By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti
22) OṀ ṚISHIBHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM)-ṚI-SHI- BHOO-MYAI–NA-MA-HA
ॐ ऋषिभूम्यै नमः
(Ṛishi: A person of wisdom)
Rishi is a word used in many Hindu scriptures. A simple translation of the word into English would mean a sage. Hindu scriptures tell about a number of rishis. They describe a rishi as a wise person, with a lot of spiritual knowledge and wisdom, and live their lives for the welfare of humanity… The scriptures are taught in schools, called Gurukulams.
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Derived from the verbal root ṛṣ (to know), the word ṛishi means any person who has attained expertise and proficiency in any field of knowledge. Hence, a ṛishi need not be a person of the religious, philosophical, or spiritual bent of mind. In this sense, an expert in any field of knowledge, like Charaka, Suśruta or Bhāskarāchārya, can be called a ṛishi.
However, in a more restricted sense, only a person of spiritual wisdom, who has transcended saṃsāra or transmigratory existence, can be termed a ṛishi. Being a person of perfect chastity, with tremendous self-control and deeply devoted to truth, ṛishis could be born in any caste, because they attained that state by dint of their self-effort. The general belief is that, at any given point in history, the number of ṛishis maybe around 48,000. Sometimes, the ṛishis are classified into several groups. For instance, the seven famous sages of the present age are Viśhvāmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Atri, Vasiṣhṭha, and Kaśhyapa. Another mode of classification is de’vaṛshi, brahmaṛshi, rājaṛshi, mahaṛshi, paramaṛshi, śhrutaṛshi, and kāndaṛshi.
Apart from the saptaṛshis mentioned earlier, a few of the great ṛishis mentioned in the Hindu scriptures are Nārada, Kaṇva, Garga, Vālmīki, Vyāsa, Śuka, Agastya, Vāmadeva, Ashtavakra, Bhṛugu, Lomaśa, Dūrvāsa, Dhaumya, Sanaka, Mārkandeya, and Maudgalya.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: भारत और नेपाल – टू नेशन विद वन पीपल
Imagine how selfless, kind and generous our ancient ṛishis were who imparted their knowledge to humanity without expecting anything in return! That is the nature of our ṛishis and they always thought of humanity and human welfare before their own comfort. They worked very hard and followed the strictest practices in order to attain purity of mind and clarity of knowledge. We owe a lot to our ancient ṛishis for their sacrifices and efforts.
During these modern times, we also have Ramaṇa Mahaṛshi, Shri Rama Krishna Paramahaṃsa, Swami Vidyāraṇya Saraswati, and Swami Vivekānanda. Hence, our land deserves to be called ‘Ṛishi Bhūmi.’
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