DATTATREYA is considered to be the incarnation of either Vishnu or the allpower ful Trinity of Hindu mythology viz. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The story of his birth and his life is to be found in various texts, Dattatreya is the son of the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya. The sage practised his penance in a severe manner and his power grew so much that ultimately flames began to emerge from his jatas.
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, greatly pleased at his tapa made their appearance before him and asked him as to what he desired. On his replying that he wanted nothing more than a son of divine powers, having the qualities or 'gunas’ of all the three of them, they promised him that in the second part or yuga of the Vaivaswat manvantar, children would be born to him who would be incarnations of themselves.
Author - Madhukar Shripad Mate