Anasuya (IAST: Anusūyā, अनसूया "free from envy and
jealousy"), also known as Anusuya, was wife of an ancient Indian rishi
(sage) named Atri, in Hindu mythology. In Ramayana, she appears living
with her husband in a small hermitage in the southern periphery of the
forest of Chitrakuta. She was very pious and always practiced
austerities and devotion. This allowed her to attain miraculous
Rama visited her during their exile, Anusuya was very
attentive to them and gave
Sita an ointment which could maintain her
beauty forever. She was mother of Dattatreya, the sage-avatar of
Trimurti Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, the irascible sage Durvasa, avatar of
Shiva and Chandraatri, avatar of Brahma. She is also mother of Chandra
Dev Moon. She was daughter of Sage Kardama and his wife Devahuti. Sage
Kapila was her brother and teacher. She is extolled as Sati Anusuya
– Anusuya, the chaste wife.
2 Stories Of Anusuya and Atri
2.1 The Divine Trinity Tests Anasuya
3 Sati Anusuya Ashrama
4 Popular culture
Anasuya is made up of two parts: An and Asuya. An is a negative prefix
and Asuya means jealousy. Hence,
Anasuya could be translated into
English as one who is free from jealousy or envy.
Stories Of Anusuya and Atri
The story of Anusuya's family is mentioned in
Bhagavata Purana Skanda
III. Sage Kardama married Devahuti, daughter of Swayambhu Manu and had
one son avatar
Kapila and nine daughters, including Anusuya, who
married various Saptarishis.
The Divine Trinity Tests Anasuya
Anasuya feeding the Hindu Trinity
Narada praised Anusuya in his hymns and verses, making the wives
Shiva jealous. They requested their husbands go
and tempt her away from her husband, breaking her pativrata. The
Divine Trinity went to Anusuya as guests when
Atri was not at home and
asked her to serve them lunch in the nude. She agreed, but first
splashed them each with enchanted water, turning them into small
children. The three goddesses waited for their husbands to return and
when they didn't, travelled to Anusuya’s cottage to find them
transformed. The Goddesses repented and at request of Anusuya, the
three Gods agreed to be born as her sons. According to one version,
the gods merged turning into Anasuya's three headed son Dattatreya.
Bhagavata Purana manuscript page depicting the story of
Anasuya meeting the Trimurti(PhP 4.1.21–25).(Paper, late 18th
A Brahmin named
Pratishthan used to visit a prostitute,
in spite of being a Brahmin and having a devoted wife. When he later
became infected with leprosy, the prostitute stopped seeing him,
forcing him to return to his wife who still cared for him. He still
longed for the affections of the prostitute and one day asked his wife
to take him to her. In that town, sage
Mandavya had been impaled in
lieu of a criminal and was lying on a spike in the forest. While being
led by his wife through the deep forest at night,
Kaushik happened to
trip on the sage, who cursed him to death before the next sunrise. To
stop the curse, Kaushik's wife stopped the sunrise with the power of
her love, creating havoc in the heavens. The gods went to
help, who in turn went to Anasuya, asking her to convince Kaushik's
wife to allow the sunrise.
Anasuya not only convinced Kaushik's wife
to allow the sun to rise, but also brought
Kaushik back to life after
the curse had run its course.
Brahma was very happy with Anusuya and
was then born to her as Chandraatri.
Some time later,
Rahu masked Sun, cloaking the whole world in
darkness. Atri, with powers granted by many years of austerity,
Sun out of Rahu's hands, restoring light to the world. The
Gods were pleased and
Vishnu were born to
Atri and Anusuya
Durvasa and Dattatreya.
According to another legend,
Atri performed a great tapascharya on
Kula Mountain that set the whole world on fire. Brahma,
Shiva were impressed with him and granted him a boon.
Atri asked them
to be born as his children. In
Atri asked for three
sons and one daughter, Shubhatreyi.
Sati Anusuya Ashrama
Mandakini River at Anusuya Ashrama
Sati Anusuya ashram is in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, located further
upstreams the Mandakini River, 16 km from the town, set amidst thick
forests that round to the melody of birdsong all day. It was here that
sage Atri, his wife Anusuya and their three sons(who were three
incarnations of Brahma,
Vishnu and Shiva), lived and are said to have
Valmiki describes in the epic
Ramayana that at one time there was no
rain in Chitrakuta for ten years. There was a severe famine and
nothing was left to eat or drink for animals and birds. Sati Anusuya
performed hard and intensive austerities and got the river Mandakini
down on earth. This led to the greenery and forests to grow which
removed the sufferings of all sages and the animals.
Sati Anusuya ashrama, at present is a very peaceful place where
various streams from the hills converge and form the Mandakini River.
It is said that
Rama along with
Sita had visited this place to meet
Atri and Sati Anusuya. It is here Sati Anusuya explained to
Sita, the grandeur and importance of satitva. The dense forests of
Dandaka start from this place. It was ruled by Ravana.
appointed strong rakshasas like Khara and
Viradha as its rulers. The
place was infected by the terror of rakshasas.
The story of
Anasuya is made into films in different languages in
India. The Telugu film is made entitled
Sati Anasuya in 1957 and 1971.
The 1957 film was directed by Kadaru Nagabhushanam and starring
Anjali Devi and Gummadi Venkateswara Rao. The 1971 film was directed
by B. A. Subba Rao.
Jamuna Ramanarao played the role of Anasuya,
Sharada as Sumati and
Tadepalli Lakshmi Kanta Rao
Tadepalli Lakshmi Kanta Rao as
Music score provided by P. Adinarayana Rao.
^ The word pativrata used in the above composition should be replaced
by the word pativratya because pativrata means a chaste woman who is
devoted to her husband and the word pativratya means chastity.Thus the
sentence should actually read 'They requested their husbands ....
breaking her pativratya'.
^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages.
Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
Government of India. p. 66.
^ Purnendu Narayana Sinha (1950). A Study of the Bhagavata Purana: Or,
Esoteric Hinduism. Library of Alexandria. pp. 96–.
^ Ramayana, Ayodhya kanda – sarga 117 shloka 9, 10.
^ Ramayana, Ayodhya kanda – sarga 116 shloka 11, 12.
^ Sati Ansuya (1957). IMDb
^ Sati Ansuya (1971). IMDb
A Dictionary of Hindu Mythology & Religion by John Dowson
Hindu deities and texts
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali