Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘saints and the Monks of Dattatreya Cult’ 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.

The saints and the Monks of Dattātreya Cult

After discussing all about Lord Dattātreya’s 02 incarnations, the saints and the Monks of Dattātreya Cult of medieval age and present time must be taken notice.

(1) Janārdanasvāmī (1504-1575AD):

Janārdanasvāmī was Deśastha Brahmin of Āśvalāyāna branch of the Ṛgveda and follower of Śaṅkarācārya. He influenced the king that the Thursday being a day of Dattātreya was observed as a holiday. Dattātreya used to give vision. Dattātreya approached him and placed His hand on his head. Janārdanasvāmī not only lived a married life but also worked in society for guiding the path of Dattātreya worship. Some scholars identify Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī as the preceptor of Janārdanasvāmī[1] and it is said that Dattātreya directly gave Upadeśa to him. It is believed that he has composed Pañcīkaraṇa, Śrīdattastuti, Yogagītā, etc.

(2) Ekanātha (1533-1599AD):

Ekanātha [was] a famous Yogi and renounced saint of Maharashtra. His father is Sūryanārāyaṇa and mother is Rukmiṇī. He is the direct disciple of Janārdansvāmī. In his time religion had lost its wide outlook the whole country was without any strength and was suffering from complete degradation and virtues. He established true powerful school of spiritualism through his life and literature. His literature speaks mainly of Kṛṣṇa-Bhakti and Rāma-Bhakti. Ekanātha’s name is respectfully taken among Dattātreya devotees. The prayer sung at the time of waving round the lighted lamps (ārati) written by him is sung at noon time even today (at Narasobāvāḍī). He has written a life-sketch of Dattātreya. It is said that the Lord graced him that Ekanātha being great bhagavata devotee would uplift thousands of souls during his life. Ekanātha is said to have sat for religious austerities and meditation for about six years in Devgiri. He travelled all over India before he married Girijābāi. He has composed Catuślokī Bhāgavataṭīkā, Ekanāthī Bhāgavat, Ānandalahari, Gītāsāra, Śivpārvatīvivāh, etc.[2]

(3) Dasopanta (1551-1615AD):

Digambarapanta and pārvatībāi are his parents. He established a relation between the Nāth school and Dattātreys school. He went to Mātāpura on the Sahyādri hills (the sleeping place of Dattātreya) and practimsed sever penance for many years. He got the vision of Jagadambā and call from Dattātreya there. He takes wooden shoes (pādukā) of Lord Dattātreya and worshiped them. He got vision of Lord Dattātreya though was initiated in the Nāth school.[3] He always worshipped Lord Dattātreya in the form of wooden shoes and that propagated the worship of Dattātreya’s wooden shoes (pādukā).

(5) Bhairava Avadhūta Jñānsāgara (alias Appājibova) (18th -19th Cent. AD):

He was Deśastha Brahmin of Viśvāmitra clan belonging to Aśvalāyana branch. He was born in at Viṭ in the district of Khanpur (Satara). On the strength of his devotion Lord Dattātreya’s idol arrived at his place.

(5) Nirañjana Raghunātha (1782-1855Ad):

He was Deśastha Brahmin of Kauśika clan belonging to Aśvalāyana branch. His father was Śrīdharapanta and mother was Lakṣmī. He was born at Kaḷamba on the bank of river Vañjarā near Parḷī Vaidyanātha. His original name was Avadhūta. He went to Nāśika where he met Raghunātha who initiated him. It is said that Dattātreya directed him in a dream to witness the celebration at Nāśika.

(6) Dattanātha Ujjanīkar (1713-1849AD):

His father was Nārāyaṇa and mother was Lakṣmībāi. The childless parents took up vow to land over their son to Anantanātha. He travelled all over India and then settled at Ujjain. He was great devotee and an Avadhūta. He wrote many books on Yoga.

(7) Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja Jālavaṇakara (1807-1867 AD):

He was born at Jalavana near Jhansi, worshipped Lord Dattātreya at the age of twenty and got the vision. His father was the Purāṇa reciter in the royal families. He is said to be initiated in the Haṭha-Yoga initially and later on to the path of devotion to Dattātreya. It is said that Dattātreya came to take meal when he used to give him food offered (naivedya). He has composed Ānandaśāgara, Śāntiśāgara, Bodhaśāgara, Aṣṭāṅgayoga, etc.

(8) Māṇikaprabhu (1817-1855AD):

He was Deśastha Brahmin of Vatsa clan belonging to Ṛgveda. His father was Manohara-nāyaka. Māṇikaprabhu was believed to be the incarnation of Lord Dattātreya. He was expert in Yoga. He settled at Maniknagar.

(9) Svāmī of Akkalkot (18th -19th Cent. AD):

He was born at Chelikhedi near Hastinapura. He is believed to be an incarnation of Nṛsi ṃhasarasvatī. He moved many places and finally settled at Akkalkot. The highly spiritual life of Svāmī was clearly observed in his daily routine.

(10) Vāsudevānandasarasvatī (alias Ṭembesvāmī) (1854- 1914AD):

He was Karhāde Brahmin belonging to Atri clan, belonging to Āśvalāyana branch of Ṛgveda. His father was Gaṇeśa and mother was Ramābāi. He is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Dattātreya. H. H. Ṭembesvāmī’s Dvisāhasrī is the problame of the present research, the detailed life-sketch is given in the next chapter.

(11) Yogānandasarasvatī (alias Gāndā Mahārāja) (1869- 1938AD):

He was a worthy disciple of H. H. Ṭembesvāmī.[4] He was Anāvila Brahmin. He was born at Talangpur near Surat. His father was Dāhyābhāi. His original name was Kalyāṇa. He earned the name Gāndā (lit. crazy or mad) due to his strange behaviour. He lived a normal life in initial stage and then met Ṭembesvāmī, worked mostly with him and moved with him. If we look into the strict disciplined life of Ṭembesvāmī, we can understand the sincere behaviour and devotion of Yogānandasarasvatī. Yogānandasarasvatī guided people through his devoted actions and selfless devotion. He had only of modicum knowledge of any language so he has written Gurumūrticaritra a big book in Marāṭhī language, dealing with the life of his Holy Master. He has also writen another short life-sketch his Holy Master and Strīdharmanirūpaṇam, deals with the duties of women. After the Samādhī of his Holy Master (i.e. Ṭembesvāmī) he stayed for some time at Braruch and then travelled many places and finally settled at Guñja. on the bank of river Godāvarī in Maharashtra.

(12) Śrīpanta Mahārāja Bāḷekundrīkar (alias Dattātreya) (1855- 1905AD):

It is said that Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī had given a dream to one of his ancestor and consequently Śrīpanta Mahārājais born who is also known as Dattātreya. He came in the contact with Bālāvdhūta who became his preceptor.

(13) Sāibābā (19th -20th Cent. AD):

No information is available about his birth, caste and even the line on which he worked. He lived for a considerable long period in Shirdi (Maharashtra). His chief disciple Upāsanī Mahārāja of Śākori (Maharashtra) believed him as Rāma. Many devotees and scholars accept his identity with his oneness with Svāmī of Akkalkot and Dattātreya. In one of the discourses he said that the world is our village, Brahmā is the father and Māyā is the mother. He laid stress on constant faith (śraddhā) and patient (saburī).

(14) Nūri Mahārāja (1869-1923AD):

He is believed to be an incarnation of Dattātreya on the evidence that his photograph showed three faces like Dattātreya. Actually lineage of his traditional initiation comes down from the Mohmedan saints.

(15) Śrīdatta Mahārāja (1894-1925AD):

His original name was Narahari. He was a Ṛgvedi Deśastha Brahmin of Śākalabranch that belonged to Gautama clan. His father was Vāsudevarāva and mother was Muktābāi. He was eight from Ekanātha in his lineage. His preceptor directed him to go to Ṭembesvāmī to learn the practice of Yoga. He travelled many place and finally settled at Aṣṭe.

(16) Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja Kheḍagaokar (1885-1945):

His father was Bhīmarāv and his mother was Lakṣmī. They pass away when he was only 05. He moved many places and settled at Kheḍagāv. He is connected with Śrīvdyānandasvāmī of Belapur. He has not composed any literature but perceptive devotion and action as well as his manner remain attractive even today.

(17) Raṅga Avadhūta (1898-1968 AD):

He was born at Godhara (Gujarat). His original name was Pāṇḍuraṅga and was Vaḷāme by surname. His father was Viṭṭhala who died when Pāṇḍuraṅga only 05. His mother was Rukmāmbā. His school carrier was bright. After completing his graduation he worked at Ahmadabad and then as tutor in English Deptt. (faculty of Arts, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda)[5]. He took part in the social as well as political activities and wrote many articles. He met Gāndhījī and worked actively in freedom fight.

After his sacred thread ceremony his maternal uncle took him to Narsobāvāḍī. At that time Ṭembesvāmī was there. He addressed him as his own child. Ṭembesvāmī instructed him to read the holy book. This indicated that he was born to increase the school of Dattātreya. He was instructed to repeat Dattapurāṇa for 108 times so He prefers Nāreśvara on the bank of river Narmadā. He composed Gurulīlāmṛta, a big treatise, describing the divine sports of Lord Dattātreya, His two incarnations Śrīpādaśrivallabha as well as Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī and Holy Master Ṭembesvāmī.

(18) Narmadānanda (1928 AD):

He was born at Vansada (Valsad, Gujarat). His birth name was Ashwinkumarand was Ḍhebar by surnmame. His child-hood passed in Vansada and later on he hailed to Mumbai. He met H. H. Raṅga Avadhūta at the age of 28. Ashwinkumar has performed the circumambulation of the river Narmadā without having shoes, so H. H. Raṅga Avadhūta gave him name Narmadānanda. Now a days he is living in Uchhali near Ankleshwar in a hermitage.

(19) Viśvanātha Avadhūta (The date of birth not known by any one)[6]:

His Hermitage in Rampura, Surat. His schedule is unknown. He hardly comes out. He spreads Datta devotion in south Gujarat.

(20) Prema Avadhūta: (1931-2012AD):

He was born at Liñca (Mahesana). His birth name is Premśṅkara alias Bacubhai His was Krupaśnkara and mother was Śāntāben.. He was born 13th September. He was a staunch devotee of Raṅga Avadhūta. He spreads Datta devotion not only in India but also in foreign countries. He has had many works of public welfare in north Gujarat.

Footnotes and references:


Citrāv Śāstrī: Madyayugīn Caritrakośa P.391


Vide: Citrāv Śāstrī: Madyayugīn Caritrakośa P. 173


Joshi H S states this information in such a way that the Dattātreya worship and the Nāth Yogies are two different sects though Dattātreya’s connection with Matsyendra Nāth and Gorakṣa Nāth is well Known.


In this connection H. H. Raṅ ga Avadhūta Mahārāja (Nareshwar) praises him as an unparallel devotee:

gāṃḍā sama gurubhakta nā dīṭho bījo kyāṃya|
jāuṃ vārī tannāmapara vaṃdana karūṃ sadāya|| śrīgurulīlāmṛta


The University authority have made small board in his pious memory with the words, “”


The candidate of the present thesis has met Mahārājśrī personally who refused to offer any information for the reason that he keeps himself away from the popularity.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: