[Advaita-l] 24 Gurus of Bhagavan Dattatreya - III

Nithin Sridhar sridhar.nithin at gmail.com
Sat Dec 21 02:21:31 CST 2013

Please also provide the chapter in which it occurs so that I may pursue
study in it.

On Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>wrote:

> 17.  Pingala the veshya
> In Videha there lived a veshya (prostitute) named Pingala.  Each night she
> would dress in her finest most alluring clothes and ornaments and stand in
> the doorway of her home enticing passing men to come and spend the night
> with her for money and pleasure.  One night many men passed by on the
> street and she watched them thinking "oh this one is rich" and "oh that one
> is handsome" but nobody came to her.  As the hours wore on she became more
> and more depressed and anxious.  Eventually she gave up waiting for a lover
> altogether.  And then she had an epiphany.  She realized she did not need
> the attention of others for happiness and sadness occur within.  From then
> on she decided to live a disciplined and moral life.  And that is the
> lesson Dattatreya learned from her.
> 18. a vulture
> A small vulture found some carrion and rushed away with it, constantly in
> fear that it would be taken away.  Sure enough, a group of larger vultures
> who had no meat of their own came and stole it away from him. Unexpectedly
> the vulture felt relief that he no longer had to worry about protecting the
> carrion.  From this He learned that posessions only make one fearful of
> their loss and it is better to renounce them all.
> 19. a baby
> A baby has no sense of respect or offense. It may laugh or cry or sleep or
> wake but these are all fleeting states which are forgotten as they pass.
> From this He learned that emotions are transient and, like a baby, a yogi
> should just let them pass over him and be forgotten.
> 20. a young woman
> A girl was of marriagable age and the parents of a suitor were to come and
> visit her.  But they arrived unexpectedly when the girls own parents were
> away.  So she welcomed them herself and quickly went into the kitchen to
> prepare something for them to eat.  As she was grinding the flour, the many
> bangles on her wrists began clashing.  The girl stopped, thinking "By
> hearing this sound, the guests will know I am preparing food myself" [and
> therefore that the family is poor.]  So she removed all but two of the
> bangles and began grinding flour again.  Still their sound could be heard.
> So she took one more off and was able to complete her task in quiet.  From
> her He learned that wherever there are lots of people there will be
> unnecessary talk and gossip.  Even with only two there will be the same. It
> is better to be by oneself and take a vow of silence.
> 21. an arrowmaker
> A certain arrowmaker supplied his weapons for the army of a king.  He
> prided himself on his work and once was so engrossed in it that when the
> king came by he failed to see him let alone salute him.  From him He
> learned that a yogi should meditate with complete one-pointed focus like
> the tip of an arrow.  Only such dhyana leads to the supreme goal.
> 22. a snake
> A snake lives a solitary life, it does not remain in one place, it is
> silent in movement, it does not build any kind of residence but finds
> shelter in whatever cave or hole etc. is available.  From it, He learned
> the code of conduct of a muni.  To live alone, wander from place to place,
> not to engage with other people but pass silently, and to find shelter in
> any place.
> 23. a spider
> A spider secretes raw material from its body and then swallows it again to
> create silk threads which it uses to create elaborate webs.  From it He
> learned that Brahman expands the material universe from itself and as
> Ishvara creates, maintains, and destroys it from His own maya.
> 24. an insect
> There are some species of wasp that can actually trap small insects such
> as aphids and use them as sort of farm animals or even a place to lay their
> eggs.  One such insect was trapped in this manner and out of fear began
> serving the wasp gradually identifying more and more with it until
> eventually it began to think it was a wasp!  From it He learned that
> feelings such as fear or love or lust for power can alter our self-identity
> but knowledge of the true nature of the self only shines when such feelings
> are given up.
> Thus Bhagavan Dattatreya, the yogeshwar and avadhuta related his 24 gurus.
> Then he added that there is a 25th.
> 25.  The atma.
> Dattatreya said that all these gurus who bestowed their knowledge upon me
> were not external, but only aspects of my own self so it this self, this
> atman which is not different than brahman, immortal and pervading all which
> is the true form of the guru.
> At that King Yadu fell at his feet.  Accepting the kings salutations,
> Dattatreya blessed him and continued his wanderings.
> Note on the translation:
> While I have presented it in third person form "He learned" in the
> Bhagavata itself the narrative is in the first person so read "I learned"
> instead.  So needless to say this is not a literal translation.  Also I
> left out many details so please read it for yourself in the original if you
> can.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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