A Rishi (or rishika, when referring to female rishis) is a sage of insight, one who practices self-cultivation as a Yogini or Yogi and attains nirvikalpa Samadhi. Through Yogic concentration a person first attains savikalpa samadhi (realisation of the independence of soul and body, Atma and Prakriti), and with continued effort attains nirvikalpa samadhi (realisation of oneness with all). The Rishi's soul is considered to imbibe wisdom directly from the universal source. Vedic hymns are sermons conceived as delivered by divine inspiration by the rishis.
see also: Saint