Revati means the ‘Shining One’ or ‘Shining Light’ showing the Path to others. She is the consort of Lord Balarama, Sri Krishna’s brother. Revati is Protectresss of Herds and Animals. Like the nakshtra named after her, Revat...hi guides and rescues those who deserve special protection, such as children and animals. Goddess Revati is the daughter of King Kakudmi or Aivata who ruled Kusasthali, a kingdom beneath the ocean. Kakudmi was the descendant of Suryavansha or the Solar Dynasty and the son of King Revata. From Kusasthali, Revata ruled over other kingdsoms such as Anarta. Kakudmi was the eldest of his one hundred sons. He was a benevolent ruler. Revati was his daughter. By his mystical powers, Kakudmi oft-visited Brahma-loka with princess Revati to meet and speak with Lord Brahma, the Creator. She was absolutely beautiful as she grew to a marriageable age. It was thought that none on earth was worthy of a hand in marriage. But there was a potential bride-groom to be list. So King Kakudmi went to seek Lord Brahma’s counsel.
Apparently, Lord Brahma was being entertained by the Gandharvas. Kakudmi waited patiently only to hear Brahma laughing loudly saying time runs differently in the three lokhas. So 27 catur-yugas totalling 108 yugas had passed on earth. During this period of time, as the Bhagavata Purana 9.3.32 states that mankind had, ‘dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour and enfeebled in intellect.’ This scenario is similar to the English myth where King Herla as mentioned in De Nugis Curialium, a Latin work on ancient royal courts, spends three days in the dwarf kingdom. When he returned many centuries had elapsed!
Those in King Kakudmi’s list and those short-listed are all gone including their children and grand-children. Even their names cannot be heard, said Lord Brahma. The ensuing advice by Brahma is stated in Vishnu Purana Book IV 29-32 that ‘You must therefore bestow this virgin gem, (that is Revati) upon some other husband, for
you are now alone, and your friends, your ministers, servants, wives, kinsmen, armies and treasures have long since been swept away by the hands of time.’ That was all true enough. When Kakudmi and Revati returned to the earth, they were shocked of the changed landscape. But it would not be difficult to get a bride
for the pretty Revati. It was a time Sri Krishna had made his descent to upholdrighteousness. Krishna’s brother Balarama, proposed marriage and was accepted. According to Devi Bhagavatam 7.8, after the wedding, King Kakudmi followed Lord Brahma’s injunction to be engaged in severe austerities in Badrinath in the
Himalayas till the time of death. He left his mortal coil on the banks of the Ganges river and went to the world of Gods.
Balarama and Revati’s story is found in various Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata
Purana. Balarama, Krishna’s older brother, is the embodiment of princely virtues. He is depicted with a seven-headed serpent hood. He is closely associated with the serpent Ananta, on whom Lord Vishnu sleeps. It is this
connection perhaps, that Balarama and Revati are depicted as serpent God and Goddess. Images of Nagarajas or male serpent gods are shown with seven headed serpent hoods as opposed to Naginis or female serpent goddess, with five headed goods.
Due to the yuga difference, Revati is said to be far taller and larger than Balarama. But legendary accounts are that Balarama, just before marriage, tapped his plough, his characteristic weapon, on Revati’s head and she
shrunk to the normal height of Kali yuga. The couple had two sons, Nistha and Ulmuka and a daughter Vatsala. The sons are killed in the Yadu fratricidal war in which Balarama also ended his earthly incarnation. It is said that Revati ascended onto his funeral pyre.
Vatsala on the other hand was to be married to Abhimanyu, her cousin. He was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra. This plan was abandoned after the Pandava exile. Then, proposals were on the way for Vatsala to be engaged to the rival camp, the Kauravas. She is to be married to the Lakshmana, Duryodhana’s son. But Bhima’s son, Ghatokacha or Gadorghajan gets news of this and frustrates the marriage proposals by disguising himself as a
bride. Subhdra too resolved to correct the injustice while Vatsala was shipped to safety. Eventually Abhimanyu marries Vatsala. He was to be killed in the Krukshetra war.
REVATI NAKSHTRA: It is the 27th nakshatra in the Nakshatra Celestial Location. In a human body, it is identified with the groin. The regulating deity is Pushan or Pashupati, the Shepard. Revati belongs to the
Deva gana group of stars and a deva temperament with a primary motivation of moksha and spiritual enlightenment. The symbols for Revati are fish, representing spirituality and drum, reprenting marker of time reflecting final lunar mansion according to the constellations. The animal symbol is female elephant. The Shakti is the power of nourishment symbolised by milk. The sacred tree for this nakshtra is the Honey Tree which has the botanical name of Madhuca Longifolia. The Tamil name for this tree is Illupai Maram or Kuligam; Ippe-ippa
in Telugu. Worship of Revati nakshatra is said to give lordship of the animals and be harmony with nature.
Pashupati is also a reference to Lord Siva as the lord of animal calling for attention to the freedom, alacrity, and grace of animal movements from one small concern to the next. Animals are blessed by a lack of engagement with the larger truths of existence. Animals are focussed on the immediate environment and seem to be protected by God from the sufferings caused by complex human problems. Pushan is the ferryman, yearning to cross over, shooting in great curves like a star, a great arch, a rainbow, or a bridge.
VEDAS: The Revati of the path of several diverse forms, have all assembled and made extensive wealth for you; Let them all in agreement call you, reside here with good mind and strength to the tenth decade of life:
Atharva Veda 6.4.7
Rig Veda 5.51.14b: In the Kashyapa Samhita or in Tantra we see Revati emerging as a major goddess associated with Skanda and with several distinctive features. It is not clear if the goddess is Vedic or pre-vedic. She was already well known but less-hymned in Vedic Samhita, Mantra Prashana of the Yajur Veda and the Mantra Brahmana of the Sama Veda. Ambika is invoked in grihya rituals in the Vedic tradition. Main rites involving Goddess Revati is Prayaniyeshti which ritual is performed by the Yajamana attaining diksha.
In the north Goddess Revati is called as Pathya Svasti. The Vishnu Smrti 9.26 which is derived from the Katha tradition of the Krishna Yajurveda mentions a rite for the pacification of the Goddess Revati, which is performed every month when the moon is in the asterism of Revati Nakshtra. On this occassion Brahmins get fed with sweet pudding. The pleasing of Goddess Revati confers beauty on the ritualist.
In the core Vedic period we note a connection between Pushan, the ancient deity of the paths, and Revati
called Pathya or the goddess of the paths. This connection plays out in many contexts in overt and sometimes subtle ways. In Taittiriya Brahmana 3.1.27, the constellation named Revati is associated with Pushan and they are called upon to protect the paths, animals and food.
In the atharvavedic chant of the gods’ wives recited by the AgniIndra, Revati as Pathya is mentioned as the wife
of Pushan: Gopatha Brahmana 2.2.9. The astronomical connection between Pushan and Revati suggested by the Nakshatreshi ritual may show a connection between Skanda and Revati. The constellations depicting Skanda, Nejamesha and Revati lie next to each other in the sky. Even in the Atharva Veda, Revati and Krittika are
mentioned together. Rig Veda 1.23.13-15 show the beginning of the connection with Kumara.
SKANDA: The Astanga Samgraha notes that Lord Siva gave Skanda twelve grahas, 5 males and 7 females to assist him. Ashtanga Samgraha means the eight branches of Ayurveda. It was written by Acarya Vagbhata. It is
an authoritative text on ayurveda, studied many centuries by students and practitioners of Indian medicine. Kashyapa Samhita, also known as Braddha Jivakiya Tantra is an essential treatise on Ayurveda medicine written by the sage Kashyap. The suffix ‘Samhita’ means ‘compilation of knowledge.’ It records that the names of some twenty goddesses were given to the Goddess Revati who is depicted as the chief of Skanda’s assistants. The Revati Kalpa in Kashyapa Samhita suggests that Revati had become the most powerful goddess of the Epic
age and having assimilated into her person many other minor goddess, has attained the status of a Great Mother. The same work says that Revati was sent by Skanda, in the form of a she-wolf, to devour the demon Dirghajihvi and assist in the destruction of the demon army. But the asuras took shelter in the seed of
humans. Therefore, Revati attacks the newly born in search of them. She especially attacks children of those who do not follow dharma. At the command of Skanda she stupefies all the impious persons of different castes and kills the wicked ones.
AYURVEDA: Revati is governed by Pushan, the nourishing form of the Sun God. It is said to govern feet and toes and responsible for the diseases associated with them. The Grahakriti Vijnana identifies 9 mains diseases related to infancy. They are related to 9 grahas or planets: Skanda-graha, Skanda Pasmara, Shakuni, Revati, Putana, Andha-putana, Shita-putana, Mukhamandika and Naigamesha. Revati-Pratishedha, meaning attack by
Revati, treatment involves decoction sprinkled on a child’s body; anointment of medicated oils; internally taken herbs and fumigation of child’s body in the morning and evening. The child is made to wear a necklace made of neem leaves, varuna or nirgundi.
The plenatary ruler of this disease is Revati, who is meditated on in a cow barn by a practitioner. White flowers, milk, and boil rice should be offered. The nurse and child are both bathed in the junctions of rivers.
The mantra during this treatment is: ‘May the Goddess Revati of dark complexion, who is clad in brightly colored clothes, with garlands of multicolored flowers, and is anoited with various aromas and with oscillating
earrings, who is tall, drooping and terrible looking, and who is the mother of many sons be always propitious to thee.’
(draft Gods and
by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi