Contents: Preface. 1. The genealogy of Dattatreya. 2. Puranic mythology of Dattatreya. 3. Dattatreya in minor Upanisads. 4. Dattatreya in the literature of the Mahanubhavas. 5. The Guru-caritra and the rise of the Dattatreya cult. 6. Eknath, Dasopant, and the unfolding of the Dattatreya movement. 7. The Tripura-rahasya. 8. The Avadhuta-gita. 9. The development of Dattatreya’s iconography. Conclusion. General bibliography. Selected bibliography on Dattatreya and his movement. Index.
From the preface: “This study presents the main phases in the making of the Hindu deity Dattatreya, from its Puranic emergence as an immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara, up to its celebration as the trimurti of Brahma, Visnu, and Siva. Focusing on the origin and development of this particular deity, one is brought into touch with virtually all major religious strands of that complex network of religions called Hinduism. Its assimilative force is witnessed by the variety of communities which appropriated Dattatreya from within an overall nondual philosophical framework: from the world of antinomian Tantrism to the world of Brahminical ritual orthodoxy, passing through the renunciatory milieux of Yoga, the Mahanubhava sect, Vaisnava devotionalism, Saiva asceticism, Saktism and Devi worship. Although one might envision the presence of plural Dattatreyas, construed in different ways within each given community, I would rather opt for the existence of a single multifaceted deity, constantly absorbing new traits in an ongoing process of cross-fertilization. Significantly, Dattatreya’s catalyzing force extends beyond the boundaries of Hinduism, also being linked to popular Sufism and Jainism.”
[Antonio Rigopoulos also wrote The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi.]