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Usha - the goddess of dawn
Prayer to the goddes of dawn from the Rigveda, India, 2nd millennium BC.
Usha = princess or goddess,   Ushas = dawn or daybreak

Usha, die Göttin der Morgenröte

Usha, the goddess of dawn


RigVeda 6.64.1-2 (trans. Griffith)

1. THE radiant Dawns have risen up for glory,
in their white splendour like the waves of waters.
She maketh paths all easy, fair to travel, and, rich,
hath shown herself benign and friendly.

2. We see that thou art good: far shines thy lustre; thy beams,
thy splendours have flown up to heaven.
Decking thyself, thou makest bare thy bosom,
shining in majesty, thou Goddess Morning.

3. Red are the kine and luminous that bear her
the Blessed One who spreadeth through the distance.
The foes she chaseth like a valiant archer,
like a swift warrior she repelleth darkness.

4. Thy ways are easy on the hills: thou passest Invincible!
Self-luminous! through waters.
So lofty Goddess with thine ample pathway,
Daughter of Heaven, bring wealth to give us comfort.

5. Dawn, bring me wealth: untroubled,
with thine oxen thou bearest riches at thy will and pleasure;
Thou who, a Goddess, Child of Heaven,
hast shown thee lovely through bounty when we called thee early.


Usha, die Göttin der Morgenröte

when the day awakens, and dawn is rising,
than the darkness of night has to

6. As the birds fly forth from their restingplaces,
so men with store of food rise at thy dawning.
Yea, to the liberal mortal who rernaineth at home,
O Goddess Dawn, much good thou bringest.

7. SHEDDING her light on human habitations
this Child of Heaven hath called us from our slumber;
She who at night-time with her argent lustre
hath shown herself e'en through the shades of darkness.

8. All this with red-rayed steeds have they divided:
the Dawns on bright cars shine in wondrous fashion.
They, bringing near the stately rite's commencement,
drive far away the night's surrounding shadows.

9. Dawns, bringing hither, to the man who worships,
glory and power and might and food and vigour,
Opulent, with imperial sway like heroes,
favour your servant and this day enrich him.

Usha, the goddess of dawn on her cart,
pulled by seven ruddy cows, from them it is said
that they represent the seven days of the week.

10. Now is there treasure for the man who serves you,
now for the hero, Dawns! who brings oblation;
Now for the singer when he sings the praise-song.
Even to one like me ye brought aforetime.

11. O Dawn who standest on the mountain ridges,
Angirases now praise thy stalls of cattle.
With prayer and holy hymn they burst them open:
the heroes' calling on the Gods was fruitful.

12. Shine on us as of old, thou Child of Heaven,
on him, rich Maid! who serves like Bharadvaja.
Give to the singer wealth with noble heroes,
and upon us bestow wide-spreading glory.

Usha-Ushas, Sanskrit for "dawn", is a Vedic deity. She is the chief goddess (sometimes imagined as several goddesses, Dawns) exalted in the Rig Veda. She is portrayed as a beautifully adorned, sexually attractive young woman riding in a chariot. She is the daughter of Dyaus "Heaven" and the sister of Ratri, the goddes of night. Twenty out of 1028 hymns in the Rig Veda are dedicated to the goddes of Dawn: Book 7 has seven hymns, books 46 have two hymns each, and the younger books 1 and 10 have six and one respectively.

Translation from the RigVeda

Upo ruruce yuvatirma yosa - visvam jivam prasuvanti carayau
Abhud Agnih samidhe manusanam - akar jyotir badhamana tamamsi

Like a youthful maiden, Usas shines brightly forth, Stirring to motion every living creature.
Divine Fire was kindled for the use of men; Dawn created light, driving away the dark.

Visvam pratici sapratha udasthad - rusad vaso bibhrati sukramasvait
Hiranya varna sudrsika samdrg - gavam mata netry ahnam aroci

Sending out her beams, she rose facing all, In brilliant robes, resplendent, radiating--
Golden-colored and glorious to behold, Mother of plenty, mistress of the days she shone.

Devanam caksuk subhaga vahanti - svetam nayanti sudrsikam asvam
Usa adarsi rasmabhir vyakta - citramagha visvamanu prabhuta

Blessed, bearing the sun, the eye of the Gods, Leading her white horse, magnificent to see,
Usas reveals herself, arrayed in beams of light, And with boundless glory she transforms the world.

Antivama dure amitram uccha - urvim gavyutim abhayam krdhi nah
Yavaya dvesa a bhara vasuni - codaya radho grnate maghoni

O fair one, banish the enemy with light! And prepare for us broad pastures free from fear!
Ward off hatred, bring us your priceless treasure! O bountiful, shower blessings on the singer!

Asme sresthebhir bhanubhirvi bhahi - Uso devi pratiranti na ayuh
Isam ca no dadhati visvavare - gomad asvavad rathavac ca radhah

Illumine us with your glorious splendor, O divine Usas! Enrich and lengthen our lives,
O Goddess full of grace! Grant us fulfillment, And cows, horses, and chariots in abundance!

Yam tva divo duhitar vardhayanti - Usah su jate matibhir vasisthah
Sasmasu dha rayimrsvam brhantam - yuyam pata svastibhih sada

O Daughter of Heaven, Usas of noble birth, Whom the men of glory celebrate in hymns,
Establish in us wealth sublime and mighty! O Gods, protect us always with your blessings!


----------------- Quoted from: Ushas, Mother Goddess, Goddess of Dawn -------------------

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.

-------------------- Quoted from: Vedic Gods & Goddesses ---------------------

In the Rig Veda the goddess Usha is consistently associated with and often identified with the dawn. She reveals herself in the daily coming of light to the world. She has been described in the Rig Veda as a young maiden drawn by one hundred horses. She brings forth light and is followed by the sun who urges her onwards. She is praised for driving away, or is petitioned to drive away, the oppressive darkness. She is asked to chase away evil demons. As the dawn she is said to rouse all life, to set all things in motion and to send people off to do their duties. She sends the curled-up sleepers on their way to offer their sacrifices and thus render service to the other gods.

Usha gives strength and fame. She is that which impels life and is associated with the breath and life of all living creatures. She is associated with, or moves with cosmic, social and moral order. As the regularly recurring dawn she reveals and participates in cosmic order and is the foe of chaotic forces that threaten the world. Usha is generally held as an auspicious goddess associated with light and wealth, and is often likened to a cow.

In the Rig Veda she is also called 'the mother of cows' and like a cow that yields its udder for the benefit of people, so Usha bares her breasts to bring light for the benefit of human kind. Although she is usually described as a young and beautiful maiden, she is also called 'the mother of the gods and the ashwins'. Considered as mother by her petitioners she tends to all things like a good matron and goddess of the earth. She is said to be 'the eye of the gods' and is referred to as 'she who sees all', but is rarely invoked to forgive human transgressions. It is more typical to invoke her in times of need to drive away or punish one's enemies.

Usha is known as the goddess, reality or presence that bears away youth. She is described as 'a skilled huntress who wastes away the lives of people'. In accordance with the ways of Rita she wakes all living things but does not disturb the person who sleeps in death. As the recurring dawn, Usha is not only celebrated for bringing light from darkness, she is also petitioned to grant long life, as she is a constant reminder of peoples' limited time on earth. She is the mistress or marker of time.

The ancient Vedic tradition has viewed Usha as the harbinger of light, awareness, activity. People divided time into the form of day and night. At night all creation rests and in the day the whole of creation is active. The transformation which takes place from night to day is known to be the attribute of Usha, the awareness that stirs up the activity of creation, the light that gives sight to the eyes, that gives power to the senses, that gives power to the mind and intellect, Usha has been regarded as the light, or the dawn of human consciousness.


Usha, the daughter of king Bana-asura.

Usha is also the name of a daitya princess who fell in love with Aniruddha, a prince she saw in her dream. Aniruddha is a tale taken from the Bhagawat: Aniruddha was the son of Pradyumna and grandson of Krishna. Usha, the daughter of an Asura named Bana, saw him in a dream and became anxious to know if there was such a person. Her friend Chitralekha drew the portraits of many gods and men. At last when she drew the portrait of Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna, Usha recognized him. Chitralekha, by magical powers, set out to bring Aniruddha to Usha and a series of adventures then ensued. At last Aniruddha was kept captive by Banasura who was binding him with serpent bonds. After a fight, Krishna rescued Aniruddha and took him and his wife Usha to Dwaraka.

other translations

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