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As mentioned in the answer to this question according to the Mahabharat, Lord Dattatreya, the son of Rishi Atri, had a son called Nimi. I have never come across any mention of Datta guru as a householder and neither is he ever shown with his consort.

So my question is, was Dattatreya married or is this son someone he had adopted?

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Yes, Lord Dattatreya did have a wife. She is mentioned in Chapter 16 of the Markandeya Purana.

Dattatreya sported with his wife and drank liquor with her in front of the Munis to test their loyalty to him. Inspite of all his acts, the Munis refused to leave him.

मुनिपुत्रवृतो योगी दत्तात्रेयोऽप्यसङ्गिताम्।। १०८॥

अभीप्समानः सरसि निममज्ज चिरं विभुः।

तथापि तं महात्मानमतीव प्रियदर्शनम्॥ १०९॥

तत्यजुर्न कुमारास्ते सरसस्तीरसंश्रयाः।

Surrounded by the sons of Munis, the lordly yogi Dattatreya also, desirous of obtaining exemption from all attachments, long immersed himself in a lake. Nevertheless those youths, resorting to the bank of the lake, did not forsake him, who was magnanimous and exceedingly benign.

दिव्ये वर्षशते पूर्णे यदा तेन त्यजन्ति तम्।। ११०॥

तत्प्रीत्या सरसस्तीरं सर्वे मुनिकुमारकाः। ततो दिव्याम्बरधरां सुरूपां सुनितम्बिनीम्।। १११॥

नारीमादाय कल्याणीमुक्ततार जलान्मुनिः।

स्त्रीसन्निकर्षिणं ह्येते परित्यक्ष्यन्ति मामिति॥ ११२॥

मुनिपुत्रास्ततो योगे स्थास्यामीति विचिन्तयन्।

When after a hundred heavenly years were ended, all those youthful Munis, through affection for him, still forsook not the bank of the lake, the Muni, taking his noble wife clothed in heavenly raiment, beautiful and plump in form, arose from the water, thinking, If these sons of Munis shall forsake me because of the presence of a woman, then I will remain free from all attachments.

तथापि ते मुनिसुता न त्यजन्ति यदा मुनिम्।। ११३।।

ततः सह तया नार्या मद्यपानमथाकरोत्। सुरापानरतं तेन सभार्यं तत्यजुस्ततः।। ११४।।

गीतवाद्यादिवनिताभोगसंसर्गदूषितम्। मन्यमाना महात्मानं तया सह बहिष्क्रियम्॥ ११५।।

When nevertheless the sons of the Munis did not forsake him, he next drank intoxicating liquors in company with his wife. Thereupon they did not forsake him, though he was engrossed in drinking spirituous liquor in company with his wife, and though he was rendered impure by addiction to singing, musical instruments and Such like, and also by intercourse with his wife; deeming that the high-souled Muni when with her was detached from religious rites.

नावाप दोष योगीशो वारुणीं स पिबन्नपि। अन्तावसायिवेश्मान्तर्मातरिश्वा स्पृशनिव। ११६।।

सुरां पिबन्सपत्नीकस्तपस्तेपे स योगवित्। योगीश्वरश्चिन्त्यमानो येागिभिर्मुक्तिकांक्षिभिः।। ११७।।

The lord of yogis, although drinking spirituous liquor, incurred no fault. Dwelling like Matarisvan within the abodes of candalas, drinking strong drink he, skilled in yoga, the lord of yogis, attended by his wife, performed austerities, being meditated on by yogis who longed for deliverance from mundane existence.

Further on in the same chapter Sage Garga asks Kartavirya Arjuna to pray to Dattatreya citing an old story where the Danavas kidnapped Dattareya's wife and met their destruction. Here her name is given as Laksmi.

When the Daityas overpowered the gods Brihaspati advises the gods to pray to Dattatreya and ask for a boon that would destroy the Daityas

बृहपतिरुवाच

दत्तात्रेयं महाभागमत्रेः पुत्रं तपोधनम्। विकृताचरण भक्त्या सन्तोषयितुमर्हथ। १४०॥

स वो दैत्य विनाशाय वरदो दास्यते वरम्। ततो हनिष्यथ सुराः सहितान्दैत्यदानवान्॥१४१॥

Brihaspati said- "Deign to gratify with your faith Dattātreya, Atri's high-souled son, the ascetic, who is occupied in improper practices. He the boongiver will grant you a boon for the destruction of the Daityas; then, O gods, shall you and your friends slay the Daityas and Danavas."

हन्तुं शक्ता न सन्देहो दत्तात्रेयप्रसादतः। इत्युक्तास्ते तदा जग्मुर्दत्तात्रेयाश्रमं सुराः॥ १४२॥

ददृशुश्च महात्मानं क्षान्तं लक्ष्म्या समन्वितम्। उद्गीयमानं गन्धर्वैः सुरापानरतं मुनिम्॥ १४३।।

Thus exhorted the gods then went to Dattatreya's hermitage, and they beheld the highsouled Muni, attended by Laksmi, hymned by Gandharvas, and engrossed in quaffing spirituous liquor.

गर्ग उवाच एवमुक्तस्ततो देवैर्दत्तात्रेयोऽब्रवीदिदम्। प्रहस्य त्रिदशान्सर्वान्यद्येतद्भवतां मतम्॥१५५॥

तदाहूयासुरान्सर्वान्युद्धाय सुरसत्तमाः। इहानयत मद् दृष्टिगोचरं मा विलम्ब्यताम्॥१५६॥

मददुष्टिपातहुतभुक्प्रक्षीणबलतेजस:। येन नाशमशेषास्ते प्रयान्ति मम दर्शनात्॥ १५७।।

Garga spoke

Thus accosted by the gods, Dattatreya then with a smile spoke thus to all the thirty gods;- "If this be your opinion, then summon all the Asuras to battle, O most virtuous gods and bring them here before my view-delay you not-in order that the glory of their strength may be consumed by the fire of my glance, and that they may all perish from my sight.

The Daityas break into Dattatreya's hermitage and resolve to carry off Laksmi. But as they carried her on their heads she deserts them and the sin of her kidnapping is attached to them and they lose their merits. So the Gods defeat them easily and Laksmi returns to Dattatreya.

ददृशुस्तं महात्मानं दत्तात्रेयं मदालसम्। १६०॥

वामपार्श्वस्थितामिष्टामशेषजगतः शुभाम्। भार्या चास्य सुचार्वङ्गीं लक्ष्मीमिन्दुनिभाननाम्।। १६१॥

नीलोत्पलाभनयनां पीनश्रोणिपयोधराम्। सुदतीं मधुराभाषां सर्वयोषिद्बुणैर्युताम्।। १६२।।

Even there the Daityas penetrated, driving forward the heaven-dwellers, and saw the highsouled mighty Dattātreya; and seated at his left side Laksmi, loved by all the worlds beauteous, her shape most graceful, her countenance like the moon, her eyes lustrous as the blue water-lily, her hips large and breasts full, uttering melodious speech, adorned with every womanly virtue.

दृष्ट्वाग्रतस्तदा दैत्याः साभिलाषमनोभवाः। न शेकुरुद्धता दैत्या मनस बोखुमातुराः॥१६३॥

त्यक्ता देवान्स्त्रियं तां तु हर्तुकामा हतौजसः। प्रेरितास्तेन पापेन ह्यासक्तास्ते ततोऽब्रुवन्॥ १६४॥

Seeing her before them, the Daityas seized with longing, could not bear the intense love with fortitude, and pined in mind to carry her off. Desisting from the gods, but desirous of seizing the lady, they were shattered in vigour, being bewitched by that sin.

गर्ग उवाच

सानुरागास्ततस्ते तु मुनेरन्तिकमागमन्। तस्य तां योषितं साध्वीं समुत्क्षिप्य स्मरातुराः।। १६७॥

शिबिकायां समारोष्य सहिता दैत्यदानवा:। शिरः सुशिबिकां कृत्वा स्वस्थानाभिमुखा ययुः।। १६८ ।।

Thereupon possessed with longing and thus mutually exhorted afflicted by love, the united Daityas and Danavas raised up his virtuous wife, mounted her in the palki, and placing the palki on their heads set off for their own homes.

दत्तात्रेयस्तथा देवान्विहस्येदमथाब्रवीत्।

दिष्ट्यां च हन्त दैत्यानामेषा लक्ष्मीः शिरोगता।

सप्तस्थानान्यतिक्रम्य लयमन्यमुपेष्पति।। १६९॥

Thereon Dattātreya smiling spoke thus to the gods- "Bravo! you prosper! Here is Laksmi borne on the heads of the Daityas. She has passed beyond the seven stations, she will reach another,

देवा ऊचुः

कथयस्व जगन्नाथ केषु स्थानेष्ववस्थिता। पुरुषस्य फलं किं वा प्रयच्छत्यथ नश्यति।। १७०॥

The gods spoke

Say, O lord of the world, in what stations has she her abode; and what result of a man's does she bestow or destroy?

मृष्टात्र वाक्यलावण्यमाज्ञामवितथां तथा। मुखस्थिता कवित्वं च यच्छत्युदधिसम्भवा।। १७४॥

शिरोगता सन्त्यजति ततोऽन्यं याति चाश्रयम्। सेयं शिरोगता दैत्यान्परित्यजति साम्प्रतम्॥ १७५॥

When abiding in the countenance, the sea-born goddess bestows beauty fashioned according to her word, real command also, and poetic fire. When mounted on the head, she forsakes the man and thence resorts to another abode. And here, mounted on their head, she will now desert these Daityas,

प्रगृह्यास्त्राणि वध्यन्तां तस्मादेते सुरारयः। न भेतव्यं भृशं त्वेते मया निस्तेजसः कृताः॥ १७६॥

परदारावमर्शाच्च दग्धपुण्या हतौजसः। तस्मादेतेऽभिहन्यन्तां भवद्भिरविशंकितैः॥ १७७॥

Therefore seize your arms and slay these foes of the gods; nor fear them greatly; I have rendered them impotent; and through touching anothers wife their merit is consumed, their might is broken.

गर्ग उवाच

ततस्ते विविधैरस्त्रैर्वध्यमानाः सुरारयः। शिरःसु लक्ष्म्याप्याक्रान्ता विनेशुरिति नः श्रुतम्॥ १७८॥

लक्ष्मीश्रोत्पत्य सम्प्राप्ता दत्तात्रेयं महामुनिम्। स्तूयमाना सुरैः सेन्द्रैर्दैत्यनाशान्मुदान्वितैः॥ १७९॥

प्रणिपत्य ततो देवा दत्तात्रेयं महामुनिम्। जय कृष्ण जगन्नाथ दैत्यान्तक हरप्रभो॥ १८०॥

नारायणाच्युतानन्त वासुदेवाक्षयाजर। त्वत्प्रसादात्सुखं लक्ष्मी राज्यं सम्पज्जनार्दन॥ १८१॥

शार्ङ्गधन्वंश्चक्रपाणे भक्तानां नित्यवत्सल।। इति स्तुत्वा नाकपृष्ठं यथापूर्वं गताः सुराः।। १८२॥

Garga spoke

Thereupon those enemies of the gods, being slain by divers weapons and their heads being assailed by Laksmi, perished-thus have we heard. And Laksmi, flying up, reached the great Muni Dattātreya, being hymned by all the gods who were filled with joy at the slaughter of the Daityas Thereupon the gods, prostrating themselves before the wise Dattātreya, gained as before the uppermost heaven, being freed from affliction.

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    Great answer! Any idea about the son of his called Nimi? – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Sep 11 '17 at 15:09
  • Thanks! I've read of him in Mahabharata and Varaha Purana when he established the Sraddha ritual... but nowhere have I read the description of Nimi's birth to Dattatreya. – Arya Sep 11 '17 at 17:10
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    @SwiftPushkar yes this is the same reference I have used for the question. I wanted to know if there was some other reference corroborating the same. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Sep 19 '17 at 8:57
  • Oh ,sorry didn't saw the link in your Q. Anyway nice find :) – SwiftPushkar Sep 19 '17 at 9:00
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Lord Dattatreya, the combined incarnation of the Trinity, was a child of five years, many old sages spotted His greatness and started insisting Him to show them the path of Yoga. The child Datta wanted to test them. He disappeared into a pond and remained there for one hundred years. Some of the sages waited for Him on the banks of the pond while the infant Datta was in a state of complete Samadhi for hundred years. Even after coming out of the pond he continued to test the sages.

Dattatreya, who was 105 years old then, brought out His Yogic energy through His Brahma Randhra (an astral orifice found in the center of the skull, through which Yogis can leave the body), and gave it the form of a woman. Because the energy came out from Him, He was its natural owner. He declared her to be His consort. In order to test the sages, she drank wine and started dancing.

She was born as a youthful woman. Seeing her drink wine, some of the sages called her Madhumati. Others called her 'Nadee' becuase looking at her dance which resembled the dancing movements of a flooded river. Still others realized that she was none other than the Yogic Energy of Lord and prayed to Him. Some others went away.

Then Lord Dattatreya came out of Samadhi. She now appeared as an ascetic. Lord Dattatreya named her as Anagha. Those who called her as Madhumati and Nadee had identified her as one who possessed sin. But in reality she was sinless. Therefore Dattatreya had named her as Anagha (Sinless, Pure). Those who had recognized her to be the energy of Dattatreya, obtained the true vision of the Lord and could transcend all sorrows. In other words, because of her their sorrows (Agha or sin and sorrow) disappeared. This was another reason why Dattatreya named her as Anagha (one who removes sorrows).

You can read it here.

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    Hi Praveen, as I said earlier, references from other pages are not helpful. This site requires references from scriptures. Please share those if you know where this story comes from. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Sep 11 '17 at 12:39

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