Showing posts with label Atri Rishi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atri Rishi. Show all posts

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Atri Rishi

Atri Rishi 

Atri Rishi is the final member of the Saptarishi, or Seven Great Sages we will cover in this series, and he is one of seven mind-born (manasa-putra) sons of Lord Brahma in the present Manvantara. He was born from Brahma's eyes. He is married to Anasuya, the daughter of Kardama Prajapati. Brahmarshi Atri is the seer in the fifth Mandala of Rigveda. Also known as 'the Devourer', Atri Rishi is an embodiment of the power of detachment.

Considered to be one of the great discoverers of sacred mantram, Atri Maharishi's family line had several other greater sages and munis, including Shaavaashva, Avishtir, Purvaatithi, Mudgala, Uddaalaki, Shaakalaayani, and Chaandogya.

When the sons of Lord Brahma were destroyed by Shiva's curse, Atri was born again from the flames of Brahma's sacrificial fire. In both manifestations, his wife was Anasuya. They had three sons, Datta, Durvasas and Soma in his first life, and a son named Aryaman and a daughter, Amala, in the second.

Atri Rishi is mentioned several places in the Mahabharata, particularly in the battlefield pastime wherein Dronacharya fought on mercilessly, in streams of blood and carnage, after Bhisma's fall. Sage Atri became very concerned that if Drona continued in his frenzy, he would cause misery and human destruction beyond all proportions.

Atri along with his associate Rishi Gautama came onto the battlefield, with five of their companions. This was at the time Sri Krsna said that Ashwathama had been killed, hoping to discourage Drona from fighting any longer. Sage Atri approached him and in great kindness, encouraged him to step back and cease fighting, returning his focus instead to the pursuit of sanatana-dharma.

The Rishi's sage advice caused Dronacharya to end his killing rage. Sitting down on the battlefield, he began to meditate on the Lord, closing his eyes and never opening them again until he left his body. Atri Rishi's kindness is credited with saving him.

In the manuscript illustration above and the painting below, we see a pastime from Bhagavat Purana in which the Trimurti -- Lord Visnu, Brahma and Shiva -- came to test Atri Rishi's wife, Anasuya. The Deities came to test her because she was well known for being the embodiment of chastity.

One day, the Trimurti personalities came to the asrama of Atri Rishi in the disguise of brahmanas. They told Anasuya they would like to be fed, however there was a condition -- she would have to be unclothed to serve them.

Without any hesitation, the Rishi's chaste wife agreed to this condition. She set about arranging nice foodstuffs, then employing her pativrita shakti, she turned the three brahmanas into children. She then proceeded, in all unclothed decorum, to serve her guests.

Being very pleased with Anasuya, the Trimurti deities requested her to return to her normal form, and to lift the shakti so They might return to their own. She did so, and they blessed her and Atri Rishi to have three sons: Dattatreya, Chandraatri and Krishnaatri (Durvasa). Durvasa's pastime confronting Ambarisa is famously described in the Bhagavatam and Mahabharata.

Atri Rishi played a role, this time during Rama-lila.Lord Rama visited Atri Maharishi's ashram during His long years of exile. It was Atri Rishi who, after offering Him great hospitality, showed Rama the way to Dandakaranya forest.