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Datta Jayanti 2018 date - Guru Dattatreya Jayanti in 2018 - Teachings of 24 Gurus of Dattatreya

Datta Jayanti is observed to celebrate the birth of Guru Dattatreya, the Trimurti Avatar – the united and single incarnation of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Dattatreya was born as the son of Atri Maharshi and Anasuya. Datta Jayanti 2018 date is December 22. It is observed on the full moon day in the month of Margasheersh as per traditional Hindu calendar. The teachings of the 24 gurus of Dattatreya can be found below.

Sri Dattatreya remained an Avadutha throughout his life – a sage who remains in pure nature. He was a supreme yogi. Dattatreya narrated the secrets of Vedanta to Lord Subrahmanya and this teaching later came to be known as Avadhuta Gita.

The twenty four gurus that Dattatreya found in Nature and Society became very famous and is part of several scriptures.

Dattatreya is worshipped in many places in India. The day is marked by special pujas and satsangs.

Story of the divine birth of Adi Guru Dattatreya

Anasuya, the wife of Sage Atri, was a pious lady and performed intense austerities to beget a son with qualities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Above all Anasuya was noted for her Pativrata Dharma – unparalleled devotion to her husband.

To test her Pativrata Dharma, the Trimurtis appeared in the guise of three Sanyasins and asked her to give food in nude. This put Anasuya in a great dilemma. Confident of her Dharma, the pious lady took some water and sprinkled it on the three Sanyasins in order to clean their feet before giving food. Immediately, the three Sanyasins were transformed into three babies.

Anasuya suddenly felt like she is a mother and fed the three babies with milk from her breast. Thus she gave alms to the Trimurtis in the way they wanted it.

Soon Atri Maharshi returned and realized that the three babies were Trimurtis who had come to fulfill the wish of Anasuya. The sage embraced the three children and they suddenly took the single form of Dattatreya.

Twenty Four Gurus of Dattatreya

1) Earth 

In the Srimad Bhagavada Purana, Lord Krishna narrates about the meeting between King Yadu and young Dattatreya, an avadhuta. King Yadu asks about the Guru who has helped Dattatreya achieve Brahman realization at such a young age.

Dattatreya answers ‘My dear King, with my intelligence I have taken shelter of many spiritual masters. Having gained transcendental understanding from them, I now wander about the earth in a liberated condition. I have twenty four gurus and the first one is earth.

Mother earth is my first guru. She taught me to hold those who trample me, scratch me, and hurt me lovingly in my heart, just as she does. She taught me to give them my best, remembering that their acts are normal and natural from their standpoint.

Here is three other interpretation of the same idea by different seers.
  • A sober person, even when harassed by other living beings, should understand that his aggressors are acting helplessly under the control of God, and thus he should never be distracted from progress on his own path. This rule I have learned from the earth.
  • All creatures, in accordance with their previous store of karma (action) assume different physical forms and live on earth. People plough, dig and tread the earth. They light fires on it. Still, the earth does not swerve from its course even by a hair’s breadth. On the other hand, it feeds and houses all creatures. Seeing this, I learned that the wise one should never swerve from his vow of patience, love and righteousness under any circumstances and one should dedicate his life for the welfare of living beings. The earth is my first guru.
  • From the earth, Dattatreya learned the qualities of forgiveness, unselfishness and the strength to bear burdens. Very often progress on the spiritual path is hampered because a sadhak is tied to the past. A trauma at some time in life decides one's response to similar situations all through one's lifetime. Nothing is seen with freshness and innocence. Everything is seen through the eyes of fear and suspicion because of past conditioning. This quality is not just projected onto the outside but also onto oneself. Inadequacy, lack of confidence, poor self-esteem, are in reality lack of faith or trust in ourselves. They are a measure of one's own self-rejection.
  • The earth, burdened by a thankless world, stands firm and proud. She is not demoralized. She does not punish or reject herself. Dharitri, one who holds, is a reflection of Dharma, the eternal one that holds all existence. With immense tenderness she holds the world in her lap, unmindful of assaults on her person. To Dattatreya she was symbolic of shraddha, having a capacity to hold together, herself and all associated with her, with great compassion, giving of herself totally to the situation which asks of her, with an unflinching steadiness, like the physical body holding divinity within itself.
2) Air or Wind

Air or wind is my second guru. The wind moves unceasingly, touching flowers and thorns alike, but never attaches itself to the objects it touches. Like the wind, I learned not to prefer flowers over thorns, or friends over foes. Like the wind, my goal is to provide freshness to all without becoming attached. 

Another Interpretation of the Second Guru of Dattatreya from Srimad Bhagavadam

A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one’s higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one’s speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization.

Even a transcendentalist is surrounded by innumerable material objects, which possess good and bad qualities. However, one who has transcended material good and evil should not become entangled even when in contact with the material objects; rather, he should act like the wind.

Although a self-realized soul may live in various material bodies while in this world, experiencing their various qualities and functions, he is never entangled, just as the wind which carries various aromas does not actually mix with them.

3) Sky or Space

This all-pervading and all-embracing space is my fifth guru. Space has room for the sun, moon, and stars and yet, it remains untouched and unconfined. I, too, must have room for all the diversities, and still remain unaffected by what I contain. All visible and invisible objects may have their rightful place within me, but they have no power to confine my consciousness.
  • Another Interpretation of the Third Guru of Dattatreya from Srimad Bhagavadam
A thoughtful sage, even while living within a material body, should understand himself to be pure spirit soul. Similarly, one should see that the spirit soul enters within all forms of life, both moving and nonmoving, and that the individual souls are thus all-pervading. The sage should further observe that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the Supersoul, is simultaneously present within all things. Both the individual soul and the Supersoul can be understood by comparing them to the nature of the sky: although the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within the sky, the sky does not mix with anything, nor can it be divided by anything.

Although the mighty wind blows clouds and storms across the sky, the sky is never implicated or affected by these activities. Similarly, the spirit soul is not actually changed or affected by contact with the material nature. Although the living entity enters within a body made of earth, water and fire, and although he is impelled by the three modes of nature created by eternal time, his eternal spiritual nature is never actually affected.
  • Yet another thought on the Third Guru by a realized soul
The soul is also like the sky, which is omnipresent. I have noticed that sometimes the sky (or space) gets thickly overcast, or filled with dust or smoke. At sunrise and during night, it apparently takes on different colors. But in fact, it ever retains its colorless self, and it is never touched or stained by any thing. From this I learned that a true sage should remain ever pure like the sky or space, untouched or unaffected by anything in the phenomenal universe in time, including his own physical processes. His inner being is totally free from emotional reaction to things and events even like the space. Thus I accepted the sky or space as my third guru.

4) Water

Water is a force that contains life and purity. It cleanses whatever it touches and provides life to whoever drinks it. Water flows unceasingly. If it stops, it becomes stagnant. Keep moving is the lesson I learned from water. 

Another interpretation of the fourth Guru of Dattatreya
O King, a saintly person is just like water because he is free from all contamination, gentle by nature, and by speaking creates a beautiful vibration like that of flowing water. Just by seeing, touching or hearing such a saintly person, the living entity is purified, just as one is cleansed by contact with pure water. Thus a saintly person, just like a holy place, purifies all those who contact him because he always chants the glories of the Lord.

5) Fire

Fire burns everything, transforming it into flame. By consuming dead logs, it produces warmth and light. Thus, I learnt how to absorb everything that life brings and how to turn it into flame. This flame enlightens my life and in that light, others can walk safely. 

Another interpretation of the fourth Guru of Dattatreya
His fifth guru was fire, which destroys all that is gross. Like the inner fire of awareness that reduces everything to its essence (bhasma), purifying ruthlessly whatever is poured into it, fire reminded him of freedom from the defects of avidya. (Swami Dharmakeerti Saraswati)

Another interpretation
The flames of a fire appear and disappear at every moment, and yet this creation and destruction is not noticed by the ordinary observer.

A saintly person, just like fire, sometimes appears in a concealed form and at other times reveals himself. For the welfare of the conditioned souls who desire real happiness, a saintly person may accept the worshipable position of spiritual master, and thus like fire he burns to ashes all the past and future sinful reactions of his worshipers by mercifully accepting their offerings.

Just as fire manifests differently in pieces of wood of different sizes and qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Soul, having entered the bodies of higher and lower life forms created by His own potency, appears to assume the identity of each.

Yet another Interpretation
My fourth teacher is the element of fire. Sometimes, it manifests itself as blazing flames; sometimes as smoldering embers, covered by ash. But it is always present in all objects as latent heat. The god of fire accepts the offering of everyone, irrespective of his moral worth and burns down his sins; and it still remains the ever-pure divinity as the fire-god; he is untainted by the sins of such devotees.
So too, a sage of perfect realization should accept food of everyone, burn down his sins and bless the giver. Though fire has no specific form of its own, when it is associated with fuel that burns, it assumes such apparent forms. So too, the true Self, though formless in itself, appears in the forms of deities, human beings, animals and trees when it is associated with the respective physical structures. The source of all forms in the universe, as also their end, remains ever mysterious. All the things are manifest only in between their origin and their end. Their source and end is the true Self, which is eternal, unchanging, unmanifest and omnipresent. The nature of the element of fire is such.
The manifest fire transforms the various things it consumes into the same ash. So too, the wisdom of self-realization rejects the manifest forms and properties of things as illusion and realizes their one original essence as itself. Thus the element of fire is my fourth guru.

6) Moon

The various phases of one’s material life, beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time.

Another interpretation
The moon waxes and wanes and yet never loses its essence, totality, or shape. From watching the moon, I learned that waxing and waning-rising and falling, pleasure and pain, loss and gain-are simply phases of life. While passing through these phases, I never lose awareness of my true Self. (Source: The Himalayan Masters: A Living Tradition by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD)

Another interpretation
Moon is like the man. While a man appears to pass through the stages of infancy, boyhood, youth, maturity and old age, his real self remains unchanged. All changes pertain only to body and not to the self. Again, the moon only reflects the light of the sun, but has no such of its own. So too, the soul or mind of man is only a reflection of the light of awareness of the real Self.

7) Sun

The sun is my seventh guru. With its bright rays, the sun draws water from everything, transforms it into clouds, and then distributes it as rain without favor. Rain falls on forests, mountains, valleys, deserts, oceans, and cities. Like the sun, I learned how to gather knowledge from all sources, transform that knowledge into practical wisdom, and share it with all without preferring some recipients and excluding others. 

Another Interpretation
Just as the sun evaporates large quantities of water by its potent rays and later returns the water to the earth in the form of rain, similarly, a saintly person accepts all types of material objects with his material senses, and at the appropriate time, when the proper person has approached him to request them, he returns such material objects. Thus, both in accepting and giving up the objects of the senses, he is not entangled.
Even when reflected in various objects, the sun is never divided, nor does it merge into its reflection. Similarly, although the soul is reflected through different material bodies, the soul remains undivided and non-material.

Another Interpretation
From the sun, that takes water from the ocean by evaporating it and returning it as life-giving rain water, Dattatreya realized that through the sense-organs one can take in the essence of the objects of perception without being obsessed with the external form of the object. Its light is reflected in gutters, rivers, streams, puddles, and looks different according to the contents and qualities of the water, but in itself it is the same. So to, the atman in different bodies seems to take on the qualities of the body, but in reality it is the same one everywhere. The sun brought to his mind qualities of egolessness and omnipresence.

8) Pigeon

My eighth guru is a flock of pigeons. One pigeon fell into a hunter's net and cried in despair. Other pigeons tried to rescue it and got caught, too. From these pigeons, I learned that even a positive reaction, if it springs from attachment and emotion, can entangle and ensure. I must give a second thought to my emotional responses, especially if they are related to protecting my own group. (Source: The Himalayan Masters: A Living Tradition by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD)

Another Interpretation
Once a pair of pigeons lived together on a tree. They bred their young and were bringing them up with deep affection and love. One day, a hunter caught the young fledglings in a snare. The ladybird, which returned from the forest with food for its young ones, saw their plight and, unable to leave them, she leapt in the snare to share their fate. Shortly after, the male pigeon turned up and, unable to bear the separation from its sweetheart, it too jumped in the snare and met its end. Reflecting on this, I realized how, even after being born as an intelligent human being, man is caught in the coils of possessiveness and brings about his own spiritual destruction. The self, which is originally free, when associated with the body sense, gets identified with it, and thus gets caught in the endless cycle of birth, death and misery.

Another Interpretation
From a pigeon that had little fledglings, which when caught in a net by a hunter, cried piteously, luring the mother to her death, Dattatreya realized the dangers of samskara. Too much involvement in samskara results in the destruction of spirituality. It was attachment to the family that was responsible for the destruction of spirituality. It was attachment to the family that was responsible for the destruction of the bird. Our samsara too, consisting of our prejudices, our desires, our passions, that are born of us and from out family, destroy the spirituality within us. The higher yearning is overwhelmed by preconceived notions, rigidity of mind and intellectual clutter.

9) Python

My ninth guru is the python who catches and eats its prey, and then doesn't hunt again for a long time. It taught me that once my need has been met, I must be satisfied and not make myself miserable running after the objects of my desire. 

Another Interpretation
Following the example of the python, one should give up material endeavors and accept for one’s maintenance food that comes of its own accord, whether such food be delicious or tasteless, ample or meager.

If at any time food does not come, then a saintly person should fast for many days without making endeavor. He should understand that by God’s arrangement he must fast. Thus, following the example of the python, he should remain peaceful and patient.

A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest.

10) Ocean

A saintly sage is happy and pleasing in his external behavior, whereas internally he is most grave and thoughtful. Because his knowledge is immeasurable and unlimited he is never disturbed, and thus in all respects he is like the tranquil waters of the unfathomable and unsurpassable ocean.

During the rainy season the swollen rivers rush into the ocean, and during the dry summer the rivers, now shallow, severely reduce their supply of water; yet the ocean does not swell up during the rainy season, nor does it dry up in the hot summer. In the same way, a saintly devotee who has accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the goal of his life sometimes will receive by providence great material opulence, and sometimes he will find himself materially destitute. However, such a devotee of the Lord does not rejoice in a flourishing condition, nor is he morose when poverty-stricken.

Another interpretation
The ocean, which is the abode of the waters, receives and assimilates water from all the rivers in the world and never overflows its boundaries. It taught me that no matter what experiences I go through in life, no matter how many kicks and blows I receive, I must maintain my discipline.

11) Moth

Drawn by light, moth flies from its dwelling to sacrifice itself in the flame. It taught me that once I see the dawn, I must overcome my fear, soar at full speed, and plunge into the flame of knowledge to be consumed and transformed.

Another Interpretation
I often observed that the moth is tempted by fire to jump in it and get burnt down. So too, the unthinking man is enticed by the illusory pleasures of the senses and thus gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth and death. On the other hand, the wise one, when he catches even a glimpse of the fire of wisdom, leaves everything aside, leaps in it and burns down the illusion of being a limited self.

12) Honey Bee

Just as the honeybee takes nectar from all flowers, big and small, an intelligent human being should take the essence from all religious scriptures.

Another Interpretation
My twelfth guru is a bumblebee who takes only the tiniest drops of nectar from the flowers. Before accepting even that much, it hums and hovers and dances, creating an atmosphere of joy around the flower. It not only sings the song of cheerfulness; it also gives more to the flowers than it takes. It pollinates the plants and helps them prosper by flying from one flower to another. I learned from the bumblebee that I should take only a little from nature and that I should do so cheerfully, enriching the source from which I receive sustenance.

Another Interpretation
Honeybee wanders from flower to flower and, without hurting them in the least, draws honey. So too, a spiritual seeker should study all the Holy Scriptures but retain in his heart only that which is essential for his spiritual practice.

Another Interpretation
Flying from flower to flower, taking honey only for its immediate need, leaving the flowers unbruised and unhurt, the idea of bhiksha was born to Dattatreya. Not storing for the future, taking what was given voluntarily and offering goodwill in return, was the concept of bhiksha.

13) Elephant

Once I saw a wild elephant being trapped. A tame female elephant in season was the bait. Sensing her presence, the wild male emerged from its domain and fell into a pit that had been cleverly concealed with branches and heaps of leaves. Once caught, the wild elephant was tamed to be used by others. This elephant is my fourteenth guru because he taught me to be careful with my passions and desires. Worldly charms arouse our sensory impulses and, while chasing after the sense cravings, the mind gets trapped and enslaved, even thought it is powerful. 

14) Honey Gatherer

The fourteenth guru was a honey-gatherer. The bee speeds his time making honey which the honey-gatherer enjoys. Dattatreya realized that most often people spend their lifetimes gathering possessions in the faint hope that they will give them happiness and security.

Not only do these possessions not give any inner security, but the majority of people are so busy gathering possessions that they do not have time to enjoy them. They are enjoyed by other people. What a waste of time, energy and emotional investment, felt Dattatreya. Precious time should be spent, not in acquiring but in reaching the inner self.

15) Deer

On one occasion Dattatreya watched a deer. Nimble and swift of foot, it was on guard and alert. A hunter who failed to catch it and then realized that the animal was interested in or distracted by music. Knowing its vulnerability, he distracted it and caught it.

Any vulnerability is a weakness on the spiritual path. One loses alertness. Ekagrata or one-pointedness is lost. In no time, the sadhak who has raised himself with great effort is plunged into rajas and tamas. One should always be aware of one's vulnerable point and be alert on the path so that one does not go astray.

Another Interpretation
The deer, with its keen sense of hearing. It listens intently and is wary of all noises, but is lured to its doom by the melody of the deer hunter's flute.

Like the deer, we keep our ears alert for every bit of news, rumor, and gossip, and are skeptical about much that we hear. But we become spellbound by certain words, which, due to our desires, attachments, cravings, and vasanas (subtle impressions from the past), we delight to hear. This tendency creates misery for others and ourselves.

16) Fish


The fish that swallows a baited hook and is caught by the fisherman. This world is like bait. As long as I remember the episode of the fish, I remain free of the hook. 

Another Interpretation
The fish greedily swallows bait and is at once caught by the angle-hook. From this, I realized how man meets his destruction by his craving for delicious food. When the palate is conquered, all else is conquered. Besides, there is a positive feature in the fish. It never leaves its home, i.e. water. So too, man should never loose sight of his true Self, but should ever have his being in it. Thus the fish became my twelfth guru.

17) Pingala

The seventeenth guru was a courtesan called Pingala. On one occasion Pingala waited for her lover in great anguish and restlessness. Long did she wait, but he did not come. At one point she became utterly disgusted with herself and thought, 'It is because of my desire and expectation that I suffer.' At the height of suffering; she turned her awareness within and a great transformation took place in her. 'Had I but sought the divine beloved with the same ardor, I would not be in this plight now/ she thought to herself.

Thus a great vairagya (dispassion) arose in her. Leaving her desires aside, cutting asunder all expectations in one flash with the sword of viveka, she took to the spiritual path.

Dattatreya was inspired by Pingala's life, the lessons she learned from her suffering, the ease with which she dropped her ignorance, like the dropping of a garment and the heights to which her consciousness soared, free of desires, with the twin wings of viveka and vairagya.

Another Interpretation
A prostitute who knows that she doesn't love her customers, nor do they love her. Yet she waits for them and, when they come, enacts the drama of love. She isn't satisfied with the artificial love she gives and receives, nor with the payment she is given. I realized that all humans are like prostitutes and the world, like the customers, is enjoying us. The payment is always inadequate and we feel dissatisfied. Thus, I became determined not to live like a prostitute. Instead, I will live with dignity and self-respect, not expecting this world to give me either material or internal satisfaction, but to find it myself by going within.

18) Small Bird

Dattatreya watched a small sparrow flying with a piece of food in its beak and saw it encounter a big bird. Pursued by the big bird, the little sparrow dropped its food and escaped while the former pounced on the food. He realized the wisdom behind the instinctive action of the bird, that when the enemy is stronger, one should not hang onto possessions. Not only is this true concerning material possessions but also of emotions.

When a strong emotion so overpowers one, it is not wise to fight with the mind at that stage. It is best to let it pass while witnessing it in a detached fashion, so that the energy associated with it settles down.

The sadhak needs to build up his foundation systematically and stabilize it before he or she is ready to face the giant waves of the ocean of the mind. It is said, "Discretion is the better part of valour", and, 'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread". One must be aware of one's limitations in the early stages of sadhana lest one get burned out for lack of patience.

Another interpretation
My eighteenth guru is a little bird who was flying with a worm in its beak. Larger birds flew after him and began pecking him. They stopped only when the little bird dropped the worm. Thus, I learned that the secret of survival lies in renunciation, not in possession.

19) A Child

The nineteenth guru was a little child Dattatreya saw playing relaxed and untouched by the past. A child lives from moment to moment. He does not remember the past, nor does he dream of the future. All of him is present at every moment. There is no tension in play, no competition, just sheer joy and fun and celebration, like the flowering of the trees. The spiritual path too can be light and full of celebration. The sadhak should be alert against the dangers of succumbing to the heaviness of the ego. It is for this reason that santhosh, contentment, is one of the qualities of a disciple.

Another interpretation
My nineteenth guru is the baby that cries when it is hungry and stops when it suckles at its mother's breast. When the baby is full, it stops feeding and nothing its mother does can induce it to take more milk. I learned from this baby to demand only when I really need. When it's provided, I must take only what I require and then turn my face away.

20)  A Young Woman and her Bangles

A young woman whom I met when I was begging for alms is the twentieth Guru. She told me to wait while she prepared a meal. Her bracelets jangled as she cooked, so she removed one. But the noise continued, so she took off all her bracelets, one by one, until only one remained. Then there was silence. Thus, I learned that wherever there is a crowed, there is noise, disagreement, and dissension. Peace can be expected only in solitude.

Another interpretation
The twentieth guru was a young girl who was alone at home when she had unexpected visitors. Brought up in a tradition where the unexpected guest, atithi, is regarded as divine, she seated them with respect and then went into the inner room to prepare food for them. While pounding the rice her glass bangles made a noise knocking against each other. One by one she broke them so that the noise would not disturb her guests, until she had just two on her arm. When these too made a noise she broke one so that she had just one.

In a flash Dattatreya understood that one should walk alone on the spiritual path. Even a close, silent companion can create mental noise that prevents the great silence from taking place.

21) Snake

The twenty-first guru was the snake which taught two things. One was to abandon crowds. The second was that familiarity and the known blunt awareness and create attachment.

The lesson also applies to the mind. Shun the crowds within oneself, the market place within, and move closer to an uncluttered state of consciousness. Do not hold on to anything known, whether a thought, or an emotion. This will help the sadhak keep his awareness totally in every moment, unconditioned by yesterdays.

Another Interpretation
A snake that makes no hole for itself, but who rests in holes other creatures have abandoned, or curls up in the hollow of a tree for a while, and then moves on. From this snake, I learned to adjust myself to my environment and enjoy the resources of nature without encumbering myself with a permanent home. Creatures in nature move constantly, continually abandoning their previous dwellings. Therefore, while floating along the current of nature, I find plenty of places to rest. Once I am rested, I move on.

22) Archer

The one-pointed concentration of an archer reminded Dattatreya of the importance of sattwa guna and the unruffled ekagrata of a seeker. One is reminded of the Mundaka Upanishad which states, ‘Om is the bow, atman is the arrow and the target is Brahman,’ The archer was Dattatreya's twenty-second guru.

Another interpretation

My twenty-second guru is an arrow maker who was so absorbed in shaping his arrowheads that the king and his entire army passed without attracting his attention. Thus I learned from the arrow makes to be absorbed in the task at hand, no matter how big or small. The more one-pointed my focus, the greater my absorption, and the greater my absorption, the more subtle my awareness. The goal is subtle, and can only be grasped by subtle awareness.

23) Spider

The twenty-third guru was a spider. The spider weaves its web with saliva from itself, and when it is done with it, takes it back into itself. This reminded him of the Brahman, the divinity that throws the cosmos cut of itself and at the end of an akaal gathers it back into itself.

Another interpretation
My twenty-third guru is a little spider who built itself a nice cozy web. When a larger spider chased it, it rushed to take refuge in its web. But it ran so fast that it got entangled and was swallowed by the bigger spider. Thus, I learned that we create webs for ourselves by trying to build a safe haven, and as we race along the threads of these webs, we become entangled and are consumed. There is no safety to be found in the complicated webs of our actions.

24) Wasp

The twenty-fourth guru is the wasp, bhramara keelaka. The wasp carries its caterpillar to a safe corner and closes it up in its nest and goes on buzzing about it. The young caterpillar is so frightened by the incessant buzzing, that it cannot think of anything else than the buzzing wasp. The insect is almost meditating on the wasp in its terror, until it takes on the characteristic of its tormentor and itself become a wasp. Brahma vidya brahmeva bhavati – To know Brahman is to become Brahman.