RISHIS OF SANATANA DHARMA
Sages are known as Rishi in samskrutam. Rishis have a very important place in Sanatana Dharma. The Rishis revealed the Vedas. The Vedic mantras exist as subtle vibrations in space. They were manifested along with the creation. An ordinary mind cannot access these vibrations. The Rishis, by their meditative power, were able to access these subtle vibrations, and decode them and reveal as mantras. All the vedic mantras were revealed in this manner. Since the Rishis revealed the mantras the Rishis are said as mantra drishta (seer). Sanatana Dharma is not complete without the Rishis.
The meaning of Rishi is: Ru means sabda (sound). Rishi means a person through whom the divine sabda (divine sound) is revealed. There are different kinds of Rishis in Sanatana dharma.
Sapta Rishis – The group of seven Rishis is called as Sapta Rishis. Their duty is to advice the Devas (gods) and they normally reside in the higher level of existence called the Devaloka. The Sapta Rishis change with each manvantra. A manvantra is a period of time which lasts for many millions of years. The Sapta Rishis of this manvantra are
If the human beings worship them we receive help from them to solve our problems in life.
- Brahmarshi – The Brahmarshis are Rishis who are the knower of Brahman. They are also the knower of Veda. They are always established in contemplating on Brahman. The famous Brahmarshi is Sage Vasistha.
- Devarshi – The Devarshis are the Devas (gods) and at the same time they have Brahma jnana. One of the famous Devarshi is Sage Narada.
- Rajarshi – The Rajarshis are the rulers of the kingdom and at the same time they have Brahma jnana. Some of the famous Rajarshis are King Janaka, Sage Visvamitra etc. King Janaka, even while established in Brahma nishta all the time, he ruled his nation very efficiently.
- Kandarshi – Kanda means a section of the Vedas; Kandarshi means the Rishis who have revealed a section of the Vedas. For example, Purusha Suktam was revealed by the Narayana Rishi, Gayatri mantra was revealed by Sage Viswamitra. So they are all said as the kandarshi.
- Maharshi – Maharshis are the Rishis while being established in Brahma nishta, they were able to contribute immensely to the Vedas and humanity. Veda Vyasa was said as the maharshi. One of the Brahma rishi of the modern time was Sri Ramana Maharshi.
- Pararshi – Parashis were able to merge their Self with Brahman. They merge the Vyashti to samashti.
- Srutarshi – Srutarshis have great knowledge of Brahman. They teach others about Brahma jnana. One cannot expect them to be always established in meditation.
- Rishi – A Rishi must have revealed at least one Vedic mantra and he must have started a Gotra (family line or sishya line).
The ten famous gotras in India are
- Bharadvaja Gotra
- Kaushika Gotra
- Vatsa Gotra (Briguvanshi vatsa rishi)
- Kaundinya Gotra
- Kasyapa Gotra
- Vasishta Gotra
- Jamadagni Gotra
- Visvamitra Gotra (Sishya gotra)
- Gautama Gotra
- Aaitreya Gotra
These gotra has many branches in it and other than Vishwamitra all the other gotras are Putra gotra.
Some Rishis have started a dharshana (philosophy) like the Yog philosophy. Yog philosophy was started by Maharishi Patanjali. Such Rishis are said as sastra pravartaka.
The Rishis are the seer of the truth and so they are said as Satyadrashta. Since they have revealed the mantras they are said as mantradrashta.
The Rishis play a very important role in Sanata dharma. Vedas cannot be revealed to the world without the contribution of these Rishis. They have spent their life time in meditation to reveal the Vedas. Let us worship the Rishis for their incomparable contribution to the humanity.