Once, while Dattatreya was roaming in a forest happily, he met king Yadu, who on seeing Dattatreya so happy, asked him the secrets of his happiness and also the name of his Guru. Dattatreya said that the Atman alone was his Guru, and yet, he had learned wisdom from twenty-four individuals and that they were, therefore, his Gurus.
Dattatreya then mentioned the names of his twenty-four Gurus and spoke of the wisdom that he had learnt from each:
“The names of my twenty-four teachers are: 1. Earth, 2. Water, 3. Air, 4. Fire, 5. Sky, 6. Moon, 7. Sun, 8. Pigeon, 9. Python, 10. Ocean, 11. Moth, 12. Bee, 13. Honey-gatherer, 14. Elephant, 15. Deer, 16. Fish, 17. Dancing-girl Pingala, 18. Raven, 19. Child, 20. Maiden, 21. Serpent, 22. An arrow-maker, 23. Spider and 24. Beetle.”....
The king was highly impressed by the teachings of Dattatreya. He abandoned the world and practised constant meditation on the Self.
Dattatreya was absolutely free from intolerance or prejudice of any kind. He learnt wisdom from whatever source it came. All seekers after Wisdom should follow the example of Dattatreya.