In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), there are the names of nineteen preachers of Sāṁkhya-darśana (Samkhyadarsana, the Samkhya Philosophy). Āsuri is one of them. His name is mentioned along with Nārada, Pulastya, Sanatkumāra and Śukrācārya.
Paramarṣi Kapila is the chief exponent of Sāṁkhyadarśana. Sage Āsuri is his disciple, and the Sāṁkhya guru Pañcaśikha is the disciple of Kapila. In Mahābhārata, it is said that once Āsuri stayed in his own tapovana (hermitage-grove). A number of sages who followed Kapila’s tradition of Sāṁkhyadarśana came there, asked Āsuri about the unspeakable knowledge of Puruṣāvastha. Āsuri through his ascetic practices, had a vision of God or the realisation of Brahman, and gained the knowledge of deha and dehī jīva. He explained in details the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman. Pañcaśikha was the disciple of this Āsuri. Some scholars consider that the woman called Kapilā who gave suck to Pañcaśikha and nourished him, was probably the wife of Āsuri .
Kapila-Āsuri, mentioned in Mahābhārata, and the guruparamparā of the famous learned heritage (vidyāvaṃśa), and the ancient Īśvarakṛṣṇa clearly mentions that–
etat pavitramagryaṃ munirāsuraye cānukampayā pradadau
āsurirapi pañcaśikhāya tena ca vahudhā kṛtaṃ tandram.
Āsuri was a ̍siddha̍, learned person, but he could not understand the māyā of God Śrī Hari, so Śiva has named himself among these yogī(s).
It has been said that along with the other great sages, Āsuri also came to the yajña of Yudhiṣṭhira.