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Ushas (उषस्; uṣas), Sanskrit for "dawn",[1] is a Vedic deity, and consequently a Hindu deity as well.

Ushas is an exalted divinity in the Rig Veda, sometimes spoken of in the plural, "the Dawns." She is portrayed as welcoming birds and warding off evil spirits, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky.

Twenty of the 1028 hymns of the Rig Veda are dedicated to the Dawn: Book 7 has seven hymns, books 4–6 have two hymns each, and the younger books 1 and 10 have six and one respectively. In RV 6.64.1-2 (trans. Griffith) Ushas is invoked as follows:

  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.

In his Secret of the Veda, Aurobindo described Ushas as "the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth's] beatitude."[2]

In the "family books" of the RigVeda (e.g. RV 6.64.5), Ushas is poetically identified as a divine daughter—a divó duhitâ —of Dyaus Pita "Sky Father." This identification is taken literally in the traditional genealogies of Hindu mythology.

Sanskrit uṣas is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas. It is from PIE *h₂ausos-, cognate to Greek Eos and Latin Aurora.

References

  1. ^ Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965), The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary (4th ed.), New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0567-4  , p. 304.
  2. ^ Aurobindo (1995), Secret of the Veda, Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, ISBN 0-914955-19-5  , p. 283.
  • Dhallapiccola, Anna (2002), Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend, New York: Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0-500-51088-1  
  • Kinsley, David (1987), Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0379-5  
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Etymology

From Sanskrit उषस् (uṣás), dawn).

Proper noun

Singular
Ushas

Plural
-

Ushas

  1. (Hinduism) Vedic and Hindu female deity, personifying the dawn, usually mentioned in plural. She is portrayed as welcoming birds and warding off evil spirits, and as a beautifully adorned young woman riding in a golden chariot on her path across the sky.
    • 1999, Shyam Singh Shashi, Encyclopaedia Indica, page 16:
    Of the goddesses there are only two who have any marked individuality, viz., Ushas, the dawn, and Sarasvati, the goddess of the river of that name, and afterwards the goddess of speech.

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