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43 Revati

While traveling in North India, we came across a temple at Gokul that has the idol of Balarama with his wife Revati. This seems to be the only temple to boast a joda (pair), and so I decided to write about this largely unknown wife of Balarama.

Revati was the daughter to king Raivata, a mighty king who ruled the kingdom of Kushasthali and Anarta - the ancient name of Dwarka in Gujarat. Some accounts suggest that Kushasthali was a powerful and prosperous kingdom under sea - something like the Atlantis, while Anarta corresponds to the present-day North Kathiawad region of Gujarat state.

Raivata, also called Kakudmi, was the last known ruler of the dynasty of Sharyatas, who claimed their descent from Sharyati, a son of Vikukshi, son of Ikshvaku (founder of the surya vamsa and ruler of Ayodhya), who in turn was the son of Vivasvan Manu, son of Surya. Sharyati had three sons: Uttanabarhi, Anarta, and Bhurisena. Raivata was the son of Revata, son of Anarta.

It is said that Revata, Raivata's father, constructed the city of Kushasthali beneath the sea, and ruled the underwater city as well as large tracts of land, including the kingdom of Anarta.

Raivata (Kakudmi) was a good and benevolent ruler. He was also a doting father and thought the world of his daughter. On her part, Revati was exceedingly fair, beautiful and good-natured, as well as talented and wise. In short, a complete package.

Once Revati came of age, Raivata decided to marry her off to a worthy suitor. But after trying a lot, and traveling the world over, he could not find anyone worthy of her. Revati was unique, and no worldly suitor appealed to her. Dejected, her father decided to travel with her to Brahma-loka (abode of Lord Brahma) and seek the creator's guidance in the matter.

So he got his vehicle ready (some claim it was a plane or shuttle capable of inter-stellar travel!) and traveled with Revati to Brahmaloka. When they reached the place, they were told that Brahma was busy listening to a music recitation by celestial musicians Gandharvas, and were invited to attend the assembly. Both agreed and humbly entered the palace. In the assembly, they found various minor gods and goddesses, with Lord Brahma sitting in the middle, attending to a performance by the Gandharvas.

The father-daughter duo also sat along with the others and listened to the wonderful music. With this, Revati also got the distinction of being one of the very few humans known to have heard the celestial musicians play and sing songs.

After the performance was over, Brahma gave King Raivata and Revati an audience. When he heard the reason for his visit, he smiled and told him that he should go back to Earth and he will find a suitor for his daughter. The father and the daugher were confused. Raivata said he had already traveled around the world and found no one suitable. He gave a list of suitors, or rather a shortlist of candidates to the lord.

However, Brahma laughed and explained that Raivata was speaking of a different time. He explained that the time that took Raivata to travel to him, stay with Brahma for the day, and then back - although from Brahma's point of view was just a few hours, but on Earth, more than 27 chatur-yugas had passed - which is the equivalent of 116 million man-years.

Consider the extent of this time span. 116 million man-years!

One Chatur-yuga, also called Maha yuga = 4,320,000 man-years or 4.32 million years of man.

So 27 chatur-yugas = 116,640,000 man-years or 116.64 man-years.

Considering that the time you and I are reading this post is the 28th Mahayuga in our Manvantara, the actual time of Raivata - when he was the ruler of Kushasthali - goes back to the very beginning of this epoch or this Manvantara (which is the 7th Manvantara). For more details on this calculation, refer to my earlier posts on this subject here.

Anyway, Brahma explained to the king that those upon whom he may have already decided were now gone, and so were their sons, grandsons and other descendants. You cannot even hear about their names now, so much is the passage of time. All the king's kin and relations had passed away, and it was a new era now on Earth.

The father-daughter duo were alarmed and highly stressed to hear this. Brahma comforted the king, and said that Lord Vishnu and Adi Shesha - the eternal Serpant - had taken avatara on the Earth during this time in the form of Krishna and Balarama respectively, and he recommended Balarama as a worthy husband for Revati.

Still a little confused in mind, Raivata returned to Earth with Revati. When he landed, he found Brahma's words to be true. It was indeed a new era. The land was different, the people were different. In fact, they were somehow diminished. Small in size, shorter in life span, lower in intellect, less strong and less godlike. Among them, the two looked like giants. Everyone around was bewildered to see two giant people walking the roads. Revati almost broke in tears considering what they had lost in this time due to the travel (time travel ?? ... Maybe!) ...

Anyway, since it came to pass, Raivata took Revati to Mathura, and found Balarama at the palace.

(Thanks to a watchful reader, I have made some changes in this post in the next 2 paragraphs. Raivata and Revati did not go to Mathura. They went back to Dwaraka and waited as Brahma instructed them that Revati's suitor would come to them).

As the time passed, Raivata and Revati ruled over Dwaraka, waiting as instructed by the Creator Lord for the arrival of the chosen One. Finally, the king heard from his men about a great retinue of men, women and folk traveling across the land towards them.

When the convoy reached King Raivata's place, he found the column led by two young men - one slightly mischievous looking dark person with a twinkle in his eyes, and another fair and handsome one, built like a bull and extremely regal in appearance. The duo asked Raivata's permission to settle in his land. Raivata was happy to welcome visitors, and came to know that these were the Vrishnis, who had left Mathura due to the menace of Jarasandha.

Raivata wondered if one of these men was the chosen One. .... But, but they are also very small, just like the rest of the people of this era ... In his dilemma, Raivata explained his story to Krishna and Balarama. When he heard it, Balarama smiled mildly as he know what to do. He took his famous plough, his weapon of choice, and tapped the far taller and larger Revati on her head. Revati was astonished to see that her size suddenly shrank to one more appropriate for the times. (In some other gory renderings of the story, Balarama chopped off parts of Revati's legs so that she was cut to size. I will stick to the more family-friendly version).

Amazed to see this, Raivata Kakudmi quickly realized that this is the man he was looking for his daughter. So he happily got Revati married to Balarama, and went off back to Brahma-loka. Revati and Balarama spent their married life in Mathura and then in Dwaraka - Revati's paternal region, and Revati begot two sons Nishatha and Ulmuka.

The story of Revati's time travel is a matter of much speculation. Many believe that this is an evidence that ancient Indians knew about inter-stellar travels. At least, even if the journey did not take place, some believe that the very fact that the story exists is a testimony of the fact that ancient sages knew about the time dilation due to celestial travels at light speed as modern physics suggests.

The distance to the center of our galaxy is around 27,000 light years, so if you travel by the speed of light, it will take you 27,000 man-years to reach it. I am not sure if there is a happy coincidence between this and the mention of 27 mahayugas in Revati's travel, but all this makes fascinating fodder for rumination, and that was the purpose of putting this little known story in front of you.

- Shreekant
20 July 2012


Shyamala said…
Written wonderfully with all the wonder of the twinkling star, .. Revathi who made a inter stellar travel ...
Thank you. It is one of my favorite stories :)
JasJai said…
Interesting to note that also Revati Nakshatra falls at that last Nakshatra ~~~#27! Great post.
Yeah, almost like it was an afterthought or a later addition. Thanks for the comment 👍🏼