Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Vasishtha Mean?

Vasishtha is one of most revered of the ancient Vedic rishis, and is one of the Saptarishis or seven great sages of India. Some consider Vasishtha to be the first sage of the Vedanta school of philosophy.

There are many myths surrounding the life and teachings of Vasishtha and many ancient texts and treatises are either reverentially named after him or attributed to him.

The name Vasishtha means “best”, "richest," or “most excellent” in Sanskrit.


Yogapedia Explains Vasishtha

In the Rig vedas, Vasishtha is depicted as a scholar who moved across the Indus River in order to establish his own school. He was married to Arundhati and they lived on the banks of the Ganga. He is described as a bearded sage with long flowing hair tied into a bun and a handlebar moustache.

It is said that Vasishtha possessed a divine cow, Kamadhenu, and her child, Nandini, who were able to grant anything Vasishtha wished for. He was also known in Hindu mythology for his confrontations with the sage Vishvamitra.

Some of the treatises associated with Vasishtha include:

  • Yoga Vasishtha – a medieval era yoga text that is written as a dialogue between Vasishtha and Prince Rama

  • Vasishtha Samhita – another medieval era yoga text

  • Some versions of the Agni Purana and Vishnu Purana

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