Guru Dattatreya is described as having the following features and holding various items:

Three heads that represent:
  • Lord Brahma – Creator i.e. creation of an idea/plan
  • Lord Vishnu – Sustainer i.e. retention of an idea/plan
  • Lord Shiva – Destroyer of Negativity i.e. Forgetting an idea/plan
Six hands carrying the following items:

Hand drum; Round shaped wheel (Chakra Disk); Conch shell (Shankh); Rosary (Japa Mala); Pot filled with holy water (Kamandala).

  • The trident, drum, conch shell, chakra, mala, and kamandalu all have esoteric meanings.
  • The trident is used for killing the ego, the drum is used to awaken people who are sleeping in a state of ignorance. Awake from the materialistic world and understand the concept of Self realisation i.e. “know thy self”
  • The conch shell represents the OMKARA which is known as the first sound or word in Hindu philosophy. Omkara is the first sound or beat of the Hindu Scriptures, Vedas and Puranas. All the great sages use the OMKARA. Akara (Sustainer), Ukara (Protector) and Makara (Destroyer) when mixed together make one sound the Omkara. This Omkara sound is the sound from the conch shell.
    This is important, as with every breath we sound the OMKARA. Soo-humm… I am the world, I am the universe, I am Lord Shiva, I am Lord Vishnu. We are always chanting this mantra even when we are walking, running or sleeping. The sounds are made at different speeds but in the final analysis, there is only the Omkara Soo-humm. Guru Dattatreya has given this gift to every one. Animals also use this OM sound, Soo-humm.
  • Dattatreya also holds the rotating disc or chakra. It is a round circle with no beginning or end like the universe.
    He uses this chakra to take all kinds of karma from all people.
  • In his right hand he holds the japa mala or rosary. Here Guru Dattatreya is counting his devotees.
  • Pot filled with holy water represent knowledge and wisdom.


Guru Dattatreya is always in the vicinity of the following natural elements and life forms.

One tree which is usually behind Guru Dattatreya.
  • This is known as the wish-yielding tree (Audumbara tree). It fulfils the wishes of those who pay respect (prostrate) to it no matter what problems they may have. The tree is the bearer of nectar and wherever it is found, there Guru Dattatreya will always be present.
One cow known as Kamadhenu:
  • This cow grants the wishes of those who ask for the satisfaction of desires, be they worldly, mentally or spiritually.

Lord Dattatreya

Four dogs:
  • The four dogs are not ordinary dogs but represent the four Hindu Vedas: Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Atharva-Veda and Sama-Veda.
    They follow the Guru as ‘hounds of heaven and watchdogs of truth’ and are owned by Datta, the greatest hunter for the souls of men. They continually surround the Lord.

Chant “Jaya Guru Datta! Sri Guru Datta!”
Get Rid of your Problems!
Be Blessed with Health, Wealth and Knowledge!
May the choicest blessings of Guru Dattatreya be on you.

Jai Guru Datta