Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Rishi (Indian Sage)

Glossary: Tibetan Medicine

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Buddhist Rishi
- Brahmanarupa Mahakala
- Masterworks
- Confusions: Tangtong Gyalpo, Sage of Long Life, Sthavira/Arhat
- Others...

An Indian sage (Sanskrit: rishi. Tibetan: drangsong) as described in early Puranic and Brahmana literature is a male figure, generally elderly with white hair and a long white beard, wearing white clothing and living in the forests and mountains. They are easy to anger but regarded as a repository of ancient wisdom, learning and great power. Rishis are referenced in the Ayurvedic and Tibetan Medicine Traditions. They play a role validating the early Indian origins and history of Tibetan medicine. The Tantric Buddhist protector deity Brahmanarupa Mahakala is modeled after an Indian rishi.

Jeff Watt 4-2014 [updated 3-2019]