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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


Other Hymns to Usha, the goddes of dawn

Book 1: hymn 48

Dawn on us with prosperity O Ushas, Daughter of the Sky.
Dawn with great glory, Lady of the Light.
Dawn Thou with riches bounteous One.

They, bringing steed and kine, boon givers of all wealth have oft sped forth to lighten us.
O Ushas, waken up for me the sounds of joy, send us the riches of the great.

Ushas hath dawned and now shall Dawn the Goddess, driver forth of chariots,
Which as She cometh nigh, have fixed their thought on Her, like glory –seekers on the flood.

Here Kanva, chief of Kanva's race sings forth aloud the glories of the Heroes' names.
The princeswho, O Ushas as Thou comest near, turn their thoughts to liberal gifts.

Like a goodly mother, Ushas comes carefully tending all things.
Rousing all life She stirs all creatures and makes the birds of the air fly up.

To meet Her glance all living creatures bend them down. Excellent One , She makes the Light.
Ushas, Daughter of the Sky, the Opulent, repels foes and enemies away.

Shine on us with Thy radiant light, O Ushas , Daughter of the Sky.
Bringing to us great store of felicity and beaming, shining on our solemn rites.

For in Thee is each living creature's breath and life, when, excellent One, Thou drawest forth.
Borne on Thy lofty chariot, O lady of the Light, Thou of wondrous wealth , hear our call.

O Ushas, win Thyself the strength which among men is wonderful.
Bring Thou thereby the pious unto holy rites, those who as priests sing praise to Thee.

Bring from the firmament, O Ushas, all the Gods that They may drink our soma juice.
And bring what Thou art, vouchsafe us kine and steeds, and strength full praiseworthy and Heroes might.

May Ushas, whose auspicious rays are seen resplendent all around.
Grant us great riches, fair of form, of all good things which labour may attain.

Ushas as Thou with Light today hast opened the twin doors of Heaven,
so grant Thou us a dwelling wide and free from foes. O Goddess grant us food and kine.

hymn 92: verse 8

O Thou who shinest forth on wondrous glory, urged onward by Thy Strength, auspicious Lady.
Dawn, may I gain that wealth, renowned and ample in brave sons and in servants and be far-famed for horses.

Bending Her looks on all the world, the Goddess shines, widely spreading with Her bright eye Westwards.
Waking to motion every living creature, She understands the voice of each adorer.

She hath appeared discovering Heaven's borders, to the far distance She drives off Her sister (Rati).
Diminishing the days of human creatures, the Lady shines with all Her lover's splendour.

hymn 48: verse 14

Mighty One, whom the Rishees of olden times invoked for their protection and their help.
O Ushas graciously answer our songs of praise with bounty and brilliant Light.

Hymn 92: verses 7, 10

The Gotama's have praised Heaven's radiant Daughter, foremost in the charm of pleasant voices.
Dawn Thou conferest on us strength with offspring and men conspicuous with kine and horses.

Ancient of days, again and again born newly, decking Her beauty with the selfsame raiment.
The Goddess yet wastes away the life of mortals like a skilled hunter.


Other verses from the Rigveda

Having surveyed the whole world, the goddess (Ushas) shines far and wide with her gaze at the west. Awakening every living creature to activity, she has aroused the voice of every thinker. Rigveda 1.92.9

The ancient goddess, being born again and again, and adorning herself with the same (brilliant) color, wastes away the life of mortals like stakes which are diminished by the crafty gambler. Rigveda 1.92.10

She has woken up, unveiling the farthest points of heaven. She drives her sister (Night) far away. Diminishing the years of human life, the wife of the sun shines with her luster. Rigveda 1.92.11

This best light among the lights has come. The all-pervading brilliant light has appeared. Impelled to obey the command of Savitr, the Night has vacated her place for the Dawn. Rigveda 1.113.1

Gone are those mortals who beheld the shining Dawn in the earlier ages. Now we behold her brightness; new generations are coming who will see her in the times to come. Rigveda 1.113.11

The goddess Dawn has eternally shown before, and the bounteous goddess shines here today. So will she shine in future. The ageless and immortal Dawn moves on according to her eternal laws. Rigveda 1.113.13

The Dawn has illumined the paths of people, awakening the five human settlements. She has spread her luster with beautiful rays, and the sun has revealed through his light both Heaven and Earth. Rigveda 7.79.1


RigVeda Samhita. Book First

Verse 13
O radiant and immortal Dawn,
Who is he that does not approach you to obtain delight and true happiness?
O wonderful, red-hued and brilliant Dawn,
Thou have, had been in our thoughts whether night or far away.
O Daughter of the Sky
Thou Dawn come unto us with thy nourishments and grant us riches

Verse 19
Now Dawn with her earliest radiance shines forth, Beloved daughter of the Sky
Lofty Ashwins, I praise you much
O ye sons of the ocean, full of abundant knowledge
You give us much wealth
Your mighty horses speed forth through the glorious heavens
With the chariot flying like birds
O Ashvins, truthful and circumambient
Ashvini, drink this nectarous Soma juice offered in libation and with
your irresistible protective aids bestow upon us bliss and fine residence.

Verse 20
O brilliant Dawn, The daughter of the sky, diffuser of light,
Dawn on us with radiance, prosperity and riches.
O Admirable Beauty! O Dawn, utter the sweet and joyous words to make me happy
Take away the wealth of those rich who go astray And give it to the noble men
Thereby make me happy
The Goddess Dawn travels on pleasant cars,
On whom thy have fixed their thoughts
Who desirous of wealth send their ships to the sea

The learned men sing aloud the glories of the Gods
The princes, at the approach
O Dawn, fix their thoughts on highter things

Dawn comes carefully tending everything,
Stirring all creatures, all the creeping and winged things
She send the busy forth,
Each man to his pursuit, being active, delay she know not.

O Radiant on, after thy rising,
The birds that have flown forth no longer rest.
The Ushas have harnessed the cars afar,
Before the rising of the Sun

Borne on hundred chariots of rays she marches on her way to men
The Auspicious Dawn
Dawn, the daughter of the sky,
An excecllent leader of the day
To meet whose glance all beings bend down
Who drives away the malevolent and the wicked
Shine on us, O Dawn thou daughter of the Sky
Bringing happiness in abundance and scattering darkness away
O thou, Lady of the light, Each creature's breath and life
Cometh borne on thy lofty car
Now listen, Thou of wonderous wealth, to our call

O Dawn, as thou hast set open today the doors of heaven
So thou grant us spacious and secure dwellings
Free from the fear of wild beasts.
Fulfil our noble desires and gives us food and milch-kina
Make us happy with abundant wealth of many kinds
And gladdening plentiful food

Verse 21
Dawn comes by auspicious ways from high sky's bright realm
Let thy red steeds bring thee down to the house where Some is poured in oblation
O daughter of the Sky
Come mounting the chariot, beautiful, pleasant and ample
To aid and protect a noble man from all evils
Brilliant Dawn, when your rays appear
All living beings start to stir
Both bipeds and quadrupeds
And the birds fly in the sky to and fro.

Verse 39
The dawns have spread light over the eastern firmament
They have raised their radiant banner
like warriors brandishing their weapons onward they march, redhued, the mother cows

The purple rays of the Dawns have shot up unhindered
Yoking to their cars the red clouds.
The red-hued Dawns in their splendour have restored, as of old,
O sentinent beings their clear perception.

They sing a song
Like women engaged in some task, along the same path, coming from afar.
They bring refreshment to the liberal devotee and grant all good
gifts to those who effuse the juice.
She, like a dancer puts her ornaments on, as a cow yields her udder,
so she bares her bosom.
Creating light for all animate beings, she hath laid the gates of
darkness open, as cows their stall.
We have beheld the radiance of her face, it spreads driving away the monstrous night.
Like a tinted post, decorated at the sacrifice, the Heaven's Daughter
hath attained the wonderful splendour.

Verse 40
Now we are on the other side of darkness
Dawn shining forth again gives clear vision
She smiles like a flatter, immersed in glory, her face hath awakened us to joy
The chanting sacrificers have praised the Heaven's radiant Daughter, the lady of Charms.
Dawn, thou grant us strength with offspring and men, make us rich in steeds and kine.
Dawn, thou shines forth in wisdom and splendour, urged by your own strength.

O auspicious one, grant us ample wealth, renown, brave sons, servants and possession of horses.
Having lighted up the whole world with her gaze, she spreads her radiance towards west.
She awakens all living beings to the labour and pays heed to the call of every worshipper.
This ancient of days, born anew again and again, decking herself with the same ornaments, she wastes away the life of mortal men like a skilled bird catcher who holds in his clutches the feathery creatures.
Discovering the heavens borders, she has chased away her sister Night to the far distance.
She reflects the splendour of her lover, the Sun and dwindles the days of human mortals.
She , the blesses, the radiant, shines forth spreading her rays like grazing kine, as floods rolling, never transgressing the divine laws,
she is beheld by all, being escorted by the rays.

Verse 41
O Dawn of ample wealth, bestow on us the wonderous gifts that we may nourish therewith our children and children's sons.
O auspicious lady, uttering sweet sounds, shine on us now with wealth of cattle and steeds.
O Dawn, enriched with sacred sacrifice, harness to thy car purple steeds and bring to us all felicities
O Ashvins, with one mind and intention drive your car to our home, enriching us with cattle and gold.
You who brought down the sweet song from heaven, a light that lights up the world of men., gives us strength now
O Ashvins! May they who wake at dawn, bring here Soma juice for Gods to drink, the bestowers of health, doers of wonderous deeds, borne on path of gold

Verse 50
The Radiant, the Fair has come, to her the dark Night has consigned her home
Both akin and allied to the Sun, immortal, succeeding and effacing each other mutually, traverse the heavens.
These sisters have a common and unending pathway, they travel in alternately guided by the Sun, combined in purpose, though of diverse forms,
Dawn and Night of the endless morns that have gone by, and first of the endless mornings to come, being the dispenser of darkness, urges and awakens every living beings, but she awakes not one from his slumber who is dead.
The men who looked upon the rising Dawn of yore have departed
We the living now see her and feel happy.
Those who shall behold her hereafter will also feel happy
From times immemorial the radiant Usha has been rising with her splendour of light full of wealth.
So will she shine hereafter in future times.
Eternal, she moves on with her own strength.
On the sky's border she has appeared in full splendour, the
Goddess has thrown off the veil of darkness.
Her well-yoked chariot of purple seeds, heralding her approach, has
awakened the world.

Verse 51
Bringing all the life-sustaining blessings with her, brilliantly she shines sending forth her radiance.
She is the last of countless mornings that have disappeared she is the first bright ones yet to arrive.
Arise, the breath of life is again here, darkness has fled and light approaches.
For the Sun she has left a pathway to travel.
We have arrived where men's existence continues.
With the web of songs for Dawns, the priest, the bard rises.
They drive onward steering their way, the radiant ones.
Shine then today, O bounteous Dawn on him who sing thy praise, shine on us the gifts of life and children!
Mother of Gods, Aditi's radiant form, token of sacrifice, shine forth exalted.
Rise up, looking on our devotion with favour and be gracious to make us chief among the people.
Whatever marvelous wealth the Dawns bestow as blessings to bless a devotee, who offers oblations, that may Mitra and Varuna vouchsafe us, and Aditi, Sindhu, Earth and Heaven!

Verse 52
The Sun follows the radiant Usha, the Goddess, as a youth follows an elegant maiden.
In whose auspicious presence learned men calculate the ages for happy days to come.
Auspicious are his bay steeds, splendid, swift, changing colours and praiseworthy are they.
Bearing our prayers they circumambulate the Earth and Heaven with speed.
When the mightly Sun withdraws his majesty which spreads all over the world, people stop their labour leaving the work even unfinished.
Then, Night spreads her veil of darkness over all the world.

Verse 53
The same today, the same tomorrow, the joyous Dawn do not transgress the eternal law.
The irreproachable, they traverse the long and distant space in a moment and can be seen across the thirty regions.
Though born out of glom but she is shining, white and refulgent and marks the advent of the day.
This Maiden transgresses not the eternal law, and comes day by day to the appointed place.
The noble Dawn manifests herself lilke an ever active maiden, and goes to her loving husband, the Sun.
She being youthful and maiden meets the Sun smiling and uncovering her bosom and shining lustrously.
Radiant as a bride, well embellished by her mother, she displays her beautiful form that all may behold.
Blesses are you, O dawn, shine yet more splendidly.
May thy joy never decay.
Opulent in kine, steeds and wealth, she is ever possessed of the rays of the Sun, the Dawn goes away and returns again in her usual form sending down her happy gifts.

Verse 54
This Dawn, first of many and radiant to look on, debars from her light neither kinsman nor stranger.
Proud of her pure form, she shining brightly, spurns not the great nor the humble.
She seeks man like a maiden without a brother and ascends her car as if to gather riches.
She shining forth and well-ornamented, bares her beauty like a loving woman to her husbands.
The sister Night relinquishes her place to her elder sister.
The Dawn having seen Night departed, decks herself with shining rays of the Sun, lilke a girl going to keep a date in a festival.
Of these sisters of whom one has just vanished, a later one succeeds the former in the course of days.
So, may these Dawns shine wealth on us as of yore and bring us a happy day.


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