Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘Synopsis’ of the study of the Dvisahasri by Tembesvami:—a Sanskrit epic poem (mahakavya) narrating the legend and activities of Lord Dattatreya, including details on his divine sports and incarnations. Also known as Datta, he is considered one of the Holy Masters in the Natha cult imparting spiritual knowledge and adequate practice to the aspirant.

Chapter 01: Datta Cult its Past, Present & Future

Since 14th–15th Century AD the rise and development of the Datta cult has become seeming not only in the society but also in the spiritual aspirants of the Vedānta philosophy. The literary evidence of this cult ascribes the promulgation of devotion to Lord Dattātreya who had been worshiped as one of the Holy Masters of Nātha cult.

The tradition adheres the monks called Śrīpādaśrīvallabha followed shortly by monk Nṛsimha Sarasvatī to be the pioneers of the Datta Cult risen in Karnataka, Maharashtra and then in Gujarata. The texts written in Sanskrit, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati have tried to provide lacunaes of the philosophy of the Datta Cult which has come down in the shape of present popularity.

The chapter also discusses on the topics of the Dutta cult in their gradual development.

Chapter 02: H.H. Ṭembesvāmī: Life, Date & Works

H.H. Ṭembesvāmī also famous by the name Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī or Svāmī Mahārāja of Garudeshwer (Dist. Rajpipala, Gujarat). The chapter presents the life-sketch, Date and Literary activities of H.H. Ṭembesvāmī belonging to 1854-1914 AD, is regarded as a modern poet and therefore his contribution has reached the enormous fame of a devotional poet.

H.H. Ṭembesvāmī has written a large number of treatises, hymns or eulogies in honour of different gods and goddesses, yet his compositions in Sanskrit are remarkable and hence authentic. His fame as a scholar poet i.e. a Pundit poet will never get exhausted, because he has interwoven sacred formula in his hymns and prayers.

Chapter 03: Summary of H.H. Ṭembesvāmī’s Dvisāhasrī

Dvisāhasrī is a composition in a verse form endowed with various, popular as well as less-popular metres. The work precedes Hymn in honour of the Holy Master Lord Dattātreya in 112 verses followed by the main text Dvisāhasrī in 23 chapters and 2008 verses. At the end of the work 02 Rahasyas (keys to understand the abstruse places) are appended in 87 verses.

H.H. Ṭembesvāmī has written the auto commentary (svopajñaṭīkā) on this work and has himself distributed 23 chapters of Dvisāhasrī into three sections or divisions viz. (01) Section on Knowledge (jñānakāṇḍa) in chapters 01-13, (02) Section on Action (karmakāṇḍa) in chapters 14-18 and (03) Section on Devotion or Worship (upāsanākāṇḍa) in chapters 19-23.

This chapter gives the chapter-wise summery of whole of Dvisāhasrī (a composition containing 2000 i.e. 2008 verses) presented verse-wise and/or topic-wise. This chapter incorporates relevant information in the footnotes wherever necessary. Sometimes the equivalent passages or the verses are given there.

Chapter 04:H.H. Ṭembesvāmī: Erudition

H.H. Ṭembesvāmī is not only honoured but also worshiped and propitiated as the incarnation of Lord Dattātreya. Such type of H.H. Ṭembesvāmī’s respectful acceptance has later on reached the climax to such an extent that he is now worshiped devotedly as none but Lord Dattātreya himself. The historical records portrait him to be a Kahrāde Brahmin of the Atri family belonging to the Āśvalāyana branch of the ṛgveda. As a house holder he was famous by the title Śāstrībuvā (a scholar of Vedas and Scriptures) which expresses his profound scholarship as well as high rank of erudition.

This chapter is an effort to focus his erudition in different areas of the Vedic, Puranic and Classical Sanskrit literature. His mastery over Vedas and Upaniṣads can not be leveled below his knowledge of Epics and Purāṇas and even the Dharmaśāstra.

This chapter deals with the references and even quotations taken and incorporated rather interwoven in the narratives and discussion in the Dvisāhasrī, though the help of his auto-commentary on Dvisāhasrī is inevitable. Many of the etymological and the grammatical usages have close connection with the usages of the great poets like Vālmīki, Veda Vyāsa, Kālidāsa and others (the citations of the texts referred to are given App 03).

Chapter 05: Literary Estimate of H.H. Ṭembesvāmī’s Dvisāhasrī

This chapter presents the literary estimate of Dvisāhasrī focusing on his diction. Here the various salient features are discussed under genre, figure of speech, metres, social beliefs and religious conduct.

This chapter also points out how exactly he presents the narrative in a shorter version with the help of his mastery over the grammatical usages.

Chapter 06: Conclusion

This chapter focuses on the overall observation and his contribution to the religio–philosophical literature.

The thesis contains 08 Appendices as follows:

  1. Mantroddhāra,
  2. Various Metres employed in the Dvisāhasrī,
  3. Citations of the texts referred to in the Dvisāhasrī,
  4. Some Important words employed in the Dvisāhasrī,
  5. Holy places mentioned in the Dvisāhasrī,
  6. Sequence of 24 Gurus,
  7. Evil Consequences of theft (mentioned in the Dvisāhasrī),
  8. Different Names employed for the Holy Master.

The thesis ends with an exhaustive Bibliography.

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