(Last Updated on : 25/09/2009)
The Vishnu Purana states that Revanta, the brilliant is the minor Hindu deity. He is said to be the youngest son of the Sun by his wife Sanjna; according to other accounts he was the son of Vivaswat and Rajni.
Revanta is chief of the Guhyakas, semi-divine and demonic class entities - like the Yakshas who live in the forest in the Himalayas. He is also the fifth Manu of the present Kalpa. In the images and sculptures Revanta is represented as a huntsman on a horse, with a bow and arrow.
The tale of Revanta's birth states that Sanjna, the daughter of celestial architect Vishvakarma and wife of Surya, unable to take the fervour of the Sun-god, repaired to the forests to engage in devout austerities in the form of a mare. She placed her shadow Chhaya, who looked just like Sajna in her position as Surya's wife. When Surya realised that Chhaya was not the real Sajna, he searched for Sajna and finally found her in the forests of Uttar Kuru. There, Surya approached Sajna disguised as a horse. Their union produced the twin-Ashvins and Revanta.
In another Purana, the mother of Revanta is named Rajni, another wife of Surya. The Saturn-god Shani and Savarni Manu are his brothers.
Revanta was assigned with the duty as chief of Guhyakas by Surya and to protect mortals amid the terrors of forests and other lonely places, of great conflagration, of enemies and robbers. Occasionally, Revanta is depicted as combating robbers in reliefs.
Revanta riding on the seven headed horse Uchaishravas - went to Vishnu's abode, Vishnu's wife goddess Lakshmi lusted for the horse and was thus cursed by her husband to become a mare.
Markandeya Purana describes Revanta as 'holding a sword and bow, clad in armour, riding on horseback, and carrying arrows and a quiver'. Kalika Purana describes him carrying a sword in right hand and a whip in his left, seated on a white horse. Thus he is called Haya-Vahana, one who rides a horse. Varahamihira describes him as accompanied by attendants for hunting.
In sculpture, Revanta is often depicted with the Guhyakas, whose chief he is, in scenes of hunting. Apart from the attributes described in texts like the sword, bow; he sometimes also carries a cup of wine in his hand. Revanta is often depicted wearing long boots reaching up to the calves, unlike other Hindu divinities - except Surya - who are depicted barefoot. Revanta is depicted seated on a horse and accompanied by a hunting dog. Revanta's attendants are depicted with various hunting weapons like lances and swords. Some of them are shown blowing a conch or beaming drums or holding an umbrella over the head of their lord, the umbrella being the symbol of royalty.
Revanta was worshipped as guardian deity of warriors and horses, protector from the dangers of forests and the patron god of hunting. The worship of Revanta is closely associated with Saura, cult of Surya. Often, scriptures like Vishnudharmottara Purana and Kalika Purana recommend worship of Revanta alongside Surya or according to the rituals of Sun worship. Shabhakalpa-druma records Revanta's worship after Surya's, in the Hindu month of Ashvin by warriors. Nakula, the fourth Pandava, is believed to have written Ashavashastram on horses. He worshipped Raivata to protect horses from ghosts.
The worship of Revanta was popular in the early-medieval period, particularly in Rajasthan. Revanta is mostly depicted in Vaishnava and Surya temples.