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I am interested in knowing stories of various ancient Rishis and hence I sometimes look for those stories from Puranas and Itihasas. I had watched Ramayana TV series in my child hood. Recently government decided to re-telecast this series on DD National. While watching Ramayana, I found that after leaving Ayodhya, Rama entered in forest and met various Rishis. Episodes show his meeting with Bhardwaj, Atri, Sharbhang and Agatsya Rishis successively and it is said that Rama met many other Rishis. But names of those Rishis are not mentioned.

I want to know which are all those Rishis? It may be possible that Ramayana does not record every meeting of Rama with all Rishis but I am interested in extracting details as much as possible. So, an answer listing (names) of all Rishis citing some authentic source (e.g. Valmiki Ramayana) would be useful.

  • Isn't it a list like question and too broad to answer? – YDS Apr 6 at 7:15
  • @YDS We are several questions of this kind on the site. See 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. – Pandya Apr 6 at 8:10
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Yes, not the name of all Rishis are available but following is the list of Rishis described in Valmiki Ramayana (quoting text from valmiki.iitk.ac.in and valmikiramayan.net):

  1. Bhāradvāja​

    Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana met Rishi Bhāradvāja​ first of all after leaving Ayodhya. Bhāradvāja​ instructed them to stay at Citrakūṭa​ (Valmiki 2.54.29).

    रामस्त्वाश्रममासाद्य त्रासयन्मृगपक्षिणः। गत्वा मुहूर्तमध्वानं भरद्वाजमुपागमत्।।2.54.9।।

    Seeing Rama approaching the hermitage the deer and the birds were frightened. Proceeding on the path, for a while Rama reached (the place of) Bharadwaja.

  2. Vālmīki

    They meet Vālmīki at Citrakūṭa​.

    इति सीता च रामश्च लक्ष्मणश्च कृताञ्जलिः।अभिगम्याऽश्रमं सर्वे वाल्मीकि मभिवादयन्।।2.56.16।।

    Thus Rama, Sita and Lakshmana approached the hermitage of sage Valmiki and paid obeisance to him with folded hands.

  3. Atri & Anasūyā

    After leaving Citrakūṭa​, they meet Rishi Atri.

    सो अत्रेर् आश्रमम् आसाद्य तम् ववन्दे महा यशाः | तम् च अपि भगवान् अत्रिः पुत्रवत् प्रत्यपद्यत || २-११७-५

    On the way, after reaching the hermitage of a sage called Atri, the highly celebrated Rama offered salutation to that sage. The venerable sage, Atri too received him as his own son.

    अनसूयाम् महा भागाम् तापसीम् धर्म चारिणीम् | प्रतिगृह्णीष्व वैदेहीम् अब्रवीद् ऋषि सत्तमः || २-११७-८

    Atri excellent sage spoke to the illustrious Anasuya, rich in asceticism and who lived a pious life, saying "You welcome Videha's daughter!" and thereafter introduced that virtuous female ascetic to Rama (as follows):

    Atri guided him to enter into dense forest (Valmiki 2.119.21) known as Dandakaranya and then Arayna Kanda starts. Rama et. al meet various Rishis who requested Rama to save Rishis from demons.

  4. Śarabhaṃga

    कष्टम् वनम् इदम् दुर्गम् न च स्मो वन गोचराः || ३-५-२ अभिगच्छामहे शीघ्रम् शरभङ्गम् तपो धनम् | आश्रमम् शरभन्गस्य राघवोऽभिजगाम ह || ३-५-३ तस्य देव प्रभावस्य तपसा भावित आत्मनः | समीपे शरभंगस्य ददर्श महत् अद्भुतम् ||३-५-४

    "Difficult is this impassable forest, nor we are forest inhabitants either... let's go quickly to that ascetically rich sage Sharabhanga..." [3-5-2b, 3a]. On his approach at the hermitage of Sage Sharabhanga, a sage with a divine effect and the one with a purified soul, saw a great wonder at the nearby of that hermitage of Sharabhanga.[3-5-3b, 4]

  5. Different kinds of sages:

    After departure of sage Śarabhaṃga, many kinds of sages assembled and approached Rama seeking their protection from (verse 3.6.19) nightwalker demons:

    वैखानसा वालखिल्यास्सम्प्रक्षाला मरीचिपाः।अश्मकुट्टाश्च बहवः पत्राहाराश्च तापसाः।।3.6.2।।
    दन्तोलूखलिनश्चैव तथैवोन्मज्जकाः परे।गात्रशय्या अशय्याश्च तथैवाभ्रावकाशकाः।।3.6.3।।
    मुनयस्सलिलाहारावायुभक्षा स्तथापरे।आकाशनिलयाश्चैव तथा स्थण्डिलशायिनः।।3.6.4।।
    व्रतोपवासिनो दान्तास्तथाऽर्द्रपटवाससः।सजपाश्च तपोनित्यास्तथा पञ्चतपोऽन्विताः।।3.6.5।।
    सर्वे ब्राह्म्या श्रिया जुष्टा दृढयोगास्समाहिताः।शरभङ्गाश्रमे राममभिजग्मुश्च तापसाः।।3.6.6।।

    The different group of sages mentioned in this verse are as follows (you may refer Tatvadipika commentary for more information):

    • Vaikhanasas : those born of the nails of Prajapati
    • Valakhilyas : the sixty thousand sages born out of the hair of Brahma, they are the size of the thumb, they surround the chariot of the Sungod
    • Samprakṣālāḥ : those who keep on washing their body frequently
    • Marīcipāḥ : those who drink the rays of Sun and Moon
    • Asmakuttas : those who bruise their bodies with stones or those who pound the grain and make their own food
    • Patrāhārāḥ : those who live on leaves
    • Dantolūkhali :those who have teeth like mortar
    • Vāyubhakṣā : those who live on air
    • Unmajjakāḥ :those who perform penance standing in neckdeep water
    • Gātraśayyāḥ : those who sleep on the skin of the tiger
    • Aśayyāḥ : those who do penance without bending any part of the body
    • Abhravakāśakāḥ : those who live in the open in Sun and rain
    • Salilāhārāḥ : those who live on water only
    • Ākāśanilayā :those who carry on their penance under the open sky
    • Sthaṇḍilaśāyinaḥ : those who sit and sleep on bare ground
    • Vratopavāsinaḥ : those who observe vows and fastings
    • Dāntāḥ : those who are selfrestrained
    • Ārdrapaṭavāsasaḥ : those who wear only wet clothes all the time
    • Sajapā : those who repeat the names of gods always
    • Taponiṣṭhāḥ : those who are steadfast in penance
    • Pañcataponvitāḥ : those who do penance amidst five blazing fires

  6. Sutīkṣṇa

    तत्र तापसमासीनं मलपङ्कजटाधरम्।रामस्सुतीक्ष्णं विधिवत्तपोवृद्धमभाषत।।3.7.5।।

    There at the hermitage was Sutikshna, an ascetic grown old with (long) penance, wearing soiled, matted locks and seated. Rama (first) addressed him as per custom.

    Since Rama wanted (verse 3.9.6) to visit other hermitages of sages , he left the hermitage of Sutīkṣṇa and Sutīkṣṇa told (verse 3.9.16) to return after visiting other hermitages.

  7. Dharmabhṛta

    Upon hearing of the sounds of songs and musical instruments while there were none around Rama and Lakshmana inquired sage Dharmabhṛta about these mysterious sounds.

    ततः कौतूहलाद्रामो लक्ष्मणश्च महाबलः।मुनिं धर्मभृतं नाम प्रष्टुं समुपचक्रमे।।3.11.8।।

    Out of curiosity, mighty Rama, and Lakshmana started enquiring about the matter from sage Dharmabrata by name.

    Then after Rama, Lakshmana and Sita spent 10 years (verse 3.11.26) here and around here and there and again returned to Suthikshna's hermitage (verse 3.11.27).

  8. Agastya

    Rama heard about Rishis Agastya many times and wanted to meet him but didn't know location of his hermitage so he asked Suthikshna about it (verse 3.11.30,31). So, Suthikshna informed him about location his hermitage. Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana started to walk in that direction. On the way, they meet the brother of Agastya (verse 3.11.68). Reaching at Agatsya's hermitage, they first met one of his disciples (verse 3.12.1) and finnally met Agasya (verse 3.12.24)

    अगस्त्य इति विख्यातो लोके स्वेनैव कर्मणा। आश्रमो दृश्यते तस्य परिश्रान्तश्रमापहः।।3.11.80।।....
    ....अयं दीर्घायुषस्तस्य लोके विश्रुतकर्मणः।अगस्त्यस्याश्रम श्रीमान्विनीतजनसेवितः।।3.11.86।।

    Here is the hermitage of Agastya, wellknown in the world for his deeds a place of rest for those tired with hard work.....
    This is the hermitage of the longlived Agastya who is renowned for his deeds and is served by humble people. The great mountain Vindhya that was growing incessantly and obstructing the path of the Sun stopped growing any more in obedience to Agastya's words

    Agatsya informed about the beautiful place (ever-blooming forest) called Paṃcavaṭī and told to stay there buliding a hermitage (3.13.14)

So, this is a list of Rishis whom Rama did meet in forest. Among all Rishis, Agasya is the most powerful. He gave some excellent divine weapons to Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa​.

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  • Good answer. Did Sri Rama meet Sage Matanga as well ? – Carmen sandiego Apr 5 at 13:34
  • Sage Matanga's disciples were the Gurus of Sabari, whom Sri Rama met. So Sri Rama cannot meet Sage Matanga – Srimannarayana K V Apr 5 at 13:40
  • @Carmensandiego No, He already departed when Rama was in Chitrakuta (Valmiki 3.74.14). – Pandya Apr 5 at 13:41
  • @srimannarayana kv, Pandya - thanks. I was hoping to understand how Vali and Matanga ended up meeting given that Vali and Sri Rama are of same age. But turns out there is already a question hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/9035/… – Carmen sandiego Apr 5 at 16:40
  • It's my question :-) @Carmensandiego – Srimannarayana K V Apr 5 at 16:45

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