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Oldest Vedic Script, the Rg Veda, the Authors of Rig Veda, Names of some of the Rishis
Before we start getting the names of great Rishis, we should know first the Saptha Rishis, known as the Seven Great Rishis. There is a Saptha Rishi Mandalam in our stellar system which signifies the importance of these Seven great Rishis. The names that symbolizes the saptha Rishi Mandalam are:
Apart from the Rishi Mandala names, the Seven Important Rishis names are listed in the Ithihasa; They are: Athri, Bruku, Kuthsa, Vasishta, Gauthama and Aangirasa. However, the Gothra Rishis are in a differently arranged one as : Bruku, Aangirasa, Athri, Viswamitra, vashita, Kasyapa & Agasthya. Please note, that the names of Adri, Kasyapa and Vasishta are listed in the Rishi Mandala, Rishi grouping and also in the Gothra Rishi list. This proves their important role in formulations of basics in the Vedic Scripts.
And the next one we should know at the beginning is the names of 7 Chchandas - viz., Gayatri, Ushnik, Anushtub, Bruhathee, Bhangthi, Thrushtup and Jagathee. These are the notations that one will see in every Vedic script that pronounces the names of Rishis who composed it and the Chhandas that it belong to and finally the Devatha it is in composition within. Now let us proceed with knowing the names of the Great Rishis, who composed the oldest script known as Rg Veda (Rig Vedam).
Following are the known names of the Rishis, but not all of them so popular; all these Rishis composed many versus of Mantras mentioned included, which are part of the syllabi of various Upanishads. Those who are of Sama Veda and perform the Upakarma, might have come across mose of the following Rishis names. Each syllabi divided into various Parts known as Mandalas that comprises 64 chapters Sakala Sakha are classified in a different method in the Bhaskala sakha of Rigveda (with minor variations) into ten mandalas. The first mandala has 191 sookthas, then in the order from 2nd to 10th mandalas, respectively 43, 62, 58, 87, 75, 104, 103, 114 and 191 sookthas are present. The number of Riks in each suktha or each mandala is vary significantly. Say for example in the first mandala there are 2006 Riks included 191 sookthas and in the last Mandala has 191 sookthas but consists of only 1754 Riks.
One might have heard the names of some of the Rishis who have composed our Puranas (The oldest Scriptures), Itihasas (History of Great Indian Events) etc. But we might not have heard the names of majority of the Rishies who composed Veda mantra. Some of the names are special. However if a researcher would like to go deep into the subject of the 'names' of these Vedic Rishis, he can understand that these names have very special meaning or message. Given below are the names of Rishis who composed the Rig Veda. These names are presented here only just to give an awareness on the names of the Vedic Rishis: (What I heard is there were more than 182 Rishis, but I could gather the names of only 161 Rishis. If anyone is in the know of the other names, kindly send it to me, so as to include the missing names and publish the omitted names of the great Sages of yesteryears).
Above are the Ancient Vedic Rishis who composed or scripted the Rg-Veda mantra. The names of other Rishis & Rishikas, though not necessarily the composers of Rg Vedic scripts are given in alphabetically given in this page. (It is still possible that some more names might be there in the Puranas and still there can be some omissions. If anyone brings the names of other Rishis too, I shall gladly add it to this list).
When one recites or chants the Rigveda manthra, just before reading, he is expected to chant the name of the Rishi who composed the manthra, the chandas (chandas is based on the number of letters in each Rik/mantra in the suktha) and also the Vedic deity of adoration (the deity of the manthra). Before we start reciting any specific slokha or mantra, the relevant Rishi who composed it and and the Chandas and the Devatha name is given at first, an example is given from Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam as below :
Veda VyasO Bhagavan Rishi, Anushtub chanda: Sri Mahavishnu Paramaathmaa Sriman
In the next article, I shall give the Gothra Pravaram, grouping of Rishis under specific Gothra which is the main contents while doing Abhivathanam to elders while prostrating, they recite the Gothra, Soothra and name etc.