Lord Dattatreya encompasses the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, collectively known as Trimurti. The name Dattatreya can be divided into two words - "Datta" (meaning given) and "Atreya" referring to the sage Atri, his physical father.
The typical form in which the Lord Dattatreya appears is that of an ascetic with 3 heads & 6 arms (symbolizing the unification of the three Gods). His whole body is covered with Vibhuti (holy ash). He has an aura of a rising Sun around him and has lustrous Jatta (long hair) tied in a knot over his head. He is dressed in a deer skin and is a radiant and assuring figure for the devotees. His arms are seen to be holding various objects each of which has a spiritual connotation. Thus, he is seen with a Mala (rosary), Kamandalu (holy pot), Damaru (holy musical instrument), Trishul (trident), Shankh (conch) and Chakra (a holy weapon).
The Lord Brahma then created infinite sons, amongst whom, were the seven great Rishis (Sages). The senior most amongst them was the Atri Rishi. His wife Mahasati Anasuya was the daughter of the highly devoted and pious couple, Kardam Rishi and Devahuti. Atri Rishi & his wife Anasuya desired for a son, who would be an incarnation of Nirguna Parabrahma [the Infinite Supreme]. Atri Rishi performed tapasya [penance] standing on one leg for 100 years on the Ruksha mountain abjuring food and water. Pleased with his tapasya [penance], the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh appeared before him to grant him a boon.
On hearing Atri Rishi's desire, the Gods explained that since the Nirguna Parabrahma cannot be seen, they, as manifestation of the Nirguna [infinite / attributeless] have appeared. They blessed him saying that his wish would be fulfilled.
Dimensions: 4 inches (H) x 2.75 inches (L) x 1.5 inches (W) approx
Design: Made in heavy shining brass.
Brass is well known for its grasping capacity. It grasps the divine spirit upto 30%, when compared to other metals. The spiritual vibrations are attracted towards these shining idols easily.
Weight: 460 gms
Importance of Idol worship: Idols are not the idle fancies of sculptors, but shining channels through which the heart of the devotee is attracted to and flows towards God. Though the image is worshipped, the devotee feels the presence of the Lord in it and pours out his devotion unto it. Regular worship, Puja and other modes of demonstrating our inner feeling of recognition of Divinity in the idol unveils the Divinity latent in it. This is truly a wonder and a miracle. The picture comes to life. The idol speaks. It will answer your questions and solve your problems. The God in you has the power to awaken the latent Divinity in the idol. The lives of Mirabai, Sant Tukaram, Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Shri Yogananda are a few instances to prove the point. They proved beyond doubt that idol worship has its own brighter side and through simple faith and intense devotion one can realize God through it.
Idols are the "finite representation of the Infinite". As per Vishnu Samhita (ch 29, v 55-7), persuasively endorses the use of imagery (idols) and puts it: "Without a form how can God be mediated upon? If (He is) without any form, where will the mind fix itself? When there is nothing for the mind to attach itself to, it will slip away from meditation or will glide into a state of slumber. Therefore the wise will meditate on some form, remembering, however, that the form is a superimposition and not a reality."