There are about one thousand Suktas in Rigveda, which means there are about ten thousand mantras. There are more than twenty thousand mantras in the four Vedas and we call the poets who composed these mantras as Rishis. Like the mantras of the other three Vedas, many sages have contributed in the creation of the mantras of Rigveda. Specially the Saptarishis. Do you know who are Saptarishis and also there is a constellation of Saptarishis ?
There are seven rishis among them too, in whose clans there was a long tradition of rishis who composed mantras. These total traditions are stored in ten divisions of Rigveda’s hymns and in these two to seven i.e. six divisions are such, which we call Vansamandal by tradition, because the mantras of sages of six Rishikuls have been collected in them.
A circle of seven stars is seen in the sky, they are called the circle of Saptarishis. The names of the stars of the said mandala are named after the great seven sages of India. In the Vedas there is a detailed discussion of the position, speed, distance and expansion of the above circle. There are different Saptarishis in each Manvantara. Presented here is the introduction of the seven sages of the time of Vaivaswat Manu.
Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Kanva, Bharadwaj, Atri, Vamdev and Shaunak – these are the seven sages who gave so much to this country that the grateful country gave them such an immortality by placing them in the constellation of the sky.
Saptarishi who had Kamdhenu cow – Vashishtha
Who does not know Rishi Vashishtha, the vice-guru of King Dashrath. He was the teacher of the four sons of Dasaratha. At the behest of Vashishtha, Dashrath had sent his four sons along with sage Vishwamitra to the hermitage to kill the demons.
There was also a war between Vashishtha and Vishwamitra for Kamdhenu cow. Vashishtha gave the idea of curbing the monarchy, then Maitravarun Vashishtha of his clan created a new history by composing hundred hymns together on the banks of Saraswati river.
Knower of Mantra Shakti and creator of heaven – Vishwamitra
Before becoming a sage, Vishwamitra was a king and fought a war with sage Vashishtha to capture the Kamdhenu cow, but he was defeated. This defeat only inspired him for severe penance. The story of Vishwamitra’s penance and Menaka breaking his penance is world famous. Vishwamitra had sent Trishanku to heaven physically on the strength of his penance. But he could not find a place in heaven, so Vishwamitra had created a new heaven.
It is believed that at the place where Shantikunj is today in Haridwar, Vishwamitra had created a different heaven after doing great penance and getting angry with Indra. Vishwamitra gave this country the knowledge of making Richa and composed the Gayatri Mantra which has been living continuously in India’s heart and tongue for thousands of years till date.
One who told the path of knowledge-science and evil-prevention – Kanva
It is believed that the most important Yajna of this country, Somayagya was organized by Kanvas. Kanva was a sage of the Vedic period. Shakuntala, the wife of King Dushyant of Hastinapur and his son Bharat were brought up in his hermitage.
Most of the mantras of the eighth division of Rigveda containing 103 suktas are seen by Maharishi Kanva and his descendants and gotrajas. There are other seer sages in some Suktas as well, but according to ‘Pradhanyen Vyapadesha Bhavanti’, Maharishi Kanva has been called the seer sage of the eighth division. In these, there are useful mantras related to cosmic knowledge-science and evil-prevention.
At a distance of eight kilometers from the district headquarter in Sonbhadra, situated on the top of the Kaimur range, is the abode of Kanva Rishi, which is known as Kandakot.
He told the world to fly a plane – Bhardwaj
Bharadwaj-Rishi has a high place among the Vedic sages. Bhardwaj’s father was Brihaspati and mother Mamta. Bhardwaj was preceded by Rishi Ram, but according to a mention, his longevity is known that Shri Ram had gone to his ashram during his exile, which historically was the Sandhikal of Treta-Dwapar. It is believed that Bhardwaj Vidath, one of the Bharadwajas, succeeded Dushyanta’s son Bharata and continued composing mantras while ruling.
Among the sons of Rishi Bhardwaj, 10 Rishis are seers of Rigveda and one daughter. Her name was ‘Ratri’, she is also considered as seers of Ratri Sukta. Sage Bhardwaj is the seer of the sixth division of Rigveda. There are 765 mantras of Bhardwaj in this circle. 23 mantras of Bhardwaj are also found in Atharvaveda. Rishi Bhardwaj was also the creator of ‘Bhardwaj-Smriti’ and ‘Bhardwaj-Samhita’.
Rishi Bhardwaj had composed a large book named ‘Yantra-Sarvasva’. Some part of this book has been published by Swami Brahmamuni in the name of ‘Viman-Shastra’. In this book, there is a description of the construction of various metals for high and low level flying planes.
Sage of Zoroastrian religion and he told farming – Atri
Maharishi Atri, the seer of the fifth division of Rigveda, was the son of Brahma, father of Som and husband of Anusuya, daughter of Kardam Prajapati and Devhuti. When Atri had gone out, Tridev started begging in Anasuya’s house in the guise of a Brahmin. They told Anusuya that we will accept alms only when you take off all your clothes, then Anusuya on the strength of her virtue transformed the three gods into innocent children. Gave them alms. Mata Anusuya had preached Pativrat to Goddess Sita.
Atri Rishi had contributed like Prithu and Rishabh in the development of agriculture in this country. The Atri people crossed the Indus and went to Paras (today’s Iran), where they preached Yagya. Parsi religion, the religion of fire-worshippers, originated because of the Atris.
Atri Rishi’s ashram was in Chitrakoot. It is believed that as a result of the austerity of the Atri couple and the happiness of the Tridevs, Mahayogi Dattatreya was born as the son of Maharishi Atri and Goddess Anusuya from the part of Vishnu. The Moon from the part of Brahma and the great sage Durvasa from the part of Shankar. Rishi Atri was also blessed by Ashwini Kumars.
Composer of classical music – Vamdev
Vamdev gave Samagan (i.e. music) to this country. Vamdev is considered the Suttadrashta of the fourth division of Rigveda, the son of Gautam Rishi and the philosopher of Janmatrayi. Bharat Natya Shastra composed by Bharat Muni is inspired from Samveda only. Samaveda, written thousands of years ago, gives complete information about music and musical instruments.
When Vamdev was in his mother’s womb, he got the knowledge of his previous birth etc. He thought, everyone takes birth from the mother’s vagina and it is painful, so they should come out by tearing the mother’s stomach. Vamdev’s mother realized this. Therefore, knowing that his life was in danger, he prayed to Goddess Aditi for protection. Then Vamdev introduced all his knowledge to Indra.He took the form of a sheen bird by yoga and came out of his mother’s womb without any trouble.
Leader of the Seventh Rishi Gurukul tradition – Shaunak
Shaunak achieved the unique honor of Vice-Chancellor by running a Gurukul of ten thousand students and any sage achieved such honor for the first time. Vedic Acharya and Rishi who was the son of Shunak Rishi.
Apart from this, it is believed that all the sages like Agastya, Kashyap, Ashtavakra, Yajnavalkya, Katyayan, Aitareya, Kapil, Gamdagni, Gautam, etc. They have the same status because they belong to the family of the above seven sages.
Different names are found in the Puranas in the name of the seven sages. There are two lists of Saptarishis in the Mahabharata. In one list the names of Kashyap, Atri, Bharadwaj, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Jamadagni and Vashishtha come, while in the other list five names change. Kashyap and Vashishtha remain there but instead of the rest the names Marichi, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulah and Kratu come. In some Puranas, Kashyap and Marichi are considered to be one and somewhere Kashyap and Kanva are considered synonymous. Presented here is the introduction of the Saptarishis according to the Vedic nomenclature.