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Maharishi Bhrigu (Sanskrit: Bhṛgu) was one of the seven great sages, the Saptarshis, 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. Bhrigu is considered as a Manasa Putra (mind-born-son) of Brahma. The adjectival form of the name, Bhargava, is used to refer to the descendants and the school of Bhrigu.
According to myth, Bhrigu was a compatriot of and lived during the time of Manu, the Hindu progenitor of humanity. Bhrigu had his Ashram (Hermitage) on the Vadhusar River, a tributary of the 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 had 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 Bhrigukutch, modern Bharuch on the banks of Narmada river in Gujarat, leaving his senile son Chyavana at Dhosi Hill.
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]
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 Shiva, it was asking for a catastrophe for everyone present there.
Bhrigu and Places associated with him
Bhrigu's Ashram 'Deepotsak' was located near Dhosi Hill in Narnaul district in Haryana, from where he migrated to Bharuch. His son Chyawan Rishi, known for Chyawanprash also had his Ashram at Dhosi Hill. "Bharuch",Swami Malai, Tirumala, Ballia, Nanguneri, Thiruneermala, Mannargudi and in most of the South Indian Vishnu temples (as duo with Markendeya Rishi) An Ashram for Bhrigu is in Maruderi, Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu. This place is known as Shri Bhrigu Arul Nilayam The Rohini star of Dhanur month is celebrated here. Devotees visiting Maruderi are given Herbal medicine and food during this period.
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 Brahmaloka. 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 Kaliyuga. 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 Parvata. On reaching Kailash Parvat, Nandi stopped him from going inside because at that time, Shiva and Parvathi 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 Dhama. He entered the Dhama 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 Trideva.
According to Hindu theology, goddess of prosperity and wife of Lord Vishnu, Maha Laxmi also witnessed the whole incident, as she was also present in the Dhama 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 Dhama 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, to help Brahmins earn their living. 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..."
- Mahabharta, Van Parv, page 1308, Geeta Press, Gorakhpur
- A.V. Sankran, Saraswati - the ancient river lost in the desert, Current Science, 1997, Vol. 72, pages 160-61
- David Frawley, quoting Grahm Hancock in "Underworld" : Flooded kingdoms of the Ice Age, A Vedic and Indian Perspective.
- 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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