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Who Are The Rishis Surrounding Dakshinamurthy Shiva?

The Rishis surrounding Dakshinamurthy Shiva symbolize the seekers of knowledge and wisdom, eagerly absorbing the teachings of the Guru. Different texts provide varying accounts of their numbers and names, adding layers of symbolism and significance to the depiction of this divine scene.

Karanagama: This text mentions four Rishis: Agasthya, Pulastya, Vishwamitra, and Angiras. Each of these Rishis represents different aspects of spiritual wisdom and enlightenment.

Kamikagama: Here, seven Rishis are mentioned: Kaushika (another name for Vishwamitra), Kashyapa, Bharadwaja, Atri, Gautama, and two others whose names may vary depending on the interpretation or specific version of the text. Each of these Rishis brings their own unique perspective and knowledge to the gathering.

Amsumad-bhedagama: This text also lists seven Rishis: Narada, Vashista, Jamadagni, Bhrighu, Bharadwaja, Sanaka, and Agasthya. These Rishis are renowned figures in Hindu mythology, known for their wisdom, austerity, and contributions to various scriptures and epics.

The number of sages depicted can vary, with some texts mentioning one, two, three or even four. This variability reflects the flexibility and richness of Hindu iconography and symbolism, allowing for different interpretations and artistic expressions.

In their depiction, the Rishis are typically portrayed as elderly figures with matted hair coiled up, dressed in white attire, and adorned with rudraksha malas. These visual elements carry symbolic significance, representing their ascetic lifestyle, purity, and devotion to Lord Shiva as the supreme teacher.

Moreover, it's worth noting that the height of the Rishis is prescribed not to exceed the chest of Sri Dakshinamurthy, underscoring the hierarchy of knowledge and the reverence accorded to the Guru in Hindu tradition. This portrayal emphasizes the idea that the Guru stands above all, guiding and enlightening those who seek wisdom and understanding.