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Statue of Bhairava depicting his vahana, Shvan (dog)

Shvan, a Sanskrit word meaning a dog, finds repeated references in Vedic and later Hindu mythologies, and such references include the following:

  • Yudhishthira, one of the Pandavas, insisted that he be allowed to enter Svarga (Heaven) with the Shvan which had followed him from their advent to Swarga where in Yudisthira lost his brother and wife, only Shavana followed him when the devadhootha came in front of Yudishtara to take him to Svarga the dog transformed itself into Yama.
  • Khandoba, a deity, is associated with a dog on which he rides.
  • Dattatreya is associated with four dogs, considered to symbolize the four Vedas.