Bhagwan Dattatreya- datta (given to), atreya (sage Atri) is the Hindu deity who is the supreme personification of the
ancient Hindu idea of Trideva (three gods)- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva around whom revolves the germination,
functioning, and dissolution of the universe. Also known as Datta and Datta
Guru (teacher) in the western and south-western regions of India, he is
considered the son of Brahmarishi Atri and his wife Sati Anusuya, a couple who
with their Tapasya (asceticism) and Bhakti (devotion) transformed the
primordial Tridevas into a heavenly child. Revered as the provider of all
knowledge- revealed and esoteric, and an ultimate Yogi (one who has mastered
“Yoga” or union with the Brahama Gyana or supreme knowledge) Guru Dattatreya is
represented in this life-size Panchaloha bronze in his deific Trimukha (tri-three, Mukha- face),
Shadabhuja (Shada-six, bhuja-arm) form, the most potent visualization of Om
(the primordial sound which represents the Trideva) in a sculpture.
The iconography of this bronze Bhagwan Dattatreya statue follows
the stories of his arrival in the hermitage of sage Atri. Rishi Atri was born
from the mind (Mana) of Lord Brahma and had as his wife the daughter of
Prajapati and Devahuti, Anasuya, with whom he was asked by Brahma himself to
carry on the task of creation by following Grihastha dharma (duty of a
householder). Accompanied by the virtues of his wife, sage Atri’s capabilities
knew no bounds and the power of his Tapas (penance) reached a stage where it
pleased the Tridevas who descended to his hermitage with their retinue. The
celestial aura of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva was as if lightning had struck sage
Atri. Overwhelmed by what he experienced, he opened his eyes, offered
adulations to the great gods, and received the boon of having the Trideva as
his son. As soon as the Trinity went back to their heavenly abode, a
transcendental being appeared in front of Atri and Anasuya. This divine being
is Bhagwan Dattatreya, whose unmatched brilliance is recreated by the makers of
this gigantic Panchaloha.
The son of Atri, Dattatreya had three faces and six hands. Each of
the faces as seen in this Guru Dattatreya icon represents one member of the
Trinity. All three heads have high-raising Jatamukuta (crown made out of Jata
or hair strands) with the locks intricately delineated with flowing incised
lines and held together with ornate hair ornament with a Makara motif on it.
From the crescent moon that adorns the head in the center and the miniature figure
of anthropomorphic Maa Ganga sprouting from his hair, we can infer that it
belongs to Shiva and the other two are Brahma and Vishnu. With impeccable
detailing, the artist of this bronze Dattatreya icon has rendered the
incomprehensible loveliness of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva in the facial features
of the great Yogi. A U-shaped Tilak
between the shapely eyebrows beautifies it, almond eyes draw our attention to
them, and a sharp nose and lips with a hint of inward smile animate the three
divine visages of Guru Dattatreya. Furthering the description of Bhagwan
Dattatreya as the supree yogi, the Sthapati has offered the Lord with tasteful
ornaments fashioned out of Rudrakasha beads that form four layered necklace,
armlets and earrings. The serpent with its hood raised from Sri Dattatreya’s
left shoulder tastefully framing his torso swiftly calls the eye to observe the
balance of sturdiness and gracefulness discernible in his physique. The patterned
dhoti (lower body garment) worn by Guru Dattatreya is described as a Pitambara
(yellow cloth), which appears to be naturally clinging to his legs to reveal
his robust legs with identical curves on both legs and a single wavy flow in
the middle to suggest delicate folds of the fabric.
In his three arms, Sri Dattatreya holds the damru (drum),
Kamandalu (water pot), and Shankha (conch), while his other three hands are
positioned variously in gestures of carrying a Chakra (discus), Gada (mace) and
Trishula (trident). All these attributes belong to the Tridevas and their
presence in the iconography of Bhagwan Dattatreya underlines his emergence as a
culmination of their divine powers. The cow, realistically sculpted and
adorned with bells and ornaments is none other than the mother Earth or
Prithvi, who is a source of nourishment and motherly affection and finds
refuge in the feet of the Tridevas with the assurance of her peaceful
maintenance. Bhagwan Dattatreya in this ethereal form as the sanctuary of Devi
Prithvi and master of the Vedas is an iconic fusing of Brahma, Vishnu, and
Shiva, who are inseparable and indistinguishable to the mind which has achieved
absolute wisdom-Brahma Gyan. A potli (cloth bag) used by Hindu ascetics hangs
from the left shoulder of Guru Dattatreya. Endowed with the otherworldly
brilliance of Tridevas, Bhagwan Dattatreya is the foremost yogi, in whose feet
lie the wisdom of the universe and the path to self-realization.
WHAT IS PANCHALOHA BRONZE AND HOW TO TAKE CARE OF IT ?
Bronze is a metal alloy that has the primary composition of Copper and Tin. There is also an addition of other metals such as Manganese, Aluminium, Nickel, and some non-metals such as Phosphorus. This composition of several metals and non-metals makes Bronze an extremely durable and strong metal alloy. It is for this reason that Bronze is extensively used for casting sculptures and statues. Since Bronze has a low melting point, it usually tends to fill in the finest details of a mould and when it cools down, it shrinks a little that makes it easier to separate from the mould.
" If you happen to have a bronze statue, simply use a cotton cloth with some coconut oil or any other natural oil to clean the statue. "
A village named Swamimalai in South India is especially known for exceptionally well-crafted Bronze icons of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The skilled artisans of this place use Panchaloha Bronze for casting the icons. Panchaloha Bronze is made of five metals; Copper, Zinc, Lead, and small quantities of Gold and Silver. Zinc gives a golden hue to the finished figure and Lead makes the alloy softer for the easy application of a chisel and hammer. The common technique for producing these statues and sculptures is the “Lost-wax” method. Because of the high durability of bronze sculptures and statues, less maintenance is required, and can still last up to many decades.
Exotic India takes great pride in its collection of hand-picked Panchaloha Statues. You will find the murtis of Gods (Krishna, Hanuman, Narasimha, Ganesha, Nataraja, and Kartikeya) and Goddesses (Saraswati, Lakshmi, Durga, and Parvati), and Buddha statues. You can also buy Ritual paraphernalia (Wicks lamp, Puja Kalash, Cymbals, and Puja Flag) on the website. All these statues and items have been made with a lot of care and attention, giving them a flawless finish. Their fine carving detail represents the rich tradition of India.
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