THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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ASVINS, in Hindu mythology, twin deities of light. After Indra, Agni and Soma, they are the most prominent divinities in the Rig-Veda, and have more than fifty entire hymns addressed to them. Their exact attributes are obscure. They appear to be the spirits of Dawn38892-h.htm'>Dawn, the earliest bringers of light in the morning sky; they hasten on in the clouds before Dawn38892-h.htm'>Dawn and prepare the way for her. In some hymns they are called sons of the sun; in others, children of the sky; in others, offspring of the ocean. They are youngest of the gods, bright lords of lustre, honey-hued. They are inseparable. The sole purpose of one hymn is to compare them with different twin objects, such as eyes, hands, feet and wings. They have a common wife, Surya. They are physicians, protectors of the weak and old, especially of elderly unmarried women. They are the friends of lovers, and bless marriages and make them fruitful.

See A.A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology (Strassburg, 1897).


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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