From Wiki:

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

The word Sapta Rishi therefore refers to a group of seven sages.

While checking I found out that there are entire Rig Vedic Suktas that were revealed to them.

For example, Rig Veda Mandala 9 Sukta 107 and Rig Veda Mandala 10 Sukta 137, both have Sapta Rshayah as the Seer (Rishi).

Now, what does this mean? I mean Mantras and Suktas having one Rishi as the Seer is understandable but simultaneously seven sages were the Mantra Drashta?

  • Does it mean that all the Mantras of these two Suktas were revealed simultaneously to all the seven sages? Or each Mantra of the Suktas has one among the seven sages or the other as their Seers? Or something else?

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In case of RV X.137 which has exactly 7 verses, the Anukramaṇī lists the seer for each mantra of the sūkta separately. So, the first mantra was revealed to Bharadvāja, the second to Kaśyapa, and so on.

| Hymn (Sūkta) |          Deity (Devatā)           |         Seer (Ṛṣi)            |
|              |                                   |                               |
| X.137        | All Gods (viśve-devāḥ)            | Bharadvāja (1)                |
|              |                                   | Kaśyapa (2)                   |
|              |                                   | Gotama (3)                    |
|              |                                   | Atri (4)                      |
|              |                                   | Viśvāmitra (5)                |
|              |                                   | Jamadagni (6)                 |
|              |                                   | Vasiṣṭha (7)                  |

There are others like IX.67 where both deities and seers are different for different mantras within the same hymn:

| IX.67        | Soma Pavamāna (1–9, 13–22, 28–30) | Bharadvāja (1–3)              |
|              | Soma Pavamāna or Pūṣan (10–12)    | Kaśyapa (4–6)                 |
|              | Agni (23, 24)                     | Gotama (7–9)                  |
|              | Agni or Savitar (25)              | Atri (10–12)                  |
|              | Agni or Agni and Savitar (26)     | Viśvāmitra (13–15)            |
|              | Agni or the All Gods (27)         | Jamadagni (16–18)             |
|              | Praise of the Student of the      | Vasiṣṭha (19–21)              |
|              | Pavamānī Verses (31–32)           | Pavitra Āṅgirasa or Vasiṣtha  |
|              |                                   | or both (22–32)               |
|              |                                   |                               |

As for IX.107 (which has a total of 26 verses), the Anukramaṇī does list the ṛṣi as sapta ṛṣayaḥ (seven seers).

|              |                                   |                               |
| IX.107       | Soma Pavamāna                     | Seven Seers                   |
|              |                                   |                               |

My guess is, just like the other two hymns listed above, different verses of IX.107 were also revealed to different ṛṣis but none of the available anukramaṇīs record the details.

R. L. Kashyap in his translation offers the following explanation:

  1. Soma is Conscious and Joyful

Ṛishi: Sapta-ṛṣhayaḥ

These verses have been revealed to the collective of Seven Ṛishīs. According to RV (10.137), their names are: Bharadvāja, Kashyapa, Gotama, Atri Bhauma, Vishvāmitra, Jamadagni, Vasiṣhṭha. There are other lists of the seven names. These names can also be regarded as names of spiritual powers. Shukla Yajur Veda (34.55) speaks of, 'seven ṛiṣhīs established in the (subtle) human body.'


In my view, this issue of Sapta Rshayah, 7 rishies, who were mentioned as the composers of the 2 Suktas mentioned in the question, should be understood in an esoteric sense only, but not in physical sense.

Let us consider 3 types of issues mentioned in Rig Veda, regarding the number 7.

  1. 7 rivers -

a) सप्त सिन्धून seven branches of Sindhu river (RV II.12.3)

b) Seven-sisters of Saraswati (Rig Veda VI.61.12)

  1. 7 adityas + aditi - (rig veda X.72.9)

  2. 7 Rishies + Soma - Rig Veda (IX.107)

In all there is the number 7 along with 1 Divinity. That is the crux of Rig Veda.

It is talking of 7 streams of BLISS emanated from 1 DIVINITY - SELF REALISATION, in esoteric sense.

A question might crop up as to why the name of the composer was given as Sapta Rshayah?

In my view, the sage,who composed it, did not want to disclose his name, and hence gave the name as Sapta Rshayah, to indicate, he got SELF REALISATION.

Many books say that there are 7 chakras in our body. However, Sage Ramana Maharshi said that after reaching Sahasrara, the energy should merge into the Heart, where the Atma resides, that resides in the Right side of Human body. This HEART is not physical organ.

Aditi + 7 Adityas or Saraswati + 7 sisters

The following is an excerpt from the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

The Heart is used in the Vedas and the scriptures to denote the place whence the notion ‘I’ springs. Does it spring only from the fleshy ball? It springs within us somewhere right in the middle of our being. The ‘I’ has no location. Everything is the Self. There is nothing but that.

So the Heart must be said to be the entire body of ourselves and of the entire universe, conceived as ‘I’. But to help the practiser (abhyasi) we have to indicate a definite part of the Universe, or of the Body.

So this Heart is pointed out as the seat of the Self. But in truth we are everywhere, we are all that is, and there is nothing else.

  • "who were mentioned as the composers of the ..." The Vedic rishis simply heard (or saw) the mantras. They did not compose the mantras.
    – Rickross
    Jan 1 '20 at 14:23
  • @Rickross: Composing means, to spread them among others, as no script was available to put in writing till 500 bce Jan 1 '20 at 14:28
  • Okay (for the composing part) but overall the answer is your guess.
    – Rickross
    Jan 1 '20 at 14:32
  • Yes of course, to the best of my understanding:-) In spiritual realm, We have to think in esoteric sense only Jan 1 '20 at 14:36
  • For any Vedic mantra, the 3 limbs, Rishi, Chanda and Devata are just plain and simple facts .. there is nothing esoteric about them. There is no way of interpreting them "in a different way". So I need to find the actual answer here.
    – Rickross
    Jan 2 '20 at 5:25

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