The Rig Veda is the oldest Indian text, a corpus of hymns that have been ‘seen’ by sages, or rishis – these ‘sacred poets’. They are hymns to Agni – the fire, to Soma – the drink of immortality, to the Gods and to nature (the Sun, the Earth, Heaven, Night, Dawn).
I have chosen to share here some hymns dedicated to Dawn. They are simple to understand, full of tender and beautiful imagery. They symbolize the eternal beginnings, the very ones that presided over the birth of the Vedas 3500 years ago. Dawn is the goddess Ushas, the beautiful maiden who infuses life with her beauty and qualities. Shardha Batra writes, “She is the pregnant silence at daybreak, which pulsates with a nebulous promise of fresh hope, dreams to be fulfilled, battles to be fought and conquered. Her gentle yet sure vibrations suffuse the most tired of souls with new potential.”
Also, the dawn symbolises the passage from darkness to light, and was bound to become this strong archetypal figure described by Sri Aurobindo: “Night in the Veda is the symbol of our obscure consciousness full of ignorance in knowledge and of stumblings in will and act, therefore of all evil, sin and suffering; light is the coming of the illuminated higher consciousness which leads to truth and happiness.”
“The stars were yielding reluctantly to dawn and there was that peculiar silent expectation when the sun is about to come; the hills were waiting and so were the trees and meadows open in their joy.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arise! the breath, the life, again hath reached us:
darkness hath passed away and light approacheth.
She for the Sun hath left a path to travel
we have arrived where men prolong existence.
Singing the praises of refulgent Mornings
with his hymn’s web the priest, the poet rises.
Shine then to-day, rich Maid, on him who lauds thee,
shine down on us the gift of life and offspring.
From Rig Veda (1. 92, 113, & 124) – Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith
Picture by unknown artist ; Mandala by Elsebet Barner
– ‘The Rig Veda: Complete and Illustrated‘ – Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
– Usha, vedic goddess of new beginnings – by Shardha Batra
– The Vedic Dawn: Goddess Usha – by Sri Aurobindo
– Sri Aurobindo (Wikipedia)
– Vedas (Wikipedia)
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