Introduction of The Book 'Saptarishi'

This book finds its inspiration from one of the Puranas—The Matsya Purana. This Purana is one of the eighteen Maha-purana, which is amongst the oldest in the Sanskrit literature. The story narrated in this holy scripture is about the Matsya avatar, half-fish and half-human avatar, of Lord Vishnu. Of the ten chief avatars of Vishnu, Matsya avatar was the first one. In this avatar, Lord Vishnu is believed to have blessed the human kind with its survival during the Great Flood.

Matsya Purana revolves around the main character named Vaivasvat Manu. Vaivasvat, on the advice of Lord Vishnu, who appeared to Vaivasvat in his Matsya avatar, built a ship. When the Great Flood devoured the entire land, it was this ship that had saved all of humanity along with the plants and animals. Vaivasvat Manu not only saved himself and his family but also the great rishis of the time, who came to be known as the Saptarishi.

We have similar stories of the great deluge in various other cultures around the world. These stories reflect the events according to the culture, geography, and chronology of the era when they were conceptualised. And because of this, although the basic idea of all the stories remains the same, the plots differ. This book is an exploration of how this story would be if the events in the story took place in a futuristic era in a technologically advanced civilisation.

The Hindu texts and scriptures are a source of vast knowledge and have answers to many philosophical and intellectual questions in this world that seem unanswerable. The Vedas, in their cryptic shlokas, contain the hidden knowledge to uncover the secrets of the Universe. Although they do not clearly describe the reasoning behind most of the theories, they never fail to suggest, over and over again, that the history of humankind has always been ahead in scientific developments; that the human race had already made many extreme technological advancements long before we can even fathom. For example, there are various stories narrated in the ancient religious scriptures that have made several references to the highly advanced flying machines referred to as the Vimanas, the sophisticated weapons capable of mass destruction known as the Astras, varied theories related to atoms called Paramanu, and numerous explanations about the shape, structure and even components of our galaxy and the Universe. The Puranas and the Vedas are also full of stories that introduce the concept of time travel—the Puranic story of Kakudmi, the concept of space-time matrix—the story of Kakbhushundi, and the concept of time dilation; time passes at different rates in Brahma-Lok as compared to Bhu-Lok.

What was considered mystical centuries ago is now called science; what is considered mystical now, would be called science in the years to come. I strongly believe that in the time to come, as human beings will continue to solve more mathematical equations, further mysteries of the Vedas and the Puranas would continue to become our reality.

Religious texts have the power to enlighten the readers with great and remarkable ideas. Every single page of these scriptures is full of mystical knowledge that inspires and teaches one to live a good and satisfied life by following the principle of paap aur punya – bad deed and good deed, respectively and their consequences.

As per Hindu religious texts, the time has many measurements, and it is quantised in several units. One of the largest such units is Kalpa. The definition of Kalpa, as specified in the Vishnu Purana and the Bhagvat Purana, is equal to 4.32 billion years of Bhu-Lok, the earth’s time. In Brahma-Lok, one Kalpa is one day of Brahma. Furthermore, there are fourteen Manvantars in each Kalpa. Each Manvantar, a cyclic period, is the responsibility of Manu, the king and the torchbearer of humanity for his particular period. Each Manvantar is further divided into seventy-one Yuga cycles. Maha-Yuga is a cyclic age and comprises four Yugas – Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dwapar-Yuga, and Kali-Yuga.

So, in one Kalpa, there are fourteen Manvantars which implies that there are fourteen different Manus bearing the responsibility to save and protect humanity during their reign. Saptarishi, or the seven Rishis, support each Manu in fulfilling his responsibility. They are the seven most knowledgeable and capable humans of that particular Manvantar, who help the Manu in his endeavour. Hence, each Manvantar has its Saptarishi and its own Manu.

As per the religious texts, Manu of the first Manvantar of present Kalpa was Svayambhuva. And his Saptarishi were: Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Pulastya, Kratu, Marichi and Vashistha. In the Hindu astronomy, the stars of the Big Dipper constellation are named after these Rishis, and the constellation itself is called Saptarishi.

The current Manvantar is the seventh in the series of fourteen Manvantars of the present Kalpa. The current Manu is Vaivasvat Manu and the Saptarishi are: Vashistha, Bharadwaj, Atri, Gautam, Jamadagni, Vishwamitra and Kashyap. Vashistha and Atri were part of the first Manvantar and the seventh one, and this goes further to depict their immortality and ability to live beyond the Manvantars.

This novel takes the Vedic and the Puranic teachings into account while narrating the story of Vaivasvat and the seven sages of the era, the Saptarishi. The story runs in two different chronological periods; throwing light on the past in one and later converging it into the main chronological stream. The story in this book revolves around nine main characters – Vaivasvat Manu, his wife, Shraddha, and the seven sages, Saptarishi.

21 March 2023

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Copyright © Bibhuti Shankar Das, 2022 - 2023. All rights reserved.