Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘Biography of H. H. Tembesvami’ 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.

Biography of H. H. Ṭembesvāmī

Here below the life sketch of H.H. Ṭembesvāmī is given:[1]

H. H. Ṭembesvāmī was born in the village of Māṇagāon near Sāvantavādī, a princely state in Koṅkaṇa of southern Maharashtra, in a traditional family of Mahārāṣṭīyan Brahmin of the clan belonging to branch of the Ṛgveda,[2] devoted to Lord Dāttatreya. His grandfather Haribhataji used to recite Śrī Gurucaritra regularly.

His father Gaṇeśabhataji[3] Ṭembe was a devotee of Dattatreya, spending long periods, sometimes many years, in the village of Gaṇagāpur at the temple of the Lord Dattātreya in the state Karnataka. His mother Ramābāi also used to spend her time in religious performances like recitation, reading holy books, hospitality, etc.

After a particularly long stay in Gāṇagāpura, Lord Dattatreya appeared in a dream and instructed Shri Ganesh Bhataji to return to Managaon and attend to the duties of a householder, promising to incarnate as their son. After his return from Gaṇagapur Vāsudeva was born on the 5th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Śrāvaṇa of VS 1910 (i.e. 13/08/1854 AD) at 04:45pm.[4]

He is not any other but Lord Dattātreya Himself.[5]

His childhood:

In those days modern civilization had not touched the coast of India. Life was simple, easy, pretty and calm. Vāsudeva. At the age 5 His grandfather starts to teach Him the science of pronunciation (Śikṣā), grammar (Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini), astrology, prosody, etymology (Nirukta). Vāsudeva learns it by heart by hearing once only. Vāsudeva was initiated with the scared thread at the age of 08. Vāsudeva strictly follows the rules of celibacy from the day when he was initiated. He starts daily rituals ordained by the scriptures like bathing and performing twilight rite thrice day. He begs alms and takes only begged food. He learns the study of Ṛgveda from Viṣṇubhaṭṭa Ukiḍave. He was an Ekpāṭhī (means whatever he hears or read once, memorized it). He has leant 10 scriptures (Grantha) at the age of 12 so becomes a Daśagranthī. He learns only 15 verses and starts lecture on Purāṇas so people were astonished. He always used to read the holy book of Datta Cult named Śrī Gurucaritra in Marāṭhī. He follows strictly the rules ordained in Śrī Gurucaritra so he receives the occult power of the formulas. He saves the people by his occult power.

At the age of 15 He starts to teach the sciences to those who come to Him to leant. Some of them learn Vedas and others learn the scriptures. At that time he was entitled with the name ‘ ’(a Vedic scholar).

He never used any vehicle during his travelling. He has left the shoes as well as the Umbrella. Lord Dattātreya shows his form when Śāstrībuvā visited Narsobāvādī on the confluence of the river Kṛṣṇ and Veṇī. first time. Śāstrībuvā has completed his study of Upaniṣads at that time Lord Dattātreya instruct Him to lean the Eightfold Yoga. He gets disturb and feeling unwell because he try to practice the yoga as per Dhore Śāstrī’s advice. So Lord Dattātreya instructs him to go to the Vāḍī. Though he was not feeling well He goes there because of the Lord’s order.

Vāsudeva has obtained the position of the sustainer of the people as well as erudite scholar of the time (śāstrībuvā). He always ready to help righteous and giving lesson to the wicked. He has removed the misery, diseases as well as social problems of the people.

Household life:

Lord Dattātreya instructed Śāstrībuvā to merry with the girl of Bābājī Pant Gauḍe of Sāvantavāḍī. She is suitable to become his wife and with good virtues. Lord Dattātreya adds that when Bābājī comes to him to give her daughter in marriage, he is not allowed to refuse the proposal of Bābājī. But Śāstrībuvā tries to convince the Lord as he does not want to marry. Lord Dattātreya strictly instruct him to start the household life. Śāstrībuvā who is always ready to follow Lord’s statement becomes ready to marry.

Śāstrībuvā marries to the daughter of Bābājī named Annapūrṇā. She is like a mother Pārvatī and with all the good qualities as her name indicates. She serves Him as a Lord. She never avoids the guests. Normally the women are happy with the ornaments but Annapūrṇā has only an ornament to serving her husband. Śāstrībuvā (Vāsudeva) used to take meal without salt she too, never take the salt. Lord Dattātreya observes her best behavior like mother Anasūyā and instruct her in dream to avoid the stay at her father’s place more than one day. She follows always His advice. Once she asks Śāstrībuvā to instruct the duties of the women. He describes her the duties of a women, a pregnant, the rites of purification of newly borne baby, the rules of the steps of the beginning of study, the different types of marriages, the rules of begging alms for a monk, the conduct of the chaste wife, etc. Annapūrṇā becomes idle for the women by following the path of the best of the chaste women and by following His instruction.

At the age of 24 He starts for Vāḍī Lord Dattātreya reveals His Original Form in front of Vāsudeva. He eulogizes the Lord. Lord addresses him as the best of the devotees and instructs him to stay at Māṇagāon for seven years. He add that in His returning someone will give Him Dattātreya’s Idol and other one will give the money to pay the first one. On the way it is happened as Lord has said. He established the temple in Māṇagāon and installed the idol in it. He always worship there.

Once Dattātreya reveals in his front and asks the promise to remove the misery, agony, diseases, social problems, etc. of those who comes to Vāsudeva. Lord Dāttatreya shake-hand and asks the promise. Vāsudeva bows down to Him with eight limbs. Many people come there to visit Lord Dattātreya daily esp. on every Saturday more than five thousand people come there. Vāsudeva removes all the problems of the village people as well as the visitors. Once he offers him the flake rice. Lord gets angry on him so he eulogizes Him with the hymn of forgiving the faults. Here Lord gets angry to give the lesson to the devotee that one should offer the food as he or she eats.

Śāstrībuvā gets up before sunrise. Then after bath, he used to perform twilight rite and then perform the worship of the temple idol. In the afternoon, some students used to come to take lessons in scriptures, grammar, poetry, etc. Some distressed persons seeking relief or some seeking fulfilment of desires or a few true seekers of Absolute used to come to Him. In the evening He performs worship Āratī, etc.

At that time, Lord Dāttreya instructs Śāstrībuvā to render the Marathi Gurucaritra in Sanskrit. It is said that Śāstrībuvā composed it within two weeks. After the completion Lord informs Him that this book has two thousand verses (i.e. Dvisāhasrī, the problem of the present thesis). Śāstrībuvā calculates the verses which are less than After deep thinking he recalculates the verses in the method of Saptaśatī , (calculates the half-verses and Uvāca formulas). There are 2008. This is the first major work of Śāstrībuvā. He confesses that he is just a medium to convey Lord’s words.

Once a gold smith come there and performs worship according to the Vedic precept. Vāsudeva stops him because only Brahmin is allowed to perform such veneration. But he continues and after some time he becomes miserable. Then he remembers the incident and made an idol of Lord Dattātreya and gifts it to Vāsudeva but He ignores him. Lord Dattātreya orders him to accept the idol and adds that he can keep this idol with him during the travelling.

In this way He passes seven years in His own village Māṇagāon. So Lord Dattātreya advices Him to go for the pilgrimage and adds that the people who comes to him during His travelling should be freed from their problems. One becomes free from ego by this type of benevolence. He replies he will definitely go. He thinks about the responsibly of the temple just then a person named Nārāyaṇa Ukiḍave comes there and request Him that whatsoever He orders he definitely follows. Vāsudeva entrusts him the responsibility of the temple.

He goes to His mother Ramā to get permission for pilgrimage. The mother becomes unconscious by hearing this. Vāsudeva convince her that this is not the matter of grieving. Then He tells the narration of Śukrācārya. He educates His mother the philosophy of the Vedānta interwoven in the narration of the 24 holy masters of Lord Dattātreya. He again asks the permission and adds that His two brothers will take care of her. The mother gives the permission. Now He approaches to Annapūrṇā to inform her about His pilgrimage. She requests Him to accompany Him in the pilgrimage and reminds him the statement of the scripture that a wife should live with her husband during the pilgrimage.

Śāstrībuvā (Vāsudeva) instruct His brothers to serve the mother. He goes to the temple and eulogizing that he is going as per His command. He starts for Narasobāvāḍī (as per the command of the Lord). When He was there in Māṇagāon, it shines like the heaven but now it looks like the funeral place. They come to Sāvantavāḍī where hundreds of people come to meet Him. One of them gets injured due to the crowd. Now He decides not to go in the town where the people know him. They comes Narasobāvāḍī where he meets Nārāyaṇa Svāmī and Govinda Yatīśvara. He lives there for a year. Annapūrṇā begets aillusion son but he dies after some time. Annapūrṇā asks the means for not recalling the misery because of the death of the son. He narrates the dialogue between the Ga ṅgā and the Preceptor. The narration cuts off Annapūrṇā’s illusion for the Existence. She realised the Highest Bliss. They arrive at Gaṅgākheḍa. Annapūrṇā dies there.


The death of His wife Annapūrṇā naturally opens His way to renunciation. He is now free to go ahead with the spiritual plans. He is frequently encouraged and privately helped by the Lord in this direction by bringing Him into contact with saintly soul who confirms his faith and zeal in the monastic ideas. Lord Dattātreya even in the lifetime of His wife has already encouraged Him with these ideals and has directed him as were to go Narasobāvāḍī.

Lord Dattātreya Himself in the form of Govinda Svāmī comes near him at the bank of the River Godāvarī. Vāsudeva requests Him to initiate. Govinda Svāmī initiates Him to renunciation. After the initiation to Monkhood He was rename as Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī. Govinda Svāmī instructs Him to receive Staff from Nārāyaṇa Svāmī of Ujjain.

Then He walks for Vāsīm village from Gaṅgākheḍa and then goes to Mahūragaḍha, the birth place of Lord Dattātreya. He worships and eulogizes Lord as well as His Parents Sage Atri and Mother Ansūyā. And then goes to pilgrimage of Mother Reṇkā. He eulogize Her with self made Hymn[6].

Then He goes to Ujjain, approaches to Nārāyaṇa Svāmī, bows down and explains all the things. But He Nārāyaṇa Svāmī avoids his requests and says that His can not initiate any one without getting permission of his Holy Master Aniruddha Svāmī. Then Vāsudeva approaches to Aniruddha Svāmī in no time bows down to Him with 08 limbs and expressed the all. He instruct Nārāyaṇa Svāmī to initiate Him to Monkhood. Nārāyaṇa Svāmī initiates him at the age of 37 and then Vāsudev becomes famous by the name Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī. Though he is initiated to monkhood and renamed but he is very famous by His surname Ṭembe or

He then goes to Sārangpura. His fame spreads all around the town. He established a temple and install an Idol of Lord of Lord Dattātreya in Sārangpura. Then He thinks to start for Kāśī. On the way He crossed a dense forest which is difficult to pass within two days He passes it within few minute. He arrives at Jalavaṇa and teaches Vedas, Prosody, etc. to those come to Him.

He leaves Jalavaṇa and arrives at Gokul-Mathura on the bank of river Yamunā. He goes Kurukṣetra. He arrives at Haridwar. There He meets Rājrājeśvara Mahārāja -Śa ṅkarācārya of Śāradāpīṭha of that time. He forces Ṭembesāmī to pass the monsoon-stay over there. He passes his monsoon-stay at Haridwar. Then He goes to Badarinātha. He arrives Brahmavarta.

At that time there was a conference on the Sriptures of the king of Āryāvrta. There Sakharam Ṭilu won and establishes that the Vedas are yielded from Lord under the guidance of Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī. He then goes to Amaleśvara, Omkāreśvara, Cikhaladā and then to Anasūyā Āśrama. Then He visits all the places Of Saurāṣṭra. After visiting Dakor (Gujarat) he goes to Mahatpura (Madhya Pradesh). He teaches Khecarī Mudrā to an elite disciple Yogānanda Sarasvatī (Gāndā Mahārāja), and ordered him to go to the city of Braruch (Gujarat) for pracising the Yoga.

He goes to Vāḍī and then to Gāṇagāpura on the bank of river Amarajā. He meditates upon Lord. Lord reveals Himself and instructs Vāsudevānanda Sarasvatī not to live there. So He Goes to Narasī village. The Idol of the Lord falls from the palanquin. He eulogizes Him with the Karuṇātripadī Which become well-known as a prayer later on.

Then He goes to Brahmāvarta and composes, the Śrīgurusṃhitā , a verse wise translation in Sanskrit of Gurucaritm (Marathi). Then he goes to Prayāga and then to Kāśī where he meets Svayamprakāśa Svāmī in the Tāraka Maṭha. He goes for Pañcakośī Yātrā.

He comes to Baḍvāyā in Gujarat on the bank of river Narmadā. He stays there during monsoon stay there. There He performs many miracles so people believe Him none but Lord Dttātreya Himself.

He obeys the order of the Lord and goes to Nṛsiṃhavāḍī. Then He goes Karnataka, Kis kindhā, Pampā Lake and then to Rāmeśvara. On the way He stays at Mt. Śaiṣācala for 03 days and composes Kumāraśikṣā. Then he visits Śṛṅgerī where Śa ṅkarācārya felicities Him. Then he comes to Neror and then to the river Kṛṣṇā. He eulogizes river Kṛṣṇā with his own composition.

Then he stays at Pavani for His monsoon stays. During that time lord Dattātreya instruct Nārāyaṇa Ukiḍve (at Nṛsiṃhavāḍī) to perform Dattayāga by recieting the Gurucaritra (i.e. Dvisāhasrī).[7]

Then He comes Pandhalpur. Then he travels to Hāvnūra, Gokarṇa, Kuravapura, Nāganā and Calisgāv. He travells all over India and spread the paths of Knowledge, Action and Devotion interwoven with devotion in Lord Dattātreya. He has given ample literature not only to the Dutt cult but to all.

After His initiation H. H. Ṭembesvāmī has travelled all over India but during Monsoon stay (Cāturmāsa). He stays at a place.

Here below the places of His Monsoon are mentioned:

  1. At Ujjain on the bank of river Kṣiprā in 1891 AD.
  2. At Brahmāvarta on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1892 AD.
  3. At Haridwar on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1893AD.
  4. Unknown place in Mt. Himalaya 1894AD.
  5. Unknown place in Mt. Himalaya 1895AD.
  6. At Haridwar on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1896AD.
  7. At Petlad on the bank of river Mahi in 1897AD.
  8. At Tilakwada on the bank of river Narmadā in 1898AD.
  9. At Dwarika on the western sea-shore in 1899AD.
  10. At Cikhaladā on the bank of river Narmadā in 1900AD.
  11. At Mahatpura on the bank of river Kṣiprā in 1901AD.
  12. At Brahmāvarta on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1902 AD.
  13. At Brahmāvarta on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1903 AD.
  14. At Brahmāvarta on the bank of river Gaṅgā in 1904 AD.
  15. At Narasi on the bank of river Kayādhū in 1905 AD.
  16. At Badavāyā on the bank of river Narmadā in 1906 D.
  17. At Tañjāvara on the bank of river Kāverī in 1907 AD.
  18. At Muktyālā on the bank of river Kṛṣṇā in 1908 AD.
  19. At Pavani on the bank of river Vaingaṅgā in 19089 AD.
  20. At Hāvnura on the bank of river Tuṅgabhadrā in 1910 AD.
  21. At Kuravpura on the bank of river Kṛṣṇā in 1911 AD.
  22. At Cikhaladā on the bank of river Narmadā in 1912 AD.
  23. Garuḍeśvara on the bank of river Narmadā in 1913 AD.

H. H. Ṭembesvāmī arrives at Garuḍeśvara. Garuḍeśvara is a mythological place. Garuḍa performed penance at this place to obtain Śiva’s grace.

He lives there pleasantly up to His Nirvāṇa. Many people comes to meet Him daily. Even many saints also visit Him. Svāmī Brahmānanda, Adhipati of Sṛngerī Maṭha has came to visit him specially from Nelur.

Within a month of his arrival, he declared to he would not be going anywhere hereafter. The isolated temple soon grew into a place of pilgrimage as hundred of devotees of He started pouring in from all over India. The devotees constructe some shelters with kitchen and other bare amenities and organized daily activities. On any day, there would be hundreds of persons to be fed. The things proceeded smoothly. Many a time He used to order preparation of a particular cuisine in anticipation of the guests who usually arrived at noon. Each day some miracle or the other was witnessed. People of all religions and castes came to seek relief from their problems. He helped everyone without disturbing his faith.

One of His devotees brings beautiful idol of Lord Dattātreya to give Him. After observing that idol Lord Dattātreya orders H. H. Ṭembesvāmī to install the idol. He, the follower of the instruction of Lord Dattātreya installs the idol. He instructs the steps of Veneration to all. The veneration is perfrmed daily hundreds of people come to visit the temple and to meet him. The atmosphere of the place is like a heaven on the earth. Unfortunately His became ill and calls his elite disciple Yogānand Sarasvatī (Gāṇḍā Mahārāja) and says there is no confidence in the body. He asks Gāṇḍā Mahārāja to send the idol to Vāḍī. But at that time Lord Dattātreya instruct Him to instruct the people to built the temple because Lord Himself wants to live there.

His becomes one with the Supreme Reality on the Dark fortnight of the Jyeṣṭa, Śaka 1836 (i.e. 23rd June 1914 AD). From that day He is living there in the form of Lord Dattātreya

Footnotes and references:


The life sketch follows Gurumūrti Charitra of H.H. Yogānanda Sarasvatī original in Marathi translated in Gujarati by Arunodaya Jani and the Gurulīlāmṛta of Raṅga Avadhūta.


jāti kahrāḍe vipranī mahārāṣṭrabrāhmaṇa|
gotra ātri ṛgveda ne sūtra āśvalāyana|| [Śrīgurulīlāmṛta]


tevuṃ māṇagrāma ā nā emāṃ saṃdeha|
ātriṛṣisamā tyāṃ vase gaṇeśabhaṭṭa sudeha|| [Śrīgurulīlāmṛta]


ogaṇīsaso daśa nakī śrāvaṇa māsottama|
kṛṣṇapakṣa ravivāra ne pañjamī tithi sattama||
jatāṃ ghaḍī chavvīsa tyāṃ sūryodathī tema |
ramāmāte dedipyamāna prasave suputra ema|| [Śrīgurulīlāmṛta]


evā puṇyagrāmamā ṭeṃbe kulamāṃ tema|
dvijasadane aṃśāvatāra levā trimūrti ema|| [Śrīgurulīlāmṛta]


He follows the tradition established by Ādi Śaṅ karācārya to compose his own eulogies and prayers in honour of the gods and goddesses, holy places and the holy rivers he visited during his journey to all over India.


Even in present time this tradition is followed by the followers of the devotees of the Dattātreya.

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