As I discuss in this question, by far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy is the Vedanta school, which bases its tenets on the doctrines laid out in the Brahma Sutras, a work by the sage Vyasa which summarizes and systematizes the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads. You can read the Brahma Sutras here. In any case, Adhyaya 3 Pada 3 of the Brahma Sutras describes the Brahma Vidyas, 32 lessons found in the various Upanishads which can each lead you to Brahman if you meditate upon them. You can see the full list of 32 Vidyas here.
Now one of the 32 Brahma Vidyas is known as the Madhu Vidya, or "honey wisdom". It's found in the Brihadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads, and it has the power to bring a person back from the dead. The story of the Madhu Vidya is described in this chapter of the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda. The sage Dadhichi, whom I discuss here, knew the Madhu Vidya, and Indra threatened to cut off his head if he ever revealed it to anyone else. But the Ashwini Kumaras, the twin gods who were the fathers of Nakula and Sahadeva, were eager to learn it, so they conspired with Dadhichi to replace Dadhichi's head with a horse head. Then Dadhichi with a horse head taught the Ashwini Kumaras the Madhu Vidya. When Indra found out about this he was furious, so he cut off Dadhichi's horse head. Then the Ashwini Kumaras replaced it with his human head, using the Madhu Vidya to bring him back to life. It is ultimately because of the Ashwini Kumaras that the Madhu Vidya became publicly available in the Upanishads.
But my question is about how the Madhu Vidya was passed down before Dadhichi. Here is what the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
- Dadhyak [Dadhichi] Âtharvana [learned it] from Atharvan Daiva,
- Atharvan Daiva from Mrityu Prâdhvamsana,
- Mrityu Prâdhvamsana from Prâdhvamsana,
- Prâdhvamsana from Ekarshi,
- Ekarshi from Viprakitti
- Viprakitti from Vyashti,
- Vyashti from Sanâru,
- Sanâru from Sanâtana,
- Sanâtana from Sanaga,
- Sanaga from Parameshthin,
- Parameshthin from Brahman,
- Brahman is Svayambhu, self-existent.
Adoration to Brahman.
So it looks like Dadhichi learned the Madhu Vidya from his ancestor Atharvan, another name for the sage Bhrigu. But who is this "Mrityu Pradhavamsana" that Bhrigu learned it from? Mrityu means death and Pradhavamsana means destroyer, so did Bhrigu learn it from Yama god of death? And who is this "Ekarishi", which means "one sage", that Pradhvamsana learned it from?
And then Ekarishi learned it from Viprachitti, who was a demon that Indra killed. And Viprachitti learned it from someone named "Vyashti", who learned it from the Sanatkumaras, who learned it from Brahma, who learned it from Vishnu. But who is this Vyashti who learned it from the Sanatkumaras and taught it to the demon Viprachitti?
Are there any scriptures that describe who all these people are?