saptarshis (Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि; saptarṣi; "seven sages") from sapta, "seven" + rishi, "sage" — are the seven rishis or the 'prajapatis', the mind born sons of Brahma who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and Hindu literature. They are Atri, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vasishta, Viswamitra, Jamadagni and Kashyap. The Mahabharata presents them as Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya andVasishta. They are regarded in the Vedas as the patriarchs of the Vedic Tradition. The seven rishis are also said to mark the time and the duration of events in our septenary life cycle.

The Vedic Samhitas never actually enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so. The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218-221: Vasiṣṭha, Bharadvāja, Jamadagni, Gotama, Atri, Viśvāmitra, and Agastya, followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6 with a slightly different list: Gotama and Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra and Jamadagni, Vasiṣṭha and Kaśyapa, and Atri. The late Gopatha Brāhmana 1.2.8 has Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni, Gotama, Bharadvāja, Guṅgu, Agastya, and Kaśyapa.

Names of the saptarshis

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.

First Manvantara - the interval of Swayambhu Manu

Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, and Vashishtha.

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, Bharadvaja.

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, Kautsa, 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.



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