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The Three Personalities of Godhead Appear as the sons of Sage Atri and Anasuya Devi
Sage Atri is the mind-born son of Lord Brahma, the Creator. His location of stay is in the southern direction. His consort Anasuya Devi is the sister of the Personality of Godhead known as Kapila Maharishi. Sage Atri is a devotee of the highest class and beyond the three modes of material nature. His consort Anasuya got her name because she is perfectly free of envy (अनसूया Ana-Suya means without envy). When they were ordered by Sri Brahma to become progenitors, they first decided to perform intense penance. Their purpose for performance of penance was not to procreate, it was done with the intention of coming face to face with the Lord. Influenced and satisfied by their penance, the three controlling deities, the Personalities of Godhead namely Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma decided to pay them a visit. Both Sage Atri and Devi Anasuya were lost in the contemplation of these deities. They were not even aware of the arrival of Godhead. Then the three deities woke the couple from their trance. The couple soaked their eyes in the beautiful forms of Godhead and prostrated before them. The three deities then asked the couple to ask them for a boon. The couple had no desire whatsoever and yet they were given the task of procreation by Sri Brahma. The couple asked the three forms of Godhead to appear as their sons. In due course all the three forms appeared in the womb of Anasuya Devi. Lord Vishnu appeared as Sage Dattatreya. Sri Brahma appeared as the Moon God, Chandradeva and Lord Shiva descended as the great Sage Durvasa in the household of Sage Atri.
Lord Rama visits Atri Rishi
The Personalities of God, for whose foot-dust the greatest Yogis hanker, the very same Personalities appeared as tiny tots in the household of Sage Atri and filled the hermitage with nectar of Parenthood and Love. Anasuya Devi had no other occupation other than feeding her divine children and going after them all the time. Completely enamored by the story of Anasuya Devi and with a view to meeting up with the devotee couple Atri and Anasuya, Lord Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita Devi visited their holy hermitage at the time of their 14 year exile. Sita Devi was specifically offered spiritual advice by Devi Anasuya about what Shastra had to say about the duties and responsibilities of a married women and her role in the upliftment of society as a whole. The great sage Atri praised Sri Rama and prayed to Him for permanently providing a place for him at the Lord’s feet.
Who is Sage Bhrigu?
Sage Bhrigu was one of the mind-born sons of Sri Brahma. Sage Bhrigu is also a Prajapati, a progenitor of the universe. At the time of the Chakshusha Manvantara of the present Kalpa, Sage Bhrigu was one of the Saptarishis or the 7 primordial sages. He had great strength of austerities. He had accepted the daughter of Daksha known as Khyati. He had two sons by the names Dhata and Vidhata. He had a daughter known as Shri. The Supreme Lord Narayana accepted Shri as His consort and Shri Devi represents the universal Mother of the universe. Sage Bhrigu had many other sons who have been the Saptarishis in many Manvantaras. In the tenth Dwapara Yuga of the Varaha Kalpa Lord Shiva incarnated as sage Bhrigu. In the Swayambhu Manvantara, Bhrigu is one of the 7 celestial sages or Saptarishis. The famous rishi Chyawan is the son on Bhrigu. Sage Bhrigu has performed many Yajnas and with the strength of his austerities he has borne many sons. In the months of Shravana and Bhadrapada he resides in the chariot of Surya Deva. There is one anecdote which almost everyone knows about the great sage Bhrigu.
Who is the greatest among Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva?
Once there was a gathering of Rishis on the banks of the river Sarasvati. The rishis were discussing as to which of the three divinities among Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva was Supreme. When they could not come to a formal conclusion, they elected by a common vote that Sage Bhrigu shall decide as to who is the Supreme Personality. Sage Bhrigu was the son of Sri Brahma. He ascended to Brahma Loka but did not offer obeisance to his father, nor offered any other respect to Sri Brahma. Sri Brahma was angry at his son and Sage Bhrigu could see his father seething with rage. However Sri Brahma controlled his anger and let go of his son’s offence. The Bhrigu proceeded to the abode of Lord Shiva, who also happens to be his own elder brother. Lord Shiva wanted to embrace his brother and so stepped forward. But Sage Bhrigu insulted the Lord saying that he promoted all sorts of condemnable practices among his devotees. Lord Shiva was enraged by this statement and chased sage Bhrigu away with his trident known as Trishul. Then the sage had to pray and somehow console the Lord. Next, sage Bhrigu proceeded to Vaikuntha. The gates of Vaikuntha are always open to the Brahmanas. There, sage Bhrigu saw that Lord Vishnu was resting on His transcendental couch known as Sheshanaga while Mother Laxmi pressed His feet. Sage Bhrigu just went up to the Lord and kicked Him on His chest. Seeing the great Brahmana Bhrigu, the Lord of the three worlds immediately got up from His resting couch and prostrated the Sage. He addressed the sage with nectar like loving words. The Lord said “I did not know of your arrival and hence was not fortunate to receive you at the gate. Kindly forgive me for this negligence. I have a very hard heart and I am worried that your feet would have hurt as it touched my rock-like chest.” The Lord then dragged Himself to the feet of the Sage and started pressing it lovingly. The Lord said “I have been blessed by receiving your foot dust on my chest. From now on my chest shall always adorn your footprints.” After sometime, sage Bhrigu returned to the assembly of the Rishis on the banks of the Sarasvati. Hearing the encounters of sage Bhrigu all the Rishis in chorus proclaimed “Those who are in the mode of pure goodness they should only worship Lord Vishnu. The great sage Bhrigu was now directly connected with Lord Vishnu, especially after this incident. Sage Bhrigu is also considered as a Parama Bhagavatha. Remembering sage Bhrigu is equivalent to remembering Lord Vishnu.