Rigveda 2.39 – Aśvins
Ṛṣi : Gṛtsamada Bhārgava Śaunaka
Chandas : Tṛṣṭubh
grā́vāṇeva tád íd ártham jarethe
gṛ́dhreva vṛkṣám nidhimántam áccha ǀ
brahmā́ṇeva vidátha ukthaśā́sā
dūtéva hávyā jányā purutrā́ ǁ
prātaryā́vāṇā rathyéva vīrā́
ajéva yamā́ váramā́ sacethe ǀ
méne iva tanvā́… śúmbhamāne
dámpatīva kratuvídā jáneṣu ǁ
śṛ́ṅgeva naḥ prathamā́ gantam arvā́k
chaphā́viva járbhurāṇā tárobhiḥ ǀ
cakravākéva práti vástorusrā
arvā́ñcā yātam rathyéva śakrā ǁ
nāvéva naḥ pārayatam yugéva
nábhyeva na upadhī́va pradhī́va ǀ
śvā́neva no áriṣaṇyā tanū́nām
khṛ́galeva visrásaḥ pātam asmā́n ǁ
vā́tevājuryā́ nadyéva rītír
akṣī́ iva cákṣuṣā́ yātamarvā́k ǀ
hástāv iva tanvé… śámbhaviṣṭhā
pā́deva no nayatam vásyo áccha ǁ
óṣṭhāviva mádhvāsné vádantā
stánāviva pipyatam jīváse naḥ ǀ
nā́seva nas tanvó rakṣitā́rā
kárṇāviva suśrútā bhūtam asmé ǁ
hásteva śaktím abhí saṃdadī́ naḥ
kṣā́meva naḥ sámajatam rájāṃsi ǀ
imā́ gíro aśvinā yuṣmayántīḥ
kṣṇótreṇeva svádhitim sám śiśītam ǁ
etā́ni vām aśvinā várdhanāni
bráhma stómam gṛtsamadā́so akran ǀ
tā́ni narā jujuṣāṇópa yātam
<<bṛhád vadema vidáthe suvī́rāḥ>>
(The last phrase highlighted is the signature of Gṛtsamadas)
As twain announcers, you cry out just to the purpose.
As vultures to the tree, you approach the store.
As brahmās, you recite the hymn at the vidatha
As twain messengers, you are invoked by people everywhere.
Traveling early morning, as twain heroes of chariots;
As twin goats, you stick to the enclosure.
As two ladies, beautifying the body-image;
As couple daṃpatī, you find the will among people.
As two horns, come first towards us,
As two hooves – stirring with dashing powers,
As chakravāka pair, at each dawning,
Drive along this side, as the capable ones of chariots.
As boats, carry us across; as yokes,
As two naves, as two spokes, as two fellies.
As two dogs, allowing no harm to the tanu,
As two crutches, protect us from falling apart.
As two breezes never dying out; of one course, as two rivers;
As two eyes with vision, travel towards here.
As two hands, becoming bliss for the tanu…
As two feet, lead us towards the better.
As two lips, speaking sweet for the mouth,
As two breasts, nourish us, that we may live.
As two nostrils, protecting tanu for us,
As two ears, become well-hearing for us!
As hands, clasping power within us,
As two dominions, control together the domains!
These songs, O Aśvinā!, travelling towards you –
Sharpen them, as whetstones the axe!
So these, for magnifying you, O Aśvinā!
The lofty verses, the laud, have Gṛtsamadas made.
Having enjoyed those, approach us, champions!
As great vīras, let us speak loftily at vidatha. (Signature)
This hymn looks altogether a mashup of similes in the first glance, but you will appreciate how deep, how interesting each of the similes are. Not to mention the charming flow of this sūkta. For instance, just check the last two stanzas – Aśvinā are indirectly like a wide expanse of forest, towards whom our songs rush to “slice them up” so that they are expanded and we make sense of them (and they make sense of us). They are the whetstones that sharpen our axe so that we make a settlement out of the “forest” they are.
I will let the rest of the sūkta speak for itself. Just meditate on the love, charm, and wise discrimination of Aśvinā.
What are some good mantras of the two Aśvins Kumaras
Oct 20th, 2019
After Indra, Agni, and Soma, Aśvins have the most number of hymns dedicated to them in Rigveda. They are among the most frequently invoked Devas of Aryans.
Go there and you will find plenty of Aśvin hymns.
All of them are excellent (as it is not fair to compare verses) but for the purpose of the question, I would suggest RV 2.39 that pleases anyone.
Myths of Aśvins Kumaras (Gods of medicine)
Well, Puranas don’t have much to say about the Aśvins (despite making them Aśvinī kumāras) as they are the most important Vedic devas, only next to Indra and Agni-Soma. Aśvins are the closest devas whom anyone calls out for help.
And no, Aśvins are not merely gods of “medicals”, as much as how Indra is not merely the god of rain.
The Aśvins help people get out of tough situations and answer the calls always. Whenever a person was in trouble, he would call out for Aśvins, and when he is rescued, he would thank Aśvins. There are a whole lot of such incidents that occurred in history or occur symbolically in nature, mentioned in Vedas umpteen times. Fortunately, the crappy books of later ages which copy legends never even expanded one percentage of this, neither preserved these. So that people don’t start worshiping Aśvins and forget the non-existent sectarian gods.
Let this answer be my tribute to Aśvins, enumerating their famous deeds mentioned and remembered throughout Vedas with high gratitude and reverence :
> Vimada, whose marriage wasn’t getting done, found a wife in Kamadyū – the daughter of Purumitra, by the grace of Aśvins.
> Bhujyu, the abandoned son of Tugra, was trapped in waters of the deep sea, and Aśvins rescued him out. It is said that Tugra himself changed his mind miraculously by the power of Indra and Aśvins, and sent boats to the sea to bring Bhujyu back.
> Pedu who didn’t have a good racehorse got a champion white racehorse by the grace of Aśvins.
> Pajra’s descendant Kakṣīvant, who praised the Divine Aśvins, was blessed by Aśvins with great soma.
> Aśvins quenched the thirst of Gotamas by reviving their well.
> They made the skin wrinkles due to old age in Cyavāna to go, and made him appear young. (Only thing which comes as a myth, though again in a misrepresented form, in Puranas)
> Vadhrīmati (literally having an impotent husband) got a son by the grace of Aśvins, who was named after the golden hand of Devas, Hiraṇyahasta.
> Ṛjrāśva, succumbing to a she-wolf, “offers” (or more derisively, “slaughters”) his hundred sheep. His father, seeing all his property wasted away by his son, became so angry and mercilessly blinded his son Ṛjrāśva. Lost in his sight, Ṛjrāśva realizes the value of wisdom and prays to Aśvins who gift him far sight and eternal Vedic light.
> Ṛcatka’s son Śara got a dry well, and he found a spring by the grace of Aśvins.
> Śayu was a poor person who had just a sterile cow and was starving. By the grace of Aśvins, the cow began to milk, and Śayu was rescued.
> Viśvaka (son of Kṛṣṇa) lost his son Viṣṇāpu and by the grace of Aśvins he was found all fine.
> Rebha, who was wounded due to an attack by an enemy, and was tossed to a raging sea, survived miraculously by the grace of Aśvins, even after ten nights.
> Dasyus made Atri and his group fall into pits, and made them trapped in narrow straits. Again, thanks to Aśvins, they were saved.
> Ghoṣā was a woman who was alone with her father chief in her home, looking after him. Though she was turning old, she still found a good husband thanks to Aśvins. The remarkable thing is the way she asks Aśvins, “would you two be there for me day and night, to help me achieve, as a racehorse wins the stakes”.
> Śyāva Kaṇva’s skin disease recovered and he got bright skin, thanks to Aśvins.
> Aśvins were even helpful towards the cultivators of barley in helping the lands fertile.
> Antaka was lost in foreign lands not knowing what to do. Aśvins helped him out.
> Aśvins were instrumental in helping Mandhātā conquering lands and establishing his rule.
> Śaryātā was helped by Aśvins in winning a contest.
> Śucanti was also helped by Aśvins in winning bets.
> The famous Sudās who wished for wife got Sudevī as his wife, thanks to Aśvins.
> Aśvins, with Indra assisted and attended the call of Divodāsa and Atithigva Kaśojū while smiting Śambara
> Aśvins and Indra stood with Purukutsa in the wars.
> Aśvins and Indra helped Trasādasyu smash the forts of Dasyus.
> Aśvins helped Vaśa Avya in battle.
> Aśvins helped Pṛthuśravas to consolidate his rule, warding off all misfortunes and hostilities.
> Vandana who was exhausted in a wasting disease, bedridden, got cured and lived long to see the sun from his what was to be the death bed, thanks to Aśvins. He became a great kavi.
> Karkandhu was revived from his disease.
> Jāhuṣa who was trapped in the night, where he was besieged from all directions, got miraculously saved as if he was flown back through the air.
> Aśvins blessed Jahnu’s wife with prosperity, as she was worshiping them frequently.
> Aśvins help the downtrodden and make the blind see and lame move.
> Aśvins even today are the ones who make marriages possible and are venerated in Brahmanic marriages.
A non-exhaustive list of other great people who received the unbelievable and ever-reliable help of Aśvins :
Kutsa Ārjuneya, Bharadvāja, Uśanā Kāvya, Preṇi, Vayya, Turvīti, Dhvasanti, Dabhīti, Puruṣanti, Ṛtastubh, Adhrigu, Kakṣīvant, Dīrghaśravas Auśija, Śrutarya, Narya, Pṛśnigu, Vyaśva, Pṛthi, Vamra, Upastuta, Paṭharvan, Puraṃdhī …
Aśvins not only show their benevolence to humans, but to all suffering creatures. For example :
> Aśvins rescued the quail-hen from the snap of wolf. The cry of helpless quail-hen is specifically stressed in Rigveda.
> When the racing mare Viśpalā got her foot injured and cut off, Aśvins helped her win the race by replacing her foot with metal.
> The funniest thing is that she-wolf who was blinded by Ṛjrāśva was actually unable to sustain itself. The wolf was helped by Aśvins, believe the sages, through the once-foolish Ṛjrāśva. For which the she-wolf was grateful to Ṛjrāśva, and sages believe that the wolf was the reason for his wisdom.
In nature, Aśvins are those who bring the dawn, connect the Sūryā and Soma (and thus bridge the spiritual source of inspiration and spiritual essence), and so on.
Aśvinā! Reverence to you both!
Dadhyak and him imparting a certain vidyā to the Aśvins, or is that a misrepresentation?
Dadhīcī imparting the knowledge of Tvaṣtar’s hidden madhu/soma through a horse’s head is mentioned in Vedas. But this is more mystic and never expanded, and multiple Brahmanic myths have come up to explain it in Brahmanas.
Most of the Brahmanic narratives are mystic, a play with “heads”. As the generally agreed part of the story goes, Dadhīcī, the son of Atharvan, knew about the secret “head” of sacrifice (usually Pravargya) and was instructed by Indra to not reveal to anyone about this, or else “his head” would be cut by Indra.
Aśvins approach Dadhīcī to learn the same, and Dadhīcī explains his situation. To which Aśvins offer a solution that the head of Dadhīcī will be cut by them (his own head that knows the knowledge) and instead horse’s head will be installed at the place, where Aśvins can listen to the secret, and Indra will cut only horse’s head instead of his original head. Aśvins will restore the original head, goes the myth.
However, the association of this myth with Pravargya, head of the sacrifice, and Indra cutting it, are all products of mystical myth makers of later Brahmanas, not present in Vedas.
While the Vedic symbols might show that Dadhīcī actually means one who is “oriented towards the curd”, and curd represents the curd offering to Indra that was prevalent, reminiscent of the afternoon sun that strides to the highest heaven. (when the “curd” is offered) The symbolism is based on dawn being cow, dawn sky being the milk on which the calf sun feeds on, and as the sun ascends to the highest heaven, the milk turns curd. This shows the supremacy of light over darkness and thus Indra’s might over the Vṛtra of darkness.
The sun thus oriented towards the curd of the sky becomes Dadhīcī, and his “bones” or rays are used by Indra to put an end to Vṛtra’s darkness. The soma of Tvaṣṭar is in the highest sky, in the energy that the sun gains with the power of Indra and the impel of Aśvins. Horse’s head symbolizes the seat of knowledge and swiftness in thought, and also stands for the fruitfulness of knowledge as per sāṃhitīr brāhmaṇa of Taittirīya saṃhitā.
Aśvins in Vedas, represent the churners of dawn, who realize the seat of soma/madhu in sky – the abode of the supreme Viṣṇu, through imparting the swiftness to the morning sun.
Jan 31st, 2019
In a spiritual view, why are they, twins? What twin ideas do they represent?
Feb 3rd, 2019
Twins represent the changeover between two states and two extremes. They were considered to be a symbol of naturally created complimentary pair to each other in older cultures.
This old symbolism finds its place in Vedas, being one of the first works to pop up and survive in human literary history. Thus, Asvins are said to be complementary pairs – like nostrils, hands, legs, eyes etc., and provide the perfect defense and solutions to problems.
This is visible not just in vedic Asvins but even in later ages, both inside and outside the subcontinent. For example, Lithuanians still keep Asvienei motifs on their house roofs to guard them and their animals.
Aśvins and Dhanvantari
Feb 6th, 2019
Aśvins are not replaced by Dhanvantari. Dhanvantari is just a lord of medicines. While Aśvins are the guardians of the world.
Nothing replaces Aśvins. From conducting marriage, from rescuing trapped people, from removing malignancy and diseases to revive people… everything in this world is changed over from one state to another by the grace of Aśvins.
Just like how Puranic Amṛta is no way near the lofty concept of Soma, Dhanvantari has nothing to do with Aśvins.
When did Ashswins (Aśvins) get relegated to the background?
Feb 6th, 2019
Which Vedic deva is yet “worshiped”?
Though yes, Brahmins still do consciously or unconsciously worship them. And it is a very fact that you live means you are already implementing your share of Ṛta of them.
Everyone wants to get into Golokam or Śivalokam and all stuff. But when one does upanayana, it is the Savitar who blesses. In Sandhyāvandanam, one actually remembers the Dadhikrā to remain pure. To actually ward sins unknown, he asks forgiving prayer to Varuṇa daily evening. Agni is kindled, and Indra-Vāyu-Prajāpati is remembered during samidādhānam.
During marriage, again Aśvins have to favor. And when they die, these Brahmins who speak of golokam and countless reincarnations shamelessly resort to bowing down verbally before the Agni Kravyād, to Yama and to send the man to the world of Pitars. The guys who believe in “instant punarjanma” shamelessly still resort to doing śrāddha.
In the present situation can one ask Aśvins Kumara for help?
Feb 26th, 2019
In all Brahmanic rituals, Viśvedevas have to be worshiped. There are however already ways to circumvent rituals today. In a matter of a few years, these rituals will stop or get replaced by popular crap, and people will forget the names of real devas who are actually being with them making them live and survive.
It is not like that, whenever you ask out for help with your heart and you are doing your best of what you can, the Aśvins are the ones who help you.
Just last week I had called Aśvins for a purpose, and gladly they helped me, quite incredibly. 🙂
They have also done very incredible but very possible help before.
You have to strive and that is how nature helps you. No matter what you call out for help, Aśvins are the ones who actually help you. That is how they are defined. Thus, they are not gods defined by your imagination or some untrustworthy books created by humans, neither are they supernatural fantasies, but very real agents who work for you every time in this world. Just experience them, and if you are fortunate, you will surely.
Just let go of your ego and the constructs born from ego, like the dogmatic concepts of cult gods, Puranic gods, philosophical dogmas and theological dogmas in different books that are not based on any natural truth.