Sati Ansuya



In the puranas there are many strange tales of sages, gods, humans, devas, danavas that would shock and surprise us in the modern context.   

One such tale is that of the test of sati Ansuya. 


The divine trinity was inspired to test the fidelity and piety of the beautiful wife of sage Atri.  Great gods who are in charge of the universe come to Ansuya’s hut in the forest as sages and requested alms from her at noon.  In accordance with duties of a householder, Ansuya was honour bound to serve her guests with lunch and offer them every possible satisfaction.


Sage Atri was out of the ashram at time, but Ansuya welcomed the three strangers into her hut and offered to share her mid-day meal with them.  The sages looked gravely upon her and said, “We have a taken a strict vow and the person who feeds us has to be totally naked.  We appreciate your wish to carry out your duty as a house holder, but please tell us if you can satisfy this vow of ours before we proceed.  If you can’t, we will understand and will try our luck at the next ashram.”


Ansuya was in a terrible ethical and moral bind.  Having welcomed guests into her home, she could not turn her guests out without feeding them nor could she satisfy their strange vow without breaking the rules of an Aryan bride.  Thinking for a minute, she requested her three guests to wash their hands and feet and prepare for lunch.


Praying to the trinity that stood before her, Ansuya sprinkled water on her guests and welcomed them as her children.  As a mother does not fear lustful glances from her own sons, she was willing to bare herself to the sages who were now pronounced as her sons.  Satisfied by her clever ruse to solve the situation, the trinity blessed her and pronounced her to be a “sati” worthy of universal acclaim.


Sacred texts say as a result of this visitation, Ansuya sired three sons – Soma, Durvasa and Datta. 

Soma graces the heaven as the moon. 
Durvasa was short tempered and became a great sage. 
Datta was a great yogi and came to be known as Datta-Aterya – Datta, the son of Attreya. 



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