How simple is the difference between Prey and Pray in the literary sense but how grotesque is the difference in their meanings in reality.
True knowledge about the qualities of real seers also denotes overseeing the survival and propagation of our religion Sanatan Dharma. The quality of both life, religion and spiritualism is dwindling day by day. The day is not far when people would forget religion as has been prophesized in Sanatnan Dharma in the ending days of Kalyuga.
The term Rishi originates from our ancient Sanatan culture or the way of the Aryans. Rishi's were the scribes of the large body of nature hymns and spiritual science known as the Vedas. They were the seers or sages who were in perfect knowledge of both the Vedas and other religious scripts known as Shastra's and Sutra's and spiritually through meditation and recitation of the Vedic mantras existed in perfect balanced harmony with God, man and mother nature.
The Rishi's of Kaliyuga do not have the spiritual, physical and other powers necessary for true divine indulgence or to act as a medium between man and god. In kalyuga, Bhakti is the only way for salvation and the seers in Kalyuga who help the people in realizing their Bhakti led salvation are the only true seers and any Guru displaying chamatkari powers or superpowers is nothing but a fraud.
In ancient times male Rishis and Rishikas (their female counterparts) were sages of insight, one who practiced self-cultivation as a Yogi or Yogini and finally attained salvation by realizing first the existence of Soul and God and their respective differences and then their own independence from his or her body by realizing the qualities of 'Atman' and 'Prakriti' and lastly, only with continued efforts the person next attained of oneness with all.
Thus a true Rishi's soul is interpreted as imbibing wisdom directly from the universal source. Vedic hymns are sermons conceived as delivered by divine inspiration only by the Rishis. There was also no contradiction between their religious preachings due to their knowledge being directly revealed from God.
According to Indian tradition, the word 'Rishi' denoted a person to be unattached to any place or without roots. It also meant the person to be 'flowing from' or fountainhead of spiritual knowledge in the word Rishi also connected free movement from place to place or in transit position from this mundane world to the next free from any attachment except that with the almighty. The Rishi's ultimate Goal and objective was any form of 'Moksha'.
Hence Rishi was another name of seer or a sage, a man old in wisdom who by his spiritual sight could see beyond time and space. A person who in reality was subconsciously in touch with God. Their Chakras were all fully charged or their 'Kundli's were fully awake. They were always on the move from place to place mainly dwelling in forests near places of Pilgrimage where people from all Varnas could benefit from their presence.
They served the society by their superior knowledge of all the Yoga systems and also were greatly skilled in the ancient medicinal practice of Ayurveda. They established Gurukulas to impart vedic knowledge to the societies deserving select. Most Rishis, Munis and Sages were married and were the progenitors of the 'Gotra' system of lineage for preserving his lineages genetic purity.
This is a common practice mainly among the current Hindu society as it has kept the original gene banks of Hindu castes from mutating or getting corrupt. In fact it has kept us healthy with very rare occurrence of deadly genetic diseases like cancer, diabetes, Myopia Thalassemia etc.
In the ancient and sacred texts of the Vedas, they alone could invoke the deities with Vedic rights and were the authors of great religious texts. They were considered divine human beings in the early mythical system, as distinct from the Asuras, Devas, Yakshas Gandharvas and mortal men.
The main seven rishi's or the Saptarshi names are Gautama, Bharadvaja, Vishvamitra, Jamadagni, Vashista, Kashyapa, and Atri. Daksha, Bhrigu and Narada were also added to the saptarshis rishi's hence these ten principals were created by the first Svayambhuva Manu for producing everyone else in the Gaur lineage.
Each manvantara in a Brahmas day has a unique set of saptarshi. The main rishi's recorded in the Brahmanas and the Rigveda-Anukramanis include Gritsamada, Vishvamitra, Vamadeva, Atri, Bharadvaja, Vashista, Angiras, and others. Marici, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya were also mentioned along with the above as equally renowned but their descendents were not included in the Gaur Brahmin list.
After the Saptarishi came the Brahmarshi followed by Maharshi, Rajarshi, Devarishi, Paramrishi, Shrutarishi and lastly Kandarishi. All the above are denoted Brahmanas. The Seers belonging to lower Varna's were known as sanyasi, bhikshu, tapasvi, muni, brahmachari, yati, etc but were not as respected as the above or considered divine in any sense.
Today in Kaliyuga the above Gotra's still exist but all the above have lost the touch of spirituality and all are genetically equal. In the Yuga of Kali or Ghor Kaliyuga whenever it dawns in its life span of 470,000 years religion itself would be a forgotten theme. In a few hundred years from now religion will vanish from Earth and so would our forests which would vanish in another 5000 years. This Kaliyuga end is through agni pralaya or heat. Men will be only six to three feet tall with a lifespan of one hundred and twenty five years to only eighteen years respectively.
Unlike 24 feet tall in Satya Yuga with a lifespan of over one lakh years with great spiritual and physical powers hence both spiritually and physical weak to perform Mayavi activities In the Kaliyuga the Great Rishis, seers or sages and their descendants would no longer be the progenitors of divine knowledge.
Sanatan Dharma or the ancient way of life has become too complex by today's standards to be followed hence God the ever so merciful and kind made other less complex and beautiful paths to benefit human kind like Judiasm, Christianity, Budhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Yahudism, Islam, etc. These religions too like Sanatan Dharma have become susceptible to exploitation by some of their respective seers hence leading to utter misery, terror and confusion in the modern world.
Today God only is ones true Guru and ones soul his or hers only disciple. The religious texts are the only way to learn about God and ones religion and 'Bhakti' the best way to his or her salvation and not any seer or sage or rishi. The only true Mantra for everyone is to listen to ones inner voice from the heart before performing any Karma and think would what action would God take in the same situation. Take a bet you will always take correct action and slowly attain salvation.