Here are the thoughts of Sri Sri Ravishankar on ‘Saptarishis’, the seven popular and powerful sages in Hindu Dharma.
The universe has a rhythm called chandas. Everything is in a wave function; the receivers of certain wave functions are known as Rishis. Rishi is a position; it is not the name of a person, and there are more than a thousand Rishis. Of these, seven are very important, and they relate to the seven chakras.
Rishis have been there in every age; there are many stories about them. A Rishi is like the Dean, or the Vice Chancellor of a University. They also underwent training, and then became part of the tradition.
So, like how you say, ‘I am an Alumni of Harvard’, or ‘I am a Stanford graduate’, similarly, there are Gotras. Go means knowledge, and Gotra means, belonging to a particular knowledge group or Rishi tradition. So, just like we have different DNA or blood groups, we have different Gotras or families that come from certain knowledge groups, or Rishi traditions.
The names of Saptarishis are – Sapta or the seven rishis are, Kashyapa, Athri, Vashishta, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vishwamitra.