Categories: Hindu Sage and Saint

Angirasa: The Sage and His Legacy

Angirasa, an eminent sage of ancient Hindu scriptures, stands as a central figure in Vedic tradition, renowned for his contributions to the formulation of the Atharva Veda alongside Sage Atharvana. Revered as one of the Saptarshis, seven sages of the first Manvantara, Angirasa’s influence spans across multiple Vedas, including Rig, Sama, and Yajur. His marriage to Surupa and fatherhood to three distinguished sons—Samvartana, Utatya, and Brihaspati—underscore his esteemed lineage and familial connections within Hindu mythology. Furthermore, Angirasa’s close association with Lord Agni, as depicted in sacred texts, solidifies his pivotal role in Vedic rituals and cosmology, highlighting his profound significance in ancient Hindu tradition.

Additionally, Angirasa’s divine lineage as one of Brahma’s manasputras (mind-born sons) and his marriage to Smriti, the daughter of Daksha, add layers to his mythological narrative, portraying him as a figure of divine origin and familial ties within the pantheon of Hindu deities. His mention in various scriptures, including the Rig-Veda, where he is credited with freeing the cows from demonic captivity, further illuminates his legendary status and contributions to ancient Hindu mythology. The vivid descriptions of Angirasa’s family lineage and his pivotal role in sacred narratives, such as those found in Mandala 6 of the Rig-Veda, showcase the enduring legacy of this revered sage in shaping the spiritual and cultural landscape of ancient India.

Buddha’s Lineage

In Buddhism, there’s a story about Lord Buddha being a descendant of Angirasa. Scholars like Dr. Eitel connect this lineage to Rishi Gautama. According to Buddhist texts, various Kshatriya clans claimed descent from Angirasa to fulfill a king’s desire for a child. In one Buddhist text, Buddha acknowledges Angirasa and other ancient seers for decoding the original Veda. However, as the Veda was later altered by priests, Buddha and others refuse to honor the manipulated versions.

The Radiant Birth of Angirasa

In the grand design of creation, Lord Brahma devised a plan to delegate tasks of creation to his sons, known as ‘Manasaputras’ and ‘Prajapatis‘. Among them was Angirasa, a Manasaputra born of Brahma’s wish and divine intellect. Gifted with a radiant glow and inner spiritual prowess, Angirasa illuminates the universe with his divine brilliance, embodying power, wisdom, and divinity.

The Sacred Task

Once upon a time, Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, entrusted Sage Angirasa with a crucial task. Brahma explained to Angirasa that while he was busy shaping countless worlds and beings, the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of this vast creation fell upon Angirasa’s shoulders. Instructing him to embark on an uninterrupted period of penance, Brahma urged Angirasa to dedicate the fruits of his spiritual endeavor to the betterment of all beings.

In response, Angirasa humbly accepted Brahma’s command, recognizing the boundless love with which Brahma had crafted him and his fellow Manasputras and Prajapatis. Understanding that his purpose was intertwined with the welfare of society, Angirasa vowed to faithfully carry out his master’s wishes until the time came for him to embrace the life of a householder.

The Divine Journey of Angirasa

Upon receiving divine instruction from Lord Brahma, Angirasa embarked on a profound journey of inner exploration. Turning his focus inward, he delved into meditation, fixating on Para-Brahman, the supreme creator of all. Through unwavering devotion and relentless penance, Angirasa’s essence radiated with a divine glow, bestowing upon him immeasurable riches, powers, and dominion over countless realms.

Despite these bestowed blessings, Angirasa remained untouched by worldly illusions, his singular pursuit unwaveringly aimed at merging with Para-Brahman, the ultimate truth. In his steadfast quest, Angirasa transcended mortal limitations, achieving the revered status of ‘Brahmarshi,’ a sage of unparalleled spiritual attainment.

During his arduous journey, Angirasa’s enlightenment bore fruit in the form of a myriad of Vedic mantras, meticulously conceived during his meditative trance. These sacred utterances, gifted to humanity and all creation, serve as pathways to spiritual enlightenment and divine understanding, testament to Angirasa’s boundless compassion and wisdom.

The Divine Marriages Along Saraswati’s Banks

Once upon a time, near the serene banks of the Saraswati River, Kardama Prajapati and his devoted wife Devahooti undertook a rigorous penance. Their dedication bore fruit when they were blessed with nine daughters and a son by the grace of Lord Vishnu. These daughters – Kala, Anasuya, Gati, Kriya, Sradha, Arundhati, Shanti, Havribhuvu, and Khyati, along with their brother Kapilacharya, were destined for remarkable unions.

When the time came for Kardama Prajapati’s daughters to wed, he sought the blessings of the Nava Brahmas, the revered sages of the time. Each sage graciously accepted one of Kardama Prajapati’s daughters in marriage, forming divine unions that transcended earthly desires.

The marriages were as follows:

*Kala wed Marichi,
*Anasuya united with Atri,
*Sradha became the spouse of Angirasa,
*Havribhuvu joined Pulaha,
*Gati was paired with Pulastya,
*Kriya found her partner in Kratu,
*Khyati was betrothed to Bhrigu,
*Arundhati became the beloved of Vashishta, and
*Shanti was bonded with Adharva.
These celestial couples dedicated their lives to spiritual pursuits, renouncing worldly temptations. With unwavering devotion, they served the Almighty, transcending the limitations of their senses and minds. Their union symbolized the divine harmony that resonated along the banks of Saraswati, inspiring generations to come.

The Mystical Lineage of Angirasa

Long ago, at Brahma’s behest, Angirasa welcomed seven sons into the world: Brihat Keerti, known also as Utadhya; Brihat Jyoti, also called Samvarta; Brihat Brahma; Brihan Manas; Brihan Mantra; Brihat Bhanu; and Brihaspati. His daughters, too, were seven: Bhanumati, Raka, CineeVali, Mahishmati, Ekaneka, and Mahamati Archishamati.

Legend has it that Samvarta, one of Angirasa’s sons, still roams the forests of Varanasi, untouched by time. He appears as a wild figure, often hurling stones at those who draw near. Yet, those who persist in seeking his audience find themselves blessed and liberated by his divine grace.

Throughout the ages, sages of the Angirasa lineage have borne the name ‘Angir’ as their legacy. Among them, Sage Vyasa shines brightest, revered for his revelation of new Vedic mantras through austere penance, ensuring the enlightenment of generations to come.

The Tale of Angirasa in the Mahabharata

In the epic Mahabharata, the story of Angirasa shines brightly. When Agni, the god of fire, asked him to act as fire, Angirasa, guided by honesty, prayed to be a true beacon of light instead. He pledged to be Agni’s chosen son, dispelling darkness with his genuine blaze (Mahabharata 3.217, 16-18).

Thus, Angirasa stands among the Saptarshis of the first Manvantara, his story echoing through the ages from the Vedic to the Puranic era.

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

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