The Saptarishi (सप्तर्षि 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 actually 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 Big Dipper asterism is also called Saptarshi.

The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218-221: Vasistha, 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, Vasiṣṭha and Kaśyapa, and Atri. The late Gopatha Brāhmana 1.2.8 has Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvāja, Gungu, Agastya, 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 "Vashishta", "Marichi", "Pulastya", "Pulaha", "Atri", "Angiras" and "Kratu". There is another star slightly visible within it, known as "Arundhati".


Sapta Rishis

Sapta Rishis are the Hierarchy working under the guidance of the Highest Creative Intelligence, God. There were all Saraswat Brahmins. The present batch of the Sapta Rishis: Bhrigu, Atri, Angirasa, Vasishta, 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[1].

Names of the Sapta Rishis

In post-Vedic religion, Manvantara is the period of 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 [2].

Manvantara in Hindu units of time measurement, on a logarithmic scale.

Second Manvantara - the interval of Swarochisha Manu

Urja, Stambha, Prańa, Dattoli, Rishabha, Nischara, and Arvarívat.

Third Manvantara - the interval of Auttami Manu

Sons of Vashishtha: Kaukundihi, Kurundi, Dalaya, Śankha, Praváhita, Mita, and Sammita.

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

Kashyapa, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja [3].

There are many contradictory lists of the names of the Saptarshis. These usually include Atri, Kashyapa and Vasishta, but the other four are varying. One such list is used in the Sandhyavandanam: Atri, Bhrigu, Kutsa, Vasishtha, Gautama, Kashyapa and Angirasa. Other lists include Vishwamitra and Jamadagni. The exact list of saptarshis are not perfectly known as it is supposed that the astral links to the hierarchy were lost in medieval India due to the effects of Kaliyuga.

In Hindu astronomy the seven stars of the Saptarshi Mandal or Big Dipper or Ursa Major are named as

Kratu α UMa Dubhe
Pulaha β UMa Merak
Pulastya γ UMa Phecda
Atri δ UMa Megrez
Angiras ε UMa Alioth
Vasishtha ζ UMa Mizar
Bhrigu η UMa Alkaid

Vasishtha 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

w:Dhruva w:Saptarishi w:Shani w:Bṛhaspati w:Budha w:Shukra w:Chandra w:Vivasvan w:Garbhodaksayi VishnuClick! Dhruva, Saptarishi, Shani, Bṛhaspati, Budha, Shukra, Chandra, Vivasvan, Garbhodaksayi Vishnu

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 in time.

The part played by Saptarshi in Kumarasambhava

The Kumarasambhava is one among the five Mahakavyas written by the famous poet Kalidasa. The kavya is about the birth of the War-God Subramanya(Muruga). The saptarshi play a very important role in the sixth canto of Kumarasambhava.Their greatness is explained well in the Paramesvaraprabhava.


  1. ^ Sapta Rishis Path, the information to be found under menu selection RISHIS>Sapta Rishis
  2. ^ 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...
  3. ^ 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 Kashyapa, 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 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.


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