By Swami Harshananda
Anasuyā literally means ‘one without jealousy’.
One of the most celebrated women of mythology, considered as a model of wifely virtues, Anasuyā was a daughter of Kardama and Devahṅti. She was married to the great sage Atri whom she served with intense devotion and love. Once, when there was a severe famine, she saved people by producing vegetables and fruits through her power of tapas (austerity). She even made the river Gaṅgā which had dried up, flow again.
The Trinity (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva) subjected her to a severe test of her chastity from which she emerged successfully. As a reward they were born as her children :
- Viṣṇu as Dattātreya
- Śiva as Durvāsas
- Brahmā as Candra
When Rāma and Sitā visited Atri’s hermitage in the daṇdaka forest, Anasuyā taught Sītā the value of devoted service to one’s husband as the necessary and sufficient discipline for spiritual welfare.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore