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Shunahshepa In Rig Veda

Shunhashepa, or Sunahsepa, is a seer of seven hymns in Rig Veda (I.24-30).  His name does not occur very frequently in Rig Veda. In Rig Veda (I.24.12-13), he is said to have been seized by the bonds of Varuna to whom he offers prayers for his release. In Rig Veda V.2.7, he is said to have been released by Agni from the thousand-fold bonds with which he was fettered. Taittiriya Samhita (V.2.1.3) and Kathaka Samhita (XIX.11) too mention that he was seized by Varuna, but he freed himself from Varuna’s bondage. Kathaka Samhita mentions him as Ajigarti, son of Ajigarta, and confirms him as a seer of Rig Veda I.24.15.

Life of Sunahsepa is narrated in Aitareya Brahmana and Sankhayana Srauta Sutra. There are two claimants to his upbringing – one a Brahmin, Ajigarta, his natural father, and another a Kshatriya, Vishwamitra, who accepted him as a gift of the gods. The latter called him Devarata Vishwamitra. Born to a Brahmin called Ajigarta and given to a king by name Harischandra and offered as a substitute for the king’s son to Varuna in sacrifice, Sunahsepa, at the sacrificial altar, conceived of seven hymns (suktas) included in Rig veda 1.24-30. These hymns invoked Prajapati, Agni, Savitr, Varuna, Visvedevas, Indra, Asvins and Usas. After the sacrifice, Sunahsepa sat on the lap of Visvamitra, who claimed him as his son. Visvamitra made him jyestha (senior) to his own one hundred sons.