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Why Jackal Is Associated With Hindu God Dattatreya?

The association between the jackal and Hindu God Dattatreya originates from a significant event in Dattatreya's life during his twelve-year stay on Kala Dungar hill in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. During this period, Dattatreya would distribute food offerings (prasada) he received to both his devotees and the jackals inhabiting the barren region.

In a particularly trying time of famine, when Dattatreya had no prasada to distribute, he displayed an exceptional act of compassion and selflessness. Despite his own hunger, he offered his hand to the starving jackals as a gesture of kindness and generosity. However, according to one version of the story, the jackals refused his hand.

In response to this refusal, Dattatreya acknowledged the nobility of the jackals' character and declared that henceforth, they would be his symbol. He instructed his devotees to offer prasad to the jackals for the fulfillment of their wishes. This act symbolizes Dattatreya's profound compassion and his recognition of the interconnectedness of all beings.

As a result of this incident, even today, the practice of offering prasada, particularly sweet rice, to the local jackals at the Kala Dungar Temple continues. This tradition serves as a reminder of Dattatreya's teachings of compassion, selflessness, and the importance of caring for all living beings.