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By Swami Harshananda

Ṛbhus literally means ‘those who shine brilliantly’.

Ṛbhus Meaning[edit]

The Rbhus are a class of gods often mentioned in the Rgveda.[1] Originally they were human beings, later on raised to devatva or godhood because of their extraordinarily good deeds.

Known Rbhus[edit]

Sudhanvā was a ṛṣi[2] born in the lineage of the great ṛṣi Aṅgirā. He had three sons:[3]

  1. Rbhu
  2. Vibhu
  3. Vāja

Characteristics of These Rbhus[edit]

  • By performing good deeds and helping the gods in heaven they became dear to these gods.
  • Being disciples of Tvaṣṭā,[4] they had also become experts in the technical field.
  • They built a chariot for Indra and a camasa[5] for Agni.
  • Through their mental powers they created two excellent horses for Indra’s chariot.
  • They successfully restored youth to their own parents.
  • By following the path of truth, they shone brilliantly and were endowed with tremendous powers to achieve whatever they wanted. That is why they were raised to the level of gods and were given a share in the offerings by Prajāpati himself.
  • They receive the soma juice during the tṛtīyasavana[6] in the Somayāgas.


  1. Rgveda 1.20; 1.161.6; 4.33.3; 4.34.1
  2. It means a sage.
  3. All the three came to be known as Rbhus.
  4. Tvaṣṭā is the divine carpenter or technician.
  5. Camasa is the vessel for drinking the soma juice.
  6. Tṛtīyasavana means third pressing done in the evening.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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