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I have heard that Lord Dattatreya has given liberation or spiritual guidance to Parshurama. What is the story behind that?

  • Can you elaborate more, what kind of liberation? Many sources suggest that Parashurama is still living. It will be good, should you provide some link. – iammilind Sep 14 '15 at 8:35
  • spiritual guidance – Mr. P Sep 14 '15 at 8:39
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Parashurama is considered an incarnation of Vishnu and so is Dattatreya. If you mean spiritual guidance or salvation then you might have heard from Tripura Rahasya.

The Tripura Rahasya (त्रिपुरा रहस्य) means The Mystery beyond the Trinity, is an ancient literary work in Sanskrit believed to have been narrated by Dattatreya to Parashurama. It is one of the treatise on Advaita school of classical Indian Metaphysics.

Here are the relevant texts on the interactions between the two.

The Tripura Rahasya expounds the teachings of the supreme spiritual truth. The highest truth was first taught by Lord Shiva to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu incarnated on earth as Sri Dattatreya, Lord of the Avadhutas, who taught this to Parasurama, who later taught it to Haritayana.

The Tripura Rahasya is a dialogue between Lord Dattatreya and Parasurama. It's also called the Haritayana Samhita after its author Haritayana, son of Harita.

In the same wiki, you may also refer the other story of how Dattatreya met Parashurama, who was going towards Ganga along with his mother & father(dead body) on both shoulders. Later he kills Kshatriyas and also challenges Shri Rama.

After encounter with Rama, Parasurama returned crest-fallen and on his way met an Avadhuta named Samvarta, the brother of Brihaspati who advised him to seek Dattatreya. Later he encountered Sri Dattatreya who instructed him in the Truth with added injunction that it should be communicated to Haritayana who would later seek the truth from him and so led him to salvation. Parasurama thus realised the Self by the guidance of Sri Datta and dwelt on the Malaya Hill in South India....

  • Wikipedia's assertion that the Tripura Rahasya is a text on Advaita is slightly misleading. The Tripura Rahasya advocates an Advaitic Shakta philosophy, which has some important differences from the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Adi Shankaracharya. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 11 '16 at 21:46
  • You may have heard of the Kashmiri Shaivite sect of Abhinavagupta. Despite its name that sect is not based on Shaiva Agamas, rather it originates from followers of Shakta Agamas that adopted Shiva as their Ishta Devata. But in any case, the Kashmiri Shaivite sect advocates a version of Advaita that rejects the Brahma Sutras (in stark contrast to Adi Shankaracharya). The philosophy of the Tripura Rahasya is the philosophy of Shaktas who basically share the Advaitic beliefs of the Kashmiri Shaivite sect except they don't do the "replacing Shakti with Shiva" move that Kashmiri Shaivites make. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 11 '16 at 21:51
  • By the way, there are also lots of Shaivites who don't subscribe to an Advaitic worldview at all, like Pashupata Shaivites and a lot of members of the Shaiva Siddhanta sect (with the exception of the Saiva Siddhanta Church which I discuss here). And similarly there are Shakta dualists, like those criticized by Madhvacharya and Baladeva Vidyabhushana as I discuss here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/9471/36 – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 11 '16 at 22:02

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