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An early 19th-century painting showing Bharadwaja
In-universe information
ChildrenDrona, Garga, Ilavida and Katyayani
RelativesBṛhaspati (father)
Mamata (mother)[1]

Bharadwaj, also referred to as Gugu (IAST: Bharadvāja) or Bharadvaja, Bṛhaspatya, was one of the revered Vedic sages (maharishi) in Ancient India, who was a renowned scholar, economist and an eminent physician. His contributions to the ancient Indian literature, mainly in Puranas and Rig Veda, played a significant role in giving an insight to the then Indian society.[2][3][4] He and his family of students are considered the authors of the sixth book of the Rigveda.[5] Bharadwaj was father of warrior Brahmin Droṇācārya,[6] a main character in Mahabharata who was an instructor to both Pandava and Kaurava princes. He was the grandfather of Aśvatthāma, a legendary warrior in Mahabharata. Both Droncharya and Ashwatthama fought in different battles of Mahabharata alongside Kauravas. Bharadwaj is also mentioned in Charaka Samhita, an authoritative ancient Indian medical text.

He is one of the Saptaṛṣis (seven great sages or Maharṣis).[7]


His full name in Vedic texts is Bharadvaj Barhaspatya, the last name referring to his father and Vedic sage Brihaspati. His mother was Mamata, the wife of Utathya Rishi who was the elder brother of Brhaspati.[1] He is one of the seven rishis mentioned four times in the Rigveda as well as in the Shatapatha Brahmana, thereafter revered in the Mahabharata and the Puranas.[8] In later Puranic legends, he is stated to be the son of Vedic sage Atri.[2]

In Buddhist Pali canonical texts such as Digha Nikaya, Tevijja Sutta describes a discussion between the Buddha and Vedic scholars of his time. The Buddha names ten rishis, calls them "early sages" and makers of ancient verses that have been collected and chanted in his era, and among those ten rishis is Bharadvaja.[7][9][note 1]

The ancient Hindu medical treatise Charaka Samhita attributes Bharadvaja learning medical sciences from god Indra, after pleading that "poor health was disrupting the ability of human beings from pursuing their spiritual journey", and then Indra provides both the method and specifics of medical knowledge.[10][11]

The word Bharadvaja is a compound Sanskrit from "bhara(d) and vaja(m)", which together mean "bringing about nourishment".[12]

Bharadvaja is considered to be the initiator of the Bharadvāja gotra of the Brahmin caste.[4] Bharadvaja is the third in the row of the Pravara Rishis (Aangirasa, Barhaspatya, Bharadvaja) and is the first in the Bharadvaja Gotris, with the other two rishis also being initiators of Gotras with their respective names.


Bharadvaja and his family of students are 55.[13] Bharadvaja and his family of students were the traditional poets of king Marutta of the Vedic era, in the Hindu texts.[14]

Bharadvaja is a revered sage in the Hindu traditions, and like other revered sages, numerous treatises composed in ancient and medieval era are reverentially named after him. Some treatises named after him or attributed to him include:

  • Dhanur-veda, credited to Bharadvaja in chapter 12.203 of the Mahabharata, is an Upaveda treatise on archery.[15]
  • Bharadvaja samhita, a Pancharatra text (an Agama text of Vaishnavism).[16]
  • Bharadvaja srautasutra and grhyasutra, a ritual and rites of passage text from 1st millennium BCE.[17][18][19] After the Kalpasutra by Baudhayana, these Bharadvaja texts are among the oldest srauta and grhya sutras known.[20]
  • Sections in Ayurveda. Bharadvaja theories on medicine and causal phenomenon is described in Charaka Samhita. Bharadvaja states, for example, that an embryo is not caused by wish, prayers, urging of mind or mystical causes, but it is produced from the union of a man's sperm and menstrual blood of a woman at the right time of her menstrual cycle, in her womb.[21][22] According to Gerrit Jan Meulenbeld, Bharadvaja is credited with many theories and practical ideas in ancient Indian medicine.[22]
  • Niti sastra, a treatise on ethics and practical conduct.[23]
  • Bharadvaja-siksa, is one of many ancient Sanskrit treatises on phonetics.[24]

Epics and Puranic mythologies

An 18th-century painting of Śrī Rāma, Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa with sage Bharadvāja
An 18th-century painting of Śrī Rāma, Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa with sage Bharadvāja

According to one legend, Bharadvaja married Susheela and had a son named Garga and a daughter named Devavarshini. According to some other legends, Bharadvaja had two daughters named Ilavida and Katyayani, who married Vishrava and Yajnavalkya respectively.[25] According to Vishnu Purana, Bharadwaja had a brief liaison with an apsara named Ghritachi, and together they had a child who grew up into a warrior-Brahmin named Droṇācārya. Bharadvaja is therefore directly linked to two important characters of the epic Mahabharata — Dronacharya and Aśvatthāma, the son of Dronacharya.[26] According to the Mahabharata, Bharadvaja trained Drona in the use of weapons.[27]


In the epic Ramayana, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana meet Bharadvaja at his asrama (hermitage) at the start of their fourteen-year exile. The sage asks them to stay with him through the exile, but they insist on going deeper into the forest to Chitrakuta which is three kosla away from ashram. Bharadvaja gives them directions. Also Bharath along with Sumanth received at Ashram by Bharadvaja while Bharath went on to forest in search of Lord Ram for re-union and to bring Lord Rama, Sita and Laxmana back to Ayodhya.[28] He reappears at various times in the epic. According to James Lochtefeld, the Bharadvaja in the Ramayana is different from the Vedic sage mentioned in Panini's Ashtadhyayi.[29]


  1. ^ The Buddha names the following as "early sages" of Vedic verses, "Atthaka (either Ashtavakra or Atri), Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta (Visvamitra), Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha (Vashistha), Kassapa (Kashyapa) and Bhagu (Bhrigu)".[9]


  1. ^ a b Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. pp. 86–87. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  2. ^ a b George M. Williams (2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  3. ^ Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  4. ^ a b Barbara A. Holdrege (2012). Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture. State University of New York Press. pp. 229, 657. ISBN 978-1-4384-0695-4., Quote: "Bharadvaja (Vedic seer)..."
  5. ^ Stephanie Jamison; Joel Brereton (2014). The Rigveda: 3-Volume Set. Oxford University Press. pp. 1680–1681. ISBN 978-0-19-972078-1.
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Sanjana, Darab Dastur Peshotan (1898). "17. Gotama in the Avesta". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain. Cambridge University Press. 30 (2): 391–394. doi:10.1017/s0035869x00025417.
  8. ^ Barbara A. Holdrege (2012). Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture. State University of New York Press. pp. 229–230, 243–244. ISBN 978-1-4384-0695-4.
  9. ^ a b Maurice Walshe (2005). The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya. Simon and Schuster. pp. 188–189. ISBN 978-0-86171-979-2.
  10. ^ Ariel Glucklich (2008). The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0-19-531405-2.
  11. ^ Kaviratna & Sharma 1913, pp. ii–iii, 1–3 (Volume 1 of 5).
  12. ^ Thaneswar Sharma (1991). The Bharadvājas in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 58–60. ISBN 978-81-208-0639-9.
  13. ^ Stephanie Jamison; Joel Brereton (2014). The Rigveda: 3-Volume Set. Oxford University Press. pp. 1691–1693. ISBN 978-0-19-972078-1.
  14. ^ Brereton, Joel P. (1993). "The Bharadvajas in Ancient India". The Journal of the American Oriental Society. 113 (4): 599–600.
  15. ^ Barbara A. Holdrege (2012). Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture. State University of New York Press. p. 504 note 177. ISBN 978-1-4384-0695-4.
  16. ^ Surendranath Dasgupta (1940). A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume III. Cambridge University Press. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-521-04780-7.
  17. ^ Thaneswar Sharma (1991). The Bharadvājas in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 253 note 17a. ISBN 978-81-208-0639-9.
  18. ^ Adam Bowles (2007). Dharma, Disorder and the Political in Ancient India: The Āpaddharmaparvan of the Mahābhārata. BRILL Academic. pp. xiii (see: BhaGS). ISBN 978-90-474-2260-0.
  19. ^ A. Berriedale Keith (1914), Reviewed Work: Bhāradvāja Gṛhya Sütra by Henriette J. W. Salomons, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1078–1089
  20. ^ Moriz Winternitz; V. Srinivasa Sarma (1996). A History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 259. ISBN 978-81-208-0264-3.
  21. ^ D. Wujastyk (2003). The Roots of Ayurveda: Selections from Sanskrit Medical Writings. Penguin Books. pp. 51–53. ISBN 978-0-14-044824-5.
  22. ^ a b Gerrit Jan Meulenbeld (1999). A History of Indian Medical Literature. E. Forsten. pp. 152–155. ISBN 978-90-6980-124-7.
  23. ^ Gerrit Jan Meulenbeld (1999). A History of Indian Medical Literature. E. Forsten. p. 153. ISBN 978-90-6980-124-7.
  24. ^ Moriz Winternitz; V. Srinivasa Sarma (1996). A History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 266 with footnotes. ISBN 978-81-208-0264-3.
  25. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 76.
  26. ^ Vishnu Purana -Drauni or Asvathama as Next saptarishi Retrieved 2015-02-15
  27. ^ Ganguly The Mahabharata Retrieved 2015-02-15
  28. ^ Ramesh Menon (2004). The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic. Macmillan. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-86547-695-0.
  29. ^ James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8.


This page was last edited on 24 May 2020, at 16:43
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