Sri Dattatreya: the Avadhut’s Innocence

Sri Dattatreya: the Avadhut’s Innocence

You are the ultimate Reality; have no doubt.
The Self is not something known by the mind;
The Self is the very one who knows!
How, then, could you think to know the Self?
Avadhuta Gita, I: 42*
But the Self does not become an object of knowledge and there is no knower of objects in the Supreme State, the Self is the Sole Reality, without objects of knowledge and without anyone else who could become His knower.
Sri Ramana Maharshi**
~~~On the occasion of Sri Dattatreya Jayanti~~~
What is appropriate?
In a universe where we can’t point to the beginning or the end, we claim somehow to know what is right and wrong. What if something we label as painful is helping to show us something deeper. What if something we label as wrong is helping us look in another direction where life wants to reveal greater beauty.
The true mind is humble and makes space for all happenings. Wisdom is attracted to its innocence and rushes in to offer deeper perspectives and knowings.

The Innocent Wisdom

A mind not bound to knowledge is not stupid. It becomes subsumed in a deeper harmony where discernment operates as the fresh flowing movement of life. The heaviness of the ‘false knower’ subsides, the gravity that keeps the mind bound to functioning for a particular perspective weakens and the natural flow takes over.
On Dattatreya Jayanti, we must remember the message of the Avadhut, the unattached one, whose being is open like the sky itself. The Avadhut is called the naked sage, being innocent of any knowledge, moving about like space itself. Sri Dattatreya considered everything he encountered to be his guru. Not because he picked up knowledge from everything, but because everything helped open his mind even more. Sometimes a perverse kind of logic enters the minds of seekers who then begin to think “all is equal” or “everything is same” or “nothing means anything”. This is still coming from the ego-mind’s desire to “win” or “figure it out” and declare that it has understood. The true mind of a sage is humble. And wise, with a natural discernment. The natural wisdom that is most easily seen reflecting in nature.

One with Life

Adi guru Dattatreya was able to see through each form of consciousness that he encountered. Meeting a hunter intent on his kill, he could enter that perspective and understand what was being represented in that form of consciousness. On meeting the courtesan Pingala and how an inner transformation made her turn away from a life devoted to the senses to seek God instead, he could glimpse something more of consciousness.
Thus he proclaimed all that he encountered as his guru. In particular he ennumerated 24 gurus : earth, air, sky, water, fire moon, sun, pigeon, python, ocean, firefly, bee, elephant, honey-gatherer, deer, fish, a courtesan called Pingala, sparrow, child, a girl, archer, snake, spider and wasp (bhramara keelaka).
May, through the Avadhut’s expression, we see a reflection of what it is to be one with life.
*Dattatreya: Song of The Avadhut translated by Swami Abhayananda
**From The Mountain Path, 2005
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