Asvini Devas on Different Chariots: Rig Veda Mystery- 4


Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Research article No.1343; Dated 13th October 2014.

“The Asvins have been a puzzle to the oldest commentators who have widely differed in their interpretations” — Muir

Rig Veda is full of mysteries. Each mantra and each word in it have different interpretations. The people who have translated them in to different European languages interpret it differently. Like no two clocks agree, no two scholars agree on a word or a sentence in a hymn. It shows how difficult it is to translate the words and thoughts of sages who lived 8000 years before our time according to B G Tilak, 6000 years ago according to Jacobi or at least 3200 years before our time according to Max Muller. It shows another thing as well. We should not rely on foreign scholars’ translations. This also shows that literal translation wouldn’t take us anywhere. To illustrate this point, I have given below how Vedic Gods Asvins are described in the translations:

Chariot of the Asvins drawn by horses :– RV 1-117-2
Chariot of the Asvins drawn by birds :– RV 6-63-6
Chariot of the Asvins drawn by swans :– RV 4-45-4
Chariot of the Asvins drawn by eagles:– RV 1-118-4
Chariot of the Asvins drawn by bird steeds :– RV 6-63-7
Chariot of the Asvins drawn by eagle steeds :– RV 8-5-7

1.That car of yours, swifter than thought, O Asvins, which drawn by brave steeds cometh to the people,
Where on ye take the dwelling of the pious, come ye there on to our abode, O Heroes — RV 1-117-2

2.The swans ye have are friendly, rich in store of meath, gold pinioned, strong to draw, awake at early morn
Swimming the flood, exultant, fain for draughts that cheer; ye come like flies to our libations of the meath RV 4-45-4
Meath = mead = honey

3.Ye Twain, with these your glories fair to look on, brought to win victory, rich gifts for Surya
After you flew your birds, marvels of beauty: dear to our hearts! The song, well lauded reached you. RV 6-63-6

4.May your winged coursers, best to draw Nasatyas! Convey you to the object of your wishes.
Swift as thought, your car hath been sent onward to food of many a sort and dainty viands RV 6-63-7

5.O Asvins, let your falcons bear you hither, yoked to your chariot, swift with flying pinions
Which, ever active, like the airy eagles, carry you, O Nasatyas, to the banquet RV 1-118-4

6.Hitherward running speedily with horses, as with rapid hoses,
Come, Asvins, to our song of praise — RV 8-5-7
Coins of Dioskouroi

Asvins, also called Nasatyas, are twin gods in the Vedas. They are physicians. “There are almost as many opinions as experts in the interpretation of the pair of gods mentioned as watching over Mitanni. Their Vedic name most commonly used is ‘the knights’ or ‘the horsemen’, two golden or honey coloured twins. They bring up the morning light of the sky, making a path through the clouds for the dawn goddess Ushas. At the evening twilight they play a similar part, and perhaps they must be identified with the morning and evening star.

“The equivalent of the Greek Dioscuri (Dioskouroi) cannot be called in question. Their name Nasatya, which can be interpreted the root form ‘nas’, meaning ‘to save’, seems to be an allusion to their mission of beneficence. They are the doctors of the gods, the friends of the sick and unfortunate. They heal the blind, and the lame, and give back their youth to the old. They are kindly disposed to love and marriage. Their parents were the sun and the cloud goddess, Saranyu– says new Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology.

They are ever young and handsome. As personifications of the morning twilight, they are said to be children of the sun by a nymph who concealed herself in the form of a mare; hence she was called Aswini and her sons Aswins. Mythically they are the parents of the Pandava princes Nakula and Sahadeva. Asvins’ other names: Gadagadau, Abdijau (ocean born), Pushkara –srajau (wreathed with lotuses), Badaveyau (sons of submarine fire Badava) and Swar Vaidyauv. One of them is names Dasra and the other Nasata.
They restored youth to Chyavana. They rescued Bhujyu from the sea.
Nirukta says they are ‘heaven and earth’, ‘day and night’, ‘two kings’ and ‘performers of holy acts’ according to various interpreters.

Professor Goldstucker says, “The myth of the Aswins is one of that classes of myths in which two distinct elements, the cosmical and the human or historical, have gradually become blended into one”.

In my view, Asvins serve as an example for the difficult, misleading or obscure interpretations about Vedic Gods.

Read my previous post: Miracles of Asvins.

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