- The Ashvins (horsemen) are twin gods of the sky in the VEDAS, depicted as young and beautiful males. They seem to have been associated with the predawn light. The Ashvins do not play a great role in later epic and Puranic mythology (see PURANAS), though they are ubiquitous as minor characters. In the Vedas they are called the chil-dren of the Sun (SURYA) or of the sky. But they also are said to emerge from the tears of AGNI or from VISHNU. They are said to have a wife in common, the daughter of another Sun divinity (SAVITRI); they won her in a race contest.Most commonly the Ashvins are known as the physicians of the gods; they are everywhere connected with healing. In the Vedas they make an iron leg for Vishpala, restore Kanva’s eyesight, and restore the youth of Cyavana (after trying to seduce his wife). Through the latter feat they are said to have earned the Vedic SOMA libation, which is offered to them.Further reading: Alfred Hillebrandt, Vedic Mythology (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990); E. Washburn Hop-kins, Epic Mythology (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986); G. C. Jhala, Asvina in the Rgveda and Other Indological Essays (New Delhi: Mushiram Manoharlal, 1978); K. P. Jog, Asvin: The Twin Gods in Indian Mythology, Lit-erature and Art (Delhi: Pratibha Prakashan, 2005); W. J. Wilkins, Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, 2d ed. (Calcutta: Rupa, 1973).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.