Sep 04, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A study of the famous Rishis and Munis of Vedic literature.
There are several narratives about Rishi Bhrigu and the great fire yagna carried out under his supervision. One describes how many great sages were gathered on the bank of the River Sarasvati to participate in a maha-yagya, with Maharishi Bhrigu present. All the great saints and sages could not decide Who, out of the Trimurti of Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva, was pre-eminent and should be offered the designation of pradhanta (master) of that yagya. With the consent of all the gathered saints, it was decided that Maharishi Bhrigu would determine who was pre-eminent in this regard.
Rishi Bhrigu first decided to test decided Lord Brahma, and went to see him in Brahmaloka. Arriving there, Maharishi displayed utter disrespect to Lord Brahma, on purpose. Lord Brahma became angry and wanted to punish the Rishi, but Goddess Saraswati saved Maharishi from his anger. Maharishi Bhrigu then cursed Lord Brahma that no one would worship him in Kaliyuga. To this day, there are very few temples devoted to Lord Brahma (the notable exception being the Brahma Temple at Pushkar). [This is one of several narrations on why Brahma is no longer worshipped.]
Bhrigu Rishi next visited Lord Shiva at Kailash Parvata. Arriving there, Nandi stopped him from going inside because at that time, Shiva and Parvati were engaged in sporting pastimes. Bhrigu cursed Lord Shiva to be only worshipped in Linga form.
Then in order to test Lord Vishnu, Maharishi reached Vaikunth Dhama. He entered the Dhama without the Lord's permission and saw that He was taking rest. Maharishi asked him to wake up, but Lord Visnu was in deep sleep. On seeing no reaction from the Lord, the Rishi hit Him on the chest. The outline of that mark is known as sri-vatsa).
On realizing that the Rishi had hit him with his foot, Lord Visnu asked him, "Maharishi, are you hurt in your foot? My chest is strong but your foot is not so strong". Seeing the decorum of Lord Vishnu, Bhrigu was pleased and declared him superior amongst the Trideva.
Goddess Laxmi also witnessed the event, and could not tolerate the disrespect displayed by Bhrigu towards Lord Vishnu. She cursed him that henceforth, she would never visit Brahmins and they will all live in the absence of wealth.
Hearing this curse from Maha Laxmi, Maharishi told her the true purpose of visiting Vaikunth Dhama and his mission of testing. Laxmi thus amended her position, saying that whenever a Brahmin worships Lord Vishnu, he will be liberated from the curse.
After this incident Bhrigu Rishi wrote his Bhrigu-samhita, to help the Brahmins earn their living. Maharishi Bhrigu collected numbers of birth charts, wrote predictions for their full lives and compiled them together in what is today known as the Bhrigu-samhita. While much of the Bhrigu-samhita was destroyed over the ages, a few parts of the book are said to still exist in Hoshiarpur, a city in the Punjab.