The extraordinary souls called rishis
The Spiritual Scientists knew then what modern scientists still do not..
The Science called Hinduism is founded on a set of spiritual texts known as the Vedas. The first portion of the Vedas consists of sounds known as mantras. This portion is known as the “Samhitas”. These sounds have always existed in etheric space in the form of vibrations. Hence the Vedas according to Hindu tradition can never be dated. They were revealed to a set of super human beings with high receptivity, extraordinary memory and an understanding that was way above the intellect of even the most intelligent of modern human beings. They were highly evolved beings who can be called spiritual scientists. The word “ri” denotes sound and since they were the ones who heard the sounds of the vibrations, they came to be known as “rishis” — the hearers of the sounds. They were the ones who cognised the mantras or sounds ever existing in etheric space and made them available to humanity. The rishis never claimed to be the authors of the Vedas. The fact that the names of some of the rishis are associated with some of the mantras is because they were the ones who first heard the mantras and gave them to us. For instance the Rishi Viswamitra is the one who gave us the most powerful mantra in the Vedas, known as the “Surya Gayatri”.
The rishis were actually scientists of a very high order. Without the use of modern equipments they were able to discover a colossal amount of information about Nature and the cosmos which has only recently come to be cognised by modern scientists. Though it might seem strange to say this, the fact was that their main source of information came through their own minds and intellects which they had sharpened to a laser point stage which could thus pierce through space, time and matter. We are limited beings totally dependent on the meagre and mainly illusory information given by our five senses. They were multi-sensory beings whose intellects had the power to pierce through the veil which Nature places over everything. This veil is what they called “maya”. It is this illusory capacity of Nature which makes us believe in the existence of something called “matter” which we think of as being very hard and something called “Time” which to us is a reality. Now the physicists tell us that “matter is only energy in motion” and “Time” is only a product of the mind. Of course the rishis knew this long ago and that is why they dubbed the world as “maya.” Their stupendous intellects were their laboratories. Using various techniques of yoga and meditation they were able to penetrate into the heart of Nature without dissecting her as modern scientists do. If they wanted to find out about a star they became the star and thus got first hand and irrefutable information. This is why their theories have never been refuted by successive generations as have the discoveries of western scientists. They were the greatest astronomers, botanists, physicists, mathematicians and doctors.
They also had external laboratories called yajnashalas in which they conducted certain mystic rituals. Using the mantras which they had heard during their sojourn in the mountains of the Himalayas, they performed fire ceremonies known as yajnas or yagas . Their fire places were built with great geometrical precision. Only wood from certain special trees could be used for the ceremony. Into this blazing fire they would pour ghee and offer certain herbs along with incantations which were capable of creating a special aura in the environment which spread to the society and which could also bring about a successful conclusion of the desires of the person for whose sake the yaga was being performed. For instance in the Ramayana it is said that the rishis performed a yaga for the sake of the King Dasaratha in order to get children. They could also perform a yaga for the sake of rain during times of drought. They wooed Nature with these chants and rituals so that she listened to them and happily granted their every wish. They did not grab from Nature as if it was their right as we are doing now! We have no rights as far as Nature is concerned. However she gives us certain duties which if we perform to the best of our abilities, she will see to it that we get our just results. If we flout her laws, she will let loose her typhoons and her tsunamis!! The rishis were well aware of this and always treated Nature with the greatest of respect and consideration. They even deified her as our first mother!
The rishis made many scientific discoveries which are only now being discovered by modern science. The amazing amount of information they collected about natural phenomena has been put into the second portion of the Vedas known as “Brahmanas”. When we go into these discoveries we are totally taken aback by the amount of information they had acquired without the use of any modern equipment. They were indeed the first scientists, physicists, botanists, doctors, surgeons, engineers, architects, sculptors, artists, teachers, preceptors and spiritual guides. They were great astronomers and astrologers. They were well aware of the enormous power that the stars and planets had over human beings. Using this knowledge they could predict the times which were conducive to each person to bring about the fulfilment of their desires. Their knowledge of mathematics was fabulous and the yajnashalas where built according to precise geometrical calculations which made maximum use of the position of the planets at different times. However they did not use any of the knowledge they possessed for personal benefit. On the contrary they used it in order to create a perfect society in which human beings could live in comfort and harmony with each other and with Nature.
Their knowledge was not just theoretical but was applied to every aspect of human life. Since food is a basic requirement of life, agriculture was one of the first things they looked into. At a time when farming was only practiced in a most rudimentary form, they produced new seeds, fruits, roots and spices and gave them to the people. They were well aware of the importance of dietetics and taught people how to eat, what to eat, how to grow and cook food in ways which would produce maximum benefits. They also taught physical postures which would increase both spiritual and physical health which are now known as yogasanas. They delved into every aspect of daily life and taught us how to perform even the most commonplace of activities, like sleeping, bathing, excreting, playing, idling — how to grow strong and healthy and how to live happily both on the individual and collective level. They were the first to teach that a good diet and good mind would automatically lead to a healthy body. They were the most compassionate of all beings and thus whatever they taught had only one thing in mind — “How all living beings could live blissfully with a healthy body and mind.” “Loka Samasthath Sukhino Bhavantu.”
They had a rare command of the science of linguistics. The language they spoke is sublime and is known as Sanskrit. In an age when the written word was totally unknown, the rishis who had stupendous memories passed on their knowledge of the Vedas to their disciples, who in turn passed it on to successive generations.
It was the great sage Vyasa who codified the Veda and made it into four — Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda so as to make it easier for his disciples to memorise since all this happened before the art of writing. Even though Vyasa came much after the original rishis, he can still be called a rishi since he had all the qualifications.
Kings and emperors rushed to receive them since the power they wielded was enormous. In fact even Nature bowed to their will.
These spiritual giants lived in the Himalayas and strode across the high mountain regions long before the dawn of historic time. They were the sublime expression of the perfect human being. They were the crown and cream of Nature’s evolutionary process. No modern human has achieved the heights that they achieved. In fact it is only now that modern science has even begun to envisage the possibility of there being such a type of super-human, multi-sensory beings who have the gift of inner vision and are able to see past, present and future as one huge canvas. They were truly incredible beings who had the power to choose their time of arrival and departure from this planet. The compassion and love they bore for humanity and for this land, the land of their birth, is inexhaustible. This holy land of India has produced countless such amazing souls who are steeped in the divine essence and who can be called walking gods! The reason for choosing the sub-continent of India to manifest themselves might be because they recognised the essential spiritual potential of this country. Thus it is that India has maintained the longest, unbroken continuity of civilizations in the world.
It is believed that the rishis have never ceased to exist. They were truly travellers in time who were born centuries ago but whose ideas and spirit still permeates the very dust of this holy land of Bharat (India). The subtle vibrations of their voices are still inviting us to go with them on their Time travels. It is believed that they always keep an eye of compassion on us, poor misguided humans, still playing with the toys of our ignorance.
All the knowledge which the rishis accumulated eventually came to be known as the spiritual science called the Sanatana Dharma (ancient law of righteousness). They ensured the constant renewal of India’s spiritual tradition and culture by taking birth again and again in every age to keep up the traditions of the Sanatana Dharma.
A verse in the Veda says, “The rishis carried out severe penance for the welfare of all mankind and out of this was born this nation endowed with strength and prowess. This land created by the gods and extending from the Himalayas in the north to Indu Sarovar [i.e. the Indian Ocean], in the south is known as Hindusthan. Everyone who lives in this holy land can be called a Hindu. Therefore let all those who live in this country worship it as Rashtradevata — “The divine country.” However, since only the Hindus accept the Vedas as being the foundation of their culture, the word Hindu has come to mean not just one who is born on this sub-continent but also one who acknowledges the Vedas as being the foundation of his or her faith.
The rishis can be categorised into three types — Brahmarishi , is the highest. He is one who is ever united with the supreme power of the Brahman. Vasishta and Sri Shuka are two examples. A Rajarishi is one who was once a king and became a rishi. Vishwamitra is the greatest of these. A Devarishi is one who is both a god and a rishi. The great sage Narada is the only one in this category.
The sapta rishis or the seven sages have been extolled in the Vedas and Puranas. Their names differ slightly in every eon. Their names in the present eon are Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulaha,Pulasthya, Krathu and Vasishta. Another list gives their names as Viswamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama, Atri, Vasishta and Kashyapa. The name of the great sage Agastya is often added to this list. They are the ones who started the gotras or lineage through blood relationship which exists to this very day. There was a strict set of rules to be followed for marriage which ensured that the line was pure. All Brahmins belong to one of these gotras. Only in India can we find people who can trace their ancestry to thousands of years back.
A true rishi is one who has no attachment to any objects, who can remain immersed in a meditative state for any number of days, who can control both thirst and hunger, whose words can be both a curse and a blessing because his tongue has never spoken anything but the truth, who is filled with humility and has compassion for all living creatures.
This universe is filled with the most unimaginable wonders which human beings have only just started to discover in the last two centuries. What can be said about these super beings who discovered all these wonders, thousands of years ago without the use of modern technology or instruments? Yet the amazing thing is that they were totally without ego. They claimed no ownership for any of their discoveries but merely said that all knowledge came to them through the Veda which they were able to cognise and that the Veda itself was the breath of the Brahman.
Like the divine, they lived in the eternal present and could see past, present and future. Today quantum physicists say that past, present and future exist all at once. The rishis were well aware of this. The river of time flowed before them in an unceasing current. They made full use of the material that the divine has provided for us, like the planets, stars and the five elements. They knew well that there are intimate connections between the outer and the inner. They declared that it was due to these connections that we are able to know the world. Nature is our first and greatest teacher. The microcosm is only a mirror of the macrocosm.
Since they were closely connected with all the natural phenomena, the rishis opened our eyes and hearts to a world of mystery and beauty and not one of arid facts like modern day science. Modern science may be able to give us power and ability to control creation, but the spiritual science of the rishis gives us the power to enjoy and benefit from it. It is a fact that the Creator wants us to know and enjoy this fantastic creation but modern science only makes use of it and distorts it to suit its own convenience. There are many other creatures in this universe and all of them have an equal right to enjoy this multifarious universe. We do not own it. We are only allowed to use it during the short span of our lives on this planet and leave it intact for those who come after us. For those of us brought up in the modern world, everything is a commodity to be used and thrown away. We do not realise that there is nothing useless in the universe. Everything has a place and a value. We treat the earth as dirt and therefore fail to give it the respect and consideration owed to it. The rishis told us to treat the earth like our mother and not to defile or denigrate her in any way. We do not realise that our very bodies are made up of the five elements which make up the universe and we have to give respect to everything in the world. The rishis were well aware of this. They treated everything in the world as divine and thus Nature revealed her secrets to them. They had a worshipful attitude towards everything.
They were the first to recognise the power of sounds. Sound is the softest yet most powerful form of energy in the universe. The rishis were experts in the science of phonetics. They made use of sounds in order to control Nature. Mantras are the product of their research into the science of sounds. Mantras are high potency sounds by using which we can attract and make use of anything we want from the universe. The letters of the mantras if chanted correctly constitute a potent capsule of form, sound and power. All mantras denote that formless Absolute, which is beyond all forms yet, is the cause of all forms. The great mantra “Aum” is the sound emitted by the whirling of the planets gyrating at high speed. This is the primeval sound of the cosmos. The Surya Gayatri Mantra is one of the greatest mantras given by the rishis. Many of the mantras of Hinduism if used properly with the correct intonation will balance the positive and negative tendencies of the planets and have a steadying effect on the individual. Mantras can create, destroy, balance and cure.
All the forms found in the physical world are created by the Supreme Consciousness through the shaping of light and sound. The rishis who were always immersed in that pure consciousness were also capable of conjuring any form they chose through the medium of light and sound. But the strange fact is that even though they could materialise anything they wished, they chose not to make anything for themselves. They did not seek to carve in stone or wood or make effigies or temples or in any way try to immortalise themselves in this world even though they were perfectly competent to do so. They did not leave any chronicle of their achievements or images that might have survived the course of time. Even though they lived in the human body, it was obvious that they had not even a trace of ego. The advice they gave us through the unique culture called the Sanatana Dharma is the only way by which we can know something about them. They have taught us that we will not gain universality unless we are prepared to lose our individuality and we will not experience bliss, which is our very essence, if we do not experience this universality. We have no exclusive right to anything in this world. Everything has to be shared with everything else. They knew that this world is only as real as the morning mist and would melt with the rising of the sun. The sun of their consciousness was at its zenith and they did not desire the trifles of this world. They had acquired the greatest knowledge, which is the knowledge of the Self which gave them power over the whole universe but they knew that ordinary human beings would not be able to acquire this so easily. Hence they formulated a number of methods by which human beings would be able to evolve and reach a state where they would be able to lead a blissful life.
It is only in this century that modern scientists have discovered that they can transform letters, words and pictures into sounds and transmit these and later change them back into their original forms if necessary. This is something the rishis discovered ages ago.
Just as mantras are sound capsules for controlling nature, they also gave us something called yantras which are mathematical patterns for producing certain desired effects. A yantra actually means a tool for helping any action. For example a wheel is a yantra for facilitating movement. The rishis gave us spiritual yantras which are geographical designs by using which our spiritual evolution will be hastened. Just as algebraic symbols are used to understand difficult mathematical theorems, the rishis used their genius and captured the formless, wordless Supreme into these mathematical designs called yantras. The yantra is a geometrical figure drawn with lines, circles, squares and triangles. Due to its mathematical precision it is a powerhouse of cosmic energy. The Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra is the most potent form of a spiritual yantra. Most yantras are made of metals like silver, copper and gold since the rishis knew that these are the best for conducting electrical charges as well as spiritual vibrations. Some are also made out of crystal.
Meditation is another of the techniques the rishis gave us. In a state where the mind is single pointed, it can achieve anything it wants since it’s like a laser beam which can cut through glass. Since they loved and respected Nature without despoiling her, Nature revealed her deep secrets to them. If they wanted to find out something about a plant they meditated on it and attained union with it so that they had a direct knowledge of the plant. Hence all the knowledge they gave to us has never been refuted as we find in the west. This is the only explanation we can give for the incredible knowledge they had of plants and planets and of everything that makes up this universe. They had direct knowledge of these things by attaining union with them.
By using the methods given by the rishis, human beings can also have knowledge of all the three states of time — past, present and future, as well as manifest extraordinary powers like, telepathy, ability to fly, and live a long and healthy life, preserve youth and beauty etc. Above everything else we can live a blissful life, in harmony with the whole of creation. This is their great gift to India as well as to the whole world.
All this knowledge has been showered on this country of India by these remarkable individuals who were really universals. Unfortunately the invaders who came to this country could not understand the greatness of this culture and tried their best to wipe it out. People always fear that which they can’t understand. Even though they did not fully succeed in this attempt, their constant scorn made a deep mark on the generations that followed. We were taught to despise everything the rishis taught. Now we are coming to a new age. It is the duty of the present generation to see that this knowledge is brought back to the mainstream education and that our children are made to realise that they are the inheritors of a unique culture which is their duty to preserve, and teach to the whole world. This is our only hope for a united world in which everyone acts with awareness of the needs of everything else in this universe. Only by doing this can we pay back the debt we owe to these extraordinary souls known as rishis.