The beauty of Sanatan culture is beyond imagination. The Vedas and Puranas are not only spiritual but introduce you to the scientific truth too. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that almost every other thing which is now being repackaged and sold by the western countries including yoga and vrata is a concept derived from Sanatan culture. Once in a while, you must have also heard about Saptarishi. Today, you’ll get to know more about who Saptarishi were.
Origin of Saptarishi
Saptarishi are the seven greatest sages as per the Sanatani culture and have been discussed multiple times in the Vedic realm. They have been guiding humanity through the four great ages as they were tasked to do so. With an exceedingly long lifespan due to their yogic power, the seven sages worked together with Bhagwan Shiva to preserve the balance on the earth.
These seven Rishis are believed to be Bhagwan Brahma’s mind-born sons. They were allotted the task to act as Brahma’s representative who lived for a period of time known as a manvantara (306,720,000 Earth Years). It is believed that at the end of a manvantara, the universe collapses and then new Saptarishi step in to fill the Earth once again.
Since they have understood the meaning of Brahman, the Saptarishi are also known as Brahmarishis. While it is affirmative that one cannot attain the title of a Brahmarishi through merit alone as the order was a divine creation, Vishwamitra rose to the position of a Brahmarishi only because of his merit. His meditation and austerities (Tapasya) for tens of thousands of years, led him to be awarded the title of Brahmarishi from Bhagwan Bramha.
The power of Saptarishi
The influence of Brahmarishis is beyond imagination. Such is the power that they can not only fight but defeat any existing weapon on earth. They can forecast the future and have no fear of life and death. They are even above devtas and have the highest rank in power as compared to Rajarishi, and Maharishi.
Maharishi refers to one who has great senses. The awakened yogi and those who were central to the yoga tradition are referred to as Maharishi. The term is derived from the roots maha, meaning “great,” and rsi, meaning “seer.” It has been in the use since the 18th century and usually refers to a Hindu or Vedic guru with great spiritual knowledge.
With their third eye opened and the intuition being used to its fullest capacity, they can still maintain the silence and precise detail in actions and thoughts. Rajarishi, on the other hand, refers to one who is a king or a prince as well as a sage. A Rajarishi can abandon his kingdom and become a Rishi such as Vishwamitra.
Saptarishi – Seven Great Sages
We will also discuss the Saptarishi of the current Manvantara, according to Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is one of the earliest Upanishadic Hindu scriptures.
Bhardwaj Barhaspatya is one of Hinduism’s most respected Vedic sages. His surname is taken after Rishi Brihaspati, his father. Rishi Bhardwaj is mentioned four times in the Rigveda and twice in the Shatpatha Brahamana. He is also a descendant of sage Angirasa. It is Rishi Bhardwaj who gave us Ayurveda and also fathered Guru Dronacharya.
Bhardwaj Rishi was also a Master of Advanced Military Arts, including the Devastras. He had a daughter named Devavarnini and two sons Garga and Dronacharya.
Rishi Vashishtha, a revered Vedic elder in Hinduism, is believed to be the principal author of the Rigveda’s 7th Mandala whose family is also mentioned in the Rigveda. His powerful thoughts were so powerful that Adi Shankaracharya coined the term “first Sage of the Vedanta School of Philosophy.”
Rishi Vashishtha is one of the Saptarishi of this Manvantara. The mind-born son of Lord Brahma and the Raja-guru of the Surya Vamsha, he is the author of Vasistha Samhita. His wife is Arundhati. The whole family has been revered in a hymn in the Rig Veda.
Rishi Atri was the Vedic scholar who is acknowledged for penning down several hymns in Hinduism dedicated to Bhagwan Agni, Bhagwan Indra, and other Vedic deities. The fifth mandala of the Rigveda has been named Atri Mandala to honour him. Moreover, eighty-seven songs are dedicated to him and his dependents.
Rishi Atri’s wife is Anusuya who is known for chastity. One day when the Trimurti arrived at her home as Brahmins. When she offered to serve them food, they refused it stating that they could not accept alms from someone who was clothed. To overcome this predicament, she turns them into babies by the power of her chastity to ensure their vow was not broken. Impressed with Anusuya’s ability to get out of the predicament, she was blessed with a son Dattatreya, who was an avatar of the Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Gayatri Mantra which holds importance in Hinduism has been written by Rishi Vishwamitra. He was a brave warrior born as a Chandravanshi Prince and was the son of King Kusha. His epic tussle with Rishi Vasistha for the position of the greatest is altogether a very interesting story. He was not a Brahmana by birth but a Kshatriya (warrior). He left his kingdom to become a greater Rishi than Vasishtha and afterwards emerged as Rishi Vishvamitra
Gautama Rishi belongs to the family of Angiras. His sons were Vamadeva, Nodhas, and Shatananda. He wrote Gautama Dharma Sutra and The Rig & Sama Vedic mantras. His wife was Ahalya who was the daughter of Lord Brahma.
When the people were suffering, the Maharishi set out to meditate to please Bhagwan Varuna. Pleased with him, Bhagwan Varuna appeared and said, “The Law demands that there should not be rain in the place for this period of time. I cannot go against the Law since Lord Shiva governs all five forces. Ask me anything else.” Maharishi then asked for an incessant supply of water in the reservoir, and this is how saved many people.
Also Read: The story of how Kashi Vishwanath Mandir was destroyed, restored and finally re-established
Rishi Kashyap is one of the most ancient Rishi and is the son of Rishi Marichi and the grandson of Brahma. He was the father of Devas, Asuras, Nagas, garudas, Vamana, Agni, Adityas, Daityas, Aryaman, Mitra, Pusan, Varuna, and all Humanity.
He is the author of Kashyapa Samhitha, a classical reference book in Ayurvedic Paediatrics, Gynecology, and Obstetrics.
Jamadagni is the father of Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu. His wife was Renuka, who enjoyed the power of her chastity. Jamadagni is the Saptarishi of the current Manavatra – Vaivastava. He is also a descendent of Rishi Bhrigu, one of the Prajapatis created by Brahma.
Our ancestral lineage, Gotras, is directly linked to the Saptarishi. A Gotra is a clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. The Gotra assigned to any individual is that of the person’s father. As per the Hindu tradition, the gotra is only for the families of Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vysya families.
So, today, ask your parents which gotra you belong to.