Rṣikā

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Rsika, RSikA, Rshikaa


Rṣikā literally means ‘a woman ṛṣi or sage’.

The word ṛṣi means a person of intuitive knowledge and wisdom, especially a seer of Vedic hymn. Contrary to the general notion, a ṛṣi need not be a man only. There are as many as 27 ṛṣis mentioned in the Ṛgveda itself who were women.[1]

Classification of Rṣikās

These 27 ṛṣis are called as ṛṣikās. They have been classified into three groups of nine persons each.

Rṣikās of First Group

The ṛṣikās of the first group are:

  1. Ghoṣā
  2. Godhā
  3. Viśvavārā
  4. Apālā
  5. Upaniṣat
  6. Niṣat
  7. Brahmajāyā-juhā
  8. Agastyasvasā
  9. Aditi

The ṛṣikās of the first group have just sung hymns of praise of the gods.

Rṣikās of Second Group

The following are the ṛṣikās of the second group:

  1. Indrāṇī
  2. Indramātā
  3. Saramā
  4. Romaśā
  5. Urvaśī
  6. Lopāmudrā
  7. Nadyah[2]
  8. Yarn
  9. Sāśvati

The second group ṛṣikās have conversed with prominent ṛṣis[3] and gods.

Rṣikās of Third Group

The third group comprises the following nine who have been specially designated as Brahmavādinīs:

  1. Srīh
  2. Lākṣā
  3. Sārparājñi
  4. Vāk
  5. Śraddhā
  6. Medhā
  7. Dakṣiṇā
  8. Rātrī
  9. Suryāsāvitrī

The ṛṣikās of the third group have identified themselves with the deities and hence have praised themselves through the hymns. Thus they are not only the ṛṣis but also the devatās.[4]

References

  1. Brhaddevatā 2.82-84
  2. Nadyah means river deities.
  3. Rṣis means sages.
  4. They are the deities to whom the prayer is addressed.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore