|Gods of Shining of Sunrise and Sunset
Averting Misfortune and Sickness
|Parents||Saranyu and Vivasvan|
The Ashvins or Ashwini Kumaras (Sanskrit: ?, a?vin-, dual a?vinau?), in Hindu mythology, are two Vedic gods, divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranyu, a goddess of the clouds and wife of Surya in his form as Vivasvant. 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 the heads of horses. In the epic Mahabharata, King 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. Their marriage is an example of polyandry in the Rigvedic period.
They are also called N?satya (dual n?satyau "kind, helpful") in the Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra ("enlightened giving"). By popular etymology, the name n?satya is often incorrectly analysed as na+asatya "not untrue".
The Ashvins are derived from the Proto-Indo-European horse twins. Their cognates in other Indo-European mythologies include the Baltic A?vieniai, the Greek Castor and Polydeuces, the Roman Castor and Pollux, the English Hengist and Horsa, and the Welsh Bran and Manawydan.
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. The Nasatya twins are invoked in a treaty between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, kings of the Hittites and the Mitanni respectively.
Indian holy books like the Mahabharata and the Puranas, relate that the Ashwini Kumar brothers, the twins, who were Raja-Vaidya (Royal Physicians) to Devas during Vedic times, first prepared the Chyawanprash formulation for Chyawan Rishi at his Ashram on Dhosi Hill near Narnaul, Haryana, India, hence the name Chyawanprash.