Categories: Hindu Sage and Saint

Kashyapa-A Great Sage Of Saptarshi

Kashyapa is mentioned as a sage of the Saptarshi (seven most revered sages) in Vaivasvata (current) Manvantara. Others of this group are Atri, Vasishtha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadwaja and Gautama. Every living being is considered to be a descendant of Rishi Kashyapa. Kashyapa is also known as an ancient Ayurvedic sage.


Kashyapa And Vedic Texts

The name of Kashyapa is associated with Vedas and numerous Vedic texts. He composed a few hymns of the Rig Veda. His name is also got in Vrihadaranyaka Upanishad and some cosmology-related hymns of the Atharvaveda. The ancient Ayurvedic book called Kashyapa Samhita or Jivakiya Tantra is a compilation of his acquired medical knowledge. He is mentioned in the allegory-filled Book XIX of the Atharvaveda:

Undisturbed am I, undisturbed is my soul, undisturbed mine eye, undisturbed mine ear,
undisturbed is mine in-breathing, undisturbed is mine out-breathing, undisturbed is mine diffusive-breathing, undisturbed the whole of me.

Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire the primal seed and germ of Spirit, O Kama dwelling with the lofty Kama, give growth of wealth to the sacrificer, (…) Prolific, thousand eyed, and undecaying, a horse with seven reins Time carries us onward, Sages inspired with holy knowledge ride him, his chariot wheels are all the worlds of different beings.

Kala [Time] created distant heaven, and Kala made these realms of earth,
By Kala, stirred to motion, both what is and what shall be, spread, (…)
Kala created living things and first of all Prajapati,
From Kala self-made Kasyapa, from Kala Holy Fire appeared.
— Atharvaveda, Book XIX, Hymns:51-53

The Lineage Of Sage Kashyapa

Kashyapa was the son of Rishi Marichi (one of the Saptarshi in Swayambhuva Manvantara). He is also mentioned as one the ten Manas-putras (mind born sons) of Lord Brahma. Kashyapa got married to thirteen daughters of Prajapati Daksha. According to Vishnu Purana, they were Aditi, Diti, Kadru, Danu, Arista, Sursa, Surbhi, Vinta, Tamra, Krodhabhasa, Ida, Vishva and Muni though in Mahabharata, the names of Rishi Kashyapa’s wives are Aditi, Diti, Kala, Danayus, Danu, Simhika, Krodha, Pritha, Visva, Vinata, Kapila, Muni and Pradha. Later, Twelve Adityas and Indra Deva were born from Aditi; Daityas (demons) were born from Diti; Kadru gave birth to Nagas (snakes); Aruna and Garuda birds were born from Vinata and Lord Vishnu appeared as Aditi’s son (Vamana Avatar). Thus gods, demons, humans, snakes, birds, etc. were created in the lineage of sage Kashyapa.

The Children Of Aditi

Rishi Kashyapa fathered Surya Deva or alternatively Agni Deva, twelve Adityas, and Vamana (the fifth Avatar of Lord Vishnu) with his wife, Aditi. The Adityas were Amsa, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dhuti, Mitra, Pusan, Sakra, Savitr, Tvastr, Varuna, Visnu, and Vivasvat or Vivasvan. Vivasvan started the famous Suryavamsa (the Solar dynasty). This dynasty came to be known as Ikshvakuvamsa when Kasyapa and Aditi’s grand son Ikshvaku became a king. His subsequent kings were Khukshi, Vikukhshi, Vana, Anaranya, Prithu, Trishanku, Raghu, Aja, Dasharatha and Rama (the seventh Avatar of Vishnu). King Raghu’s dynasty was known as Raghuvamsa in the Ramayana story.

The Story Of Vamana Avatar


Vamana is the fifth Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Vishnu descended as Vamana (a dwarf) to subdue the demon king Vali in Treta Yuga.

The Appearance Of Vamana

According to the Matsya Purana, when the gods were defeated by the demons and become homeless, the goddess Aditi worshipped Vishnu for a powerful son. Satisfied with her worship, Vishnu vowed to be born as a son of Aditi and Kashyapa. When Vishnu appeared in Aditi’s womb in due time, the asuras gradually became weak. In due course Vishnu was born as Vamana.

The Suppression Of Vali

When Vali, the lord of the demons of that time, organized a yajna, the dwarf-like Vishnu went to the yajna and prayed for Tripada-bhumi (land for keeping three feet). When Vali agreed and donated the land to Vishnu, he (Vishnu) enlarged his body and assumed a huge form. Vishnu placed two feet in heaven and earth and took out the third foot from his navel. When Vali was asked where he would place this third leg, Vali bowed his head and requested to place the third leg on his (Vali) head. As soon as Vamana placed the third leg on the head of Vali, he (Vali) began to chant the holy name of Vishnu. At such a time, Prahlad came and prayed to Vishnu for the release of Vali. Being pleased, Vishnu released Vali and rewarded him the rare abyss of the gods for his abode.

The Appearance Of Rama Avatar


Rama is the seventh Avatar (incarnation) of the Hindu god, Vishnu. At the end of the Treta Yuga, he took the form of a man to destroy the demons. Rama’s father was Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya and his mother was Kaushalya, one of the three queens of Ayodhya. According to Ramayana, King Dasharatha performed the Putra-Kamesti Yajna or Putresti Yajna for a son. Next, Rama and his three other brothers were born.

Ramayana Story

Rama is the main character of Valmiki Ramayana written by Maharshi Valmiki. The Ramayana is divided into seven chapters. These are: Adi Kanda or Bal Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindhya Kanda, Sundar Kanda, Lanka Kanda or Yuddha Kanda and Uttar Kanda. In these seven chapters the life story of Rama is narrated chronologically.

Adi Kanda: Adi Kanda tells Rama’s birth on the auspicious day of Ram Navami, his childhood and marriage to Sita.

Ayodhya Kanda: Ayodhya Kanda describes Rama’s preparations for the coronation and his departure.

Aranya Kanda: Aranya Kanda tells the stories of Rama’s banishment and the abduction of Sita Devi by Ravana.

Kishkindhya Kanda: Kishkindhya Kanda describes the reunion of Hanuman and Rama, the killing of the monkey king, Vali with Rama’s help, and the coronation of Vali’s younger brother Sugriva at Kishkindhya.

Sundar Kanda: Sundar Kanda, tells the story of Hanuman’s heroism, his arrival in Lanka and his meeting with Sita.

Lanka Kanda: The battle of Rama and Ravana is described in Lanka Kanda or Yuddha Kanda.

Uttar Kanda: The main episodes of the last section of Uttar Kanda are the birth of Luv and Kush(the sons of Rama and Sita), their coronation and Rama’s departure from the earth.

The Children Of Diti

Kashyapa’s wife Diti was the mother of Daityas (demons). She had two sons (Hiranyakashipu and Hiranakshya) and a daughter (Holika or Simhika). Hiranyakashipu had four sons named Anuhlada, Hlada, Prahlada and Sanhlada.
Prahlada was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. The story of Prahlada is narrated in the Bhagavata Purana. Narasimha, the fourth Avatar of Vishnu killed Hiranyakashipu and saved Prahlada from the demonic exploitation of his father.

The Appearance Of Narasimha Avatar


Lord Vishnu killed Hiranakshya during his Varaha Avatar(one of the 10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu). So, Hiranyakashipu began to hate Vishnu. He (Hiranyakashipu) became very cruel and wanted to take revenge for the killing of his brother. Then Lord Vishnu appeared to suppress this demon.

The Story Of Prahlada

Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu got angry at the behaviour of his son. He tried to kill his son in various ways. But Lord Vishnu saved Prahlada every time. One day angry Hiranyakashipu asked Prahlada, ‘Where does your Vishnu live? Prahlada replied, “Lord Vishnu is everywhere.” Hiranyakashipu said again, “Is Vishnu also inside this pillar?” Prahlada said, “Yes, he’s here too.” Then Hiranyakashipu kicked the pillar and broke it. Immediately from that pillar Lord Vishnu appeared as Narasimha ( the form of half-man and half-lion) at the auspicious moment of Narasimha Chaturdashi. Narsimha tore Hiranyakashipur’s chest with his terrible nails and killed him. Thus, Vishnu protected his devotees from the tyranny of the demons.

The Birth Of Nagas

After the marriage of sage Kashyapa to Vinata and Kadru, they (Vinata and Kadru) prayed for a child from Kashyapa. Kadru wanted to be the mother of a thousand snake children, and Vinata wanted to be the mother of two bird children. Rishi Kashyapa blessed them with their expected boons. In time, they laid eggs. Then a thousand baby Nagas (snakes) were born from the eggs of Kadru.

The Birth Of Aruna and Garuda

Although Kadru’s children were born, there was no news of the birth of Vinata’s children! Year after year went by like this. One day Vinata cracked herself one of her eggs. Then she saw that inside the egg there was an immature child with half human and half bird shape. The child cursed Vinata for ruining the egg saying, “You will be your sister’s slave until your second egg is born.” Saying this, he suddenly flew towards the Sun. His name was Aruna. He is considered to be one of the charioteers of the chariot of the Sun God (a Vedic God). Vinata, on the other hand, lost a dice game with her sister Kadru one day, and on condition she had to become Kadru’s maid. Thus the curse of her child (Aruna) on Vinata came to fruition. After many years, Garuda was born from the second egg of Vinata.

Kashmir And Rishi Kashyapa

Kashmir in India is named after Rishi Kashyapa. It is said that there was a huge lake called Satisara or Parvatisagar in the valley of Kashmir. Once a terrible monster appeared in that lake. To get rid of him, Kashyapa did long austerities and saved the beautiful valley. The name of this place is ‘Kashmir’ because it was revived in his hands.

By Krishna Das


Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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