The Saptarishi (from Sanskrit: सप्तर्षि (saptarṣī), a Sanskrit dvigu meaning “seven sages”; Sapta or Saptan, in cognate with Latin Septem - seven, Rishi - sage(s) are the seven rishis in ancient India, who are extolled at many places in the Vedas and other Hindu literature

The Vedic Samhitas never enumerate these rishis by name, though later Vedic texts such as the Brahmanas and Upanisads do so

The earliest list of the Seven Rishis is given by Jaiminiya Brahmana 2

218–221: Agastya, Atri, Bhardwaja, Gautam, Jamadagni, Vashistha and Vishvamitra followed by Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2. 6 with a slightly different list: Atri, Bharadwaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vashistha and Vishwamitra

The late Gopatha Brahmana 1.2.8 has Vashistha, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Gautama, Bharadvaja, Gungu, Agastya and Kashyapa

In post-Vedic texts, different lists appear; some of these rishis were recognized as the ‘mind-born sons’ (Sanskrit: मनस पुत्र, manasputra) of Brahma, the representation of the Supreme Being as Creator

Other representations are Mahesh or Shiva as the Destroyer and Vishnu as the Preserver

Since these seven rishis were also among the primary eight rishis, who were considered to be the ancestors of the Gotras of Brahmins, the birth of these rishis was mythicized

In ancient Indian astronomy, the asterism of the Big Dipper (part of the constellation of Ursa Major) is called saptarishi, with the seven stars representing seven rishis, namely “Vashistha”, “Marichi”, “Pulastya”, “Pulaha”, “Atri”, “Angiras” and “Kratu”

There is another star slightly visible within it, known as “Arundhati”

Arundhati and Vashishtha are married, and together form the Mizar double

As per legend, the seven Rishis in the next manvantara will be Diptimat, Galava, Parashurama, Kripa, Drauni or Ashwatthama, Vyasa and Rishyasringa