The town of Ganagapura is quite famous for housing the popular Sri Dhathareya Swamy temple. This holy place finds mention in the ancient scriptures as Dhanpur. The temple stands on the banks of River Bhima, and is situated very near to Afzalpur, in the Gulbarga district of Karnataka. It is believed that Lord Dhattatreya himself took the form of Shri Nrusingh Swami Maharaja here. Shri Nrusingh Sarswati Swami maharaja is regarded as an incarnation of Bhagvan Dattarey in this Kaliyuga . Shri Nrusingh Sarswati Swami maharaj had built a Mutt here called Nirgun Mutt, some 600 years ago. This Mutt is known more popularly as the Dattatreya Temple now.
About The Temple
The town of Ganagapura lies at the congruence of Bhima and Amaraja Rivers. This is one of the well known pilgrimage centres of the region. A religious text called Shree Guru Charitre describes the place as Gandharvapura and Ganagabhavana. The present Dhathatreya temple is said to be about 650 years old and was actually a Mutt established by Shree Bhaskara Bhatta. The Mutt comes under the control of the famous Shringeri Mutt. Shree Narasimha Saraswathi is a much revered saint belonging to the Dattatreya tradition and is highly praised as Lord Narayana himself. Dattatreya of Mahurgad in Maharashtra is regarded as the first in the lineage, while Shripada Shreevallabha of Raichur, the second.
Shree Narasimha Saraswath is believed to have spent about 23 years of his life in Ganagapura. He was a great scholar and religious teacher who led a disciplined and pious life. He is also credited to have left behind a legacy, which till date guides his devotees towards spirituality. When Swamiji wished to move from Ganagapura to Shrishaila, his devotees requested him to stay back in Ganigapura itself. But the Swamiji is believed to have consoled them and had left behind his footwear called “nirvana padukas” as an object of remembrance. A three faced idol of Sri Dhattathreya, representing the tri moorthis Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara is also kept in the sanctum at a lower level, along with a spatial Linga in its front. The Antarala has a small window (kindi) through which these images can be viewed. Daily prayer rituals start here as early at 3 A.M every day. There is a wide belief here that Shree Narasimha Saraswathi swamiji would seek alms daily. Hence till date, the religious tradition of “Bhikshanna” is followed here, which involves distribution of food to everyone paying a visit to this temple during the noon. Thursday is the most auspicious day of the week, for the worship of Lord Dhattathreya. The “Datta Jayanthi” is celebrated grandeur every year in the month of December. A large number of devotees, especially from the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra, throng to the temple to get the divine darshan of this Lord.
Birth of Dattatareya:
Atri is one of the stars in the constellation called as the “Saptarishimandala”. He was performing penance for Santanaprapti (to be blessed with children). He wished for a son having the divine powers of the Trimurthis Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and started undergoing a severe penance that culminated in the emergence of flames from his matted locks. The divine tri moorthis is said to have appeared before the rishi, appeased by his penance. The elated sage expressed his desire to the Gods who were generous in granting his wish. Thus accordingly his wife, Anasuya, delivered triplet boys with the amsas (qualities) of the Trimoorthis. The one with the qualities of Brahma was named Soma, Durvasa was Lord Shiva’s avatar and Dattatreya was Vishnu’s. The divine couple imparted all the holy knowledge to the boys who blossomed into brilliant sons, each with different characteristics. Dattatreya who was born with the qualities of Mahavishnu, began penancing on the banks of river Gomati, in order to acquire knowledge. He is believed to have attained Satyajnana and then began the work towards fulfilling his purpose. According to this legend, Dhattathreya is only a representation of Vishnu alone, but in few other places, he is referred to as the avathar of all the Tri moorthi together.
Splendorous form of Shree Dattatreya Swamy:
Shree Dattatreya or Datta Guru, is a form of Lords Vishnu who incarnated to impart knowledge and wisdom among the people. The Lord has a glorious face which radiates wisdom and leads us away all evils of the world. Despite being the supreme Lord, he is often recluse. The holy Audambar tree (A type of fig type, Ficus glomerate) is considered his holy place. He appears having matted hair on his head, while his body is smeared with holy ashes. His garment consists of tiger-skin. He is accompanied by a cow and four dogs, his holy companions. He is an 'Avadhoot', ever anchored in spirit, but always overflowing with compassion for all the beings and the entire creation. He is regarded as an embodiment of divinity, since he possesses the qualities of the tri moorthis.
The cow that is seen with him represents the Mother Earth and the path of Dharma. She is also the divine cow named 'Kamadhenu' who fulfill the wishes of people.
The four dogs symbolise the eternal four Vedas which takes a person closer towards attaining wisdom and the ultimate salvation.
The deity holds a trident which indicates the three gunas, which constitute the illusory world: Sattva-illumination, Rajas-activity and Tamas-inertia.
The mighty 'Sudharshana chakra' in his hand indicates that he is beyond the cycles of time. He is not bound by the past, present and future. He is in fact the controller of time.
The conch represents the eternal sound "OHM" - which is the manifestation of the spirit. It is also the basic principal behind everything in this cosmos.
The 'bhasma' (ashes) all over his body, signifies his 'Vairaagya' (dispassion) as well as his purity. Ashes indicate the fact that everything in this world would end up ultimately as ashes.
The Lord also carries a begging bowl to preach us that virtue of sharing one’s food and wealth.
The Japa-Mala, (rosary) that adorns remind us that our primary duty in life is to take the path of devotion and attain salvation at the lotus feet of the Lord.
Lord Shree Dattatreya, is believed to visit people’s house in disguise at the lunch hour.
Dhattatreya had twenty four Gurus from the nature. "Many are my preceptors," he had told King Yadu. The earth, air/breeze, sky, fire, the sun, pigeon, python, sea, moth, elephant, ant, fish, Pingala the courtesan, arrow-maker, infant/playful boy, the moon, honeybee, deer, bird of prey, maiden, serpent, spider, caterpillar and water were the twenty four preceptors of the Guru.
Teachings of Shree Dattatreya Swamy:
Guru Dattatreya was the source behind Ashtanga Yoga (eight fold path of Yoga), thousands of years ago. Sage Patanjali codified this knowledge into sootra (Work) forms. It comprises :
Yama - non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gifts. Moral discipline Niyama - cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and self-surrender to God. Yama and Niyama are the basic Dharma for the training and practise of Yoga even now. When these two criteria are met, the Yogi will automatically start tasting the fruits of his yogic practice.
Asana - posture
Pranayama – This is one of the widely popular yogasana. "Prana" is the life-force, while "yama" means control. 'Pranayama' is a controlled breathing technique.
Pratyahara - withdrawal of senses from sense objects.
Dharana – concentration.
Dhyana - meditation.
Samadhi - the transcendental or super conscious state of being one with God.
Marhashira Shudda Chaturti day is regarded as the day when Lord Vishnu took the avatar of Bhagvan Shri Datta. This day is observed as the “Dattajaynti”. A Jatra festival spanning for a couple of days is held every year on this day to celebrate the occasion of Dattajayant. A large number of Devotees throng the temple on this day to celebrate the occasion. Jatra is held on the first day involving Sankeertane and Annasantharpane. Shree Dhattatreya is placed on a silver cradle, signifying his birth anniversary. Gurucharitra parayana (lecture on the legends of Guru) will be held as part of the festivities. Palanquin Utsava is held during the night while Lalithotsava is performs on the following morning.
How To Reach Shree Dattatreya Swamy Temple
The nearest bus stop is the Ganagapura village.
The nearest railhead is Ganagapura Railway Station.
The closest Airport is the Hyderabad International Airport.
Shree Dattatreya Swamy Temple,
Ganagapura, Ganagapura Post,
Afzalpur Taluk, Gulbarga District.
Karnataka - 585212.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Balam Balavatam Caham Kamaragavivarjitam Dharmaviruddho Bhutesu Kamo'smi Bharatarsabha
Meaning -According to this sloka, God is the isolated and aloof strength of the controlling and virtuous craving in men.
Ye Caiva Sattvika Bhava Rajasastamasasca Ye Matta Everti Tanviddhi Na Tvaham Tesu Temayi
Meaning -According to this sloka, though the only source of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obsessive and dark) elements is God, they are not present within the God or the deity.
Tribhirgunamayairbhavairebhih Sarvamidam Jagat Mohitam Nabhijanati Mamebhyah Paramavyayam
Meaning -According to this sloka, the entire world doesn't recognize the eternal God beyond them, because they are consumed by the elements of satva, rajas and tamas (good, obssessive and dark).
Daivi Hyesa Gunamayi Mama Maya Duratyaya Mameva Ye Prapadyante Mayametam Taranti Te
Meaning -According to this sloka, the heavenly maya of God is very complicated, but those who worship God will be able to overcome it.
The temple is open From 3:00 AM to 10:00 PM. On the occasion of Shivarathri, the temple remains opens the entire day.