Anasuya, someone who is free from the worst evils of envy and jealousy, was the daughter of Devahuti and sage Kardama. She was the sister of sage Kapila who happened to be her brother and her teacher as well. Anasuya, like her name, was free of feelings like jealousy, anger, envy and led a peaceful life with her husband in a small hermitage. The ashrama was located in the southern part of the Chitrakuta forest. This description is prominently found in the great epic of Ramayana. She was the wife of Atri. It is mentioned in the Hindu epics that she was the daughter of Prasuti & Daksha while some places mention Devahuti and Kardama. We can see that Anasuya’s story makes its mention in the Skanda 3 of Bhagavata Purana.
Anasuya was praised by Narada Rishi for her devotion towards her husband in many verses and hymns. Lakshmi, Saraswati & Parvati happened to read these and requested their husbands to ask for her permission to pay her a visit in human form and learn these qualities. The Trimurti went to Anasuya in a sage’s avatar and asked her permission for their wives in the form of donation. They put a condition which was that she would be naked while serving them. She was shocked by this condition but after a few minutes of thoughts and her yogic powers, she understood who they were. She changed them into 6-month-old infants and fed them with motherly affection.
The goddesses patiently waited for their husbands to show up and when they did not, they decided to travel themselves to her hermitage. They found their husbands in the form of children. They begged Anasuya to bring them back to their normal avatar. There are various other versions of this. It is believed that the Trimurti were pleased with her humbleness, devotion and compassion towards her husband and so they granted them a boon. Anasuya then asked the Trimurti to be born to her as her own children and a daughter whose name would be Shubhatreyi. One more version of this story suggests that the Trimurti turned themselves into Anusuya’s three-headed son – Dattatreya.
Anusuya had great convincing powers and was known to speak of logic and intelligence. She was a very intelligent lady when it came to that. This can be seen very clearly from the following incident: Kaushika, who happened to be a Brahmin, was fond of visiting a prostitute. He had a devoted wife and was a brahmin which did not allow him such an act. He was as if addicted to the prostitute, he wanted to see her from time to time. He got leprosy which made the prostitute stop meeting with him and he was forced to go back to the devoted wife. He asked his wife to take him to the prostitute. While walking through the dark forest at night, Kaushika tripped on the sage Mandavya who was lying down on a spike in the forest.
Sage Mandavya was angered by this and cursed Kaushik to die before the sunrise. His wife had some other plans. She was so much in love with him that she stopped the sunrise with the power of her love and affection only. This created havoc in the universe and in turn, forced the gods to go to the supreme Lord Brahma. Brahma knew that there is no one better than Anasuya to defuse this situation and convince Kaushik’s wife. Brahma was right. Anasuya managed to convince Kaushik’s wife and let the sunrise happen for things to fall into order again. She then brought Kaushik back to life after the curse of Mandavya had faded. This made Lord Brahma very happy and became an advocate of Anasuya’s impeccable powers.