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Vishvamitra, aka: Viśvāmitra, Viśvamitra, Visvāmitra; 5 Definition(s)


Vishvamitra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Viśvāmitra and Viśvamitra can be transliterated into English as Visvamitra or Vishvamitra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Dhanurveda (science of warfare)

Viśvāmitra (विश्वामित्र), a celebrated sage was originally a Kṣatriya, being the king of Kanyakubja and son of Gadhi. Once he tried to take away forcibly the great sage Vasiṣṭha’s cow of plenty, the Kāmadhenu, but could not succeed. Then he went to the Himalayas and devoted himself to the most rigorous austerities to gain spiritual parity with his rival sage Vasiṣṭha and got the titles Rajarṣi, Ṛṣi, Maharṣi and Brahmarṣi. Finally, a reconciliation wasbrought about and Viśvāmitra acknowledged Vasiṣṭha and paid him homage.

Source: archive.org: DhanurvedaDhanurveda book cover
context information

Dhanurveda (धनुर्वेद) refers to the “knowledge of warfare” and, as an upaveda, is associated with the Ṛgveda. It contains instructions on warfare, archery and ancient Indian martial arts, dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BCE.


The son of Visvāmitra was Śunahśephas, the descendant of Bhrigu, given by the gods, and thence named Devarāta. Visvāmitra had other sons also, amongst whom the most celebrated were Madhuchhandas, Kritajaya, Devadeva, Aṣṭaka, Kachchapa, and Hārita; these founded many families, all of whom were known by the name of Kauśikas, and intermarried with the families of various Ṛṣis. (see the Legend of Paraśurāma)

Source: Sacred Texts: The Vishnu Purana

1a) Viśvāmitra (विश्वामित्र).—A sage of the Vaivasvata epoch;1 was invited for the Rājasūya of Yudhiṣṭhira;2 came to see Kṛṣṇa at Syamantapañcaka3 and Parikṣit practising prāyopaveśa.4 Acted as Purohita at Kṛṣṇa's sacrifice in Kurukṣetra, left Dvārakā for Piṇḍāraka;5 Purohita of Jamadagni; the 6th incarnation of Viṣṇu to do away with the Kṣatriyas; became a Brāhmaṇa by tapas.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VIII. 13. 5. Matsya-purāṇa 9. 27.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 74. 8.
  • 3) Ib. X. 84. 3;
  • 4) Ib. I. 19. 9.
  • 5) Ib. XI. 1. 12; X. 90. 46 [2].
  • 6) Matsya-purāṇa 47. 244; 198. 2 and 3.

1b) (Viśvaratha, Vāyu-purāṇa): a son of Gādhi and Kuśika (Kucika gotra, Vāyu-purāṇa). Though born a Kṣatriya, by his tapas he obtained brahmanhood. He had 101 sons. The middle one was known Madhucchandas and hence all sons bore that common name. He asked his sons to regard Sunaḥśepa as their eldest brother. The first fifty refused and were cursed to become mlecchas. Madhucchandas and the younger fifty agreed to adopt Śunaḥśepa. Visvāmitra blessed them. He had eight other sons like Aṣṭaka. Owing to divisions among his sons, the Kauśika family became different from the Viśvāmitras. There was a change of pravara since adoption was introduced. Father of Śakuntalā through Ūrvaśī.1 Helped Triśanku to go to heaven with the mortal body and secured for him a place in the sky. Fought Vasiṣṭha in the guise of a bird concerning Hariścandra, son of Triśanku. Acted as hotri to Hariścandra and was pleased with the fervour of the king and his queen;2 when he performed a Yajña, Rāma, son of Daśaratha killed Rākṣasas who disturbed it;3 officiated as hota in Paraśurāma's aśvamedha;4 a Kṣatriyadvija—sons and family of.5 Performed tapas near the sea; his wife had her son bound to her neck and sold him for a hundred cows; Satyavrata released the son to earn the goodwill of Viśvāmitra: Helped by Satyavrata—Triśanku during the 12 years famine, he took him bodily to heaven for it;6 in Dāruvana;7 a Brahmiṣṭa.8

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 16. 28-37; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa I. 2. 11; II. 32. 117; 38. 26. III. 66. 58; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 177; 64. 25; 91. 87, 93, 95-6.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 7. 5-26.
  • 3) Ib. IX. 10. 5.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 47. 46; 73. 91.
  • 5) Ib. III. 66. 86; 63. 85-90.
  • 6) Vāyu-purāṇa 88. 86-8; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 63. 112.
  • 7) Ib. I. 1. 149; II. 27. 103.
  • 8) Matsya-purāṇa 145. 111.

1c) The sage presiding over the month of Ūrja;1 with the Śiśira Sun;2 with the sun in Phālguna.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 44.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23-20.
  • 3) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 10. 18.

1d) (also Kauśikas): Brahmarākṣasas; one of the four clans moving about in the night;1 against Vedas and Yajñas.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 8. 59-61; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 195.
  • 2) Ib. 70. 53.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Viśvāmitra (विश्वामित्र):—Son of Gādhi (son of Kuśāmbu). He had had 101 sons. One of them was known as Madhucchandā. In relation to him, all the other sons were known as the Madhucchandās. He accepted the son of Ajīgarta known as Śunaḥśepha (also known as Devarāta) as one of his own sons. (see Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.16.29)

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Brahmarshi Vishvamitra is one of the most venerated rishis or sages of ancient times in India. He is also credited as the author of most of Mandala 3 of the Rigveda, including the Gayatri Mantra. The Puranas mention that only 24 rishis since antiquity have understood the whole meaning of—and thus wielded the whole power of—the Gayatri Mantra. Vishvamitra is supposed to be the first, and Yajnavalkya the last.

Vishvamitra was a king in ancient India, also called Kaushika ("descendant of Kusha"). He was a valiant warrior and the great-grandson of a great king named Kusha. His story also appears in various Puranas; however, with variations from the Ramayana. The Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha chapter 27 (dynasty of Amaavasu) of Mahabharatha narrates the birth of Vishvamitra.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

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