Bharadvaja Rishi


Bharadwaja Rishi
Company School, Patna, 19th c.
British Museum Collection

Aug 28, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A study of the famous Rishis and Munis of Vedic literature.

Bharadwaja is famously known as the personal Rishi of Sri Rama, Sita and Laksmana. He spent time with them during their exile, and like the sage Vasistha, there are many paintings which depict Rama and His associates in the forest, at the hermitage of Bharadwaja. While they trio met many sages and rishis in the forest, including Agastya and Gautama, they rested at Bharadvaja's asrama when they were crossing Prayag. At his hermitage they accepted Bharadwaja's offerings, given by him in recognition of Rama's identity as God.

Bharadwaja was a descendant of Angira Rishi, and he is one of the Saptarishis in the present Manvantara. Bharadvāja Bahaspatya is the progenitor of the Bharadwaja family, who are attributed with composing the Sixth Mandala of the Rgveda. Mandala 6 is also known as the 'Bharadvaja Family Book', because all 75 of its hymns are composed by a member of this great family over several centuries.

Bharadwaja Rishi is said to be a contemporary of King Bharata. Maharsi Bharadwaja and his descendants served as the highly respected rishis and priests of several dynasties of the Puru tribe, including the Bharatas and the Pancalas.

Bharadwaja is also famously known as the father of Dronacarya and the grandfather of Asvatthama, as stated in the Mahabharata.

style='text-align:justify'>Bharadwaja Rishi was himself the son of Devarsi Brhaspati, who was the son of Rishi Angirasa. These 3 great Rishis are known as the Traya Rishi, or the Three Rishis of Bharadwaja Gotra, the largest and one of the most prominent gotras.

Bharadwaja became married to Suseela and had a son called Garga, and was also the husband of the Apsara, Ghritachi. It was Ghritachi with whom he father Dronacharya. With Suseela he father a daughter, Devavamini Yajnavaikya, the half-sister of Dronacharya. Devavamini became the second wife of Yajnavalkya Katyayani, who authored the Satapatha Brahmana.

Sri Rama, Sita and Laksmana at the Hermitage of Bharadvaja Rishi
Ramayana, c. 1780
British Museum Collection

The Vedic scholarship of Rishi Bharadwaja is inconceivably great. He authored the Dharmasutra and Srautasutra. The manuscript of the latter was in Pandu script and is apparently in the case of the Visvavidyalaya of Mumbai.

Bharadwaja was an accomplished grammarian. Brahma taught grammar to Brhaspati, who taught it to Indra, who in turn taught it to Bharadwaja. The great philosophers Panini, Rkpratisakhya and Taittiriya have all quoted and discussed Bharadwaja on grammar. Kautilya (Chanakya) has quoted Bharadwaja on politics in his Kautilya Arthasastra.

Bharadwaja Rishi was a disciple of Gautama Maharshi (one of the Saptarishis) as well as of Valmiki, another great Muni. He was a first-hand witness to the incident of the Krauncha birds, at which time Valmiki uttered his first sloka of the Ramayana.

Bharadvāja in Buddhism

In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245), the Buddha pays respects to Bharadwaja by declaring that the Veda in its true form was declared to the Vedic rishis: "Atthako, Vâmako, Vâmadevo, Vessâmitto, Yamataggi, Angiras, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho, Kassapo, and Bhagu", and because that true Veda was altered by some priests he refused to pay homage to it.


P. 494 The Pali-English dictionary By Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede
Inhabitants of the Worlds Mahānirvāṇ Tantra, translated by Arthur Avalon, (Sir John Woodroffe), 1913, Introduction and Preface
P. 245 The Vinaya piṭakaṃ: one of the principle Buddhist holy scriptures ..., Volume 1 edited by Hermann Oldenberg
The Vinaya Pitaka's section Anguttara Nikaya: Panchaka Nipata, P. 44


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