Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras ( Sanskrit: अश्विन , dual aśvin- ), in aśvinau Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the , sons of Rigveda Saranya (daughter of Vishwakarma), a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvat. They 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 gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine. They are represented as humans with head of a horse. In the epic , King Mahabharata Pandu's wife Madri is granted a son by each Ashvin and bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva who, along with the sons of Kunti, are known as the Pandavas.
They are also called
Nasatya (dual "kind, helpful") in the nāsatyau Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra ("enlightened giving"). By popular etymology, the name was analysed as nāsatya na+asatya "not untrue"="true".
The Ashvins can be compared with the
Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux) of Greek and Roman mythology, and especially to the divine twins Ašvieniai of the ancient Baltic religion.
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.
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