Saptarishi, a Sanskritdvigu 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. While earlier texts do not mention Marichi as one of the seven, references can be found in the epic Mahabharata. In some parts of India, people believe these are seven stars of the Big Dipper named "Vashista", "Marichi", "Pulastya", "Pulaha", "Atri", "Angiras" and "Kratu". There is another star slightly visible within it, known as "Arundhati".
Before the creation started, Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, needed a few people who can be held responsible for the creation of the remaining Universe. Therefore, he is believed to have created ten Prajapatis (Ruler of the people) from his Manas (mind) and nine from his body. Marichi is one of the manasputras of Brahma. The ten Prajapatis are as follows:
The life of Marichi is known more by the account of his descendants, notably by the works of sage Kasyapa. Marichi is then married to Kala and gave birth to Kashyap (Kashyap is also sometimes acknowledged as a Prajapati, who has inherited the right of creation from his father).
^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 Vashishtha. In other manvantara there are other sapta-rshi. In the present manvantara the seven are Kashyap, Atri, Vashishtha, 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 Samantu, and Itihasa and Purana to Suta. The three chief classes of Rishi are the Brah-marshi, 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. Thc Shrutarshi are makers of Shastras, as Sushruta. The Kandarshi are of the Karmakanda, such as Jaimini.
^ abcWilkins, W.J. (2003). Hindu Mythology. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Limited. p. 370. ISBN81-246-0234-4.