Tripura Rahasya is considered one of the important books that expounded Advaita Vedanta philosophy.

As per the introduction given in the book "Tripura Rahasya" by Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaiah of Ramanasramam; it is said that

"Mahaadeeva originally taught the Highest Truth to Vishnu who in turn taught Brahma in the Celestial regions" And later on Vishnu in the avatar of Dattatreya taught this knowledge to Parasurama and so on, and the chain of transfer of this knowledge continues.

The actual scripture says it was first taught by Lord Siva to Vishnu avatar Dattatreya.

But it was interpreted by some people from Ramanashramam and others that Siva taught to Vishnu rather than Siva to Dattatreya.

Is there any scriptural evidence for this claim? If yes, kindly quote them here. Or it is simply interpreted by some to take forward their ideology?

  • Actually, there is not really a necessity of the tag but if you are creating, correct tag format is [tripura-rahasya]. Put a hyphen when there are two different words. Aug 4, 2018 at 6:23

1 Answer 1


Tripura ( Three cities) + Rahasya ( Secret or Mystery) or the trinity. The three cities or states of consciousness are waking (Jagrut), dreaming (Svapna) and deep sleep (Shushupti). The underlying consciousness in them all is called Sri Tripura, the Mother Goddess Chandika. Tripura Rahasya is an ancient text with treatises on the Advaita school. It is also called the Haritaayana Samhita after its author Haritaayana, son of Haritha and disciple of Parashurama and Datta Bhargava Samvad.

The text of Tripura Rahasya is teaching us the supreme spiritual truth. This highest truth was first taught by Lord Shiva to Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Sri Dattatreya which is Avadhuta, Dattatreya gave this knowledge to Parasurama, who later taught it to his disciple Haritaayana sumedha. The Tripura Rahasya is a dialogue between Lord Dattatreya and Parasurama and a tantric or Shakta text.

Lord Shiva himself taught this knowledge to Lord Dattatreya an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This is mentioned in the text itself. Sumedha Haritayana once asked his Guru Shree Parashurama to teach him the highest truth and Lord Parashurama Narrated this knowledge to him, first taught by Lord Shiva to Parashurama's guru Dattatreya, as described in the book. Below are the shlokas.

सस्मार तत्पुरा प्रोक्तं दत्तात्रेयेण विष्णुना |
त्रिपुराया रहस्यं यत्साक्षाच्छिवमुखाच्छरुतम ||30||

Sasmaar Tatpuraa Proktam Dattatreyena Vishnunam |
Tripura Rahasyam YatsakshatShivaMukhamShrutam|

After sumedha asked Parashurama the question Parashurama remembered the mystical knowledge of Tripura Bhagwati (goddess) which was heard by Vishnu Dattatraya from Lord Shiva first.

This is again repeated in the next verse where it is said by Parashurama that he gained this knowledge from lord Shiva. Lord Shiva also instructed Lord Parashurama not to reveal this secret knowledge to anyone who is an atheist, fool, or ignorant. As described in the next shloka.

Parashurama said -:

विशुद्भहृदि संन्यस्तं तत्कालेन शिवाज्ञया |मयि संक्राम्य सर्वस्वं भक्तिज्ञानोपबृहितम ||31||
नास्तिकाय शठायाsपि नाम्ना भागै कलेशत: | भक्तानामपि चान्येषान वक्तव्यं न पुरस्त्वया ||33||

I gained this knowledge full of Bhakti (devotion) and gyana (knowledge) , Vairagya and with different types of mystic histories , which was kept in pure heart of Lord Shiva. He himself instructed me not to reveal this secret to fools , atheist and ignorant.

Here is Hindi-Sanskrit PDF of [**Tripura Rahasya**][1]
  • Yes, it is given in text, that it was taught by Siva to Vishnu’s avatar Dattatreya which in turn he taught to another avatar Parasurama. But I am looking whether there is any reference that Siva taught to Vishnu and Vishnu to Dattatreya as interpreted by some. Jul 31, 2018 at 8:49
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    @KIRANKUMAR - No , Shiva did not directly taught this to Vishnu ,but to his avatara " Dattatraya" The word used " दत्तात्रेयेण विष्णुना , Dattatreyena Vishnunaam" is to show the relation between Datta and vishnu , i.e. dattatraya is vishnu's avatars. But i don't think it should be taken as Vishnu taught it to dattatraya. Jul 31, 2018 at 8:55
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    Yes, Siva didn’t teach directly to Vishnu but to his avatar Dattatreya. It was misinterpreted by some that Siva taught to Vishnu, so I was looking for any reference that it was directly taught. Thanks for your answer. Jul 31, 2018 at 9:17
  • @KIRANKUMAR - Yes , I got your point of enquiry , but i think the good english translation is not available , one which is translated by Ramana Maharshi doesn't look much authentic , but still i will try try to look into what other texts/ authors are saying and will update the answer if found the info. Thanks. Jul 31, 2018 at 9:20
  • @SwiftPushkar I think the link is invalid now. If possible please try to update the link.
    – hanugm
    Jul 31, 2022 at 13:10

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