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.
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, 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. Chains of the hair
ornament reach the forehead to frame it, 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 his appearance at his birth, the
Sthapati has carved various exquisite ornaments such as kundala (earrings),
ekvali (one-stringed necklace), Ratnamalika (gem-studded necklace), udar banda
(belly belt), bajubanda (armband), Kada (bracelet), angoothi (ring) and nupur (anklet)
on the icon. The serpent with its hood raised from Sri Dattatreya’s left
shoulder and a floral garland tastefully framing his torso swiftly calls the
eye to observe the balance of sturdiness and gracefulness discernible in his
physique. The 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 four
arms, Sri Dattatreya holds Japa mala (rosary), Damru (drum), chakra (discus),
and shankha (conch). Two of his hands, sophisticatedly sculpted, are in
distinctive gestures, probably for holding Kamandalu (an ascetic’s water pot)
and a 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. Four
dogs or shwana sitting vigilantly on four sides of Guru Dattatreya are the four
Vedas who are believed to be forever escorting the supreme Guru and the cow,
realistically sculpted and adorned with bells and ornaments is none other than
the mother Earth or Prithvi, who is the 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. In this manner, Guru
Dattatreya in this Panchaloha bronze is the materialization of the Supreme
knowledge, whose brilliance his form radiates.
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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