By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Dattatreya Upanisad, DattAtreya UpaniSad, Dattaatreya Upanishad
Dattātreya Upaniṣad is a minor Upaniṣad belonging to the cult of Viṣṇu and classed among the ones of the Atharvaṇaveda. There are three khaṇḍas or sections and a total of nine long mantras, all in prose, except one.
History of Dattātreya Upaniṣad
The four-faced Brahmā once approached Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Lord of the universe in the Satyakṣetra. It is the region situated between the rivers Gaṅgā and Yamunā. He requested him to teach that transcendental wisdom by which one can become free from the rounds of birth and death. Nārāyaṇa advised him to meditate upon his Abode of pure sattva. Those who meditate in this manner and realize that the Lord is ‘Datta’, will never again be bound in saṁsāra or trans-migratory existence, since ‘Datta’ gives (datta = what is granted or given) the knowledge of Brahman and also declare it to others. After being instructed by Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā meditated upon the Dattātreya aspect of Nārāyaṇa and taught it as Sat to others.
Teachings of Dattātreya Upaniṣad
A series of mantras of Dattātreya are given, classifying them as ekākṣara (one-lettered), ṣaḍakṣara (six lettered) and so on. They are:
- Dām II
- Oṁ śrīṁ hrīṁ klīṁ glauṁ drām II
- Drāṁ dattātreyāya namah II
- Om āṁ hriṁ krom ehi dattātreya svāhā II
- Om aiṁ kroṁ klīṁ klūṁ hrāṁ hrīṁ hrūṁ sauh dattātreyāya svāhā II
- Dattātreya hare kṛṣṇa unmattānandadāyaka I digambara mune bāla piśāca jñānasāgara II
The next section gives a very long mantra called as ‘mālāmantra’. It begins thus: ‘Oṁ namo bhagavate dattātreyāya smaranamātra-santustaya....’ and so on. It ends with the words, ‘Oṁ namaśśivāya ityupaniṣat.’
The third or the last section delineates the fruits of the practice of this esoteric science. The results obtained from this will be equal to that got by repeating the Gāyatrīmantra one lakh times or the Mahārudramantra one lakh times and so on. He purifies a hundred of his predecessors and hundred of his descendants. He is never tainted even by the most heinous of sins like killing a cow. The knowledge of all mantras and yogas accrue to him of their own accord. In other words he becomes a jīvanmukta, one liberated even while living.
- Sattva is the quality of substance of purity and effulgence
- Sat is called as the eternal Truth.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore