Dvisahasri of Tembesvami (Summary and Study)

by Upadhyay Mihirkumar Sudhirbhai | 2012 | 54,976 words

This page relates ‘Incorporation of Upanishads in the Dvisahasri’ 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.

Incorporation of Upaniṣads in the Dvisāhasrī

There are ample quotations as well as ideas of the Upaniṣads are incorporated in the Dvisāhasrī. This not only proves his expertise in the Vedic literature but his involvement in the theory of Absolute Monism of Ādi Śaṅkarācārya.

The grammatical explanation of the word Upaniṣad is given in his auto-commentary (under 01/03) as under:

jñānātmaka aupaniṣadaḥ sa cāsau yoga upāyaḥ tacchīlānāṃ garbhavāsajanmajarāniśāta-nāttadavasānādvā brahmaṇa upagamayitṛtvādvopaniṣattvasmaraṇāttajjanyajñānaṃ divyo yogaḥ|taṃ tvaupaniṣadaṃ puruṣaṃ pṛcchāmiiti śruteḥ| śābdasya parokṣatve'pi śravaṇamananādinā saṃśayabhāvanā'saṃbhāvanaviparītabhāvanātiraskārāttasyaivāparokṣatvapratipādanāt| dhyānayogo vā|ātmānamaraṇiṃ kṛtvā praṇavaṃ cottarāṇim| dhyānanirmathanābhyāsāddevaṃ paśyennigūḍhavat||

This can be well compared with that of the Kaṭhopaniṣad.

The concept that a person committing suicide suffers miseries even in the next worlds called the Sunless worlds (asuryā lokāḥ) of the Īśopaniṣad[1] under 07/12 in the narration of a Brahmin boy who wants to commit suicide.

He writes,

“O Brahmin boy, don’t show your adventure a suicide is very difficult to bear in every birth therefore it is better to bear the misery in every birth only.”[2]

Under 13/19 the city of 11 gates of the Kaṭhopaniṣad (02/02/01) is taken note of in his auto-commentary, while explaining the word ‘city’ he presents a beautiful synthesis of two seemingly different points i.e. the city (of body) of nine gates[3] of Śrīmadbhagavadgītā and the body) of eleven gates of kaṭhopaniṣad (02/02/01).[4]

The city is none but this human body which has nine gates viz. 02 eyes, 02 ears, 02 nostrils, and a mouth as well as 02 organs of urine and excreta and 02 more gates of the Kaṭhopaniṣad are the navel and the head.

The metaphor of the body with the city is aptly presented in his auto commentary.

  The body   The city
01 ekādaśa dvārāṇi indriyāṇi 01 ekādaśa dvārāṇi
02 The wind and other are gate-keepers 02 Watchmen
03 The seven essence of like skin, flesh, blood, fat, marrow, bones & muscles. 03 Safety walls for stress
04 seven cross roads are mūlādhāra,  

svādhiṣṭhāna up to sahasrāra

04 The square and cross roads are like (ma ू lādhāra, svādhiṣṭhāna up to sahasrāra)   the midtown, down town, etc.
05 Horripilation i.e. on the body 05 Machines for various functions

The word suparṇa [suparṇaḥ] (M) of the Muṇḍakopaniṣad (03/01/01)[5] means a bird or a beautiful winged bird. This allegory of birds introduces the individual soul as one partaking the fruits of the Peepal tree and the Supreme Self as one witnessing the individual soul.

“Lord Dattātreya, the inner controller of all, one from whom comes memory, the knower and the author of the philosophy of Vedānta. His two portions are associated with each other, resorted to the tree (of transmigration) and one of the two eagerly partakes (the fruits of the tree) and the other witnesses (the one partaking the fruits).[6]

It must be borne in mind that the fruits of the Peepal are tasty and hence they bind the soul. So the tree should be cut and that too with sword of non-attachment.[7]

The other reference of the same upaniṣad “The knot of the heartis broken, the doubts are cut,”[8] etc. is found under 09/65 that “Such delighted ones in the Self are happy, blissful, free from knots of the heart i.e. the ignorance and free from the thoughts of the duality move in this world like a stubborn, a mad and a goblin:

prasannātmānaḥ praśāntā nirbandhā dvaitavarjitāḥ|
svātmārāmāścarantyatra jaḍonmattapiśācavat||

Under Śrīgurustuti 83 he incorporates the Universal Functions of Brahman transferring on the Holy Master,

“The world emanates from you, enjoys pleasures in you and merges into you. You appear to be like the universe with these 08 forms of yours.”[9]

This is the place where he combines the Upaniṣadic theoryof Creation[10] with the 08 Cosmic Forms of Lord Śiva.

The theory of the Triple Causation (trivṛtkaraṇa) discussed in the Chāndogyopaniṣad (06/03) is referred to under 04/05.

“More over like the ether he should remain untouched (aspṛk) to his physical form which is the modification of the three elements caused from the time.”[11]

The citations of the relevant texts of the Chāndogyopaniṣad[12] reveals his profound scholarship in the auto-commentary on 02/35 where he explains the text along with the conclusion regarding the gods approaching the Holy Master for the knowledge of the self and hence they are bound in some of the bondages like hunger, thirst, etc. of the world of transmigration.

Under 08/41[13] he writes,

“The body is insentient. The soul is omni-present, sentient, unborn, immutable and permanent. His happiness and the misery are unreal like a dream while his contact with worldly parlance is caused of the ignorance.”

The similar expressin is found in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad (04/03/10).[14]

The Śvetāśvataropaniṣad (06/23)[15] is taken note of under 01/23 and 02/64. The verses run as under:

“Such a Yogi after performing the actions as per his caste, stages of his life and as per the precepts of the scripture, the knower, dearer to the righteous and serving the Holy Master as the God attains all the pleasures and then the Liberation through the path of renunciation.”[16]

“If Lord Viśvanātha returned (without offering a boon) you do not like to go back, give me unflinching devotion to the Holy Master. I do not prefer anything else (like the worldly pleasures) that is not permanent.”[17]

The verses 21/ 83-86[18] prove his extraordinary mastery over incorporating the philosophical text in the versified form. The Garbhopaniṣad (Prose 03).

“From there (i.e. from the orb of a man) the soul having entered in to the plants, transform in the semen of a man and then become an embryo (in a woman) by the contact of a male and female (after the period of menstruation).”

“Then the foetus of the soul becomes a bublates, a bubble in the boiling water till the 5th night, a bubble in the till the 7th night, a ball of flesh after a fortnight and then it becomes solid yet soft in its self.”

“Then it becomes hard, the head develops by the end of two months, the neck, etc., by the end of the 3rd month, the skin by the end 4th month, the body hair and nails by the end of the 5th month, the nostrils, mouth as well as eyes by the end of the 6th month, the movement by the end of 7th month, the intelligence by the end of the 8th month and the whole of the body gets developed by the end of the 9th month. He then prays to the Lord.”

The 05 verses of Gaudpāda’s Māṇḍūkyakārikā (01/01-05) describing 03 stages of an individual soul are nicely summarized in 03 verses only.

They are as under:

“The waking state of is grasping (perceiving) the objects by the (respective) senses. The soul presiding over the waking state and the groups of the five products in their non-modified state, the body is called viśva: and the astral body is called the subtle body Which is also a material one.”[19]

“The Golden Egg (hiraṇyagarbha) the experience after the cessation of the (functioning of) sense organs and the dream state caused by the impression of the enjoyed objects (in the waking state). Thus the soul presiding over the dream state and the subtle body is called taijasa:.” [20]

“The ignorance of the soul caused of the perception of duality with its projection, the manifest, the concealment of the knowledge, the state of the soul caused of intelligence and the deep sleep (supti) the presiding soul over this is called prājñaḥ.[21]

Footnotes and references:


asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasā vṛtāḥ|
tāṃste pretyānu gacchanti ye ke cātmahano janāḥ||
(īśa. 03)


sāhasaṃkuru brahmannātmahatyā hi durvahā|
bhave bhave'pyato'traiva samprāptasahanaṃ varam||


sarvakarmāṇi manasā saṃnyasyāste sukhaṃ vaśī|
navadvāre pure dehī naiva kurvanna kārayan|| gītā


anuṣṭhāya na śocati, vimuktaśca vimucyate|| etadvaitat|| kaṭha.


dvā suparṇā sayujā sakhāyā samānaṃ vṛkṣaṃ pariṣasvajāte|
tayoranya pippalaṃ svādvattya-naśnannanyo ābhicākaśīti|| muṇḍa.u.


yaḥ sarvahṛtstho'sya yataḥ smṛtirvid vedāntakṛdyo'pi ca vedavedyaḥ|
samau yadaṃśau sayujau supaṇāz
vṛkṣāśrito bhuktyavalokanotkau|| gurustutiḥ 104||


tataḥ padaṃ tatparimārgitavyaṃ yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ|
tameva cādyaṃ puruṣaṃ prapadye yataḥ pravṛttiḥ prasṛtā purāṇī|| gītā


bhidyate hṛdayagranthicchidyante sarvasaṃśayaḥ|
kṣīyante cā'sya karmāṇi tasmin dṛṣṭe parāvare||


tvadudeti ramatyetadviśvaṃ tvayyeva līyate|
aṣṭamūrtibhirābhistvamābhāsīva jaganmayaḥ|| gurustutiḥ


yato vā imāni bha ू tāni jāyante yena jātāni jīvanti|
yatprayantyabhisaṃviśanti| tadvijijñāsasva tad brahma|| tai.u.


guṇāśrayo guṇairyujyenna gandhairvāyuvatsvadṛk|


ācāryavānpuruṣo veda tasya tāvadeva ciraṃ yāvanna vimokṣye'tha sampatsya iti|| chāṃ. u. 6/14/2||


deho'citsarvago jīvaścidaṃśo'jo'vyayo dhruvaḥ|
svapnavatsukhaduḥkhādi-saṃbandho'jñāna'sya tu||


na tatra rathā na rathayogā na panthāno bhavanti, atha rathānrathayogānpathaḥ sṛjate, na tatrāndā mudaḥ pramudo bhavanti, athānandān mudaḥ pramudaḥ sṛjate na tatra veśāntāḥ puṣkariṇyaḥ sravantyo bhavanti, atha viśāntān puṣkariṇīḥ sravantīḥ sṛjate, sa hi kartā|| bṛ.u.14/3/10 ||


yasya deve parā bhakti yathā deve tathā gurau|
tasyaite kathitā hyarthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ|| śve. u.


kṛtasvavarṇāśramadṛṣṭakarmā vidvān sadiṣṭo gurudevabhaktaḥ|
ihaiva bhuktiṃ ca labheta muktiṃ saṃnyāsanenaiva pathā sa yogī||


cidviśveśo yathā yātastathā gantuṃ na rocate|
gurāvevacalāṃ bhāktiṃ dehyannaṃ vṛṇe'dhru
vam|| 2/64||


tato'pyoṣadhigo bhūtvā puṃsi retastato'pyasau|
strīpuṃyogācchukrarakta-mayo garbhatvametyaho||

kalalaṃ prāk pañjarātrād budbudaḥ saptarātrataḥ|
peśī pakṣāderbudo'tha bhavati svasthito ghanaḥ||
māsā krūraḥ śiro dvābhyāṃ grīvādyaṅgāni ca|
tribhiḥ caturbhistvagromanakhāḥ pañjabhiḥ ṣaḍbhirapyatha||
ṇi saptabhiścalanaṃ ca dhīḥ|
aṣṭabhirnavabhiḥ pūrṇo dehī bhūtveśvaraṃ jagau||


sakāryaśuddhabhūtāni laiṅgātmātmā sa bhautikaḥ||


hiraṇyagarbhaḥ svapnaḥ syāt karaṇoparame'rthayuk|
prāksaṃskārotthānubhūtis taijaso'trābhimānavān||


dvihetvāmāvitsābhāsā'vyākṛtaṃ jñānasaṃhṛtiḥ|
dhīhetvātmasthitaḥ suptirmāni prājño'tra tatparam||

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: