The Saptarishi (from Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि (saptarṣī), a Sanskrit dvigu meaning "seven sages"; Sapta or Saptan - seven, Rishi - sage(s) are the seven rishis in ancient India, who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so.

Saptarishi: Vishvamitra (top left), Jamadagni (top middle), Gautama (top right), Vasishtha (in the middle, only one without beard), Kashyapa (down left), Bharadvaja (down middle, in a yogic asana, upside down), Atri (down right). Pahari, from a Bandralta-Mankot workshop; c. 1700. Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh
Matsya (fish) rescues the Saptarishi and Manu from the great Deluge
In traditional Hindu astronomy, the seven stars of the Big Dipper are identified with the names of Saptarshis

An early prototype of the "Saptarishi" concept may stem from the 6 families associated with the 6 "Family Books" in the Rigveda Samhita (Mandalas 2–7 in ascending order: Gṛtsamāda, Viśvāmitra, Vāmadeva, Atri, Bhardwaja, Vasiṣṭha). While not a "Family Book", Mandala 8 is mostly attributed to Kaṇva, who could be considered the 7th prototypical Saptarishi.

The earliest formal list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2.218–221: Agastya, Atri, Bhardwaja, Gautam, Jamadagni, Vashistha and Vishvamitra followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6 with a slightly different list: Atri, Bharadwaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vashistha and Vishwamitra. The late Gopatha Brahmana 1.2.8 has Vashistha, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvaja, Gungu, Agastya and Kashyapa.

In post-Vedic texts, different lists appear; some of these rishis[1] were recognized as the 'mind-born sons' (Sanskrit: मनस पुत्र, manasputra) of Brahma, the representation of the Supreme Being as Creator. Other representations are Mahesh 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.

In ancient Indian astronomy, the asterism of the Big Dipper (part of the constellation of Ursa Major) is called saptarishi, with the seven stars representing seven rishis, namely "Vashistha", "Marichi", "Pulastya", "Pulaha", "Atri", "Angiras" and "Kratu". There is another star slightly visible within it, known as "Arundhati". Arundhati and Vashishtha are married, and together form the Mizar double.[2]

As per legend, the seven Rishis in the next manvantara will be Diptimat, Galava, Parashurama, Kripa, Drauni or Ashwatthama, Vyasa and Rishyasringa.

Names of the SaptarishisEdit

A manvantara (age of Manu) is a unit of time within a kalpa (day of Brahma). There are fourteen manvantaras in a kalpa, each separated by sandhyas (connecting periods). Each manvantara is ruled by a different Manu, with the current seventh one ruled by Vaivasvata Manu. Rishis and their sons are born anew in each manvantara.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Manvantara in Hindu units of time measurement, on a logarithmic scale.
Saptarishis in each manvantara of the current kalpa (Śveta-Vārāha Kalpa)
Manu (manvantara)[9] Saptarishis
Svayambhuva [10] Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Pulastya, Kratu, Marichi, Vashistha.
Svarocisha Urja, Stambha, Prana, Vata, Prishava, Niraya and Parivan
Uttama Kaukundihi, Kurundi, Dalaya, Sankha, Pravahita, Mita and Sammita
Tapasa/Tamasa Jyotirdhama, Prithu, Kavya, Chaitra, Agni, Vanaka and Pivara
Raivata Hirannyaroma, Vedasrí, Urdhabahu, Vedabahu, Sudhama, Parjanya and Mahamuni
Chakshusha Sumedha, Viraja, Havishman, Uttar, Madhu, Sahishnu, and Atinama
Vaivasvata (current) Vashishta, Kashyapa, Atri, Jamadagni, Gautama, Vishvamitra, Bharadwaja
Savarni Diptimat, Galava, Parashurama, Kripa, Drauni or Ashwatthama, Vyasa and Rishyasringa
Daksha-savarni Savana, Dyutimat, Bhavya, Vasu, Medhatithi, Jyotishman, and Satya
Brahma-savarni Havishman, Sukriti, Satya, Apammurtti, Nabhaga, Apratimaujas and Satyaketu
Dharma-savarni Nischara, Agnitejas, Vapushman, Vishnu, Aruni, Havishman and Anagha
Rudra-savarni Tapaswi, Sutapas, Tapomurti, Taporati, Tapodhriti, Tapodyuti and Tapodhana
Deva-savarni Nirmoha, Tatwadersin, Nishprakampa, Nirutsuka, Dhritimat, Avyaya and Sutapas
Indra-savarni Agnibshu, Suchi, Aukra, Magadha, Gridhra, Yukta and Ajita

In Hindu astronomy the seven stars of the Saptarshi Mandal or Big Dipper are named as

Kratu α UMa Dubhe
Pulaha β UMa Merak
Pulastya γ UMa Phecda
Atri δ UMa Megrez
Angiras ε UMa Alioth
Vasistha ζ UMa Mizar
Marichi η UMa Alkaid

Vasishtha is accompanied by Arundhati, a faint companion star (Alcor/80 Ursa Majoris). The valid avatar's clan will be named after Ashvamedh.

At the end of every four ages there is a disappearance of the Vedas and it is the province of the seven Rishis to come down upon earth from heaven to give them currency.

Names of Saptarishis in major Hindu textsEdit

DhruvaSaptarishiShaniBṛhaspatiBudhaShukraChandraVivasvanGarbhodaksayi Vishnu 

1. The Shatapatha 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. Brihat Samhita gives the Seven Rishis' names as:

Saptarishi in JainismEdit

In Jainism it is stated that, "Once at Mathura situated in Uttar Pradesh Seven Riddhidhari Digamber saints having 'Aakaashgamini Vidhya' came during the rainy season for chaturmaas whose names were 1.) Surmanyu, 2.) Shrimanyu, 3.) Shrinichay, 4.) Sarvasundar, 5.) Jayvaan, 6.) Vinaylaala and 7.) Jaymitra. They all were sons of King Shri Nandan of Prabhapurnagar and queen Dharini. Shri Nandan king took diksha becoming shishya of Omniscient Pritinkar Muniraaj and attained salvation. Because of great tapcharan of these seven digamber munis the 'Mahamaari' disease stopped its evil effect and they all gained the name as 'Saptrishi'. Many idols of these seven munis were made after that event by King Shatrughna in all four directions of the city."

Saptrishi in SikhismEdit

In Dasam Granth, a text which traditionally attributed to Guru Gobind Singh, mentions biography of seven rishis i.e. Valmiki, Kashyap, Sukra, Baches, Vyas, Khat and Kalidas. These are described under composition Brahm Avtar.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Who are Saptarshi, the importance of their worship". Jai Bhole.
  2. ^ Shankar, P.N (1 January 1985). A guide to the night sky (PDF). Bangalore: Karnataka Rajya Vignana Parishat.
  3. ^ Doniger, Wendy; Hawley, John Stratton, eds. (1999). "Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions". Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. p. 691 (Manu). ISBN 0877790442. a day in the life of Brahma is divided into 14 periods called manvantaras ("Manu intervals"), each of which lasts for 306,720,000 years. In every second cycle [(new kalpa after pralaya)] the world is recreated, and a new Manu appears to become the father of the next human race. The present age is considered to be the seventh Manu cycle.
  4. ^ Gupta, S. V. (2010). "Ch. 1.2.4 Time Measurements". In Hull, Robert; Osgood, Jr., Richard M.; Parisi, Jurgen; Warlimont, Hans (eds.). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer Series in Materials Science: 122. Springer. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9783642007378. Paraphrased: Mahayuga equals 12,000 Deva (divine) years (4,320,000 solar years). Manvantara equals 71 Mahayugas (306,720,000 solar years). Kalpa (day of Brahma) equals an Adi Sandhya, 14 Manvantaras, and 14 Sandhya Kalas, where 1st Manvantara preceded by Adi Sandhya and each Manvantara followed by Sandhya Kala, each Sandhya lasting same duration as Satya yuga (1,728,000 solar years), during which the entire earth is submerged in water. Day of Brahma equals 1,000 Mahayugas, the same length for a night of Brahma (Bhagavad-gita 8.17). Brahma lifespan (311.04 trillion solar years) equals 100 360-day years, each 12 months. Parardha is 50 Brahma years and we are in the 2nd half of his life. After 100 years of Brahma, the universe starts with a new Brahma. We are currently in the 28th Kali yuga of the first day of the 51st year of the second Parardha in the reign of the 7th (Vaivasvata) Manu.
  5. ^ Krishnamurthy, V. (2019). "Ch. 20: The Cosmic Flow of Time as per Scriptures". Meet the Ancient Scriptures of Hinduism. Notion Press. ISBN 9781684669387. Each manvantara is preceded and followed by a period of 1,728,000 (= 4K) years when the entire earthly universe (bhu-loka) will submerge under water. The period of this deluge is known as manvantara-sandhya (sandhya meaning, twilight).
  6. ^ Wilkins, William Joseph (1913) [1882]. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Purānic (3rd ed.). Calcutta: London Missionary Society. p. 365. In each Manvantara (period of a Manu), seven Rishis, certain deities, an Indra and a Manu, and the kings, his sons, are created and perish.
  7. ^ Account of the several Manus and Manwantaras Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1840, Book III: Chapter I. p. 259, The first Manu was Swáyambhuva, then came Swárochisha, then Auttami, then Támasa, then Raivata, then Chákshusha: these six Manus have passed away. The Manu who presides over the seventh Manwantara, which is the present period, is Vaivaswata, the son of the sun...
  8. ^ Pralaya The Secret Doctrine by H. P. Blavatsky, Vol. 2, p. 307 THE SEVEN AND FOURTEEN MANUS.
  9. ^ His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Teachings of Lord Caitanya (Third Edition): The Golden Avatara. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. pp. 109\u2013. ISBN 978-91-7149-730-7.
  10. ^ Wilson, Horace Hayman; trans. (1840) "Vishńu Puráńa", Contains an account of the several Manus and Manwantaras.
  11. ^ Page 17, Dasam Granth, SS Kapoor