[Advaita-l] Brahmarishi

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jun 22 23:14:52 CDT 2005

On Wed, 22 Jun 2005, praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com wrote:

> praNAm all,
> Forgive my ignorance on this, please. Were Brahmarishi-s knowers of 
> Brahman and therefore, jnani-s?

A Rishi is a "mantra-drashta" one who has "seen" mantras.  They cannot be 
considered the authors of the mantras.  Mantras can belong to karmakanda 
or jnanakanda, some Rishis saw both.  People like Shankaracharya or some 
modern gurus cannot be called Rishis no matter how eminent they may be.

Brahmarshi (vocalic r in a compound becomes ar in Sanskrit) just means a 
Rishi who was a Brahmana.

> Maybe categories of Rishi-s would also help.

Similiarly, Rajarshi is a Rishi of Kshatriya stock.  Devarshi is a Rishi 
of divine origin.  Maharshi just means a "great" Rishi.  There's no strict 
definition.  Saptarshis are the seven Maharshis who make up the 
constellation known as the plough or big dipper in English (Ursa Major) 
Different shastras give different lists.  One is Atri, Bharadvaja, Gotama, 
Vasishtha, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, and Bhrgu.  Some sources say it is 
different in each manvantara (cycle of ages.) Along with Maharshi Agastya 
(represented by the star Canopus)they along with their descendents are the 
ancestors of the gotras found amongst Brahmanas and some other castes.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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