If you catch the light
just before the sun appears, early in the morning, be sure to greet
her. Her name is Ushas. The Goddess of Dawn.
The night is dark and
deep when Ushas rises and her mother, the sky, begins to adorn her.
She uses hope to cloth her, life to anoint her with and light for her
ornaments. Her sister, the night, lends her the magic while retaining
the mystery. Ushas has the magic of looking at everybody at the same
It is then that the sun
catches sight of her. Resplendent is golden hue, the sun falls in
love with this young maiden born anew everyday, keeper of time and
youth. As Ushas appears above the sky, riding a hundred chariots, the
sun, madly in love with this beautiful maiden, chases her. She
spreads her love and his light across the sky bringing a new day for
mankind smiling to herself for she knows well that the sun is racing
her. The romance of the day makes the birds chatter, the streams
gurgle, the lotus blossom and the bee gets more intoxicated with the
nectar he sucks in.
She dances and sings and
spreads cheer all around. Darkness runs away and bad dreams die at
the opening of the day. Evil spirits rush to hide for all is visible
And suddenly the sun
catches up with her and holds her in embrace as the day is all light
and sunlight to finally surrender once again to the night.
Ushas is a Rig Vedic
deity who is the most beautiful maiden personifying the charm of
dawn. Since she precedes light, she is also called the Mother
Goddess. In the Rig Veda the description of the break of dawn, of the
emergence of Ushas, is perhaps the most beautiful passage. She is
described as the one who untiringly rises every morning as though
born anew to bring life to mankind, to satisfy all their longings and
give new strength to every spirit.
The changing colours at
dawn are likened to the different robes of a dancing girl while the
golden tipped clouds that appear just before sunrise are like bridal
jewellery. Ushas is portrayed as a shy maiden, conscious of her
beauty but modest and entering society under the protection of her
mother. Even mythology is fascinated by the chauvinist model and over
thousands of years the readers of the Vedas have drawn great pleasure
in imagining the shy maiden being followed by the macho sun and
finally her surrender. The story of this romance which all of us see
everyday, but often fail to heave that deep sigh of longing, caught
as we were in the nitty gritty affairs of the sunlit day, brings
gifts for all mankind; wealth for those who seek it, education for
those others, contentment to some and salvation to yet others.