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We have seen ancient sages of India bore multiple titles like Brahmarshi, Maharishi, Rajarshi and Devarishi.
Quick internet search resulted in as:

Brahmarshi - a sage who has understood the meaning of Brahman(Brahmajnana)
Maharishi - A great sage
Rajarshi  - Royal saint
Devarishi - Celestial sage(like Narada)

I have seen the example of vishvamitra transcending from king->rajarshi->rishi->maharshi->brahmarshi.

The text merely quotes penance of thousand years before stepping up to new title.

I wanted to know, what exactly make anyone qualify their titles?

What is line of demarcation, where one would transform from type of rishi to another?

There is a similar question over here, but doesn't have much description .

What are different types of Rishis?

  • interesting sir. could you please provide where it says that Vishwanmitra Muni transcended to devarishi? Thanks – Sai Mar 9 '15 at 6:36
  • Sorry , I meant Rajarishi. I corrected it – tekkk Mar 9 '15 at 18:23
  • Ok could you provide the reference for that transition. The part where rajarishi becomes a rishi is a bit confusing for me, thus I am asking. Thank you so much dear friend!! :) thanks – Sai Mar 10 '15 at 17:47
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    Rajarishis, Maharishis, and Brahmarishis are all different kinds of Rishis. So it doesn't make sense to put Rishi as an intermediate stage. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 11 '15 at 18:34
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    @Sai He went directly from Rajarishi to Maharishi; see this chapter of the Bala Kanda of the Ramayana: valmikiramayan.net/bala/sarga57/bala_57_frame.htm And then in this later chapter of the Bala Kanda he becomes a Brahmarishi: valmikiramayan.net/bala/sarga65/bala_65_frame.htm (The story in this chapter is the origin of the Tamil saying "Vashishtar vayaal Brahmarishi.") – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 12 '15 at 15:57
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We all know that these titles are not "given" but are descriptions of the state of consciousness of the individual. I'll tell you my understanding based on Vedic Science :

"Rishi" means seer. But what does a Rishi see? The fine fabrics of consciousness. You might have heard of "sruti" which means "that which is heard". The Veda, or knowledge is not written in a book. The Veda is cognized in the awareness of an individual. It is both heard and seen on a deep level of consciousness. Just like a physicist explores particles and frequencies in Nature, so also a Rishi explores the frequencies and fluctuations of conscious. So a Rishi hears and sees the sounds/impulses of the Veda (spandan), and understands that the sounds manifest into material forms around us. The Rishis of the Vedic literature all cognized the Veda in their own awareness. If you are to hear these sounds, or see the impulses, you too have experienced that particular Rishi consciousness. This is why different aspects of the Veda have different Rishis, different Devata and different chhandas according to the Cognition. Rishis have cognized the 40 aspects of the Vedic literature which deal with everything from vastu, Ayurved to Brahmi Chetan. Patanjali, who cognized Yog shastra, attained the state of Yog intelligence and he saw the impulses in his own awareness. Anyone who sees from that level has achieved "Patanjali Rishi consciousness". The Rishi name is expressed in the form of their Cognition (nama-rupa).

One thing is to know, see and hear the Veda, but another thing is to do something with that knowledge. A Maharishi is one who takes that vision and knowledge of Natural Law and can create transformation in the world. Maharishis are teachers and Vedic engineers who use techniques to transform their students (and the world) by putting the principles of consciousness into practice. Even their Conscousness is catalytic in this transformation.

For this reason the higher one is in Conscousness, the greater their ability to administrate life around them. A Raja (or king) normally administrates human life, but as one goes in consciousness, one is able to administrate cosmic life. This is why sages are called Maharaja.

A Brahmarishi is one operating from the level of Brahm who is transforming... and therfore administrating from the level of the universe. This is the reason Brahmarishis are considered to be administrators of the universe. Their Conscousness is operating from that level of intelligence which manages the universe.

A Devarishi (as a commentator mentioned above) is one who has cognized Brahm (the Totality) ... And into that level of consciousness from which all universes have originated, but also play a role in being a teacher to the devas. This is why (for example) there have been descriptions of Narada, that when he journeys here and there he comes from a place where all of the universes are administered. The Devas are impulses of Natural Law which transcend this world/universe and the next.

From my understanding (but I am not certain about this) a rajarishi is one who is a king on earth who is also a Rishi. I know from the Vedic literature that Rishi Rajas such as Janaka were given this title.

There are many more levels that are not mentioned in this question : such as Sidhas and Naths, etc. Unfortunately, many people just use these terms to show respect, but actually they are terms with specific meanings.

Once one knows this, one desires to attain this level of consciousness! Begin by practicing meditation every day and unfold the knowledge from within.

  • Thanks for the explanation . It would be great if you could give description of devarshi,Rajarshi,Maharishi – tekkk Jan 11 '16 at 2:56
  • Just edited above – Digityogi Jan 11 '16 at 3:03
  • Thanks .You think brahmarshi is less qualified than Devarshi? I thought other way. Where exactly you could able to gather these explanations? – tekkk Jan 11 '16 at 3:11
  • Thanks . But you didn't answer where exactly you could able to gather these explanations? – tekkk Jan 11 '16 at 3:34
  • I have edited the above comment again to be more descriptive. You are correct that brahamrishi is the highest... but the activity/awareness of the Rishis is different. A Rishi and rajarishi are also both in Rishi consciousness, but the rajarishi has another role. – Digityogi Jan 11 '16 at 3:35
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I don't have prev to comment yet, this is in addition to Digityogi (love the name btw)

My name is Rajarshi and I have been curious about my name from a long time. I think I finally found the answer in Manu Sangeeta, though I am yet to complete it. Rajarshi is in a sense of the word a king maker. As you remember in the times of Veda, a King was not a tyrant but a benevolent father to his subject and his duty was the welfare of society. It was an extremely important role. To help a child into that role was the Rajarshi. A guru who had a very wide and in dept knowledge of all aspects of society, human psychology, foresight, etc. A Guru who could inculcate these values in a child and bring him up to be a just King.

I'm doing a horrible job explaining, please read Manu Sangeeta, it is so much better said in the book. Just remember it is a translation of n number of translations. Think what would a person pure of hearth would have said or thought and you will see what has been lost in translation and finds many answers.

A good example of a Rajarshi is Channakya, Guru to Chandragupt Mauyra. Aristotle, Guru to Alexandre The Great. Channakya is a better example as in Mauyra dynasty peak, society reached the Utopia that modern philosophers talk off. There were veterinary hospitals, free health care. Crime was almost non-existant. Housing for everyone. We know these from Chinese, Egyptian, Greek traveler's travelogues that still exist.

Man has reached and reached and destroyed Utopia Society many times. It will. The better I understand the Hindu philosophy the better I understand why. But the path to the universal truth are many, if we strive, we will get there. Each by a different path, hence it is pointless to talk about my path. When the student is ready, the universe sends a teacher. It has been so for me. It's just the teacher is not always a person. It can be anything. Nothing happens without a purpose. The Universe is perfect.

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Vishvamitra was a kshatriya king earlier. But when Vasishta destroys all the weapons employed by Viswamitra (including Pasupata and Brahmastra) with his Brahmadanda, Viswamitra uttered these word:

Shame Where is the might of a kshatriya? The energy of a brahmin is the real energy. The staff of Brahma has singly destroyed all my weapons. Now I have realised the reason. With clear mind and senses, I shall undertake intense penance which will earn me brahminhood. (Valmiki Ramayana 1.56.23/24)

And later he did intense penance and acquired the titles of Rajarshi (Valmiki Ramayana 1.57.5), Rishi (Valmiki Ramayana 1.63.2), Maharshi (Valmiki Ramayana 1.63.18) and Brahmarshi (Valmiki Ramayana 1.65.19).

So you may read the story of Vishvamitra from Valmiki Ramayana -> Balakanda -> Sarga 51 to 65 to understand which will answer your both the questions;

I wanted to know, what exactly make anyone qualify their titles?

What is line of demarcation, where one would transform from type of rishi to another?

You may read this story online form source 1 and source 2.

Few events are discussed in below questions:

Vishwamitra & Indra were enemies so why does the Brahmarishi sing verses in praise of Indra?

Clarification about Saptarshis

But to find answers to your both the questions you should read Valmiki Ramayana -> Balakanda -> Sarga 51 to 65 completely, quoting entire thing in this answer is not feasible.

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