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Ushas - Daughter of the Sky

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 time.

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 now.

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.