Athri, personified satvic or pure good nature and transcended the three gunas. Anasuya, the devout consort of Athri, conquered envy, the mother of all vice.
The Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara, took birth as Dattatreya, to the couple Athri and Anasuya, pleased of their pure devotion. God thought of the need for a Guru who will serve as the guiding light to humans, whose minds, clouded by ignorance, were unable to discern what is good and bad and put them on the righteous path.
God manifested as Dattatreya, the form of Sat, Truth, Chit, Knowledge and Ananada, Bliss and initiated the lineage of Guru. The mission of Datta Avatara is to give all access to the spiritual wealth. Thus, He taught Self-Knowledge to the worthy and groomed them to become teachers of wisdom.
Lord Dattatreya observed the changes that were taking place in society, adapted His form to suit the changing times and incarnated as Akkalkot Maharaj, Nrusimha Saraswathi and Manik Prabhu and liberated people from sins with His wise teachings.
He lit the lamp of peace by preaching religious tolerance in Shirdi as Sai Baba. People who looked to Sai as an embodiment of alland as the total incarnation of Dattatreya are being blessed to tread the path of righteousness and joyousness, leading to liberation.