Bhagawatam 172: The children of Yagna-Dakshina; austerities undertaken by Maharishi Atri

Srihari, the embodiment of Yagna and who is the Lord of Yagna and its mantras, was interested in marrying Dakshina who was born solely for him. This marriage was for the welfare of the universe.

This couple, Yagna and Dakshina, was blessed with 12 sons. They were Tośa, Pratośa, Santośa, Bhadra, Śānti, Idaspati, Idhma, Kavi, Vibhu, Svāhna, Sudeva and Rocana.

The offspring of Yagna and Dakshina are connected with the Yagna rituals. The hidden significance within their names is as under:

Tośa: This is the happiness that emerges in the patron (yajamāni) when he decides to conduct a Yagna.

Pratośa: This is the happiness enjoyed by the patron conducting the Yagna (Yajamāni) when it proceeds without any obstacles.

Santośa: This is the complete happiness that emerges upon the successful completion of the Yagna and upon offering Dakshina.

Bhadra: This is the special happiness that emerges when Vedic rituals are diligently abided by. This happiness is very auspicious.

Shanta: This is the total mental satisfaction obtained when the Yagna has been diligently completed.

Idaspati: He is the king who rules earth. Without a King, it is impossible to conduct Yagna rituals.

Idhma: This is the bundle of homa sticks used during the Yagna.

Kavi: This means complete knowledge pertaining to the Yagna and its procedures.

Vibhu: He is the person who possesses the expertise in conducting Yagnas.

Svāhna: These are the auspicious days when Yagna can be conducted.

Sudeva: He is the patron who conducts the Yagna. He is the form of the Lord.

Rocana: This is the illumination that arises in the patron (yajamani) upon completion of the Yagna.

During this rule of Swāyambhuva Manu, these 12 sons of Yagna were collectively known as Tushitas. They are the Devatas. There were 7 rishis headed by Marichi. Yagna became Indra i.e. the leader of the Devatas.

Priyavrata and Uttānapāda, the sons of Swāyambhuva Manu, were supremely valorous and powerful kings. Due to them their lineage prospered and expanded. They were the rulers of that Manvantara period.

Previously Swāyambhuva Manu had given his daughter Devahuti in marriage to Kardama Prajāpati. I have already explained her story. Thereafter he gave his third daughter Prasuti in marriage to Daksha Prajāpati. Their lineage expanded greatly and spread to all the three worlds.

We have discussed earlier that Kardama Prajāpati gave his 9 daughters in marriage to supreme saints (Brahma-rishis). I will now explain the lineage of these 9 daughters. Listen.

Kala was the first daughter of Kardama Prajāpati and Devahuti. She married Marichi Maharishi. They were blessed with two sons, Kaśyapa and Pūrnimā. The entire earth was filled with the descendants of these two sons.

Pūrnimā had two sons Viraja and Viśvaga and a daughter by name Devakulya. Devakulya undertook severe austerities and eventually washed the feet of Lord Srihari.  Due to this merit she was subsequently reborn as River Mandākini in heaven.

Atreḥ patny anasūyā trīñ jajñe suyaśasaḥ sutān

Dattaṁ durvāsasa somam ātmeśa-brahma-sambhavān 

Anasuya, the second daughter of Kardama Prajāpati and Devahuti, married Maharishi Atri. This couple was blessed with three sons viz., Dattātreya, Durvāsa and Chandra (Moon). These three, who were aspects of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma, obtained limitless fame” said Maharishi Maitreya.

At this juncture, a beautiful question arose in the heart of Vidura. He asked, “O Gurudeva, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, the most supreme amongst the Devatas, are responsible for the creation, sustenance and dissolution of this universe, isn’t it? What was the supreme mission, for which these three incarnated in the house of Maharishi Atri? Please explain this to me.”

Maharishi Maitreya replied, “Previously Lord Brahma ordered his son Maharishi Atri, the supreme amongst the knowers of Brahman (brahma vetta), to continue creation. Hearing this, Atri Maharishi together with wife Anasuya went to Mountain Rkṣa for performing austerities.

This mountain was filled with forests that were replete with sweet smelling and flowering trees. Ashoka trees were found in plenty. River Nirvindhya flowed here. The mountain reverberated with the sound of these flowing waters.

On this mountain, Maharishi Atri, undertook intense austerities standing on one leg. He overcame dualities such as heat-cold, joys-sorrows. Taking in only air for his food, through Pranayama, he brought his mind under total control. He continued such severe austerities for a period of hundred years.

During that period, Atri Maharishi line of thinking was as follows:

Śaraṇaṁ taṁ prapadye ’haṁ ya eva jagad-īśvaraḥ

Prajām ātma-samāṁ mahyaṁ prayacchatv iti cintayan

I seek refuge under the Supreme Lord Jagannatha. May He bless me with a son who is equal to Him in every aspect.

Due to the intensity of the penance, from his head huge flames of fire emerged. Pranayama became the fuel that intensified this fire. All the three worlds trembled under the blazing fire.

The Trinity observed the intensity of the situation and decided to bless Maharishi Atri. Even as Maharishis, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Nāgās, Vidyadharas were praying to them, the Trinity simultaneously appeared before Maharishi Atri.

Adhokshajāya namah.

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