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|'The Hermitage' ' a note on saptarishis|
Maharishi Atri is one of the ten mind born sons of the creator, Brahma. The 5th book of Rig Veda is His contribution to the scriptural tradition. As we know, the Veda is revealed to the Seers in deep meditative state and is not a human composition.
Atri and his wife Anusuya are the parents of the great mystic Dattatreya. Anusuya is considered as an embodiment of chastity. The descendents of Atri form the Atreya Gotra.
Atri's ashrama is known by the name Sati Anusuya ashrama and even today it exists in Chitrakuta, located near the river Mandakini set amidst thick forests that reverberate with the melody of varieties birds all day. While Rama and Lakshmana were spending time with Sage Atri, Sita had sessions with Anusuya on the role of wife and womanhood in general. Ayodhya kanda of Valmiki Ramayana mentions that Atri introduced Rama to the Dandakaranya forest during His 14 years Vanavasa along with Sita and Lakshmana.
Maharishi Bhrigu is one of the ten mind born sons of the creator, Brahma. He is married to Khyati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Two of His sons are well known, Shukra, the teacher of the asuras and sage Chyavana, a genius in Ayurveda, who is said to have formulated chyavanaprash. Sri Lakshmi Narayana Hridayam, the traditional hymn that is said to bestow prosperity is composed by Bhrigu who is also identified as the father of Shri, the consort of Narayana.
The Lord in the Bhagavad Gita declares, "of the Maharishi's, I am Bhrigu!" He is the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the classical astrological treatise. Maharishi Parashara and Varahamihira were well versed in this treatise and the gifted poet Kalidasa refers to this treatise in his work uttarakalamrita.
The descendants of the Bhrigu clan identify themselves with the Bhargava gotra. This clan has more sages as well as warriors and have been the seers to various mantras in the Atharvana Veda.
Maharishi Kutsa is credited with discovery of the fourth vyahrithi, 'suvah' in the prokshana mantra familiar to the daily meditators of the Gayatri Mantra. Such is the love and Grace of His Guru that He gets mentioned before His Guru in the order of saptarishis for this manvantra.
Out of the 82 suktams in the Rig Veda, 65 are attributed to Kutsa. He is seen as a close friend (as well as a look alike) of the Indra, the lord of the celestials. Kalidasa invokes Sage Kutsa in one of the chapters in Raghuvamsa. Tradition says that it was due to the blessings of Kutsa, the Raghu clan ' the dynasty of which the crown jewel Rama belongs.
Apart from a being a saptarishi, Maharishi Vasishta was the Kula Guru of the Ikshwaku dynasty better known as the Suryavamsha or Solar Dynasty. He was a Brahmarishi (the one who has realize the supreme Brahman) and had at His disposal Kamadhenu (a wish fulfilling cow) and her daughter Nandini. He is the seer of the 7th book of Rig Veda. He has credit of being one of the two mortals besides Bhavayavya, to have a Rig Vedic hymn dedicated to him. He is the author of Vasishta Samhita - a book on determining Muhurtha, and Yoga Vasishta, a treatise on spiritual Self-discovery as a dialogue between Him and Prince Rama.
Vishwamitra's duel with Vasishta are legendry and educates any spiritual seeker of the pitfalls one may face in the journey towards Self-discovery as well as enables common man to understand the futility of material possessions. The former was anointed as a Rajarishi by the latter. Both were integral characters in the unfolding of Rama's personality during His Gurukul days. Equally illustrious is His spouse Arundati and till date during Hindu marriage rituals the bride is shown the star Alcor (Mizar of the Ursa Major constellation is designated as Vasishta and the one besides mizar, Alcor is taken to be Arundati).
Along with Maharishi Bharadvaja, Goutama is identified as descendents of the saptarishi, Angirasa. The Vedic hymns of His clan are found in Rig Veda as well as Sama Veda.
In Shanti Parva of Mahabharata, Maharishi Goutama is mentioned for doing a 60 year long Tapas. He was one of the Maharishis to whose ashram Lord Rama visited during the Vanavasa which in turn enabled the redemption of Goutama's wife Ahalya from being cursed to a stone. 'Goutama sutras' is the oldest known Dharma sutras and the other one being Apastamba sutra. This contains sections on duties as well as rituals during various stages of life, role of women, punishments / atonements of various sins etc., rules of inheritance of property etc.,
Maharishi Kashyapa is married to the daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Lord Vishnu's fifth avatar as Vamana, is the His son of Aditi. Maharishi Kashyapa is referred extensively in Mahabharata. He is credited with the authorship of Kashyapa Samhita, a classical reference book in the fields of Ayurvedic Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
Being the grandson of Brahma, the creator, He is seen as Prajapati, the progenitor himself. His lineage continued as Ikshvakus that included Lord Rama. Some of the species that he fathered are Devas, Asuras, Nagas etc., and the celestial in-charges such as Mitra, Pusan, Varuna, Garuda, Agni, the 12 Adityas, Daityas. Most of all He is the father of humanity. Maharishi Shandilya is a descendent of Kashyapa. The beautiful valley of Kashmir owes its existence to Maharishi Kashyapa.
Maharishi Angiras along with Maharishi Atharvana is credited with most of the verses in Atharvana Veda. Surupa and Swadha are mentioned as His wives. He is a seer of verses in the other 3 Vedas too. He wrote on law as well as astronomy.
Mundaka Upanishad captures the dialogue between Angirasa and the house holder Saunaka that reveals the depth of (Self) knowledge! He elaborates on para Vidya (knowledge of the transcendent) and apara Vidya (knowledge of the mundane world).
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