Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘Narration of Nrisimhasarasvati’s incarnation’ 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 8 - Narration of Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī’s incarnation

[Note: This page represents a summary English translation of the Dvisāhasrī by Ṭembesvāmī, chapter 8.—In this 8th chapter Lord’s Incarnation as Narahari (i.e. H.H. Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī) and His wonderful childhood sports as well as the adopting of the renunciation are described.]

08/01-02: Nāmadhāraka spoke: Where has He incarnated? Which are His deeds?

08/03-32: Siddha spoke: He narrates His deeds. He incarnates in the northern direction (of Kuravapur i.e. in modern Kārañjā) (04). The Brahmin lady[1] dies and is born in the northern direction (of Kuravapur) (05). She is known as Ambā[2] (06). Her father meets a Brahmin of the same city named Mādhava and marries her with him (07). She worships Lord Śiva. Ambā conceives (a child) (08-09). The Brahmin performs the rite. Lord is born reciting the sacred syllable Om hearing which the people are wonderstruck (10-12). The astrologers predict it to be the fruit of Mādhava’s merits. The boy will not marry, but will be a man uplifting others (13-14). The people come to see him. The father protects the child with the thread of protection (15-16). The Brahmin names Him to be Narahari (i.e. the remover of the sins, agony and the poverty of the people (17). When the mother does not give milk, the child touches and the milk comes out. She does not express any miracle (18-19). The ignorant can not understand Him (20).

Till the age of three years He is dumb, so the mother employs different remedies like eating the food filled in a Peepal leaf on Saturdays and Sundays, paying homage to the family deity and by getting repeated what other children speak, etc. (21-22). The boy does not speak (23). The parents worry, because the boy is dumb and hence he can not be initiated. He gestures to speak after initiation (24-25). Mādhava invites the Brahmin priests and initiates his son (26). He receives the Gāyatri formula from His preceptor, begs the alms and Practises the duties of a celibate and recites the four Vedas (27-28). He bows down to his parents and asks the permission for renunciation (29). They will get sons and daughters (30). The mother asks not to leave them and he should enjoy the household life and the forest life before renunciation (31-32).

08/33-72: Holy Master spoke: The order of the stages of life is not for Him. The perfection is obtained by renunciation (34-35). The life-span decreases half in the sleep and the rest in the childhood, the youth as well as in the old age (36). The worldly existence is like a dream. The youth is (transitory) like a flower and the life is like a lightening (37). The time devours all the persons and even the gods (38). This body filled with flash, bones as well as blood and covered with the skin is like a bubble of water (39). This body transforms into ashes, but never follows (in the next world). The soul is omni-present, sentient, unborn, immutable and permanent (40-41). One should cut off the ignorance by the grace of the Holy Master (42).This body is the best instrument for the knowledge of the Self (43). His mother will beget a son and cross over the Ocean of Existence. He shows her His Divine Form. She is reminded of their previous birth (44-46). She is grateful for the knowledge of the Self. He with the Cosmos in His bally, has taken birth from her bally. He has purified her families (47-48).

She requests Him to reside there till she begets a son. He teaches the students there (49-50). Ambā begets two sons who become three months old and He starts for renunciation (51-52). His appearance in the scarlet cloths is described (53). She asks to forgive for misunderstanding Him as a child. He assures to meet after thirty years and to remain present as soon as she remembers. He quits the place (54-55AB).

While on His way to Badrikāśrama He comes to Vārāṇasi (55CD). He practises Yogic penance. (56). Other monks watch him practising the posture of Siddha and bow down. They recognise Him to be the Supreme Lord. Kṛṣṇasarasvatī has extended the path of renunciation disrupted by the ignorant and which was introduced by Ādiśaṅkarā-cārya and has gone in oblivion in this Kali Era (57-59).

He should bestow the spiritual Bliss (60). He selects Kṛṣṇasaras-vatī as the Holy Master. The boy Narahari takes up the path of renunciation and is named Nṛsiṃhasarasvatī (61). He leaves the sacred thread and the tuft of hair (62).He explains the path of renunciation to the liberation-wishers with details like the Virajā ritual, purity, free from ambitions, the divine formula Gāyatrī, renouncing everything, holding the staff, service to the Holy Master, learning the four great utterances, control over the senses, understanding the five elements, attaining the knowledge of the Self, performance of the duties, cultivating the godly endowments and wearing the Yoga-belt (yogaṭṭa) (63-66). He should perceive the Highest Self and liberate himself while living. He becomes one with Brahman and his body is drowned into water without any ancestral rite (67). The path of renunciation leads to immortality. Taking circumambulation of Mt. Meru He goes to Gaṅgāsāgara where He instructs the path of Yoga. He goes to Prayāga, initiates Mādhava and goes to His mother-land (68-71).

08/72-73: Nāmadhāraka spoke: What is the use of teacher Kṛṣṇa-sarasvatī to Him?

08/74-82: Siddha spoke: As Lord Kṛṣṇa, etc. selected teachers like Sāndīpani, etc., He selects Kṛṣṇasarasvatī (75). Though the Lord assumes human form, He is not bound by any attachment (76-77).

08/78-81: The tradition of the Holy Masters is like this: Supreme Lord, His disciple Viṣṇu and then Brahmā.[3]

08/82 As Kṛṣṇasarasvatī was knowledgeable and the best teacher, He selects him.

Footnotes and references:


Cp. 07/05-18 & 34-41 above.


The word Ambā literally means a mother (as Śrīpāda had addressed her).


śiṣyo viṣṇuḥ pureśasya virṣṇorvidhirabhūdvadheḥ|
vasiṣṭhastasya śāktyo'sya vyāsastasya śuko'sya tu||
gauḍapādo'sya govindaḥ śaṅkarastasya tu|
viśvarūpastasya bodha-jñānaḥ siṃhagiristathā||
tasyeśvaro nṛsiṃho'sya vidyātīrthaṃ tataḥ śivaḥ|
tasya bhāgīrathītīrthaṃ vidyāraṇyo'sya tasya tu||
śiṣyo'bhūnmalayānando devatīrthaṃ sarasvatī|
yādavendro'sya tasyāyaṃ śiṣyaḥ kṛṣṇasarasvatī||

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