From the Ramayana to the Mahabharatha
Sage Atri was quite old during the time of the Ramayana. During the Mahabharatha war he had reached a ripe old age.This did not lessen his zeal for doing good to others. In fact, it was on the increase. His connection with the Mahabharatha was quite close. In one sense we might say, he was the originator of Kuru clan.
In the Bharathiya history we come across two great lines of kings,namely the solar and the lunar lines. Sri Ramachandra who was a great leader of our country and a paragon among humans, hence an ideal model for all of us, belongs to the solar line of kings. Ikshwaku, Dileepa, Raghu and many others were born in this clan and aquired great names. In the same way Dushyantha, Bharatha, Shanthanu, Bhishma, Dharmaraya and others of the Kuru family belong to the lunarline. Surya was the son of Kashyapa and he began the solar line. Chandra son of sage Atri started the lunar line. Soma (Chandra) was the son of Atri, Budha was the son of Chandra, Mahendra was the son of Budha. His son was Pururava. This way the lunar line down and grew famous.
We see sage Atri appear in a number of episodes in the Mahabharatha. His role in this epic is significant. He appears on a number places with his wise advice which was the fruit of his vast experience. He saves a lot of people from troubles.
Makes holy water more sacred
The mahabharatha war was the result of hatred, jeolously and desires and Kaurava's eleven akshohini (Akshohini equals21870 elephants,21870 chariots,65610 horses and 1,09,350 footsoldiers) army was destroyed. Great warriors like Bhishma, Drona and Karna became victims of this terrible carnage. The Pandavas did not suffer any less. A great young hero like Abhimanyu was trapped in a plot by the enemy heroes. Outwardly, it was a war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. In fact, each hero on either side had his own axe to grind against another in the enemy camp.
We know that Droanacharya was on the side of the Kauravas. He had an obligation to the Kaurava. He ate at the expenseof Kaurava. He did not hate the Pandavas. In fact, all the five pandava brothers were his favourite disciples. He made use of Arjuna, the greatest among the heroes in the spic, to wreak vengeance on king Drupada. Then Drupada became the father-in-law to the Pandavas. When the Kuru clan broke into two camps he chose to remain with Duryodhana, because he was his patron and almost a guardian to his son Ashwathama. According to Duryodhana's wish he had to assume command of the Kaurava army after the fall of Bhishma.
He fought ferociously. Those who were wounded and defeated were thousands. Their cry of pain rented the skies. Blood flowed on the battle feild. Dead bodies got piled up provided food for the birds of prey. In this carnage which went beyond all human estimation, Drona stood like a mad hero of demonic propotion, or like Parashurama the scourge of kings.
Sage Atri was very much worried because if Drona was allowed to continue his fight, he would cause destruction and human misery beyond hellish propotions. Atri, as we know was mercy incarnate ever satisfied, dispassionate and calm. He wantedto prevent total destruction. with this in view he came to the battlefield of Kurushetra along with other six of his companions. It was at this point of time, Dharmarya had shouted at the instance of Sri Krishna saying that Aswathamawas killed. This put Drona off comoletely. He lost all hope in life. He became mad with anger. This sent danger signal all around.
Sage Atri felt sorry for man. He talked to him in a friendly way, consoling him. He continued and said,"Dear friend, all along you have done everything against dharma. This war you are engaged in is the best proof. It is enough and stop it, stop this carnage. You are a great man. This act is not in tune with your status.
"You are a scholar of Vedantha par excellence. You have been a brahmin and you have got to practise dharma. This cruel act does not befit you.
"Give up your weapons Fix your mind in our glorious Sanathana dharma. I am sorry, you have wielded the most terrible brahmastra! That is on the innocent soldiers! Put an end to this meaningless killing" If Atri and other sages had not come to the battlefoeld at that moment, there would have total destruction on the battlefield.