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Rishabha (Hinduism)

From a series of Vishnu Avataras - Rishabha

In Hinduism, Rishabha is one of the twenty four avatars of Vishnu in the Bhagavata Purana.[1] Rishabha is also considered as the avatar of Lord Shiva [2][3][4]

Vedic Literature

The Vedas mention the name Rishabha.[5] According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a professor of comparative religions and philosophy at Oxford who later became the second President of India, there is evidence to show that Rishabhdeva was being worshipped by the first century BCE. The Yajurveda [note 1] mentions the name of three Tirthankaras – Rishabha, Ajitanatha and Arishtanemi, states Radhakrishnan, and "the Bhāgavata Purāṇa endorses the view that Rishabha was the founder of Jainism".[6] .[7][note 2] Elsewhere it is an epithet for the Hindu god Shiva (Rudra).

0 Rudra-like Divinity ! do thou produce amongst us, of high descent, a Great God, like Rishabha Deva, by becoming Arhan, which is the epithet of the first World Teacher; let Him become the destroyer of the enemies !

— Rig Veda, X.12.166


[11] According to the Bhagavata Purana text, Rishabha is an avatar of Vishnu. According to D. Dennis Hudson, this interpretation of Rishabha as an Avatar might have developed during the same period when the details and stories of Jina Rishabha were constructed.[12] India was named "Bhāratavarsha" or "Bhārata" or "Bharata-bhumi" after his son.[13][14] In the Hindu text, Skanda Purana (chapter 37) it is stated that "Rishabhanatha was the son of Nabhiraja, and Rishabha had a son named Bharata, and after the name of this Bharata, this country is known as Bharata-varsha."[15]

The Vayu Puranas says he who conquers the whole of Bharata-varsha is celebrated as a samrāt (Vayu Purana 45, 86) however in some puranas, the term 'Bharat' refers to the whole Earth as Emperor Bharata is said to have ruled the whole Earth.[citation needed]

According to the Puranas, India is known as Bharatavarsha after his eldest son Bharata Chakravartin. This has been mentioned in Vishnu Purana (2,1,31), Vayu Purana,(33,52), Linga Purana(1,47,23), Brahmanda Purana (14,5,62), Agni Purana ( 107,11–12), Skanda Purana, Khanda (37,57) and Markandeya Purana (50,41) it is clearly stated that this country is known as Bharata Varsha.[16]

Vishnu Purana mentions:

ऋषभो मरुदेव्याश्च ऋषभात भरतो भवेत् भरताद भारतं वर्षं, भरतात सुमतिस्त्वभूत्

Rishabhanatha was born to Marudevi, Bharata was born to Rishabh, Bharatvarsha (India) arose from Bharata, and Sumati arose from Bharata — Vishnu Purana (2,1,31)[17]

ततश्च भारतं वर्षमेतल्लोकेषुगीयते भरताय यत: पित्रा दत्तं प्रतिष्ठिता वनम (विष्णु पुराण, २,१,३२)

This country is known as Bharatavarsha since the times the father (Rishabhanatha) entrusted the kingdom to the son Bharata and he himself went to the forest for ascetic practices —Vishnu Purana (2,1,32)[18]


उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् । वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संततिः ।। – Vishnu Purana (2.3.1)

"The country (varsham) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bharatam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata."[20]

Jain Tirthankara

Some scholars state that this avatar is same as the first Tirthankara of Jainism, appropriated in Hindu scriptures.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a non-Jain, Hindu text
  2. ^ For example: ऋषभं मा समानानां सपत्नानां विषासहिम् । हन्तारं शत्रूणां कृधि विराजं गोपतिं गवाम् ॥१॥ – Rigveda 10.166.1[8] Other examples of Rishabha appearing in the Vedic literature include verses 6.16.47 of Rigveda, 9.4.14–15 of Atharvaveda, and of Taittiriya Brahmana, etc.[9]
  1. ^ bhagavatha skandha 5 chapters3-6
  2. ^ Matchett, Freda (2001). Krishna, Lord or Avatara?: the relationship between Krishna and Vishnu. 9780700712816. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7007-1281-6.
  3. ^ Wendy Doniger (2014). On Hinduism. Oxford University Press. pp. 593 note 49. ISBN 978-0-19-936009-3.
  4. ^ Suresh Chandra (1998). Encyclopaedia of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Sarup & Sons. p. 26. ISBN 978-81-7625-039-9.
  5. ^ Prioreschi 1996, p. 205.
  6. ^ Radhakrishnan 1923, p. 287.
  7. ^ Rishabha Archived 25 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine, Monier Monier-Williams, Sanskrit English Dictionary and Etymology, Oxford University Press, page 226, 3rd column
  8. ^ ऋग्वेद: सूक्तं १०.१६६ Archived 25 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Rigveda, Wikisource
  9. ^ Bloomfield 1906, p. 293.
  10. ^ "ऋग्वेदः सूक्तं १०.१६६ - विकिस्रोतः". Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  11. ^ Dalal 2010, p. 88.
  12. ^ Hudson 2008, pp. 19–22.
  13. ^ Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 159.
  14. ^ Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 72.
  15. ^ Sangave 2001, p. 106.
  16. ^ "How did our country get name as bharat? - Jain Glory - was an era ..."
  17. ^ Vishnu Purana. p. 44.
  18. ^ "The Vishnu Purana: Book II: Chapter I".
  19. ^ " Srila Prabhupada's Original Books".
  20. ^ "Vishnu Purana - Vishnu_purana - Glorious India".
  21. ^ D Dennis Hudson (2008). The Body of God: An Emperor's Palace for Krishna in Eighth-Century Kanchipuram. Oxford University Press. pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-0-19-970902-1.