Rekindling the traditions: History of modern Dattātreya Saṃpradāya
This research project deals with the history of the small sub-branches of the modern Dattātreya Saṃpradāya (i.e. cult of the god Dattātreya) in the region of western and middle India which have received a wide acclaim in the last few decades. These branches are becoming popular and are keeping the Saṃpradāya alive, especially in the Marathi speaking regions, through the interpretation of texts, creation of new texts, various observances and ritual activism. Maintaining the social hierarchy expected to the brahmanical social system, these traditions are attracting people from all castes. This study will trace how the Gurus/leaders of these new traditions are identified with the assimilative nature and other features (i.e. magic, healing and yogic practice) of the god Dattātreya. I will create a typology of these small schools within the tradition along with their religious concerns, affiliation, influences, and relation with contemporary religious practices of respective region and will trace the relevance of these traditions with the socio-political reforms, revivalist movements in order to locate the tradition itself in the socio-religious sphere.