Are There Revelations Today?

  • Mani Rao
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


Rao discusses the concept of rishi (seer) in Indian thought, establishing the connection to visionary experience, and then discusses two cases of revelations in 20th-century CE India. The first instance is that of Daivarata (1892–1975) who received entirely “new” mantras during his meditation; Rao tells and then probes this story via research into the new mantras. The second narrative is about a vedic pundit called Chandole Sastry who had a private tantric practice and was visited by Goddess Bala after he did the Bala mantra. Mantras in use at his institution are attributed to direct revelations from the Goddess. Narratives like this are the recent historical context for practitioners today and serve as a thematic precedent to the ethnography of the next three chapters.


  1. Avadhanulu, R.V.S.S. 2007. Science and Technology in Vedas and Sastras. Hyderabad: Shri Veda Bharati.Google Scholar
  2. Bave, Vinoba. 2003. Vedamrut—Reflections on Selected Hymns from Rigveda. Varanasi: Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan.Google Scholar
  3. Bhat, G.N., ed. 2001. Brahmarshi Daivarata’s Chando-Darshana: A Critical Study: A Collection of Research Papers. Mangalore: Jayashree Prakashana.Google Scholar
  4. Daivarata, Brahmarshi. 1968. Chhando-Darśana [Vision of Veda/Meter]. Translated by Vāsiṣṭha Gaṇapatimuni with a Preface. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.Google Scholar
  5. Gonda, Jan. [1963] 2011. The Vision of Vedic Poets. Berlin and New York : De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1975. Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Google Scholar
  7. Mahabharata Book Twelve, Peace—Volume III “The Book of Liberation.” 2009. Translated by Alexander Wynne. Clay Sanskrit Library. New York: New York University Press and JJC Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Mainkar, T.G. 1977. Ṛvedic Foundations of Classical Poetics. Delhi: Ajanta Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Olivelle, Patrick, ed. and trans. 1998. Early Upanishads. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Patton, Laurie L. 1994. “Poets and Fishes: Modern Indian Interpretation of the Vedic Rishi.” In Authority, Anxiety, and Canon: Essays in Vedic Interpretation, 281–307. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2005. Bringing the Gods to Mind: Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Renou, Louis. 1965. Destiny of the Veda in India. Edited by Dev Raj Chanana. Delhi, Motilal Bonarsidass.Google Scholar
  13. Rigveda: The Earliest Religious Poetry of India. 2014. Translated by Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Rigveda Samhita, Together with the Commentary of Sayanacarya. [1870] 2006. 2nd ed., 4 vols., edited by Max F. Müller. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Krishnadas Sanskrit Series. Google Scholar
  15. Sarup, Lakshman, ed. and trans. 1920–1927. Nighantu and the Nirukta, the Oldest Indian Treatise on Etymology, Philology and Semantics. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Siva Sankara Sarma, Rani. 2007. The Last Brahmin. Translated by Venkat Rao. 2002. Bangalore: Permanent Black.Google Scholar
  17. Staal, Frits. 2008. Discovering the Vedas. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  18. Thite, G.U. 2000. “Vedisms in Daivarata’s Chandodarshana.” In Makaranda: Madhukar Anant Mehendale Festschrift, 37–43. Ahmedabad: Sharadaben Chimanbhai Educational Research Centre.Google Scholar
  19. Yelle, Robert A. 2003. Explaining Mantras: Ritual, Rhetoric, and the Dream of a Natural Language in Hindu Tantra. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mani Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.BengaluruIndia

Personalised recommendations