One significant appellation of Śiva Mahādeva (Shiva Mahadeva). The name Atrī (Atree) refers to the wife of the great sage Atri. The one who pays homage to Atri’s wife Atrī is therefore designated as Atryānamaskartā (Atryanamaskarta) in Sanskrit. In this context, the one(s) paying homage to Atri’s wife would be taken to indicate the children of Atri’s wife. As the great sage Prajāpati Atri (Prajapati Atri) sired several preeminent paradigmatic sages and deities, scholars have a difference of opinion as to which particular descendant of Atri bears the manifestation of Mahādeva. Candra (Chandra; the Moon) adorns the head of Mahādeva and hence Mahādeva has been likened to Candra several times. Again, according to Purāṇas (Purana) Candra is one of the sons of the great sage Atri. Consequently, Haridas Siddhantabagish in his Bhāratakaumudī (Bharatakaumudi) annotation of Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) correlates Mahādeva to Candra : the supreme deity takes the form of Candra, emerges as Atri’s son and pays homage to Atrī (Atri’s wife) and thus Mahādeva is regarded as Atryānamaskartā. Nīlakaṇṭha (Nilakantha), the annotator of Mahābhārata, interprets this son of Atri as Durvāsā (Durvasa). Conceived by Atri’s wife Anasūyā (Anasuya) and sired by part of Rudra Śiva himself, Durvāsā is widely regarded as a partial incarnation of Rudra Śiva and accordingly Durvāsā is an important appellation of Mahādeva. In Nīlakaṇṭha’s version, Mahādeva himself emerges in the form of the great sage Durvāsā and pays homage to his mother Anusūyā, and is therefore famously acclaimed as Atryānamaskartā —
atryā atripatnyāḥ anasūyāyāḥ namaskartā dattadurvāsorūpeṇa tatputratwāt.
In this commentary of Nīlakaṇṭha the word datta requires further attention. Just as Durvāsā was born in Anasūyā’s womb of parts of Mahādeva, similarly, according to the Purāṇas, Anasūyā conceived and gave birth to Dattātreya (Dattatreya) or Datta from the portions of Viṣṇu (Vishnu). Nīlakaṇṭha recognizes Dattātreya too as a manifestation of Mahādeva owing to the perception that Brahmā- Viṣṇu-Maheśvara (Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara) are in fact inseparable and indistinguishable from each other and are referred to in cognate terms. Thus, Dattātreya bearing the manifestation of the trinity of supreme divinity pays homage to Anasūyā and from this sense as well Mahādeva receives the appellation Atryānamaskartā.