Saptarishi, meaning "seven sages" are
actually Brahmarshis. A Brahmarishi,a
tatpurush compound of brahma, is a member of the highest class of Rishis, especially those who are credited with the composition of the hymns collected in the Rigveda.
A Brahmarshi is a sage who has attained enlightenment and became a Jivanmukta by completely understanding the meaning of Brahman and has attained the highest divine, infinite and self knowledge called Brahmajnana which means they have completely understood the meaning of Brahman.
One cannot rise to the level of a Brahmarishi through merit alone, since the order was created divinely and is appointed by Lord Brahma. When a Brahmarshi dies he attains Paramukti and frees himself from Sansara, the cycle of birth and death.
Saptarishi are extolled at many places in the vedas and other literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic
texts such as the Brahmanas, Upanisads and purana do so.
They are the seven mind-born sons of Lord Brahma who live for a period of time known as a manvantara
(306,720,000 Earth Years). During this period of time,they serve as representatives of Brahma and at the end of a manvantara, the universe gets destroyed and Saptarishi merge in God and the task of filling the Earth is given to newly appointed Saptarishi. 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.
the first group of Saptarishi
had worked closely with the Adi Yogi or Shiva to maintain the balance on Earth. The present Saptarishis of Vyvasvata manvantara differs from text to text. Probably because we have lost the original texts.
Mahabharata, Shanti Parva-
मरीचिरत्र्यङ्गिरसौ पुलस्त्यः पुलहः क्रतुः |
वसिष्ठश्च महातेजा एते चित्रशिखण्डिनः।। 12.322.27
“The 7 celebrated Rishis, Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, & Vasishta of great energy, who came to be known by the name of Chitra-sikhandins”
Srimad Bhagavatam 8.13.5 gives different name of seven sages for Vaivasvara Manvantara-
कश्यपोऽत्रिर्वसिष्ठश्च विश्वामित्रोऽथ गौतमः|
जमदग्निर्भरद्वाज इति सप्तर्षयः स्मृताः॥
“Kaśyapa, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Gautama, Jamadagni & Bharadvāja are known as the seven sages.”
The Saptarshis of the Vaivasvata Manvantara (According to Brahma Purana) are-
(From Chapter 3, Manvantaras)
Atri, Vaśiṣṭa, Kaśyapa, Gautama, Bharadvāja, Viśvāmitra, Jamadagni
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad(2.2.4) acknowledge the names of seven rishis(or Saptarshis).
“These two (ears) are Gotama and Bharadvaja: this one is Gotama, and this one Bharadvaja: These two (eyes) are Visvamitra and Jamadagni: this one is Visvamitra, and this one Jamadagni. These two (nostrils) are Vasistha, and Kasyapa: this one is Vasistha, and this one Kasyapa
The tongue is Atri, for through the tongue food is eaten. 'Atri' is but this name 'Atti'. He who knows it as such becomes the eater of all, and everything becomes his food”.
It also mentions names of Sapta rishis of Savarni Manvantara which will be the next Manvantara.
गालवो दीप्तिमान्रामो द्रोणपुत्रः कृपस्तथा|
ऋष्यशृङ्गः पितास्माकं भगवान्बादरायणः ॥ ८.१३.१५ ॥
इमे सप्तर्षयस्तत्र भविष्यन्ति स्वयोगतः|
इदानीमासते राजन्स्वे स्व आश्रममण्डले ॥ ८.१३.१६ ॥
“O King, during the eighth manvantara, the great personalities Gālava, Dīptimān, Paraśurāma Aśvatthāmā, Kṛpācārya, Ṛṣyaśṛṅga and our father, Vyāsadeva, the incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, will be the seven sages. For the present, they are all residing in their respective āśramas.”
During onset of every Satya Yuga, Sapta Rishis come to earth and recount Dharma that is lost (by end of Kali Yuga all Dharma [hindu principles] will be lost.
This is mentioned in Chapter 31 Anusanga of Brahmanda Purana.
“Owing to the power of the inevitable future, the Krta Yuga set in. When the holy Krta Yuga began to function, the subjects pertaining to the Krta Yuga were born of those who survived from the Kali Yuga. Those Siddhas who remained then, began to move about invisibly. They established themselves there along with the seven sages.
These Saptarishi are so powerful that they are capable of defeating every weapon on earth, can forecast the future, and are not influenced by the circle of life and death.
In ancient Indian astronomy, the constellation of the Big Dipper is called saptarishi,
with the seven stars representing seven rishis. Please note that The Ursa Major, Big Bear and Saptarishi are one and the same.
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