of gripadavallabha and Nrsimhasarasvati and popularized undoubtedly in the Gurucaritraof Sarasvati Gangadhara. 3. P. Even the religious centres.
red-eyed and bristling with weapons.DATTATREYA
Also in the sixteenth century but still in the northern tradition-that is. one must give some credit to tradition in a field where there is little but tradition to go on. XLV. 78 Using ' Mahanubhava ' here as a shorthand for the Dattatreya dargana tales that are first met with in the fourteenth century Mahanubhava works. 76The Bhaktavijaya was traditionally composed in 1762 and the Bhaktalwldmrta 1774. the Bhdvairtha rdamyana. Some years later 76 in the Bhaktalidnm.rta (XIII. and a body of devotional verse addressed not to Dattatreya but to Vithoba of Pandharpur. as I have not 77 Presumably a misprint for been able to see a copy of the Dattaprabodhawhich Dhere says was written in 1860 (Dhere. again as a muslim. as a Pathan and as a ' Malanga' 77 which patently witnesses to the persistence in oral tradition of the ' Mahanubhava '
stories. There is no question of literary influence. In the case of Dasopanta it was the GtRdrnava.a commentary on part of the published.74 Ekanatha came from Paithan and was a disciple of Janardanasvami.75 Mahipati gives two versions of the darsana of Dattatreya that was arranged for Ekanatha by his guru Janardana. Abbott as the fourth in the Poet Saints of Maharashtra series. When Ekanitha doubts if this can really be his guru's updsyadevatd the vision disappears. Nevertheless. 303-5) it was published in Baroda in 1900. having no apparent connexion with Sarasvati Gangadharabut coming from the old centres of Dattatreya worship on the Godavari such as PancalesvaraDasopanta and Ekanatha are credited with being in some way devotees of Dattatreya. cit.. ' Mitanga '. 111-14) are remarkably coy about this. and in the field of popular religion the testimony of the hagiographies is all that one needs. 1927. Poona. 1964. 75Rakshasbbuvan is on the Godavari.
VOL. 40 miles south-east of Aurangabad. The quote is from Joshi. 35
. preferring to cite the introduction to various Marathi editions of minor works ascribed to Disopanta. Both Dhere (pp. the funeral ceremonies of Jamadagni and
74Every scrap of information that we have on Dasopanta comes from an anonymous seventeenth. Both in have been translated by Abbott in various parts of the Poet Saints of Maharashtra. dressed in leather and with bloodshot eyes and this time Ekanatha overcomes his doubts. The difficulty is that we only know this from later hagiographies and from minor works-padas and stotras addressed to Dattatreya--which might have been written by anyone. In the Bhaktavijaya (XLV. a brahman governor (?) of the fort of Daulatabad under the muslims and worshipper of Dattatreya. eleventh skandha. This was translated by J. Dasopanta finally settled at Ambe Jogai after living at various sites along the Godavari. 107. enormous commentary on the Gitd that has never been an Ekanatha is known for his Bhdgavata. 82-5) he appears first as a muslim soldier on horseback. 143-51) and Joshi (pp. 166-205) there is only one darsana. op. more conventional fields. The Marathas won a famous battle there against the Nizam in August 1763. The major writings of both are in other.78
As against these popular tales it is interesting to note that Ekanatha apparently had no knowledge of any story connecting Dattatreya with which gives a full Parasurama and Renuka for in his Bhdvdrtha-rdmdyana.or eighteenth-century work called Ddsopanta-caritra that was supplied in 1902 by his descendants living in Ambe Jogai. Dasopanta had a vision of Dattatreya on the hill at Mahur in a dream and as a consequence discovered the padukds of Dattatreya hidden in the sand at Rakshasbhuvan. PART 3. In the comparatively recent Dattaprabodhathese encounters of Ekanatha with Dattatreya have been expanded to three when the god appears successively as a muslim huntsman. account of the Kartavirya story. E. for none of the Mahinubhava works were known outside the sect until after 1900. 209) but according to the Dattatreyajndnakosa (pp. but soon after (106-7) Dattatreya comes again this time as a muslim fakir accompanied by a woman who is Maya and a dog which is really the kdmadhenu.
.Bdlakdnda. like so many of the gods of Hinduism. makes and breaks connexions of which we know scarcely the hundredth part. 168. the active role taken by the kdmadhenuand Renuka's reception of 21 wounds while defending her husband-thus inspiring Parasurama to swear to revenge her by wiping out the ksatriyas 21 times. doctrines.
79 Bhvadrtha-rdmSyana. swamis and devotees at a rate which an outsider can only hope to follow by persistent anthropological fieldwork and a devoted attachment to the hagiographical ephemera of the Deccan cult centres. shrines. Note that Ekanatha's whole account of the killing of Renuki and Jamadagni bears a strong resemblance to the version given in Ren4ukdmndhdtmya. swims up into our awareness from mysterious depths. acquires and discards legends and philosophical attachments of which only a small fraction have reached us and still today he is gaining and losing attributes.500
Renuka are dismissed in half a verse: 'Then in the Sahyadri Parasurama performed the last rites for the two of them '.79 It is perhaps appropriate to end on this fresh enigma! The moral of this tale is that Dattatreya. xvi. The Mahanubhava testimony from the period round 1300 is a valuable piece of this enormous jigsaw. including Jamadagni's abandoning of his krodha.