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Thread: Etymology of the rishi's

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    Etymology of the rishi's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~~

    Namaste,

    It is interesting to note that the rsi's ( rishi's) of the Veda are brahmavit ( knower's of Brahman). They are known as mantra-seers or mantra-drashtarah. What they see is within their own consciousness. They have been able to cognize the veda within the akshara ( from a= not + ksi = to destroy or perish) or the Absolute; others discuss this as avyakta (some write avakyartha - from a = not and vak =spoken) or the unmanifest, pure awareness, pure consciousness.

    What is of interest to me, is the names of the rishi's and the significance there of… just as a black smith, perhaps named Jim, came to be known as Jim Smith, like that the actions or qualities of person is then given to that person in name. Same with the rishi's we have been most fortunate to read.

    If I may let me offer a few names I find delightful and ask you to consider the rishi's , muni's, swami's you have read, and offer their names and root forms or origin of their names [if you choose to participate].

    One of my favorites - Vishwamitra, the seer of gayatri in the Rk Ved ( Rig Veda) is from Vis or to enter or pervade, Visva some say is the SELF in the individual form, and others say Visva means universe + mitra or friend. Combined we have the friend that pervades all, friend of the universe.

    Valmilki - the author of the Ramayana, is from 'Valmika' meaning an ant-hill. Valmilki's original name was Ratnakar, and had a dubious career ( a robber of sorts). He was fortunate to correct his ways by meeting with some enlightened beings and to receive a mantra to assist him in his unfoldment…this mantra was RAMA.. Ratnakar said, I cannot pronounce this Rama, please give me something different. So, the sages gave him the mantra Mara - note this is Rama backwards MA-RA. So, as the story goes, he gets absorbed in Samadhi, stays in one spot for a long time and ants build a hill around him...being totally absorbed in bliss, it did not concern him. When the sages return, they ask him to come out - He comes out fully enlightened (jivanmukti) and they give him his new name Valmilki from 'Valmika' meaning an ant-hill. Valmilki , the author of the Ramayana.

    Varuna - in the Manduka Upanishad is the rishi that takes the form of a frog (manduka) and sings the praises of Omkara pranava.
    This Varuna is from the root uru which is wide. He is the owner of all infinities, water and my favorite aksha (space). His dwelling is the vast or uru-kshaya and his vision is wide or uru chashasam. He is also found as the deva in the Rig Veda and is hymned as uru-shamsa. This shamsa is perfect expression or vac , speech. So He is the wide expression of speech, the Infinite. He is known to remove the narrowness of the individual; this is accomplished by atma-vidya or the knowledge of the SELF.

    Angiras - this is a family of rishi's. Agni is also known as Angira. Another approach is the rishi Angiras as he has identified himself with the essence (rasa) of all parts (angas) or limbs, Brahma ( the essence of all ). This is found in the Chandogya Upanishad I.2.10, where Brahman is seen as Prana, the essence of life-force.
    As Angira it has the quality of flame (tejas), of brilliance or glowing like a coal. So thre rishi Angiras has the quality of luminious consciousness, enlightened, full of brilliance, awake within his SELF.

    If there is interest, we can do additional rishi's - Brihaspiti, Ayasya, etc.
    Does anyone care to offer the root-words for Vasistha?

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 19 April 2007 at 10:41 PM.

    शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
    __śivatulyo jāyate
    ____yajvan___
    _oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

  2. #2
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    Post Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Namaste Yajvan,

    vasiSTha is the superlative of vasu.

    vasu means “excellent, good, beneficent, or sweet”, particularly indicating “a ray of light”.

    vasu refers generally to the Gods (as “the good or bright ones”), especially the AdityA, and they are usually counted as eight.

    The eight vasava were originally personifications of natural phenomena, and they are usually mentioned along with the eleven rudrA, twelve AdityA, dyaus (“Heaven”) and pRthivI (“Earth”), who together constitute the “thirty-three Gods” ~ with the dyaus-pRthivI twin sometimes replaced by the ashvinau.

    The eight vasava are: 1. Apa (“water”) or ahan (“day”), 2. dhruva (“celestial pole” or “zenith”), 3. soma (“moon”), 4. dhara (“earth” or “nadir”), 5. anila (“wind”), 6. anala or pAvaka (“fire”), 7. pratyuSa (“dawn”), and 8. prabhAsa (“light”).

    So that vasiSTha is “most excellent, best, or most wealthy”, and particularly “the illumination or light”.

    vasiSTha is “the best of Gods” or “lord of the AdityA”, and especially “the lord (or whole body) of eight vasava” or “the master of all 33 devA”.

    RSi vasiSTha maitrAvaruNa was the owner of nandinI (the “cow of plenty”, which grants all desires), making him the possessor of every desirable object and the master of every vasu.

    He was the family priest of king sudAsa and of the whole solar race, and the husband of UrjA and arundhatI (identified with Alcor in Ursa major).

    And in the “Great Bear” constellation, vasiSTha is the star known as Mizar.

    See also: saptaRSi

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    Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by sarabhanga View Post
    Namaste Yajvan,

    vasiSTha is the superlative of vasu.

    vasu means “excellent, good, beneficent, or sweet”, particularly indicating “a ray of light”.
    Namaste sarabhanga,
    a great post...
    I am now reading two words in the Mahabharata:
    Astika and Jaratkaru - both rishis

    Jaratkaru was a muni of the Yayavaras line of rishis. His family implored him to have a son, yet he was a rigid ascetic and this was not attractive to him. Yet seeing his family in pain (suspended in a hole, with one string holding them from extinction) he agreed to offspring. With the only caveat that his partner bear the same name as his, Jaratkaru and given in charity to him.
    So this Jaratkaru is Jara + karu : Jara is waste + karu, or huge. The implication is Jaratkaru's body was huge, then wasted away due to his sadhana and penances.

    Astika was the son born of Jaratkaru the muni and his wife with the same name, Jaratkaru the snake ( daughter of Vasuki the king snake ( I guess things were complicated back then eh?).

    AS Jaratkaru left his wife due to a mild insult, Vasuki wanted to know if they conceived a child as this will help alleviate a curse brought on to all snakes. Vasuki asked Jaratkaru (the wife) , 'tell me about offspring' , intimating, is are you with child. The only thing Jaratkaru the wife said, that she as told by her husband before he left said ' There is', and left.

    When the child was born, he was named Astika, or 'whoever is' - in reply to his fathers last words, 'There is', while Astika was still in the womb.
    It is my assessment , that he being a great risi, 'whoever is' also = one that is realized. One "whoever is" is of Brahman stature, established in the SELF.

    This is found in the Astika Parva, sub-section of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 16 August 2007 at 09:39 AM. Reason: edited skae to snake a typo....oooooopsz!

    शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
    __śivatulyo jāyate
    ____yajvan___
    _oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

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    Post Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Namaste Yajvan,

    as means to be or become, to live, exist, be present, take place, or happen, to abide or dwell, or to turn out or tend towards a result.

    The present third person active singular case of as is asti, which thus declares he is, he is becoming, he is living, he is existing, he is happening, he is abiding, he is dwelling, or he is tending towards a result.

    asti means there is or there exists, and the term is used to begin a story.

    And asti is simply existent or present.

    Astika (or AstIka) is one who believes in the existence (usually referring to the existence of God), and thus believing, pious, or faithful.

    In direct response to Jaratkarus word (asti ~ there is), his offspring Astika is the faithful one who is (or whoever is).

    jarat is old, ancient, infirm, decayed, dry, or no longer in use, and jarat or jara indicates an old man.

    kAru is a maker or doer, an artisan or mechanic, and thus an art or science. And kAru is one who sings or praises or a poet.

    So that jarat-kAru is the ancient doer, the old maker, the desiccator, the retired artisan or unused art, or the old poet.

    jara is becoming old, indicating the act of wearing out or wasting.

    jarA is the act of becoming old, old age or decrepitude (personified as the daughter of Death) and also invocation or praise.

    jAra also means becoming old, indicating a consumer or a lover, and particularly a confidential friend or lover.

    And other elements of the story may be derived from various combinations of these terms and meanings.

    The old man jaratkAru is the puruSa, and his old woman twin jaratkAru (distinguished as jaratkarupriyA) is nirRti. And with one pregnant word (asti) they are separated (and their previous union hidden) by the veil of diverse creation, the Astika (who exists).

    Their shrouded progeny are the faithful ones of manifest existence, known as Astika (believer of existence).

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    Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~


    Namaste,


    I could use some help with the word पराशर parāśara.
    I know rishi Parashara as the great kavi and joytishi, author of his Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra and many suktas in the vedas.

    When I look to the etymology of his name , I see at its root parasu [ परशु paraśu ] and consider an Axe, or hatchet, like in Parasu + Rama or Parasurama, the avatara of visnu.

    If I make the connection - the axe is for cutting away ignorance, and revealing Reality below. One could
    [with my stretch of imagination ] take this then to parasamvit or Supreme Reality, Siva, pure consciousness, or caitanya.

    any help on this is welcomed....

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 28 August 2007 at 06:05 PM.

    शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
    __śivatulyo jāyate
    ____yajvan___
    _oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

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    Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste

    I was just looking at the rishi of the first few suktas of the Rig Veda.
    Madhuchhanda Vaishvamitra begins the Rig Ved and his adoration of agni.

    We outlined the value of Vaishvamitra in the very 1st post above i.e.
    from Vis or to enter or pervade, Visva some say is the SELF in the individual form, and others say Visva means universe + mitra or friend. Combined we have the friend that pervades all, friend of the universe.


    Yet we (I) did not do this rishi's first part that of Madhuchhanda.
    If we take this as two parts , we have Madhu + chhanda or chandas.
    We know Madhu = honey + chandas = meter . From this we have the rishi of honey (sweet) + meter (metrical composition).
    This metrical compostion some call kavi ~ poet.

    So we have Madhuchhanda as the pleasing [sweet] metrical composer, poet, kavi.


    pranams,

    शिवतुल्यो जायते॥
    __śivatulyo jāyate
    ____yajvan___
    _oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

  7. #7
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    Post Re: Etymology of the rishi's

    Namaste Yajvan,

    parAshara is the grandson of vasiSTha (the richest, the possessor of the cow of plenty), and parA-shara is on the upper part of the cream.

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