Marichi (मरीचिः)

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Marichi (Samskrit : मरीचिः) belonged to the group V of the Saptarshi's (seven great sages). He was Brahma-manasa-putra born of Brahma in the same manner as the four kumaras. However, unlike the Sanathkumaras, who chose the path of renunciation, Marichi followed the path of creation.[1]

He is acknowledged to have sired numerous offspring. One of them was Maharshi Kashyapa, to whom a large number of Hindus trace their ancestry. Various texts proclaim Marichi to have been an incarnation of Mahavishnu's sustaining energy. By his austerities and right livelihood he reached such an exalted state that he officiated as a priest in the sacrifice performed by Brahma at Pushkar, in present-day Rajasthan. The Brahma Purana, consisting of ten thousand shlokas (stanzas), was given to Marichi by Brahma. His name also figures prominently in the Vedas.

Held in high regard, Marichi visited Bhishma when he lay on a bed of arrows on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He was responsible for advising Dhruva when the young boy was practising austerities.

Dharmavrata

Dharmavrata was one of Marichi's consorts. Once he got annoyed at her through no fault of her own. There was a misunderstanding which made him accuse her of disobedience. He cursed her to be turned into a stone. Pleading innocence and explaining to him the real situation, she proceeded to perform austerities in the midst of blazing fires.

Mahavishnu was pleased with her and told her to request a boon. She asked that the curse be revoked. The Lord said that the curse could not be revoked, since it had been uttered by Marichi. He continued: 'You will be a stone, but a sacred one; and your name will be changed to Devavrata. In the future this stone will be well known as Devávrata or Devashila, Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and goddesses like Lakshmi shall dwell therein; and their presence will be invoked in it.' Thus, unknowingly, the great sage Marichi performed a great service to humanity. This Devashila is worshipped even today in Hindu homes.[2]

References

  1. Swami Sathyamayananda. Ancient sages. Mylapore, Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math.
  2. Sivananda Murthy. K. (2007 First Edition) Margadarsakulu Maharshulu. Part 1. Tadepalligudem : Sivananda Supatha Foundation