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Maharishi Bhrigu (Sanskrit: महर्षि भृगु) was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, in ancient India, one of the many Prajapatis (the facilitators of Creation) created by Brahma (The God of Creation), the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the astrological (Jyotish) classic written during the Vedic period, Treta yuga.
Bhrigu is considered as a Manasa Putra (mind-born-son) of Lord Brahma.
Saint Bhrigu was compatriot and belonged to the times of Manu. Bhrigu had his Ashram (Hermitage) on Vadhusar river a tributory of Drishadwati river near Dhosi Hill in the Vedic state of Brahmavarta, presently on the border of Haryana and Rajasthan in India. Along with Manu, Bhrigu made important contributions to 'Manusmriti', which was constituted out of a sermon to a congregation of saints in the state of Brahmavarta, after the great floods in this area, nearly 10,000 years ago. As per Skanda Purana, Bhrigu migrated to Bhrugukucch Bharuch on the banks of Narmada river in Gujarat, leaving his senile son Chyavana at Dhosi Hill. The later date archaeological findings at Bhrigu Kutch are dated 8500 years old.
He has one more son through Kavyamata (Usana), who is better known than Bhrigu himself – Shukra, learned sage and guru of the asuras. The Sage Chyavana is also said to be his son through Puloma. [Maha:1.5]
Sage Bhrigu finds mention in Shiva Purana and Vayu Purana, where he is shown present during the great Yagna of Daksha Prajapati (his father-in-law). He supports the continuation of the Yagna of Daksha even after being warned that without an offering for Lord Shiva, it was asking for a catastrophe for everyone present there.
Maharishi Bhrigu is credited as the father of Hindu astrology and the first astrological treatise Bhrigu Samhita is attributed to his authorship. This treatise is said to contain over 5 million horoscopes, in which he wrote down the fate of every being in the universe. According to popular tradition, only about a hundredth of these horoscopes have survived to this age. The Bhrigu Samhita is an astrological (jyotish) classic attributed to Maharishi Bhrigu during the Vedic period, although the available evidence suggests that it was compiled over a period of time by the various sishyas (students in the lineage) of Maharishi Bhrigu.
Maharishi Bhrigu was the first compiler of predictive astrology, Jyotisha. He compiled about 500,000 horoscopes and recorded the life details and events of various persons. This formed a database for further research and study. This study culminated in the birth of the science (shastra) of determining the quality of time (Hora) and is the Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra. These Horoscopes were based upon the planetary positions of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu (North Node of the Moon) and Ketu (South Node of the Moon). After that, Maharishi Bhrigu gave his predictions on different types of horoscopes compiled by him with the help of Lord Ganesha in a brief and concise manner. The total permutations/ possible horoscope charts that can be drawn with this is about 45 million. Though it is said that these horoscope have been recorded for all mankind who were, have and will be born till eternity.
During foreign invasions of India by Muslim warriors from the north west in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Brahmin community became dispersed all over India. The invaders captured these prime assets of the Brahmins. Some parts of the 'Bhrigu Samhita' were taken away by them. The most unfortunate and destructive event was the destruction of the Nalanda university library where several thousands of the horoscopes compiled by Maharashi Bhrigu had been stored. Only a small percentage of the original horoscopes of Bhrigu Samhita remained with the Brahmin community which are now scattered throughout various parts of India.
Bhrigu In Buddhism
In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245) section the Buddha pays respect to Vishwamitra by declaring that the Veda in its true form was declared to the Vedic rishis Atthako(Atri), Vâmako(Valmiki), Vâmadevo(Vamadeva), Vessâmitto, Yamataggi, Angiras, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho, Kassapo, and Bhagu(Bhrigu)" and because that true Veda was altered by some priests he refused to pay homage to the altered version.
Testing the divine Trinity
Many great sages gathered at the bank of river Sarasvati to participate in Maha yagya organized at that time. Maharishi Bhrigu was also present there. All the great saints and sages could not decide that out of the Trinity Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiv who is pre-eminent and to whom should they offer Pradhanta (Master) of that yagya. With the consent of all the great saints present there, it was decided that Maharishi Bhrigu will test and decide who was pre-eminent.
Upon being entrusted with the task Maharishi Bhrigu decided to test Lord Brahma first. He went on to see Lord Brahma in Brahmalok. On reaching Brahmalok Maharishi displayed utter disrespect to Lord Brahma on purpose. Lord Brahma got angry and wanted to punish Maharishi but Maha Saraswati, wife of Lord Brahma saved Maharishi from his anger. Angry with disrespect, Maharishi Bhrigu cursed Lord Brahma that no one will worship Brahma in Kaliyug. To this day, there are very few temples devoted to Lord Brahma (the notable exception being the Brahma Temple at Pushkar).
Maharishi Bhrigu then decided to visit Lord Shiva at Kailash Parvat. On reaching Kailash Parvat, Nandi stopped him from going inside because at that time, Shiva and Parvati were sporting fun. Bhrigu curses Lord Shiva to be only worshipped in Linga form. (We however have a statue form of lord Shiva in Kashi (Maha Mrityunjaya Temple) said to be over 400 years old.)
Then in order to test Lord Vishnu, Maharishi reached Vaikunth Dham. He entered the Dham without Lord Vishnu's permission and saw that the Lord was resting at that time. Maharishi asked him to wake up, but Lord was in deep sleep. On seeing no reaction from Lord, Maharishi hit Lord Vishnu on his chest (that strike by Maharishi Bhrigu left a foot print on Lord's chest and that foot print is known as "Shri Vatsa").
Lord Vishnu got up after the strike and realized what has happened. On realizing that Maharishi had hit him with his foot, Lord asked him, “Maharishi, are you hurt in your foot? My chest is strong but your foot is not so strong". Seeing the decorum of Lord Vishnu, Bhrigu was pleased and declared him superior amongst the Tridev.
According to Hindu mythology, goddess of prosperity and wife of Lord Vishnu, Maha Laxmi also witnessed the whole incident, as she was also present in the Dham at that time. She could not tolerate disrespect displayed by Maharishi Bhrigu towards Lord Vishnu and cursed him that henceforth she would never visit Brahmins and they will all live in absence of wealth.
On hearing this curse from Maha Laxmi, Maharishi told her, his very purpose of visiting the Vaikunth Dham and his mission. On hearing this, Maha Laxmi told Maharishi, that her curse will definitely haunt Brahmins but whenever any Brahmin will worship Lord Vishnu, he will be liberated from her curse.
It is after this incident that Maharishi Bhrigu decided to write famous book of astrology, the Bhrigu Samhita, with the blessings of Lord Ganesha and Maha Saraswati, to help Brahmins earn their living. He eventually wrote this 'Grantha'(book) to the benefit of all mankind for their 'kalyan'(well being) which would lead mankind to 'Moksha'(Complete Salvation). Maharishi Bhrigu collected numbers of birth charts, wrote their predictions for full life and compiled them together to be known as Bhrigusamhita today. Parts of the Bhrigu Samhita are said to be destroyed over the ages but a few parts of the book are still available in Hoshiarpur city in Punjab.
Bhrigusamhita is believed to be the first book of its kind in the field of astrology.
When the sages heard Bhrighu’s report, they retorted, "Who was he to test the trimurtis? How could he disturb their privacy? More so how could he even dare to curse the deities who by their mercy had bestowed upon him many a boon and made him so illustrious? Even when he had been unimaginably haughty, the Gods had displayed forbearance and kindness when they could have burnt him to ashes by a mere glance."
Only then Bhrughu realized that the best of merits was to remain free of vain pride and conceit. He begged pardons from the Gods who were glad to bless him, seeing that he had realized his folly. Since then the trimurtis have been the supreme owners of the purnahuti and the devotees could offer the aahuti to the God of their choice and devotion.
- Narada said.. The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 2: Sabha Parva: Lokapala Sabhakhayana Parva, section:XI. p. 25 And Daksha, Prachetas, Pulaha, Marichi, the master Kasyapa, Bhrigu, Atri, and Vasistha and Gautama, and also Angiras, and Pulastya, Kraut, Prahlada, and Kardama, these Prajapatis, and Angirasa of the Atharvan Veda, the Valikhilyas, the Marichipas; Intelligence, Space, Knowledge, Air, Heat, Water, Earth, Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, Scent; Nature, and the Modes (of Nature), and the elemental and prime causes of the world – all stay in that mansion beside the lord Brahma. And Agastya of great energy, and Markandeya, of great ascetic power, and Jamadagni and Bharadwaja, and Samvarta, and Chyavana, and exalted Durvasa, and the virtuous Rishyasringa, the illustrious 'Sanatkumara' of great ascetic merit and the preceptor in all matters affecting Yoga..."
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- A.V. Sankran, Saraswati - the ancient river lost in the desert, Current Science, 1997, Vol. 72, pages 160-61
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- Vishnu Purana SACRIFICE OF DAKSHA (From the Vayu Purana.) The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840. 67:6.
- Bhagavad Gītā – Chapter 10 Verse 25
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- Sagarworld Website[dead link]