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Why did Deity Datta acquire knowledge from twenty-four Gurus?


Deity Datta means the one who has been given [the spiritual experience of the unmanifest (Nirgun)] away. In other words the one who has been endowed with the spiritual experience that He is Brahman, is already liberated or is the soul itself, is Deity Datta.

The eleventh skandha (volume) of the Shrīmadbhagwadgitā narrates a conversation between Yadu and Avadhūt. Here Avadhut names His Gurus and narrates what He learnt from them. [The word Guru used in this context means the teacher. The features of a true Guru are given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 6 - Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupāyoga)’.]

Everything in the universe is a Guru because one can learn something or the other from it. From bad things one learns what defects to reject and from good things what good qualities to acquire. For example I accumulated knowledge from the twenty-four Gurus enlisted below and converted it into an ocean. Then bathing in it, I cleansed all my sins.

The earth: One should acquire the virtues of endurance and tolerance of duality from the earth.

The wind: One should be detached like the wind. Just as the wind blows both in the hot and cold regions without being influenced by their qualities or defects so also those desirous of Liberation (mumukshūs) should wholeheartedly tread along the path prescribed by the Vēdās(Shrutis) in the hot and cold regions without paying attention to virtues or defects of others.

The sky: Just like the sky the soul pervades all animate and inanimate objects yet it remains unaltered, single and steady.

The water

  • Just like water one should behave with affection towards all. One should never be partial to anyone.

  • Just as water retains its impurity at its bed and cleanses others of their impurities so also should man renounce the impurities arising from attachment to the physical body, acquire the treasure of spiritual knowledge and cleanse people with vices, of their sins.

The fire

  • Like fire, man should undertake austerities and get illumined with knowledge. He should partake of whatever is available, refrain from bad deeds and utilise his virtues only at the opportune moment for a worthwhile cause.

  • When on a pilgrimage, etc. one should eat whatever is available without accumulating it.

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