Various Hindu sects worship Dattatreya differently, although he is considered a form of the three deities known as Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Devotees believe that Dattatreya is not a deceased sage from ancient times, but is physically alive even today.
Considered a guru of all creation and environmental education, Dattatreya said he had 24 teachers that came from nature including the sky, the sea, fire and the honeybee.
Dattatreya gave the world what is now known as Ashtanga yoga: the eight-fold path of yoga that was codified by the sage, Patanjali:
- Yama: Integrity, ethics
- Niyama: Self-discipline and spiritual observance
- Asana: Posture or pose
- Pranayama: Breath control exercises
- Pratyahara: Withdrawal from the external world, detached from senses
- Dharana: Concentration
- Dhyana: Meditation, contemplation
- Samadhi: The state of being one with the Divine, ecstasy