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The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras (Sanskrit aśvin, dual aśvinau), in Hindu mythology, are twin Vedic gods of medicine. They are also described as divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda. They are the sons of Surya (in his form as Vivasvant) and his wife Saranyu, a goddess of the clouds.
Gods of Health and Medicine; The Divine Physicians of the Gods
|Affiliation||Nasatya and Dasra|
|Consort||Jyoti (Goddess of the human body) (wife of Ashivin Nasatya)|
Mayandri (Goddess of Magic) (wife of Ashvin Dasra)
|Children||Satyavir (son of Nasatya and god of recovery), Damraj (son of Dasra and god of leaves), Nakula (son of Nasatya), Sahadeva (son of Dasra)|
|Parents||Saranyu and Surya|
Nasatya and Dasra are the names of the elder and the younger twin, being the god of health and the god of medicine respectively. They often symbolise the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. They are the doctors of the gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine. They are represented as humans with the heads of horses.
The Ashvins are an instance of the Proto-Indo-European horse twins. Their cognates in other Indo-European mythologies include the Baltic Ašvieniai, the Greek Castor and Polydeuces, the English Hengist and Horsa, and the Welsh Bran and Manawydan. The first mention of the Nasatya twins is from the Mitanni documents of the second millennium BCE, where they are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively.
In Hindu sacred textsEdit
The Ashvins are mentioned 376 times in the Rigveda, with 57 hymns specifically dedicated to them: 1.3, 1.22, 1.34, 1.46–47, 1.112, 1.116–120 (c.f. Vishpala), 1.157–158, 1.180–184, 2.20, 3.58, 4.43–45, 5.73–78, 6.62–63, 7.67–74, 8.5, 8.8–10, 8.22, 8.26, 8.35, 8.57, 8.73, 8.85–87, 10.24, 10.39–41, 10.143.
Indian holy books like the Mahabharata and the Puranas, relate that the Ashwini Kumar twins, who were Raj a-Vaidya (royal physicians) to the Devas during Vedic times, first prepared the Chyawanprash formulation for Rishi Chyavana at his Ashram on Dhosi Hill near Narnaul, Haryana, India, hence the name Chyawanprash.In the epic Mahabharata, King Pandu's wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, are known as the Pandavas.
- Mallory, J.P; Adams, D.Q. (2006). The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-19-929668-2.
- West, Martin Litchfield (2007). Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 85–91. ISBN 978-0-19-928075-9.
- Puhvel, Jaan (1987). Comparative Mythology. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 58–61. ISBN 0-8018-3938-6.
- KBo 1 1. Gary M. Beckman (1 January 1999). Hittite Diplomatic Texts. Scholars Press. p. 53.. Excerpt http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/ranghaya/suppiluliuma_shattiwaza_treaty.htm
- Panda, H; Handbook on Ayurvedic Medicines With Formulae, Processes And Their Uses, 2004, p10 ISBN 978-81-86623-63-3