Bhagwan Shiv

Eligibility to achieve Salvation-Examples of Kaushiki and Anasuya as Pativratas

 Son Sumati explained to his father about the causation of the State of Bliss viz. Yoga which conquers ‘Bhautika Padaardhaas’ (physical material) /worldly shackles) so that there would be no involvement of the cycle of births and deaths. In this context, he cited the example of Dattatreya Deva. There was a Brahmana named Kaushika who was a leper by virtue of his fate but he had Kaushiki as the ‘Pativrata’ devoted to her husband. She would perform all physical services to the husband of cleaning, washing and all other ablutions to this extent of removing body rejects and the blood oozing from his wounds.

The disabled husband was short tempered and nagging but she considered him as her Deva and worshipped him, fulfilling each and every desire of his. Once the husband longed to be in company of a lady whom he had seen in the morning. The wife searched for her all over with a view to beg her to be with him despite his contageous disease; she would try to locate her somehow, offer her lot of money and also try to convince her in the name of mercy! The wife carried the husband on her shoulders at the night time but unfortunately due to darkness, she tripped on the road side and his legs hit a Sage Mandya in deep meditation. The angry Sage gave a curse that whosoever disturbed his meditation would die before the Sun rise by the next morning. Having heard the curse of the Sage, the ‘Pativrata’ made the return ‘Pratigya’ (challenging vow) that Sun would not appear on the Sky and the night would never be terminated. All the Devas were frightened at the Challenge of the Pativrata and wondered what would happen to the entire Universe in the absence of Swadhyaaya, Vashatkaara, Swadha and Swaahaa viz. Sun God, as a result of this unfortunate development! In the absence of days and nights, there would not be months and Seasons, no ‘Ayanaas’ (Uttarayana and Dakshinaayana), no count of Years, and no concept of ‘Kaala Gyana’ or of Time. If there were no Sun Rise, there would not be ‘Snaanaas’ nor daily Rituals, no Yagnas, no offerings to Devas through Agni (Fire), no crops to generate food due to drought and thus Universal Balance would be shaken up. Devas prayed to Brahma who advised them to approach the ‘Maha Pativrata’. Devi Anasuya, the wife of Sage Atri and daughter of Kardama Muni. Anasuya advised Kaushiki about the enormous loss to the World as a result of her Pratigna. Women have the unique task of performing service to husbands while men have other duties like Rituals and that she was proud of Kaushiki as a Pativrata. Even Gods descended to request her and that itself was a proof of her achievement. But the most essential task at that hour would be to facilitate Sun to rise and hence should withdraw her Pratigya. Finally Anasuya declared:

Yatha Bhatru Samamna anyamaham pashyami Devatam,
 thena satyaena viproyam punarjeevatvanamah.

(If I had never known any Deity as important as my husband, then the Brahmana Kaushik would be reborn afresh devoid of any disease!).

Thanks to Anasuya’s intervention, the crisis was averted and the Devas blessed her that Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara would be born with Rajasika Guna as Soma (Moon), Vishnu as Dattatreya with Satvika Guna and Siva as Durvasa with Tamasika Guna.Avadhuta Dattatreya as an Avatar of distinction

Considered as ‘Dutta’ or awarded by Trimurtis and born to Sage‘Atreya’ and Sati Anasuya, Dattatreya is a combined ‘Avatar’ (Incarnation). He was a mystic Saint Par Excellence called ‘Avadhuta’ or of the eccentric type. The word ‘Ava’ denotes ‘bad materials’ and ‘dhuta’ denotes ‘washed away’ thus meaning that he washed away all bad things.Such a Person is stated to be of Pure consciousness in human form.  [Depicted as a Three headed Avatar, representing the Three Gods of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva; the Three ‘Gunas’ of Rajasik, Satvik and Tamasik nature; Three Stages of Concsiousness viz. waking, dreaming and dreamless  Sleep; and the Thee Time Capsules of Past, Present and Future, Dattatreya is picturised as seated in meditation along with his Shakti, under a ‘Udumbara’ Tree of fulfillment of desires on a Rock- a Gyana Peetha, along with Four Dogs denoting the Four Vedas.He was considered as the Guru of ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ or the Eight-folded Yoga comprising Yama (Truthfulness and Morality), Niyama (Cleanliness and discipline), Asana (Right Posture), Pranayama (Control of Life Force), Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses from Wordly objects and desires), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Alignment of Super Consciousness with Almighty). The main Principles of ‘Dattatreya-following’ are Self-Reailisation and of God, Inter-relation of God-Man and Creation, Overcoming Ego by Yoga and Renonuciation, and Gyana or Enlightenment and the inavitability of a Guru.] Even from the childhood, Dattatreya was full of ‘Vairagya’ (Renunciation), but his followers and admirers were several. He always desired to have privacy, introspection and aloofness and shunned adulation, popularity and proximity. That was why he avoided company and preferred staying indoors. With a view to escape from the attention of Muni Kumars, he meditated on the banks of a Sarovar incognito in disguise for innumerable years. He was inside water practising ‘Ahstanga Yoga’ (Eight Limbed Yoga) and finally emerged with a façade of a being a drunkard, a debauch and a degraded person devoid of morals and social values. He displayed nudity with a youthful and coquettish woman, in obscene poses, while drinking and loose-mannered fashion. Despite these efforts of being corrupt, care-less and licentious, the followers of Dattatreya did not get deterred but made great efforts to get closer to him. As King Kartaveeryarjuna, the thousand armed tyrant who was a great devotee of Dattatreya was killed by Parasurama as the latter’s father the great Sage Jamadagni’s death was avenged, the Ministers and Royal Family members sought to install the Prince Arjun as the King, but he refused as Kingship would lead to violence, lack of mental peace and death. There upon, Sage Garg advised the reluctant Prince to visit Sahyadri Mountain where Mahatma Dattatreya stayed as he was the incarnation of Bhagavan Vishnu and the illustrious son of Sage Atri and Sadhvi Anasuya an outstanding Maha Pativrata. Sage Garg told Prince Arjun that Indra was badly defeated in a battle with ‘Daityas’(Demons) and consulted Deva Guru Brihaspati who replied that Indra should immediately worship and seek an audience with Dattatreya. Indra approached the latter but he said that he was not in a fit condition as he was drunk in the amorous and unclean company of a woman. Being aware of the misleading statement of Dattatreya, Indra replied that just as the powerful and auspicious Sun rays did not become impure by touching either a chandala or a Brahmana, the holy union of Lakshmi and Vishnu could never ever be construed as unclean and unholy! Mahatma Dattatreya smiled since He was only testing Indra’s sincerity. He then asked to challenge the most leading Daityas to a Battle in His presence at His Place; the Daityas assembled (into a trap) and asked to show up in the presence of Maha Lakshmi. The Daityas were mesmerised Devi Lakshmi’s form and face and even forgetting that they were challenged to a fight, became extremely passionate and when she hinted that she would like to leave to her abode, pushed aside her servants and lifted the ‘palki’on their heads. Dattatreya once again smiled and told Indra and Devas that for sure the Daityas would be defeated now as they kept Lakshmi on their head indicating that she would leave them all now. He explained:

 Nrunaam paadasthita Lakshminilayam samprapachhyati,
sakthnoscha samsthita vastram ratnam naanaa-vidham vasuh/
Ratnam naana-vidham vasuh/
kalatrada krodhasthapatya  Manorathanpuurayati purushaanaam hrudisthithaa/ Lakshmirlakshmivataam sreshthaa kantastha kantha bhushanam,
Abheeshta bandhu daaraischa tatha slesham pravaasibhih/
Mrushtaannam Vaakya laavanya majnaamavitathaam tatha,
 Mukhastithaa kavitvam cha yacchhatyu-dadhi sambhavaa/
sirotata samtyajati tathonyam yaatichashrayam,
seyam shirogata daityanaparisthitajaati saampratam/

(Devi Lakshmi when falls on the feet of human beings blesses them with happy homes, falls on either of the thighs bestows clothes and jewellery, on secret place blesses with life-partners, on the lap gives children, on the heart fulfills all the desires, on the neck gives ornaments on the necks, beloved distant relations and good company of women; if Lakshmi falls on the face of human beings she approves attraction and brightness of the visage, accomplishments and a literary outlook. But if Lakshmi falls on one’s head, then she is ready to leave the person concerned.) Thus, Dattatreya advised Devas to take up arms and attack since his vision would further weaken the Demons; also, when the Demons have committed the sin of becoming highly passionate over another person’s wife, their strength would get diluted. Devas attack over the Demons was readily succsessful and Indra regained his Throne in Swarga Loka. Sage Garg advised Prince Arjun, the son of Kartaveeryarjuna to pray to Dattatreya who gave the Prince considerable confidence and courage to face the institution of Kingship boldly.

Markandeya Purana Home   Next: Dhruva-Kuvalaashva and Ashvatara Examples of Devotion, Duty and Determination

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