BY: SUN STAFF
Patna, 19th c.
British Museum Collection
Aug 25, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A study of the famous Rishis and Munis of Vedic literature.
Angiras, or Angirā Rishi is a great sage who, along with sage Atharvan, is credited with having formulated ("heard") most of the fourth Veda, the Atharva Veda. He is also mentioned in the other three Vedas. While the lists differ somewhat from text to text (no doubt also from age to age), Angira is often included as one of the Saptarishis, or Seven Great Sages of the first Manvantara. He is also known as one of the ten Manasaputras -- the wish-born sons of Lord Brahma.
The wife of Angiras is Surūpa, and the two bore three sons: Utathya, Samvartana and Brihaspati. Other accounts are found referring to the Rishi's marriages to Smriti, the daughter of Daksha, and also to Shraddha.
The name Angirasas is applied generically to several Puranic individuals and things: a class of Pitris, the ancestors of man, who may be descended from the sage Angiras. In the Rigveda, Agni is also sometimes referred to as Angiras, or as a descendant of Angiras (RV 1.1). Mandala 6 of the Rigvedais attributed to a family of Angirasas.
Agneya (the daughter of Agni and Agnayi) is considered to be the mother of Angiras. In the Rigveda there is a description of Lord Indra, driving out the cows from the cave where they had been imprisoned by the demon Vala, or by multiple demons (the Panis). Indra gifted the cows to the Angirasas (RV 3.31, 10.108, and 8.14).
Birth of Angirasa Maharshi
In order to assist him in the process of Creation, Lord Brahma created his first sons: the Manasaputras and Prajapatis. After some time, by his will (ichha), he gave birth to another son from his budhhi (thus the son is called Manasa putra - a child borne out of divine intellect). This son is Angirasa. Brahma granted him a great divine glow, tejas, which is not a physical glow, but rather a transcendental emanation that can fill the three worlds.
Giving his first instructions to his son Angirasa, Lord Brahma said:
"O Angirasa, you are my third "manasa putra" (the one born out of divine intellect). My creation is multiplying with several worlds and species. Humans and other species are growing in numbers and generations. And welfare of this creation is your purpose. Your mission is to come to me whenever I remember or recall you and fulfill my word from time to time. Whatever I design as your duty for the welfare the creation, you must do. You must now go on a very long and unbroken penance and bequeath its fruit to the welfare of all beings in the creation. You must remain so till I order you again, to take up family life (Grihasta Ashrama)."
"You are the reason for my birth and of all this creation. And therefore, you are my almighty Lord. You create us with infinite and unconditional love. You are all knowing. You are omnipotent. You created me with a purpose in mind. Though you do not need anybody's assistance, you are asking me to do this penance. I shall consider it as your grace and opportunity to serve you. I will obey your every word."
Angira proceeded to perform intense penance. Turning his senses inward and meditating on Para-Brahman, his tejas increased infinitely by his penance. Having attained many divine qualities, powers, and riches, and control over many worlds, Angiras still remained oblivious to material desires, and did not stop his tapas. He thus attained the state of brahmarshi. The great Rishi had visions of many Vedic mantras and brought them to the Earth planet, where he is known as the source of a great number of Vedic hymns and mantras. The whole creation was blessed by the wisdom from his Word.
Queen Choladevi before the Hermit-Sage Angiras
Vrataraja - Punjab/Guler, c. 1790
Metropolitan Museum Collection
In the painting above we see Queen Choladevi, whose husband had been blessed by Laksmi Devi. Choladevi did not recognize the Goddess of Fortune when she arrived at the Queen's mansion in disguise. For her neglect, the Queen was cursed and given the head of a sow. She fled to the sage Angiras, who taught her the secret of a Mahalakshmi vrata, through the potency of which she was able to be restored to her human form.
Source: Inhabitants of the Worlds
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