The Saptarishi (from saptarṣi, a Sanskrit dvigu meaning "seven sages") are the seven rishis who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic religion.
The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218-221: Vashista, Bharadvaja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Atri, Visvamitra, and Agastya, followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6 with a slightly different list: Gautama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vashiṣṭa and Kaśyapa, and Atri, Brighu. The late Gopatha Brāhmana 1.2.8 has Vashiṣṭa, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvāja, Gungu, Agastya, Vrighu and Kaśyapa.
In post-Vedic texts, different lists appear; some of these rishis were recognized as the 'mind born sons' (Sanskrit: manasa putra) of Brahma, the representation of the Supreme Being as Creator. Other representations are Mahesha or Shiva as the Destroyer and Vishnu as the Preserver. Since these seven rishis were also among the primary eight rishis, who were considered to be the ancestors of the Gotras of Brahmins, the birth of these rishis was mythicized.
In some parts of India people believe these are seven stars named "Vashista", "Marichi", "Pulastya", "Pulaha", "Atri", "Angiras" and "Kratu". There is another star slightly visible within it, known as "Arundhati". Arundhati is the wife of vasistha.
- 1 Present Sapta Rishis
- 2 Names of the Sapta Rishis
- 2.1 Second Manvantara — the interval of Swarochisha Manu
- 2.2 Third Manvantara — the interval of Auttami Manu
- 2.3 Fourth Manvantara — the interval of Támasa Manu
- 2.4 Fifth Manvantara — the interval of Raivata Manu
- 2.5 Sixth Manvantara - the interval of Chakshusha Manu
- 2.6 The present, seventh Manvantara — the interval of Vaivasvata Manu
- 3 Saptarshis given in major Hindu texts
- 4 Sapatrishi in Sikhism
- 5 Sapatrishi in Jainism
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Present Sapta Rishis
Sapta Rishis are the Hierarchy working under the guidance of the Highest Creative Intelligence, Parmatma. The present batch of the Sapta Rishis is Bhrigu, Atri, Angirasa Vashista, Pulastya, Pulalaha and Kratu. They bring down to the earth the required Knowledge and Energies to strengthen the processes of Transition (Pralaya). They are naturally the most evolved Light Beings in the Creation and the guardians of the Divine Laws.
Names of the Sapta Rishis
In post-Vedic religion, Manvantara is the astronomical time within an aeon or Kalpa, a "day (day only) of Brahma", like the present Śveta Vārāha Kalpa, where again 14 Manvantaras add up to create one Kalpa.
Each Manvantara is ruled by a specific Manu, apart from that all the deities, including Vishnu and Indra; Rishis and their sons are born anew in each new Manvantara, the Vishnu Purana mentions up to seventh Manvantara.
Second Manvantara — the interval of Swarochisha Manu
Urja, Stambha, Prańa, Dattoli, Rishabha, Nischara, and Arvarívat.
Third Manvantara — the interval of Auttami Manu
Fourth Manvantara — the interval of Támasa Manu
Jyotirdhama, Prithu, Kavya, Chaitra, Agni, Vanaka, and Pivara.
Fifth Manvantara — the interval of Raivata Manu
Hirannyaroma, Vedasrí, Urddhabahu, Vedabahu, Sudhaman, Parjanya, and Mahámuni.
Sixth Manvantara - the interval of Chakshusha Manu
Sumedhas, Virajas, Havishmat, Uttama, Madhu, Abhináman, and Sahishnnu.
The present, seventh Manvantara — the interval of Vaivasvata Manu
The names of the current Saptarshis are: Kashyapa, Atri, Vashista, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja. The Saptarishis keep changing for every Yuga. As per Hindu Shastras, there are four yugas: Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. We are presently in the Kali yuga, lifespan being 432,000 years [we are in 5104 year now in 2013]; Dvapara Yuga is twice Kali Yuga, Treta Yuga is thrice Kali yuga and Krita Yuga is four times Kali yuga. Over all, 4,320,000 years termed as 1 Chaturyuga. 1000 Chaturyugas make the day of 12 hours for Brahma (Creator) and during another 12 hours, Brahma takes rest and there is no creation during this period. Thus 1 day for Brahma constitutes 1000 Chaturyugas (= 4,320,000,000 years). Thus 1 year constitutes 360 x 4,320,000,000 = 1,555,200,000,000 years; lifespan of Brahma is 100 years = 100 x 1,555,200,000,000 = 155,520,000,000,000 years
Vashista is accompanied by his wife the faint companion star Arundhati (Alcor/80 Ursa Majoris). The valid avatar's clan will be named after Ashvamedh.
Saptarshis given in major Hindu texts
1. The Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (2.2.4) acknowledge the names of seven rishis (or Saptarshis) as:
2. Krishna Yajurveda in the Sandhya-Vandana Mantras has it as:
3. Mahabharata gives the Seven Rishis’ names:
4. Brihat Samhita gives the Seven Rishis’ names as:
The reason for the differences in the mentioned list is that there are seven Rishis who govern the functioning of the Cosmos in batches and all the above mentioned Rishis have had the post of a 'Saptarishi' at some point. These Rishis had different names in different places. Saptarishis are seven Rishis and nobody else is given the title of the saptarishis. Hence, clearly they have different names. But, many rishis were known as maharishis (great sages.)
Sapatrishi in Sikhism
Sapatrishi in Jainism
In Jainism theory it is stated that, "Once at Mathura situated in Uttar Pradesh Seven Riddhidhari Digamber saints having 'Aakaashgamini Vidhya' came during rainy season for chaturmaas whose names were 1.) Surmanyu, 2.) Shrimanyu, 3.) Shrinichay, 4.) Sarvasundar, 5.) Jayvaan, 6.) Vinaylaalas and 7.) Jaymitra. They all were sons of King Shri Nandan of Prabhapurnagar and queen Dharini. Shri Nandan king took diksha becoming shishya of Omniscent Pritinkar Muniraaj and attianed salvation. Because of great tapcharan of these seven digamber munis the 'Mahamaari' disease stopped its evil effect and they all gained the name as 'Saptrishi'. Many idols of these seven munis were made after that event by 'King Shatrughan' in all four directions of city."
- Sapta Rishis Path, the information to be found under menu selection RISHIS>Sapta Rishis
- Account of the several Manus and Manwantaras Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840, Book III: Chapter I. p. 259. The first Manu was Swáyambhuva, then came Swárochisha, then Auttami, then Támasa, then Raivata, then Chákshusha: these six Manus have passed away. The Manu who presides over the seventh Manwantara, which is the present period, is Vaivaswata, the son of the sun.
- Inhabitants of the Worlds Mahanirvana Tantra, translated by Arthur Avalon, (Sir John Woodroffe), 1913, Introduction and Preface. The Rishi are seers who know, and by their knowledge are the makers of shastra and "see" all mantras. The word comes from the root rish Rishati-prapnoti sarvvang mantrang jnanena pashyati sangsaraparangva, etc. The seven great Rishi or saptarshi of the first manvantara are Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashista. In other manvantara there are other sapta-rshi. In the present manvantara the seven are Kashyapa, Atri, Vashista, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja. To the Rishi the Vedas were revealed. Vyasa taught the Rigveda so revealed to Paila, the Yajurveda to Vaishampayana, the Samaveda to Jaimini, Atharvaveda to Sumantu, and Itihasa and Purana to Suta. The three chief classes of Rishi are the Brahmarshi, born of the mind of Brahma, the Devarshi of lower rank, and Rajarshi or Kings who became Rishis through their knowledge and austerities, such as Janaka, Ritaparna, etc. The Shrutarshi are makers of Shastras, as Sushruta. The Kandarshi are of the Karmakanda, such as Jaimini.
- Composition 9 - Brahma Avtar
- Pareekshaa by Arjika Gyaanmati Mataji