In Hindu mythology, Saptarshi ('sapta' means seven and 'rishi' means to see) are the seven 'rishis (sages)', or the 'prajapatis', the mind born sons of Brahma
. They are Atri
, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vasishta,
and Kashyap. The Mahabharat
presents them as
, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya and Vasishta. These seven sages are represented as stars of the Big Dipper in the sky.
Metaphorically the seven rishis may stand for the seven senses or the seven vital airs of the body. Saptarshis are considered as the authors and seers of the Vedic hymns. The rishis were distinctive characters and embodied the spirit of the pre-historic or mythical period.