The Saptarshi (सप्तर्षि 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: 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.
In post-Vedic texts, different lists appear; some of these rishis were recognized as the mind born sons 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.
Many of the rishis listed below are the ancestors of the Gotras.
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 .
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.
Vasishtha is accompanied by his wife the faint companion star Arundhati (Alcor/80 Ursa Majoris).
1. The Satapata 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. V. S. Apte’s Sanskrit-English dictionary says:
5. Brihat Samhita gives the Seven Rishis’ names as:
6.According to scriptures
7.According to The Path of Saptarishis the present Saptarishis are:
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. Hence the present batch who are currently holding the post are the ones mentioned in Sl No 7
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