Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘Narrtion of Lord Dattatreya’s Divine Sports’ 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 4 - Narrtion of Lord Dattātreya’s Divine Sports

[Note: This page represents a summary English translation of the Dvisāhasrī by Ṭembesvāmī, chapter 4.—In the 4th chapter the The Holy Master has spoken about the knowledge acquired from 24 teachers and then taught the Metaphysics to Prahlāda.]

04/01: (Yadu spoke to a recluse) He is different from the people who hanker after worldly human goals like life, wealth, etc.

04/02: Lord Dattātreya speaks that He has acquired the knowledge, from 24 Holy Masters for the benefit of the mankind.

04/03-35: This unit is the teaching of the 24 Holy Masters.

The Earth (01) along with her mountains and tree teaches the quality forbearance (03). The Air (02) along with the vital airs teaches the quality detachment from the senses (04-05AB). The Ether (03) teaches to remain untouched to the worldly modification (05CD-06). The Water (04) teaches to cultivate the nature of soft-spokenness as well as the nature of sanctifying (07AB). The Fire along with its flame teaches the temporariness as well as detachment (07CD-09).

The Moon (06) teaches the discrimination of the mutable and the immutable (10AB). The Sun (07) teaches the reality of the oneness of the self and non contamination by the adjuncts (10CD-11). The pigeon (08) (as per its life-episode) teaches that the extreme attach-ment to sensual pleasures leads to the down fall (12-15).

A python (09) teaches that to remain inactive and faithful on the destiny (16-17). The ocean (10) teaches to live without joy as well as grief in happiness and misery (18-19AB). A moth (11) teaches that one should not get infatuated by the beauty (19CD). A honey bee teaches to remain free from the greed of storing (20). An elephant (13) teaches that the touch of woman enmeshes one in bondage and consequently leads to the destruction (21AB). The honey bee (14) teaches not to gather any possessions (21CD-22AB). The deer and sage Ṛṣyaśṛnga (15) teach to remain away from singing and dancing (22CD). The fish (16) teaches to subdue the sense of taste (23).

A courtesan (17) (Piṅgalā by name) (as per its life-episode) teaches not to have expectancy (24-26AB). An osprey (kurara) (as per its life-episode) (18) teaches not to keep any possession (26CD- 27AB). A child (19) teaches to be free from the feelings of respect and insult (27CD-28AB). Conch bangles (of a girl) (as per its life-episode) (20) show that the spiritual practice should be done in solitude (28cd-29). The serpent (21) teaches to remain houseless (30- 31AB). An arrow-maker (iṣukṛt) (22) teaches the importance of non-flickering concentration for any higher achievement (31CD-33AB). A worm (23) teaches the constant one-pointed concentration[1] yields the state of resemblance (33CD-34AB). A spider (24) teaches that this world is created and will be withdrawn by the Supreme Person (34CD-35).

04/36: The unborn Lord is the equipoise of three Qualities, free from the adjuncts and the Highest Bliss called Absolution.

04/37-38: Depending on His own power, He creates the thread-Self (Mahat ) which creates all this and in It the whole universe is pierced. It rotates the human beings in this world of transmigration.

04/39-40: A person gets destroyed by attachment, thinking. So a knower moves on the earth without attachment. After hearing this Yadu is freed from the attachment.

04/41-44: Lord Dattātreya teaching Prahlād.

The lessons from a honey-bee and from the python are given to remove the inclination to life, the prime cause of this world of miseries (41). The Self is eternal bliss, while sensual pleasures are temporary (42).While enjoying sensual pleasures a practitioner should remain inactive. The notional ideas (vikalpā) must be sacrificed in the mind (43). Illusory Power should be sacrificed in one’s own self. Then Prahlāda is liberated (44).

04/45-48: Lord Dattātreya had elaborated the eight-fold Yoga as well as the knowledge of the Self and the theory of Creation to Sahasrārjuna.

04/49: The ignorance caused of the perception of duality gives rise to the different states of Waking, Dream and Deep sleep presided by the Viśva, Taijasa and Prājna

04/50-57: The Supreme Reality is realized through the restraint etc. (yamādi-niyamādi), various postures (āsanāni), through the breath control (prāṇāyāma), Withdrawal of the senses and the mind from their respective sense-objects (pratyāhāra), Fixation of the mind in the heart (dhāraṇā), (through the instruction of the Holy Master), Contemplation (dhyāna) on the meaning of the great Utterances and the stability of mind through Trance which leads him to liberation.

04/57CD: Lord Dattātreya explained and Kārtavīryārjuna practised.

Footnotes and references:


This refers to the famous analogy of a worm and a bee (kīṭabhramaranyāyaḥ)

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