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Prachetas primarily refers to the pre-eminently intelligent one, it means observant and intelligent. It is also another name for Varuna, one of the ten Prajapatis one of whom was the father of Valmiki who was also known as Prāchetas, the son of Prachetas.

Meaning

Prachetas (Sanskrit: प्रचेतस्) i.e. प्र (before) + चेतस् (mind), primarily refers to the pre-eminently intelligent one,[1] ordinarily it means observant and intelligent. [2] It is another name for Varuna, one of the ten Prajapatis whose mother was Suvarna [3] According to Valmiki Ramayana (Book VII Chapter 84 Verses 15,17), Mahakavi Valmiki was the son of the 10th Prachetas.

Vedic usage

Prachetas are the intelligences which brought consciousness to the outside through the development of the senses which are active as sensations. Senses are the five forces of mind, five different angles of reflection, their formation took place with the help of the Prachetas.[4]

In the Rig Veda Mantra I.41.1 which reads:

यं रक्षन्ति प्रचेतसो वरुणो मित्रो अर्यमा |
नू चित्स दभ्यते जनः ||

the word, prachetas, refers to men of knowledge, the men who are learned and wise.[5] but in the Rig Veda Mantra I.5.7 which reads:

आ त्वा विशन्त्वाशवः सोमास इन्द्र गिर्वणः |
शं ते सन्तु प्रचेतसे ||
(गिर्वणः इन्द्र) Praise-worthy Lord ! (आशवः सोमासः आ विशन्तु त्वा) Impatient seekers may enter Thee. May they (सन्तु शं) be gratifying (ते) to Thee, (प्र-चेतसे) the super-conscious Being.

the same refers to the Super-conscious Being in whom it is prayed that the impatient seekers be allowed to enter i.e. be merged.[6]

Puranic versions

According to the Puranas, Prachetas was a descendent of Druhyu; he was the son of Duryaman who was the son of Dhrita, the great-great-great grandson of Druhyu. Prachetas had one hundred sons who were the princes of the Mlechchhas, the barbarians of the north. [7] Prachetas is one of the Prajapatis, and an ancient sage and law-giver. It is also said that there were ten Prachetas who were the sons of Prāchinabarhis and great grandsons of Prithu; according to Vishnu Purana they had passed ten thousand years in the great ocean deep in meditation upon Vishnu who made them the progenitors of mankind. [8]

The eldest among the ten sons of Prāchinbarhis, collectively known as Prachetas (Circa 6320 B.C.), became the ruler; they cleared forests and made land fit for agriculture; they married the daughters of Soma who begot sons called Daksha Prachetas. There were 49 kings upto Daksha Prachetas. [9] Prachetas emerged from the ocean after their long sojourn, found the earth covered by the trees, they created wind and fire and destroyed the trees.[10] But Brahma requested them not to so and also solemnized their marriage with Marisha, it was their union that gave second body to Daksha Prajapati.[11]

References

  1. "Prachetas translation". Babylon 10. http://translation.babylon.com/english/Prachetas/. 
  2. "[P Piabdhi-Pramana"]. Osho Su. http://osho.su/%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BD%D1%8C%D1%8F%D1%81%D1%8B-2/781-p-piabdhi-pram%C4%81n%C4%81.html. 
  3. Helena Petrovna Balavatsky. The Secret Doctrine Vol.1. Quest Books. p. 578. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=rjrsY2Ivo3wC&pg=RA1-PA578&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aknHU9U0zqG6BN-igugO&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 
  4. "The Five Senses". The Lunar Messenger – circle of goodwill. http://www.good-will.ch/pdf/e_lunar5_6.pdf. 
  5. Rig Veda. Agniveer. p. 175. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=8UwCAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA175&dq=prachetas+veda&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lUrHU67BDZaWuATTqILgCg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas%20veda&f=false. 
  6. Vidyanand Videh. Vedic Prayers. Veda Sansthaan, Ajmer. p. 32. 
  7. Oriental Translation Fund Vol.52. p. 443. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=DgMxAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA688&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=v0jHU6fmF8SXuATOroDADA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 
  8. John Dowson. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion. p. 237. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=PwsYAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA397&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aknHU9U0zqG6BN-igugO&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 
  9. J.P.Mittal. History of Ancient India: from 7200 B.C. to 4250 B.C.. Atlantic Publishers. p. 32,33. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=b7gOBW8oDFgC&pg=PA33&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kEfHU8ysOsGxuAS3k4HwBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 
  10. B.K.Chaturvedi. Vishnu Purana. Diamond Pocket Books. p. 37. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=u8m441zg_KgC&pg=PA36&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kEfHU8ysOsGxuAS3k4HwBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 
  11. Mahesh Sharma. Tales from the Puranas. Diamond Pocket Bokks. p. 162. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=XakxUK85CL4C&pg=PA161&dq=prachetas&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kEfHU8ysOsGxuAS3k4HwBw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=prachetas&f=false. 

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