was an unusual and mysterious Rishi, ascribed with an almost miraculous birth. Vamadeva
and his gotra (family), the Gotamas were associated with the land of Videha in Bihar and
Nepal from which Sita came and which was the home of the great royal-sages, the Janakas,
on which many Upanishads like the Brihadaranyaka, and Advaitic works, like the Ashtavakra
Gita, were based. The first mentioning of Sita as an earth Goddess occurs in the hymns of
Vamadeva in the Rig Veda (IV.57). Many teachings are ascribed to dialogues between
Vasishta, purohit of Kosala, and Vamadeva, purohit of nearby Videha, including teachings
on astrology and on Ayurveda.
Vamadeva was a name of Indra, the
supreme Vedic God, particularly as a falcon (shyena). It was also a name of Savitar, the
Sun God, who dispensed his grace or beauty (vama). Vamadeva later became a name of Lord
Shiva in his northern face. So it was an important and powerful name and one that few
By this ceremony I was accepted into Hindu society as a Brahmin by my
occupation. I realized that I was a kind of Kshatriya as well, a warrior at least on the
intellectual plane, addressing not only religious but also social and political issues.