Aswathama outside of Mahabharata

Aswathama as coming Vyasa

Source: The Vishnu Purana translated by H.H. Wilson, Punthi Pustak, Calcutta (1972).

From Book III, chapter 3.

Parasara (to Maitreya):
In every Dvapara (or third age), Vishnu in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Vedas, which is properly but one, into many portions: Observing the limited preseverance, energy, and applications of mortals, he makes the Veda four-fold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form in which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda Vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara, and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account.

Twenty eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara in the Dvapara age, and consequently eight and twenty Vyasas have passed away; by who, in their respective periods, the Vedas have been divided into four.

In the first Dvapara age, the distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself;
in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Veda-Vyasa) was Prajapati (or, Manu);
in the third Usanas,
in the fourth Vrhaspati,
in the fifth Savitri,
in the sixth Mrityu (Death or Yama),
in the seventh Indra,
in the eighth Vasistha,
in the ninth Sarasvata,
in the tenth Tridhaman,
in the eleventh Trivrishan,
in the twelveth Bharadvaja,
in the thirteenth Antariksha,
in the fourteenth Vapra,
in the fifteenth Trayyaruna,
in the sixteenth Dhananjaya,
in the seventeenth Kritanjaya,
in the eighteenth Rina,
in the ninetenth Bharadvaja,
in the twentieth Gotama,
in the twenty first Uttama, lso called Haryatma,
in the twenty second Vena who is like-wise named Rajasravas,
in the twenty third Somasushmapana also called Trinavindu,
in the twenty fourth Riksha, the descendent of Bhrgu, who is also known by the name Valmiki,
in the twenty fifth my father Sakti was Vyasa,
I was the was in the twenty sixth Dvapara,
and was succeeded by Jaratkaru.
The Vyasa of the twenty eighth, who followed him was Krishna Dvaipayana.
These are the twenty eight elder Vyasas by whom, in the preceding Dvapara ages the Veda has been divided into four.
In the next Dvapara, Drauni (son of Drona) will be the Vyasa, when my son Muni Krishna Dvaipayana, who is the actual Vyasa, shall cease to be (in that character).

Note by the translator:
A similar list of Vyasas is given in Kurma and Varaha puranas. Many of the individuals appear as authors of prayers in the Vedas; and it is very possible that the great portion, if not all of them, had a real existence, being the framers or teachers of the religion of the Hindus before a complete ritual was completed.

Aswathama and Ayyippilla Asan, author of Ramakathapattu

Ramakathappattu by Ayyippilla Asan
With an introduction and commentary by Dr. P.K. Narayana Pillai
Published by the author (1970).
Distributed by National Book Stall, Kottayam (India).

Ramakathappattu, an epic poem with great poetic beauty retelling Ramayana, is one of the earliest works in Malayalam language.

From the forward:
The story goes that Ayyippilla Asan got his poetic gifts eating a plantain fruit given to him by the great sage Aswathama on his way back from Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

The following legend is recorded by Ulloor in his book, Anthology of Ancient Poems (1916).

Thekke Veettukar (the family of Ayyippilla Asan) owned some plantain plantation in a place called Vanchiyara situated northeast of Sastamkovil, northwest of Kovalam Ferry. Ayyippilla Asan and his brother Ayyanappilla Asan used to guard that place. One day, waking up from sleep, Ayyippilla Asan walked upto a place called Ankakkalari (currently Ezham Mile). He met a man coming down from Muttakkat Hill. Swiftly Ayyipilla prostrated before him. Thereafter he followed that man. On reaching Tiruvallam, they had to cross the river. In those days there was no bridge over the river. Ayyippilla stood startled seeing the revered man crossing the river on a Banyan leaf. Got even more startled when that leaf returned back and came close to him. After crossing the river on the Banyan leaf, he followed the great man. Both of them reached Padmanabhaswamy Temple and after paying salutations to one-lakh lamp took leave of the temple. The Sage returned along the same path he came. Ayyippilla followed. Crossing Thiruvallam river as before they reached Ankakkalari. When taking leave, the Sage gave three plantain fruits to Ayyippilla who has followed him. Then he vanished. He was Aswathama.

Ayyippilla ate all the three fruits. He was blessed by the grace of Saraswati. Self-inspired, he started to sing a poem. He reached the plantation, singing. Younger brother woke up. He enquired how the elder brother acquired his poetic skill. Ayyippilla told everything. Also indicated the place where he had thrown away the skin of the fruit. Ayyanappilla ran fast, located the skin and ate that. He also acquired some poetic skill. Both of them enjoyed themselves in the plantation singing Rama story while clapping hands.

Note: Ayyanappila Asan is the author of Bharatam Pattu, a retelling of Mahabharata.

Aswathama and Kerala temples

Aswathama is associated with two famous Siva temples in Kerala: Peruvanam Siva Temple and Thrissur Vadakunnathan Temple.