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Atri - Sage Who Fathered Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva

Atri – Sage Who Fathered Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva

Atri is one of the Saptarishi known in ancient Indian culture. He was married to Anasuya. Anasuya Devi was a pure woman who practised severity and devotion and is known to have miraculous powers in her. Rishi Atri and Anasuya Devi lived in a small hermitage in the Chitrakoot forest. In the Treta Yuga particularly during Ramayana, Devi Anusuya took good care of Lord Rama and Sita when they visited them during their exile. Atri and Anasuya had three children – Dattatreya, Durvasa and Chandra.

There are various theories behind children. It is believed that Atri started performing penance when he was instructed to do so by a divine voice. The Trimurti – Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh were very impressed by his devotion and dedication. They appeared in front of him and blessed him with boons. He asked them to be born to him and hence came his three children.

Another story of their birth projects Atri’s wife Anasuya to be the protagonist. She is said to have saved the three supreme gods with her powers and in return, they were born to her as her children. Lord Brahma came to her as Chandra, Dattatreya was in fact Lord Vishnu and Rishi Durvasa was Shiva. Rigveda and various other ancient scriptures have the mention about Sage Atri. Shiva Purana describes the pair being one of the responsible ones to bring down river Ganga to earth. He is the creator of Mandala 5 of the Rigveda text. Atri, along with his sons and disciples, has given their fair share to Rigveda and other ancient Vedic texts. They wrote 87 hymns to worship Agni (Fire), Lord Indra, Maruts, Visvedevas, Mitra-Varuna and Asvins. The hymns in these mandalas are known as Atreyas.

There are various versions of Atri mentioned in Puranas. It is very difficult to pinpoint if it is the same Sage Atri we are talking about here. One very ancient scripture is Atri Samhita. It described the rules of conduct and is aimed towards brahmins of the Vaikhanasas traditions. Since the text is not available in a consistent format, one gets to refer to what is left of it now or what was left of it when the experts were studying it. Along with rules of conduct, the manuscript also speaks about Yoga, ways and ethics of living a good and healthy life. It explained concepts like self-restraint, charity and compassion.

Dama, Dana and Daya are the ways to living a wholesome life spiritually, mentally and ensuring a fit healthy life. Dama that is self-restraint speaks about the pain that is created by others in our lives. If someone causes you pain, you should not be offended and seek revenge. Learn to self-restraint yourself and let go of your negative emotions.

Dana is a charity. It explains that even if one has limited income, it should be given away in a liberal yet careful manner. One should have free spirit while performing dana and do not wish for something in exchange. It has to be a selfless act.

The last point is Daya which is compassion. Something the world lacks today. Rishi Atri has explained that one should treat everyone like they treat family or a close friend. We shall have compassion and empathy in our hearts for every living being in this world then it does not matter if it is someone you envy or even your enemy. These teachings of Rishi Atri are aspects that people have been following since they were known to people and qualities that each one should imbibe and practice in today’s world.

Click here to read about Gautama Maharishi – The Creator Of Godavari River.

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