Ātreya

(‘descendant of Atri’)

Derived from the word ‘Atri,’ the term ‘Ātreya’ can refer to anyone who is a descendant of the sage Atri. There are several sages that bear this name. The Aitareya Brāhmaṇa (8.22) mentions one sage Udamaya, an Ātreya, as a priest of the king Aṅga Vairocana. The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (2.6.3; 4.6.3) has included the name of one Ātreya, a disciple of Māṇṭi, as one of the teachers of Madhuvidyā. In the Mahābhārata we come across an Ātreya who was a disciple of the sage Vāmadeva. He acted as one of the priests in the Sarpayāga conducted by Janamejaya. It was he who taught spiritual wisdom to Vidura.

Ātreya Punarvasu is one of the earliest and well-known teachers of Āyurveda (science of longevity). He has sometimes been identified with Suśruta.

Ātreya Rāmānuja (A. D. 1220-1295), also known as Kiḍāmbi Appuḷḷār, is an important teacher of the Viśiṣṭādvaita school of Vedānta. He imbibed both the Sanskrit and the Tamil traditions of the school and taught them to his nephew, Vedānta Deśika (A. D. 1268-1369) another doyen of this school. He was well-versed in the Mīmāṁsā as well as the Vedānta systems of philosophy. Nyāyakuliśa, is his magnum opus. Other works attributed to him are: Divyasūriprabhavadīpikā, Sarva-darśana-śiromaṇi and Mokṣasiddhi.