How many communities of Sages are there ?


Some time ago we published an article on the difference between Rishi, Muni, Sadhu, and Sanyasi. Today we will talk about the different communities of Sages mentioned in the Puranas. You will find many of these communities around you even today. Although many communities are described in the Puranas, in this article we will discuss the main communities.

We find their most detailed description in Valmiki Ramayana.

According to Valmiki Ramayana, when Shri Ram went into exile, during his exile he met a group of 21 types of Sages who requested him to kill the demons. Let us know about them in brief.


It is believed that this group of sages was born from the nails of Lord Brahma. Its followers are mainly devotees of Lord Vishnu (Vaishnavas). It is believed that it started with a sage named “Vikhanas”. In the modern era, Swami Ramanujacharya played a huge role in the upliftment of this community. There are mainly four main branches of this sect which are based on the names of four great sages – Atreya, Kashyapiya, Marich, and Bhargava.


This group of sages appeared from the hair of Lord Brahma. Their origin is 60000 Balkhilyas who were born from Maharishi Kratu and Dakshputri Sannati. With his blessings, Maharishi Kashyap and Vinata got the mighty Garuda in the form of a son. All these 60000 children keep walking in front of the Sun from which the Sun God gets power. The Valakhilya community considers themselves their descendants and they are virtuous by nature.


This group of sages wash and keep the utensils after the meal and do not save anything for another time. These are said to have originated from the feet of Prajapati. The sages of this community take baths in a special method. Samprakshal also means one who takes a ritual bath. It also means that those whose day starts with Prakshalan i.e. bathing.


These have also been associated with children’s toys. Many people consider him to be his descendant while some people consider him to be associated with Brahmaputra Maharishi Marichi. Marichip means the sage who lives by drinking the rays of the sun and the moon. Its literal meaning is to receive power from Lord Suryanarayan, that is, the sages of this community get their powers from the Sun God. For this reason, Surya worship has special importance in this community.



This is a rare community of sages. They always live in groups and avoid going anywhere alone. Therefore they are also called the majority community. Their special thing is that their way of eating is very rare. They eat raw grains after crushing them with stones and that is why they got this name.


As the name suggests, the sages of this community consume only leaves as food. Their life is completely dependent on plants, but still, they do not eat any fruits, rather only tree leaves are their food. Satisfying their hunger with those leaves, they always remain engaged in penance and worship.


This community is made up of two words – Dant and Ukhal. Dant means teeth and Ukhal is the vessel in which grains like paddy etc. are ground. That is, this community of sages works as mortar with their teeth. That is, they use only their teeth to cut food, fruits, and vegetables. According to some beliefs, they keep chewing something all the time.


They are directly related to water. According to many texts, their origin is also believed to be from water. This is a community of sages who perform penance by immersing themselves in water up to their neck. Unmajjka also means pure, that is, one who comes out pure after bathing in water. The one who does not sink in water but emerges from water is called Unmajjaka.


Gatra means body and Shayya means bed. Meaning, only those sages who use the body as a bed are called Gatrashayya. They do not use seats or beds but sleep with their heads resting on their arms. They do not need any special place to rest, rather they sleep anywhere by making their own body a bed.


Ashya means one who sleeps. These are short sleepers, that is, they do not sleep or sleep very little. Like the Gatrashaya community, they also keep themselves devoid of resources and do not spread anything on the floor to sleep and rest on the ground only. It is believed that they use their sleeping time to worship God.


Those who are continuously engaged in good deeds and never take any leave. Their aim is social change and development. Anavakashik means those who do not get free time from their work. There is no such thing as a holiday in their life.


Salih means water or stream and ahaar means food. That is, for the sages of this community, water is the only food and they survive only by drinking water. In other words, they always burn. Due to their way of life, their life is very difficult.


Vayu means air and Bhaksha means devouring i.e. eating. This is a community that survives only by drinking air. Just as water is the only food for Salilahar, similarly air is the only food for the air-eating community. There are descriptions of many such penances in our Puranas where the seeker completed his penance by giving up food and consuming only air. Hiranyakashipu and Ravana also became air eaters in the last phase of their penance.

Akash Nilaya

The one whose home is the sky is called Akash Nilaya. It also means devoid of a house or hut. The sages of this community live under the sky in the open fields. They never go inside the building even in harsh sunlight and rain. In case of excessive sunlight or rain, they take shelter under the tree. However, some people believe that they live in shadeless places under any circumstances.


Sthanidanlashaya means those who sleep on sacred ground smeared with cow dung. Such sages sleep only on sacred ground or altar (Yanyavedi). Some people believe that to save time, people of this community rest on the same sacred land after the Yagya.


Meaning those who live in high places. The sages of this community live on mountains, peaks, or high places. It also means people living in huts established above the ground. The sages who performed penance in the Himalayas and other mountains can be placed in this category. Lord Parshuram is also called Urdhvasi because he always lives on Mahendra Mountain.


Dant means restraining or suppressing. The sages of this community are the ones who control the mind and senses. Just as a man holds food with his teeth so that it does not fall here and there, similarly the sages of this community keep tight control on their senses so that they do not go out of control.


Adra means wet and Patvasa means clothes. That is, this group of sages always wear wet clothes. Water is considered a symbol of purification and people of this community believe that they always remain pure because they always wear wet clothes.


Sajap means one who always chants. This group of sages keeps chanting always and continuously. Even today you will find many such groups who are always ready to chant. Chanting can be about anything. This can be a remembrance of God’s name or even some mantra.


Taponishtha means one who has devotion in penance. This group of sages is always engaged in penance or thoughts of God. In the modern era, the sages who perform yagyas and rituals belong to this community.

Panchagni Sevi

This last community of sages are the ones who consume Panchagni. Such sages become perfect in a special type of penance performed in the summer season by sitting amidst the five types of fires burning all around and enduring the heat of the sun from above. Panchagni is considered to be of many types. There are two paths mentioned in our scriptures – Uttarayan and Dakshinayan. Panchagni is related to Dakshinayan. Types of fire named Anvaharyapachan, Garhapatya, Ahavaniya, Adhyayan, and Avasathya have been mentioned. In Chandogya Upanishad, Surya, Parjanya, Prithvi, Purusha and Yoshit (woman) have been considered as five types of fire. In Ayurveda, Cheetah, Chichidi, Bhilavan, Gandhak, and Madar have been called Panchagni.

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