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Upamanyu is a rigvedic rishi. He was devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva pleased with his tapasya gave him boon & blessings.

He is said to be the father or ancestor of sage Kamboja Aupamanyava referred to in the Vamsa Brahmana (1.18) of the Sama Veda.[1]


Upamanyu was the disciple of sage Ayodhaumya of Avanti. He was given to task to look after the sage's kine while they fed in the fields. When he came back his master asked him, how could he be plump without having any food for looking after the kine. Upamanyu answered that while looking after the cattle he begged and by the alms he received, he fed himself. Hearing that his preceptor said that he should not have eaten anything without offering his teacher. Upamanyu agreed to that. The next day he again went to look after the cattle. And when he came back, his master saw him in good conditions. Dhaumya asked him the reason. He said that while he gave the alms of his begging to his preceptor, he went for a second time for begging. His preceptor was unhappy and said he should not do such for in that matter he diminished the support of the people who live upon begging. Upamanyu agreed. Again the next day when he came back, Dhaumya was surprised to see that even after giving him the alms and not going to beg a second-time Upamanyu was perfectly fit. On asking the reason, Upamanyu answered, he lived upon the milk of the cows. His preceptor said he should not have done so without Dhaumya's consent. The next day the same happened, Upamanyu was in perfect condition without any loss of weight. Dhaumya asked the reason. Upamanyu answered that now he lived upon the froth which the calves split while sucking milk. Dhaumya said it unlawful, for Upamanyu ate the food of the generous calves. Upamanyu agreed. Now, Upamanyu had nothing to eat. He was so hungry that he was forced to it the leaves of Arka (Calotropis gigantea). And his eyes being affected by the pungent, acrimonious, crude, and saline properties of the leaves which he had eaten, he became blind. And as he was crawling about, he fell into a pit. His preceptor soon became concerned with him. While searching for him, he found Upamanyu in the pit. Dhaumya suggested him to summon the physician deities - twin Aswins. So did Upamanyu, Aswins were pleased and offered him a cake to cure him. But Upamanyu would not accept it without offering it to his preceptor. He satisfied the Aswins and they cured him. [2]


  1. See Refs: Trans of Rig Veda, III,113, Dr Ludwig; Alt-Indisches Leben, p 102, Dr H. Zimmer; History and Culture of Indian People, The Vedic Age, p 260, Dr R. C. Majumdar, Dr A. D. Pusalkar; Problems of Ancient India, 2000, p 6, K. D. Sethna; Some Kshatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 231, Dr B. C. Law; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, Dr J. L. Kamboj; Purana, Vol VI, No 1, Jan 1964, p 212.13 etc.
  2. Adi Parva, Paushya Parva, page 38-39 http://www.holybooks.com/mahabharata-all-volumes-in-12-pdf-files/

See also