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mean breath. From it these beings were produced; hence they are Asuras." The word has long been used as a general name for the enemies of the gods, including the Daityas and Danavas and other descendants of Kasyapa, but not including the Rakshasas descended from Pulastya. In this sense a different derivation has been found for it: the source is no longer asu, 'breath,' but the initial a is taken as the negative prefix, and a-sura signifies 'not a god ;' hence, according to some, arose the word sura, commonly used for 'a god.' See Sura.
ASURL One of the earliest professors of the Sankhya philosophy.
ASWALAYANA. A celebrated writer of antiquity. He was pupil of Saunaka, and was author of <STauta-sutras, Grihyasutras, and other works upon ritual, as well as founder of a <Sakha of the Rig-veda. The Sutras have been published by Dr. Stenzler, and also in the Biblioiheca Indica.
ASWA-MEDHA 'The sacrifice of a horse.' This is a sacrifice which, in Vedic times, was performed by kings desirous of offspring. The horse was killed with certain ceremonies, and the wives of the king had to pass the night by its carcase. Upon the chief wife fell the duty of going through a revolting formality which can only be hinted at . Subsequently, as in the time of the Mahabharata, the sacrifice obtained a high importance and significance . It was performed only by kings, and implied that he who instituted it was a conqueror and king of kings. It was bolieved that the performance of one hundred such sacrifices would enable a mortal king to overthrow the throne of Indra, and to become the ruler of the universe and sovereign of the gods. A horse of a particular colour was consecrated by the performance of certain ceremonies, and was then turned loose to wander at will for a year. The king, or his representative, followed the horse with an army, and when the animal entered a foreign country, the ruler of that country was bound either to fight or to submit. If the liberator of the horse succeeded in obtaining or enforcing the submission of all the countries over which it passed, he returned in triumph with the vanquished Rajas in his train; but if he failed, he was disgraced and his pretensions ridiculed. After the successful return a great festival was held, at which the horse was sacrificed, either really or figuratively.
ASWA-MUKHA 'Horse faced.' See Kinnara.
ASWA-PATL 'Lord of horses.' An appellation of many kings.
ASWATTHAMAK Son of Drona and Kripa, and one of the generals of the Kauravas. Also called by his patronymic Draunayana. After the last great battle, in which Dur-yodhana was mortally wounded, Aswatthaman with two other warriors, Kripa and Krita-varman, were the sole survivors of the Kaurava host that were left effective. Aswatthaman was made the commander. He was fierce in his hostility to the PaWavas, and craved for revenge upon Dhrishfa-dyumna, who had slain his father, Drona. These three surviving Kauravas entered the Panrfava' camp at night. They found Dhrishfa-dyumna asleep, and AswaWhaman stamped him to death as he lay. He then killed tfikhandin, the other son of Drupada, and he also killed the five young sons of the Piinrfavas and carried their heads to the dying Dur-yodhana. He killed Parikshit, while yet unborn in the womb of his mother, with his celestial weapon Brahmastra, by which he incurred the curse of Krishna, who restored Parikshit to life. On the next morning he and his comrades fled, but Draupadi clamoured for revenge upon the murderer of her children. Yudhi-sh/hira represented that Aswatthaman was a Brahman, and pleaded for his life. She then consented to forego her demand for his blood if the precious and protective jewel which he wore on his head were brought to her. Bhima, Arjuna, and Krishna then went in pursuit of him: Arjuna and Krishna overtook him, and compelled him to give up the jewel. They carried it to DraupadI, and she gave it to Yudhi-sh/hira, who afterwards wore it on his head.
ASWINS, ASWINAU (dual), ASWINI KUMARAS. 'Horsemen.' Dioskouroi . Two Vedic deities, twin sons of the sun or the sky. They are ever young and handsome, bright, and of golden brilliancy, agile, swift as falcons, and possessed of many forms; and they ride in a golden car drawn by horses or birds, as harbingers of Ushas, the dawn. "They are the earliest bringers of light in the morning sky, who in their chariot hasten onwards before the dawn and prepare the way for her."—Both. 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. But inasmuch as they precede the rise of the sun,
they are called his parents in his form Pushan. Mythically they are tho parents of the Vandu princes Nakula and Sahadeva. Their attributes are numerous, but relate mostly to youth and beauty, light and speed, duality, the curative power, and active benevolence. The number of hymns addressed to them testify to the enthusiastic worship they received They were tho physicians of Swarga, and in this character are called Dasras and Nasatyas, Gadagadau and Swar-vaidyau; or one was Dasra and the other Nasatya. Other of their appellations are Abdhijau, 'ocean born ;' Pushkara-srajau, 'wreathed with lotuses;' Barfaveyau, sons of the submarine fire, Biufava. Many instances are recorded of their benevolence and their power of healing. They restored the sage Chyavana to youth, and prolonged his life when he had become old and decrepit, and through his instrumentality they were admitted to partake of the libations of soma, like the other gods, although Indra strongly opposed them. (See Chyavana.) The Aswins, says Muir, "have been a puzzle to the oldest commentators," who have differed widely in their explanations. According to different interpretations quoted in the Nirukta, they were "heaven and earth," "day and night," "two kings, performers of holy acts." The following is the view taken of them by the late Professor Goldstiicker, as printed in Muir's Texts, vol . v. :—
"The myth of the Aswins is, in my opinion, one of that class of myths in which two distinct elements, the cosmical and the human or historical, have gradually become blended into one. It seems necessary, therefore, to separate these two elements in order to arrive at an understanding of the myth. The historical or human element in it, I believe, is represented by those legends which refer to the wonderful cures effected by the Aswins, and to their performances of a kindred sort; the comical element is that relating to their luminous nature. The link which connects both seems to be the mysteriousness of the nature and effects of the phenomena of light and of the healing art at a remote antiquity. That there might have been some horsemen or warriors of great renown, who inspired their contemporaries with awe by their wonderful deeds, and more especially by their medical skill, appears to have been also the opinion of some old commentators mentioned by Yaska (in the Nirukta], for some 'legendary writers,' he says, took them for ASWINS—ATHARVANGIRASAS. 31
'two kings, performers of holy acts,' and this view seems likewise borne out by the legend in which it is narrated that the gods refused the Aswins admittance to a sacrifice on the ground that they had been on too familiar terms with men. It would appear, then, that these Aswins, like the i?ibhus, were originally renowned mortals, who, in the course of time, were translated into the companionship of the gods. . . .
"The luminous character of the Aswins can scarcely be matter of doubt, for the view of some commentators, recorded by Yaska, according to which they are identified with 'heaven and earth,' appears not to be countenanced by any of the passages known to us. Their very name, it would seem, settles this point, since Aswa, the horse, literally ' the pervader,' is always the symbol of the luminous deities, especially of the sun. . . .
"It seems to be the opinion of Yaska that the Aswins represent the transition from darkness to light, when the intermingling of both produces that inseparable duality expressed by the twin nature of these deities. And this interpretation, I hold, is the best that can be given of the character of the cosmical Aswins. It agrees with the epithets by which they are invoked, and with the relationship in which they are placed. They are young, yet also ancient, beautiful, bright, swift, &a ; and their negative character, the result of the alliance of light with darkness, is, I believe, expressed by dasra, the destroyer, and also by the two negatives in the compound nasatya (na + a-satya); though their positive character is again redeemed by the ellipsis of 'enemies, or diseases ' to dasra, and by the sense of nasatya, not untrue, i.e., truthful."
ATHARVA, ATHARVAK The fourth Veda. See Veda.
ATHARVAN. Name of a priest mentioned in the Rigveda, where he is represented as having " drawn forth" fire and to have "offered sacrifice in early times." He is mythologically represented as the eldest son of Brahma, to whom that god revealed the Brahma-vidya (knowledge of God), as a Prajapati, and as the inspired author of the fourth Veda. At a later period he is identified with Angiras. His descendants are called Atharvanas, and are often associated with the Angirasas.
ATHARV ANGIRASAS. This name belongs to the descendants of Atharvan and Angiras, or to the Angirasas alone, who are especially connected with the Atharva-veda, and these
names are probably given to the hymns of that Veda to confer on them greater authority and holiness.
ATMA-BODHA 'Knowledge of the soul.' A short work attributed to Sankaracharya. It has been printed, and a translation of it was published in 1812 by Taylor. There is a French version by Ne>e and an English translation by Kearns in the Indian Antiquary, vol . v.
ATMAN, ATMA The soul . The principle of life. The supreme soul.
ATREYA A patronymic from Atri. A son or descendant of Atri; a people so called.
ATRL 'An eater.' A i?ishi, and author of many Vedic hymns. "A Maharshi or great saint, who in the Vedas occurs especially in hymns composed for the praise of Agni, Indra, the Aswins, and the Viswa-devas. In the epic period he is considered as one of the ten Prajapatis or lords of creation engendered by Manu for the purpose of creating the universe; at a later period he appears as a mind-born sons of Brahma, and as one of the seven ifoshis who preside over the reign of Swayambhuva, the first Manu, or, according to others, of Swarochisha, the second, or of Vaivaswata, the seventh. He married Anasuya, daughter of Daksha, and their son was Durvasas."—Goldstiidcer. In the Ramayana an account is given of the visit paid by Rama and Sita to Atri and Anasuya in their hermitage south of Chitraku/a. In the Puranas he was also father of Soma, the moon, and the ascetic Dattatreya by his wife Anasuya. As a iftshi he is one of the stars of the Great Bear.
AURVA A sushi, son of Urva and grandson of Bhrigu. He is described in the Mahabharata as son of the sage Chyavana by his wife ArushL From his race he is called Bhargava. The Mahabharata relates that a king named Krita-virya was very liberal to his priests of the race of Bhngu, and that they grew rich upon his munificence. After his death, his descendants, who had fallen into poverty, begged help from the Bhngus, and met with no liberal response. Some of them buried their money, and when this was discovered the impoverished Kshatriyas were so exasperated that they slew all the Bhrigus down to the children in the womb. One woman concealed her unborn child in her thigh, and the Kshatriyas being informed of this, sought the child to kill it, but the child "issued forth from its mother's