Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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See also Manvantar for different Manvantar Officers in various sources
(1) Sapt means seven, and Rishi means very learned Braahman, so Sapt Rishi or Saptarshi seven very learned Braahman.
(2) But there are Sapt Rishi who are seven stars and stay with Dhruv Taara (Polar Star) also. In English the group of these seven stars is called Ursa Major. In fact in every Manvantar, these Sapt Rishi are different (see their list in different Manvantar and even listed by different sources here).
The Sapt Rishi
are mentioned as early as in Rig Ved as under: Rig Ved, Book 10, Hymn 130.
The earliest list of the Sapt Rishi is given in Jaimineeya Braahman
This list is followed by Shatapath Braahman and Brihadaaranyak Upanishad,
2.2.6 with a single different list -
Krishn Yajur Ved in the Sandhyaa Vandan Mantra lists the seven names likes this --
Mahaabhaarat gives the seven Rishi names like this --
The following 7 names of Sapt Rishi appear in Rig Ved under creation.
Hence the Manu of every Yug is deemed to have had 7 Rishi as safe guard
for Ved and hence different Rishi mentioned as the protector for each
The late Gopath Braahman, 1.2.8 has the following Sapt Rishi -
In post-Vaidik texts, different lists appear; some of these Rishi were recognized as the 'mind-born sons' (Sanskrit: Maanas Putra) of Brahmaa, the Supreme Being as Creator. Since these seven Rishi were also among the primary eight Rishi, who were considered to be the ancestors of the Gotra of Braahman, the birth of these Rishi was mythicized.
This difference in the names is because they were the Sapt Rishi at different points of time. Every Manvantar has its own set of Sapt Rishi
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 04/02/13