The ancient sages or rishis made the maximum contribution to the development of humankind, as they illuminated us with their knowledge and wisdom. Among such Rishis, Maharishi Bhrigu is one of the highly revered sages of Ancient India. Sage Bhrigu is one of the seven great sages (Saptarshi), the Mind-born sons of Brahma.
Birth of the Maharshi Bhrigu
According to one version, Bhrigu was born from the skin of Brahma. On the other – from the seed of Prajapati, which he dropped into the fire at the sacrifice and was raised by Varuna and his wife.
According to the third, he is the son of Varuna himself, and on the fourth – his father was Manu, who transmitted the cosmogonic teaching to his son, and he communicated it to people.
The Bhrigu abode, according to legend, stands on Mount Bhrigutunga, which is located in Nepal on the eastern bank of the Gandak River.
Maharshi’s Bhrigu Family
Bhrigu was married to Khyati, one of the nine daughters of Sage Kardama who is more commonly known as the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. She gave birth to Devi Lakshmi as Bhargavi. Bhrigu and Khyati had two sons named Dhata and Vidhata. Bhrigu had another son, Shukra, with Kavyamata (Usana).
Shukra was a learned sage and guru of the asuras and is better known than Bhrigu himself. Sage Chyavana is also believed to be Bhrigu’s son with Puloma, as well as the folk hero Mrikanda. Bhrigu had a descendant named Sage Jamadagni, who was the father of Sage Parashurama, considered to be an avatar of Vishnu.
Patience Test of Trimurti (Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma)
The Padma Purana connects with the name Bhrigu. The story goes that many great sages gathered on the banks of the Sarasvati River to participate in a great Maha Yagya (fire ceremony) organized for that period of time. Maharishi Bhrigu was also present at the scene.
All the great sages and saints could not decide which of the divine Trinity. Lord Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva were the most eminent to be worshiped and the beneficiary of the Yagya. Therefore, sage Bhrigu decided to test Trimurti or Trinity Gods.
Test of Lord Brahma
Having been invested in the position, confident of finding out, Maharishi Bhrigu decided to put Lord Brahma to the test first. He went to see Lord Brahma at Brahma Loka. Upon reaching Brahmaloka, Maharishi behaved disrespectfully towards Lord Brahma, but he did so to test Brahma’s nature.
But Lord Brahma became so angry that he wanted to punish Maharishi Bhrigu, but the goddess of knowledge Maha Sarasvati, consort of Lord Brahma, saved Maharishi Bhrigu from Brahma’s wrath.
Maharshi Bhrigu seeing him very inflated and proud of his importance as a creator of the universe, became angry at Brahma’s attitude and cursed him, saying that no one will worship Brahma in Kali Yuga. The sage completely excluded him from the worship of the Brahmanas.
Even today, there are just a handful of temples dedicated to Lord Brahma, with some notable exceptions like the Brahma temple in Pushkar.
Test of Lord Shiva
Maharishi Bhrigu also decided to test Lord Shiva at Kailash Parvat. Upon reaching Kailash Parvata, Nandi stopped him and did not allow him to enter since, at that precise moment, Lord Shiva and Parvati were enjoying an intimate act.
As the guard of Shiva stopped him, Bhrigu cursed Lord Shiva only to be worshiped in the form of Lingam (phallus). Because of the Shiva lingam and the curse of the sage Bhrigu, Devi Parvati will also be worshiped in the form of the Yoni.
Therefore, a Shiva Lingam must always be united to the Yoni which indicates the union of the celestial parents who are in charge of manifesting all creation within this material universe.
Test of Lord Vishnu
Maharishi Bhrigu went to Vaikuntha Dham to test Lord Vishnu as well. He entered the Vaikuntha without the permission of Lord Vishnu and saw that he was sleeping at that time. Maharishi asked him to wake up, but the Lord was fast asleep. Seeing no reaction from the Lord, Maharishi struck Lord Vishnu on his chest (that blow given by Maharishi Bhrigu was done with his left foot and left an imprint on the chest of Lord Vishnu, which is known as Shri Vatsa).
After the shock of being hit, Lord Vishnu offered the Brahmana a sign of respect by gently massaging his foot, and said that it was an honor for him to have the foot of a saint touch his chest. Response and humility by Vishnu greatly pleased Bhrigu and proclaimed that only Vishnu was the one who human beings and demigods should worship.
But it is explained that the goddess of fortune and prosperity, Lakshmi Devi, the consort of Lord Vishnu, had also observed the entire incident, as she was present at the Dham with her husband. She did not tolerate the act and the lack of respect for her husband from Maharishi Bhrigu. She became enraged and cursed him and told him that from that moment, she would never visit his followers and that all Brahmanas would live with the absence of riches and prosperity.
Remedy for the Brahmans
Hearing the curse coming from Goddess Lakshmi, Maharishi explained the purpose of his visit to Vaikunth Dham and the mission he had. Hearing this, Maha Lakshmi told Maharishi that her curse would certainly hit all Brahmanas. Still, she also said that whenever any Brahmana worshiped Vishnu, he would free himself from her curse.
After this incident, Maharishi Bhrigu decided to write his famous astrology book, the Bhrigu Samhita, with the blessings of Lord Ganesh and Maha Saraswati. He wrote the book to help the Brahmanas to be able to maintain because he knew that they would be beaten with poverty because of the curse.
Contributions of Bhrigu rishi
According to the legend mentioned in the Puranas, for kicking the chest of Lord Vishnu, Bhrigu Rishi was cursed by the Dandacharya Marichi Rishi. He was told to recite Vishnu Sahasranama to redeem his sins.
He reached Vimukt Kshetra (present-day Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh), where he started doing penance. Later the area is known as Bhrigukshetra. He cleared the forest; he taught the people, who were hunters, the method of farming.
He established Gurukul and taught people to read and write. He turned the uncivilized carnivore human race into civilized, cultured human beings.
Bhrigu Samhita – Knowledge of Astrology
Maharishi Bhrigu Muni is also considered one of the fathers of Vedic Astrology and the author of the famous book, Bhrigu Samhita, one of the first astrology classics. This treatise contains around 5 million astrological charts, where he wrote the destiny of every living being in the universe. He is considered the first compiler of predictive astrology.
It is said that only hundreds of thousands of these birth charts or Kundli have survived the age of Kali Yuga. The Bhrigu Samhita manifested itself in the Vedic period, although the available evidence suggests that it was compiled over a period of time by various Sishyas (disciples) of Maharishi Bhrigu.
Bhrigu Samhita is described as an exquisite and mystical work that describes the universe’s evolution and structure and an extraordinary collection of horoscopes. Originally Bhrigu Muni wrote this astrological knowledge on palm leaves. This collection is large enough to be divided into several parts stored in different parts of India and Nepal.
Other sources mention that Maharishi Bhrigu was the first to compile predictive astrology or Jyotisha Shastra. He designed around 500,000 charts and recorded details of their lives and events for various people. This provided a huge database for future studies and research. This study worked as the catalyst in the birth of this science (Shastra) in determining the quality of time (Hora) in the form of the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, whose author was the Maharishi Parashara Muni, father of Veda Vyasa.
These horoscopes were based on the planetary positions of the Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Budh (Mercury), Shukra (Venus), Mangal (Mars), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shani (Saturn), Rahu, and Ketu. After this, Maharishi Bhrigu translated his predictions into different types of horoscopes compiled by himself with the help of Lord Ganesh so that he could present them more shortly and concisely.
Ultimate Path to Moksha
In the astrological techniques that Bhrigu Rishi presented, possible permutations of these astrological principles can reach 45 million for the different horoscopes. Although, it is said that these can be used, studied, and applied to all humanity who were in the past, who are in the present, and who will be born in the future until eternity.
This Grantha (book) is created for the benefit of all humanity for the Kalyan (well-being) it produces, and this knowledge would be able to lead humanity to Moksha (liberation).
Bhrigu’s ashram named “Deepotsaka” was located at the base of Dhosi Hill near the border of Narnaul district in Haryana and Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. He later moved to Bharuch. His son Chyavana, known for the famous Ayurvedic tonic Chyavanprash, also had an ashram at Dhosi Hill. Bhrigu is worshipped in various places including Bharuch, Swamimalai, Tirumala, Ballia, Nanguneri, Thiruneermalai, and Mannargudi.
An ashram dedicated to Bhrigu can also be found in Maruderi, Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu. Khedbrahma in Gujarat has a connection to Bhrigu and Brahma through a story of their testing of the Hindu trinity. Eventually, Bhrigu went to Bhuinj Satara in Maharashtra where he achieved Samadhi. His ashram and his daughter Laxmi’s temple are located there. Chyavan’s ashram and his Samadhi can be found on Chyavaneshwar hill near Bhuinj.